George Ludovic Alexander:
World War One Diary


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G.L. Alexander,
WWI Diary


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1917

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1918

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Nov 10    1918
Landed in Paris about 830 P.M. last to night - and we had quite a time getting all signed up at the station. The rules regarding visitors and American Officers in Paris are awfully strict - and an officer has to almost write his life's history in order to get by. About all that I want to put on paper about Paris is that it is a wild-wild-place and has N.Y. and K.C. - backed off the board, when it comes to "high life." Any thing else about Paris ------------- just ask me. We spent what part of the night we slept at the Grand Hotel. - Early in the evening we went to the "Casino Ole Paris" -- a show - !!

Nov 11    1918
- Well - The War is over - hence a change in my plans. I should have left Paris before this - but everything 'broke loose' at 1110 today when the big guns - fired the 'Peace Barrage" - just outside the city -- so I had to see it thru. [see news article]

Kelly, Downey and myself were just leaving one station for another with our baggage. Kelly and I had to ride up on the top - over the driver's seat - we had just started when the Peace Baggage sounded. Paris went wild in about two minutes. People flocked out into the streets - until it was almost impossible to drive thru. Can you imagine a more appropriate place to start celebrating than from the top of an overloaded Ford truck! I feared we would be pulled off - before we reached the other depot. Had we caught all the kisses thrown at us -- prehaps we would have had an idea of what was in store for us. Well - we shipped our baggage on to St. Dizier - and went crazy with the rest of Paris. Never before in my life was I hugged - kissed - and pushed about - as much in my life - as I was that day and night. Everybody was drunk either with excitement and joy - or other wine - As for myself - I mixed it up.

Nov.12    1918
Got to bed - during the wee hours of morning - and had to arise early - and get an 8 oclock train out. There were no seats to be had on the train and before we reached St. Dizier (6 P.M.) - I began to feel the effects of the furious nights celebration. We changed trains at "Vitre-Francos" about 230 P.M. -- so had a chance to eat. I rec'd my first impression of the destruction of war as we passed thru Chateau-Thearry. The whole place is simply a mass of ruins.

At St. Dizier we rec'd instructions to proceed to Sauilly [?]. Could have gotten out at 8 that night - but decided to get a good nights rest - the need of which we heavily felt. Our decision to lay over in St. Dizier proved to be very wise - for the trip was awful.

Nov 14th '18 Landed in Sauilly at 7 this A.M. - nearly frozen, after a n 12 hour sleepless ride. Got breakfast a the Base Hospital and proceeded to report to Chief. Ord. Officer - 1st Army. - we were put in the "Demolition Dep't."

Nov. 15    1918
Spent most all day at Eppres" - where the French are doing demolition work.

Nov 16    1918
- Have learned about all there is to be learned about demolishing defective amm. - so am awaiting my assignment to some area.

Nov 20    1918
This Army is a queer place - I still hold the title of "Demolition Expert" but have done no work.

Had quite an experience today. - Lt. Kelly - Cap. Tifft - another Cpa. in the Purchasing Dept" Paris - and I started out about 230 in a big Winton Six on a sight seeing trip. Had two punctures in the afternoon - but got thru the Argonne Forrest - just before dark. We turned around - and headed for Camp. - Comissry [?] thru the dense forrest we broke down again - with no extra time left. The four of us - and the driver had to walk about 5 miles to [space] we found a phone. After waiting until 1045 - another car came out - fixed up the Winton - and we returned to Camp - nearly frozen - about 1230 A.M. - I almost spent a night in the Argonne Forrest.

Nov 25    1918
At last - we go to work. Left Sauilly - with 9 other officers and 10 Sergs. in a truck for Varrens. After 4 hrs. of rough-riding we landed there - to find everything above ground shot to pieces. After looking everything over - decided to start house-keeping in the cellar of what was once upon a time a large two story house. Spent one day and two nights here - did no work.

Nov 27    1918
The demolition crew landed at Beaumont - and set-up in a big two story house - with mostly all German furniture. The Germans were here just a few days before the Armistice was signed - The Town is not shot up very badly - and our house is very comfortable - but dirty. We go out about a half day each day - and blow up 'duds'


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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."