Personal Diary of William Harrison Walp: 1917 - 1918

September 1, 1917 - October 31, 1917

Sat Sept. 1st 1917.

Under way 6-55 A.M. Turned back 8-20 A.M. Guess I'll walk. Started again 9-10 A.M.

Sunday Sept. 2nd 1917.

Land-ho 5-15 A.M. Dropped anchor off Liverpool 5-45 PM. Dirtiest water I ever saw. dirty for 18 miles toward sea. Oh for my hat full of Yankee baked beans. Never was fond of beans either. Wrote letter home.

Monday Sept. 3rd 1917.

Disembarked 9 P.M. last night. Left Liverpool by miniature Scenic Railway 12-05 PM. Arrived Camp Borden 9-45 AM today. Dinner bacon, rye bread and coffee. Man 'O boy. But it tasted good. believe I'm worth a dozen square heads right now.

[Bordon Camp still exists in Hampshire, roughly 40 miles southwest of London on the southern edge of the North Downs southwest of Farnham]

Tues Sept. 4th 1917.

Walked to town last night. Some town & some walk. pretty good Camp. Cold as the devil nights.

Wednesday Sept. 5th 1917.

Went British Canteen. Some ale; fine dope. Big hike yesterday & another one today put us all on shelf.

Thurs Sept. 6th 1917.

Hike; sore all over; drill P.M. Nothing to eat. They tell us, Stick out your chest & pull in your stomach. hm-m-m. none to pull in, I don't know whether my back or belly aches. Don't feed us soon I'm going foraging.

Friday Sept. 7th 1917.

Same old grind.

Sat. Sept. 8th 1917.

Hike. Looked at Mod. Eng. howitzer 6 in. Cat'p'r (?) mount.

Sun. Sept. 9th 1917.

Bum weather. Lev.Stroud-London.

Mon. Sept. 10th 1917.

Woke up and Lev. against my back. so he isn't absent. 'fraid he would be.

Tues. Sept. 11th 1917.

Soft hike. Picked black berries when we came to 'em.

Wed. Sept. 12th 1917.

Rained hard last night. Tents like collanders, woke up like drowned rats. Like to have some mail. Think will move about Sat.

Thurs. Sept. 13th 1917.

Soft today. Ch'g'e of Camp. Rain. Shadow soup for breakfast, mostly shadow. Last night 12 loaves of bread 280 men & one little herring apiece. Want us to fight. We won't be able to crawl. Eng. get enough, why can't we. Cold enough for December.

Friday Sept. 14th 1917.

Just missed Fri. 13th. Dance Guadalupe Camp tonight.

Sat. Sept. 15th 1917.

Left Borden camp 8 A.M. Borden Station 9-15. Arrived Southhampton 11-30 A.M. Saw guns and carriages from the front; all tore up. Borded Londonderry 6-20 P.M. Weighed anchor 7-10. On guard. Boat covered 1 half inch deep coal dust. 3 sandwiches 1 bite each for 24 hrs.

Sunday Sept. 16th 1917.

Sighted Lighthouse 1 A.M. dropped anchor at Havre 3-30 A.M. Talk about guards, this one beat anything I ever heard of. You have heard the expression, "Packed like sardines". Well last night was the 1st time I know of, it could be applied without exaggeration. I saw men sleeping 2 & 3 deep. Imagine yourself posting twenty different sentries on a particularly dark night without a light aboard under these conditions. "Docks Rest Camp" 9-30 A.M. 24 hrs. here & 24 hr. ride to somewhere in France. Blind with headache. Mutton stew, 2 P.M. Guard again. relieved 5-30. 11 in a tent made for six. Some Rest Camp.

Mon. Sept. 17th 1917.

Left camp 9-15. Train started 11-53 A.M. 3 h.tack 1/2 lb. beef for 3 meals. Threw beef away, it was rotten. Passed Paris 11-40 P.M.

Tues. Sept. 18th 1917.

7-30 A.M. Battle ground at Marne. French & German graves for miles both sides of track. Number of trains loaded with French Soldiers going toward Paris. Carving name of each town I have visited on mandolin, quite a relic if we both come through. If this reads funny whoever reads it will have to overlook that, as most of it is written 'midst a regular bedlam and other tough circumstances. Camp Mailly about 10-30 A.M. Red Letter day four letters and card, isn't that great?

Wed. Sept. 19th 1917.

Small hike. Rest of day cleaned quarters, bathed & washed clothes. hardtack & corned willie so long my teeth are all loose.

Thurs. Sept. 20th 1917.

Near detailed S.D. talked 'em out of it. Old Bat. F. good enough for me. Beat hike anyhow.

Friday Sept. 21st 1917.

Big hike A.M. Calisthenics & wigwag 2 hrs. P.M.

Sat. Sept. 22nd 1917.

H.M.O. inspection A.M. Hot shower h'm'm'm boy! Brigade review P.M. hotter than the hereafter. Frenchmen sang Tipperary. Bunch sang the Marseillaise.

Sunday Sept. 23rd 1917.

Hiked 3 mi. through old trenches & Arty. positions in Battle Marne. F.M.C.A.P.M. (??) Slept all afternoon.

Mon. Sept. 24th 1917.

Same old stuff.

Tues. Sept. 25th 1917.

Left Mailly 8-15 A.M. 2 miserable sanwiches 2 meals 2 bites again & all over. Coffee spiked 10 P.M. Saw Aeroplane burn at about 1500 ft. Arrived Hermes-Berthecourt 1 A.M.

Wed. Sept. 26th 1917.

On train 'till 6-45 A.M. Canned Willie, Hardtack, larup and coffee. Coffee was great. Unloaded baggage 8 A.M. Arrived Ponchon about noon. Never saw so much filth in the same space. quartered in old tile factory. First good wind goodbye home. Antique ruin is right. Saw some had been under shell fire were in better condition. First foreign troops ever here.

Thurs. Sept. 27th 1917.

Worked all day cleaning quarters. Walked Noailles this evening.

Fri. Sept. 28th 1917.

Walked Herme to get pan to cook in.

Sat. Sept. 29th 1917.

Inspection. Compliment from Maj. for my room. Hiked in woods picked berries for supper. Pal cooking potatoes in bacon grease. Sounds good don't it? Tastes better. Red letter day.

Sun. Sept. 30th 1917.

Muster 9 A.M.

Mon. Oct. 1st 1917.

Arty. instructions Noailles.

Tues. Oct. 2nd 1917.

Inf. drill 8-30. Calis. 10-40 Noailles. 12-40 Arty. Inst. built stove now no fuel. No coal & wood worth its weight in gold. only $20 per short cord.

Wed. Oct. 3rd 1917.

Same old stuff. Arty. Inst. Noailles.

Thurs. Oct. 4th 1917.

Rained all day. Noailles again. Beat Frenchman jumping. Irish hit the outfit again. Brought Creighton with him. Red Letter day.

Friday Oct. 5th 1917.

Rain. Can of tobacco gratis. Shaved my mustasche off; reason? I saw a woman with better one than mine.

Sat. Oct. 6th 1917.

Inspection. Graded yard. Rustled wood. Stove started fire between floors. No damage only to stove.

Sun. Oct. 7th 1917.

Rain. Nothing doing.

Mon. Oct. 8th 1917.

Payday. 'nuff said.

Tues. Oct. 9th 1917.

Usual drills. Bunkie just came in with a loaf of bread as big as himself.

Wed. Oct. 10th 1917.

One more added to circle. Gonger falling with us now.

Thurs. Oct. 11th 1917.

Nothing new.

Fri. Oct. 12th 1917.

Rain. Half drowned.

Sat. Oct. 13th 1917.

Inspection. got room outside.

Sun. Oct. 14th 1917.

Made a bed. Some bed.

Mon. Oct. 15th 1917.

Put gun firing position. Carried rocks all P.M.

Tues. Oct. 16th 1917.

Usual drills A.M. Bought L. Bond. (Liberty Bond ?) Arty. drill 1 to 4 P.M.

Wed. Oct. 17th 1917.

Ch'g'e qrs.

Thurs. Oct. 18th 1917.

Stale stuff.

Fri. Oct. 19th 1917.

Learned little of French gun pointing.

Sat. Oct. 20th 1917.

Inspection. Red Letter day. Policed up. Ponchon.

Sun. Oct. 21st 1917.

Overslept. missed my breakfast.

Mon. Oct. 22nd 1917.

Got arrested for cutting tree. To be tried by French Civil court.

Tues. Oct. 23rd 1917.

Fined 500 francs. Just half the usual fine. Capt. says have to cut out allottment to pay it in two months. Hope not, want wifey to get her's.

Wed. Oct. 24th 1917.

Nothing new.

Thurs. Oct. 25th 1917.


Fri. Oct. 26th 1917.

Took bath. What you think of that.

Sat. Oct. 27th 1917.


Sunday Oct. 28th 1917.

Saw men picking up cig. butts to get tobacco. Cold.

Mon. Oct. 29th 1917.

Digging trenches.

Tues. Oct. 30th 1917.

Arty. drill in rain. got soaked. Horn put in guard house.

Wed. Oct. 31st 1917.

Muster. Payday.

Click for November 1, 1917 - December 31, 1917