George Ludovic Alexander:
World War One Diary


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G.L. Alexander,
WWI Diary


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1917

May to December

1918

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1919

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9/ 1    1918
Took my last look at the Statue of Liberty and N.Y. today for a long long time I suppose. Nobody knows better than I how glad I will be to see it again and yet I'm glad I'm on my way.

9/13    1918
If I were superstitious I would be worried to death for today (Fri. 13th) we landed in Glasgow Scotland with a little more than 1300 men. +13ships in convoy The trip over was fine 13 days to cross and I am sorry that we must land. I am crazy about the ocean and didn't get sick in the least, but surely worn out from loss of sleep. Stayed up all night long several night playing cards and from 2 to 4 A.M. was regular bed times. I am surely in love with Scotland. Everything strikes me as being old and quaint. I never saw such horses in my live. They are all as big as elephants. The Cap. and I took a walk up town to see the sights and got back to the docks to find the 1st train boarded and ready to leave. The Scotch Band that met us was still playing their bag-pipes and drums. At 910 we boarded our train after telling all the ships officers goodbye and were on our way -- somewhere.

9/14    1918
A 16 hr. trip thru Scotland and England is very interesting -- especially in such queer little trains. Scotland looks like one big park and me for Scotland. I hope to see it all some day. Had quite a time getting off the train and talking to all the girls. Landed in Winchester (via Carlisle) about 2 A.M. this date with a 3 miles hike ahead of us. The Cap. and I rode up in a car to the camp -- Winsall Down -. Got located and in bed about 5 A.M.

9/16    1918
After several trips to Camp Hdq. We secured passes to London for Lt. Strudel-Brown, Cap. Hagan and myself. Rode in the baggage car -- English call it "goods car" -- England not as pretty country as Scotland. In the six hours we had in London -- saw WestMinster Abbey -- London Tower -- Houses of Parliament -- Trafalga Sq. -- ate dinner at Grand Hotel and enjoyed everything, Every one -- soldiers included must have meat-card in England to get meat. We had none hence no meat. - Returned to Camp 11 P.M. (3 hr. trip)

9/17    1918
Left Winchester for South Hampton about 9.30 A.M. ar. S.H. about 1015 A.M. Ate dinner at a little restaurant near docks and boarded the "Yale" about 3 P.M. on our journey across the channel. No accomodations for men at all. The Cap and I had an outside state room - and after the boat got under way - went up on forecastle of ship and watched the moon light playing on the water with the numerous strong flash lights playing up in the sky looking for airplanes - the sight was beautiful - but I was tired - so went to bed - and got a good nights sleep.

9/18    1918
Woke up - in the docks at La Harve. Saw more ships at one time here - than any other place. We had to hike to Camp - about 3 miles. This Camp was great for officers - but poor for men. All we did was sit around - talk to the English officers - drink anything the heart desired - play with the bar-maids - eat - sleep and enjoy life. Much of this would ruin a good soldier - so after a trip in to La Harve - where the Cap. Lt. Brown and I had quite a good time trying to make the French people understand us - we moved on.

9/19    1918
Another 3 mile hike to our credit - we loaded our men for their first ride in box-cars - And cars were not much better - but pulled out about 12 midnight - and went to sleep about 2 a.m. - Nearly frozen - An all night - all day - and until midnight the following night - ride thru England France on a train that avarages about 10 to 12 miles per hr. is very tiresome.

9/20    1918
Got out of cars - just a little before midnight - and never saw such a mess in my life. We were assigned to a big metal (galv.) shop - no floor and mud ankle deep all over. We issued men bed sacks and hay -- got our bedding rolls out of cars - and all went to bed - to half-freeze. To go for 60 hrs. with all my clothes on - does'nt bother me in the least now. There is a little French Saloon near camp -- (this is an A.O.B.D. in France near Mehun) and Lt. Brown-Strudel - Cap. Hagan and I had quite a nice little party there - night of 21st. It rains most every day here.

9/29    1918
Started for Bourges today but never arrived there. The train was scheduled for 1236 P.M. and by 320 P.M. the Cap. - Lt. Brown and I were disgusted - so we went up town (Mehun) and saw what little there was to be seen - and tried all the French drinks. We went up in what is left of the Palace of Chas. VII. Here is where Jo'an of Arc got permission to lead the French Army against the English. I saw and talked to Arch Harvill (Serg.) and Adir McGraw (Pvt.) I was glad to see them both. I also learned that the 114th Eng. are at St. Florent - about 11 miles frome here - and if I can manage it, I am going to see Steve tomorrow.

9/30    1918

Today has been day to be long remembered by me. Must as soon as I finished breakfast (I have eaten with the Co. every since I landed here) and started my ditch-digging crew to work - I beat it up to Hdq. and secured a pass to St. Florent. After finding that I could'nt get there on a train - I sent to the Q. M.'s and found a truck going there, but not coming back. This Army is nothing but a chance - so I took a chance and went.

(Before leaving I went up and got paid. I have been broke every since landing - too much poker on the boat coming over) After getting to St. Florent about 1040 A.M. I learned that the 114th Eng. were at Chero! - about eight miles farther. I went to the Q. M.'s office and there found a Cap. Arnold (who later introduced me to Maj. Cameron) who belonged t the 114th Eng. and was going out. We got out there about 1210 P.M. and after much asking around - found Steve's Billett. The old French lady there made me understand that Steve was out to dinner - and she got a man passing by to show me to the house where he was. Well - I found him - he had just finished lunch - and was so surprised to see me.

I ate dinner there. and drank a big glass full of wine to warm me up. By chance the same Cap. who brought me out from St. Floren - was going to Viergon that afternoon and had to go thru Mehun. I was glad of the opportunity to get back - so promised to meet him on the road at 115 P.M. This cut my visit with Steve very short - but I went over to his room - and read a few extracts from some of Reba : letters. Gee! But it looks god to see some familiar handwriting again -- I have'nt read any mail yet. Steve and I got up to the main road just about 10 min. before Cap. Arnold drove up. I hated to leave him so soon - but I had to get back - and this was my only chance so - with a "Good-luck to you Old Boy" I left. Went all the way to Vierzon with Cap. A. and got back to camp - just in time for supper. I slept soundly that night.


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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "The Diary of George Ludovic Alexander is published here with the permission of N. A. Wilds and transcribed by Ellen S. Wilds, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."