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Soldier Letter Group: Pvt. John Turner - 101st Engineer Hq & Band (26th Div.) For Sale
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Here is a seven letter group from a Pvt. John Eric Turner (101st Engineer HQ & Band/ 26th Division) to a female friend in Brookline, Massachusetts. Some of the covers and letters are rough but there. Some good insight into the thoughts of a soldier who was in France longer than most. Some rough transcribed excerpts"
February 26, 1918. …I have been eight days on the front,
three times under heavy shell fire, saw many air battles and several heavy
bombardments when they blew several large towns all to bits. Iexpect to return
very shortly to my company on the front…..
May 31, 1918. …you mentioned Wesley Judkins’ strenuous (?) life
in a battleship band. Perhaps you’d smile if you knew that only two weeks ago I
was sent on a detailed service to Regt. Hdqrs to play an Alto horn in the Regt.
Band. We’re to be increased to 50 pieces according to the paper and so all the
musicians and so-called musicians like myself are to be pressed into service….now
I’m here there isn’t a chance to get ahead at all. Never mind this war is going
yet and they do say that the first three or four years are the worst. …
August 19, 1918…Human nature is a mighty funny thing, isn’t
it? I’m thinking of an incident that happened the other day. Two soldiers were
talking and one was doing considerable talking – perhaps it could be called
boasting and he was explaining the sensations of being at the front to the
other. The second listened very attentively for about fifteen minutes then the
first happened to ask the other’s regiment. Well, as it happened, the regiment
that the second belonged to had seen a great deal of hard fighting and the
first only one encounter. You should have seen the face of the first one and
they say it’s the same everywhere. The ones who’ve seen the most do the least
boasting. Even on the hospital trains and in camp, the slightly wounded are
much more (???) than the seriously wounded. Oh well, life is too short to be
finding fault. After all their shortcomings, the Americans are showing ‘em
something, aren’t they?...
Dec. 15, 1918. Dear Friend, …everyone was in the game for
one purpose and the American spirit has certainly been most amirable from start
to finish. The support from front to rear and vice versa is the thing that has
won the war. Back of the line companies were regiments and back of regiments
were divisions and back of them army corps and so on all supported – fed,
clothed and equipped by the service of supply or SOS we call it. And it went
even farther back to what is known as the “Unity of Command” Marshall Foch . If
it hadn’t been for the people at home, where would have been America today?
What wonderful cheer there is in those letters from. I haven’t expressed myself
too well but I think you know what I mean. Everyone just had to do his part ,
his “bit” the Canadians call it and he did it. That’s why we’re the victors
Careful packing/shipping is a flat $2.95 anywhere in the US.Payment is expected from winning buyer within five days of invoice. Questions welcome. Note: If you enjoy reading authentic AEF firsthand accounts and/or rarely-seen WW1 photography, please look at my current sales for the new book "Hell's Observer" ...it just might be the most detailed real-time account of war from a common American doughboy's viewpoint ever recorded. Please wait for invoice if multiple purchases were made so I can combine shipping to your advantage. Thanks for looking and good luck!
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Soldier Letter Group: Pvt. John Turner - 101st Engineer Hq & Band (26th Div.): $18