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Finally found some info on my grandfather's WWI service!

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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-11 12:32 AM
Original message
Finally found some info on my grandfather's WWI service!
Fold3 (formerly Footnote) has posted since the last time I checked some narratives from officers in the Army Engineers of the American Expeditionary Forces. My paternal grandfather was a lieutenant in the 114th Engineers and there is a two page narrative of his experiences. Not much exciting - mostly his unit was posted behind the lines, rebuilding roads so the supply trains to the front could keep moving.

As my hubby put it, they were putting just about everything into the roads. The Germans had tried to destroy the roads as they retreated and did not leave anything to repair them. The Engineers first used rubble from destroyed buildings in the villages along the way, then found German pill boxes (bunkers) and used abandoned German munitions to blow those up so they could use the concrete from the pill boxes as road fill.

I tried to find my maternal grandfather's info but he was not an officer and there are no statements from him. I could not find the company he was supposed to have been in to see what the officers that would have been above him had to say. I did find one statement that cracked me up:

HEADQUARTERS,
116TH ENGINEERS,
CLASSIFICATION SECTION
AMERICAN E. F.
NOVEMBER 30TH, 1918

Captain E. A. Kane, Acting Adjutant,
Office of Chief Engineer,
American E. F.

My dear Kane,:
Here at the 116th Engineers, being an extremely scholarly aggregation of Officers, we are very much worried about a recent call from your office for personal reports to be written in the Second Person. We are laboring over the matter and at the present time our reports read something as follows:-

HISTORY OF 1ST LIEUT. JOHN HENRY JONES

You were ordered to France on January 12th, 1918. Your orders stated that you were to report to the Commanding General in person, but you had found this was nothing more than an attempt at humor on the part of an efficient clerk who wrote your travel orders, because you have never been allowed to make a trip to Headquarters to see that famous individual.
Upon your arrival in France after a dangerous and exciting voyage with no sub-marines in sight, or available for photographs, you were ordered to a Casual Officers Depot. From there you were sent to a regiment of Engineers because this regiment had been asked to send Officers to a Corps School and they did not like to spare any of their own personnel for these educational advantages. After a few weeks of culture at this school you were returned to the Casual Officers Depot with the intention of using you again for this same purpose, but some kind hearted individual assigned you to a job in charge of German prisoners building highways in the S.O.S. After the German prisoners had all died of fatty degeneration of the heart caused by over-work and lack of food (mistake, should read, overeating and lack of work) you were again ordered to the Casual Officers Depot. You were then given a desk job in the S.O.S. (mistake, should be S.O.L.)
You have now received the news that you are to be returned to the United States as your valuable services are no longer needed by the American E. F. And have been ordered to appear before a Disability Board to see if you are physically fit for front line service. The doctor has unfortunately found that you have five toes on the left foot, and that these toes are not uniform in size, causing a serious lameness. You have also developed hard calloused places on the posterior extremity of your anatomy, therefore you are a member of that famous Class B-2.
In a few days you will report to the Rest Camp (properly named NIX), at which place you will be put in charge of a disorganized Company of 150 Casual Soldiers without service records and without pay, and will be ordered to take them to the States; being informed that these men shall be paid in full and their service records brought up to date before you are relieved from your command. This will end your history of the famous battles which you have fought as an Engineer Officer in this great war to make the world safe for the Democrats.

1st Lieut. John Harry Jones.
S. O. L.

We are wondering if these reports will be entirely satisfactory to the Acting Adjutant of the Chief Engineer, American F. F.
Sympathetically yours,

E. O. Sweetser, Engrs.
Captain, 116th Engrs.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-09-11 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. LOL! I love it.
How lucky to find something so interesting regarding your grandfather's regiment.
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-17-11 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. It's really cool finding those odd bits and pieces of personal stuff
My family saves loads of stuff. Right now I am working my way through some boxes of family material collected by my Mom and my oldest sister. There are clippings of the obituaries of relatives I don't have in my family files - I think they are cousins of my great grandmother - the scrapbook my mother's mother kept with all Mom's report cards, clippings of school events and all the stuff Mom kept from her senior year (she was proud of that year since she was valedictorian), letters that Dad's Mom wrote home her first year in college, letters from my father's father's Welsh cousins, and tons of other cool stuff.

Someday I hope to put this together into some books about the various branches of the family, but right now I am just trying to get it all scanned and organized.
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