Unforgettable: The Biography of Captain Thomas J. Flynn

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They cannot light lanterns — we have landed right bang up behind the front lines the first jump ; we can hear the heavy guns booming north along the St. Mihiel lines; and the aeroplanes might take a notion to bomb the town some night if lights stood out. No fire — dangerous to light even a cigarette in a hay loft. There are a couple of wine shops in town but they are too small to accommodate the men. If they had a large lighted place where they could have the good cheer of wine and chat evenings it would be a blessing.

They are not fond enough of "Pinard" to dq themselves harm with it and I think the pious inn keepers see that it is well baptized before selling it. Good old Senator Parker of the Y. So most of the men spread their blankets in the straw and go to bed at six o'clock — a good habit in the minds of old-fashioned folks. The squad overhead have another good old-fashioned habit. From the stable below I can hear them say their beads in common before settling down to sleep.

Good lads! I have a large square low-ceil inged room with stone floor, and French windows with big wooden shutters to enclose the light. The walls are concealed by the big presses or Armoires so dear to the housewives of Lorraine. The one old lady who occupies this house has lived here for all of her 70 years a German officer occupied the high canopied bed in and she has never let any single possession she ever had get away from her. They are all in the Armoires, old hats, bits of silk, newspapers — everything.

She is very pious and very pleased to have M. I'Aumonier, but she wouldn't give me a bit of shelf room or a quarter inch of candle or a handful of petit hois to start a fire in the wretched fireplace, without cash down. She doesn't understand this volun- teer business. If we didn't have to come, why are we here? She was evidently not satisfied with what she could learn from me herself, so one day she called to her aid a crony of hers, a woman of 50 with a fighting face and straggly hair whom I had dubbed "the sthreeler," because no English word described her so adequately.

I had already heard the Sthreeler's opinion of the women in Paris — all of them. It would have done the hussies good to hear what she thought of them.


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Now she turned her interrogatory sword point at me; no parrying about her methods — just slash and slash again. I'Aumonier come over here? Why not send one of the Vicaires and stay at home in his parish? No doubt the Government pays you more as aumonier than the church does as cure. Not having her courage, I did not venture to ask the sthreeler if she did not really envy them. They are going in strong for education in the A. Lieutenant Colonel Reed has gone off to school and also the three Majors and half the Captains.

I hope they are getting something out of their schooling for nobody here is learning anything except how to lead the life of a tramp. The men have no place to drill or to shoot or to manoeuvre. I hear we are moving soon to fresh fields further south — Heaven grant it, for we waste time here. GRAND December 23rd, I think it was Horace who said something to the effect that far-faring men change the skies above them but not the hearts within them. That occurs to me when I see our lads along the streets of this ancient Roman town.

It is old, old, old. You have to go down steps to get to the floor of the year-old Gothic nave of the church because the detritus of years has gradually raised the level of the square; and the tower of the church, a huge square donjon with walls seven feet thick slitted for defensive bowmen, is twice as old as the nave. And it has the ruins of an amphitheatre and a well preserved mosaic pavement that date back to the third century, when the Caesars had a big camp here to keep the Gauls in order. They are an intelhgent lot, and unsated by sight-seeing, and they give more attention to what they see than most tourists would.

When I worked the history of the place into my Sunday sermon I could see that everybody was wide awake to what I had to say. But in their hearts they are still in good little old New York. The quips and slang of New York play houses are heard on the streets where Caesar's legionaries chaffed each other in Low Latin.

Under the fifteen centuries old tower Phil Brady maintains the worth of Flushing because Major Lawrence hails from there. Paul Haerting and Dryer ex- change repartee outside the shrine of St. Libaire, Virgin and Martyr, after their soldiers orisons at his tomb. Charles Dietrich and Jim Gormley interrupt my broodings over the past in the ruins of the amphitheater to ask me news about our parish in the Bronx. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions are not in such an antique setting, but in two villages along the bare hillsides to the south of us.

It is a good walk to get to them ; but I have my reward. When I get to the 2nd Battalion, if the men are busy, I drop in on Phil Gargan for a cup of cof- fee. I am always reminded of my visits to Ireland by the hospitality I encounter — so warm and generous and bustling and overwhelming. I get my coffee, too much of it, and too sweet, and hot beyond human endurance, and food enough offered with it to feed a platoon. And I am warm with a glow that no steaming drink could ever pro- duce of itself.

It is the same wherever I go. For instance if my steps lead me to the 3rd Battalion Pat Poland spices his coffee with native wit; or if my taste inclines me to tea I look up Pat Rogan who could dig up a cup of tea in the middle of a polar expedition. While I am on the question of eating — always an inter- esting topic to a soldier — let me say a word for French inns.

I have seen a M. Gerard but, as in all well regulated fam- ilies, he is a person with no claim to figure in a story. I am in love for the first time, and with Madame Gerard. Cap- able and human and merry, used to men and their queer irrational unfeminine ways, and quite able to handle them, hundreds at a time. A joke, a reprimand, and ever and always the final argument of a good meal — easy as easy. She reigns in her big kitchen, with its fireplace where the wood is carefully managed but still gives heat enough to put life and savor into the hanging pots and the sizzling turn- spits.

Odors of Araby the blest! And she serves her meals with the air of a beneficent old Grande Dame of the age when hospitality was a test of greatness. Private or General — it makes no difference to her. The same food and the same price and the same frank motherly humor — and they all respond with feelings that are common to all. I sit before the kitchen fire while she is at work, and talk about the war and religion and our poor soldiers so far from their mothers, and the cost of food and the fun you can get out of life, and when I get back to my cold room I go to bed thinking of how much I have learned, and that I can see at last how France has been able to stand this war for three and a half years.

The Colonel's mess is at the Cure's house. It too is a pleasant place to be, for the Colonel lays aside his official air of severity when he comes to the table, and is his genial, lovable self. The Cure dines with us — a stalwart mountaineer who keeps a young boar in his back yard as a family pet. One would have thought him afraid of noth- ing. But courage comes by habit; and I found that the Cure had his weak side.

His years had not accustomed him to the freaks of a drunken man — a testimonial to his parish- ioners. We had a cook, an old Irishman, who could give a new flavor to nectar on Olympus; that is, if he didn't drink too much of it first. One day Tom Heaney and Billy Heam came running for me. Paddy on the rampage! The aged bonne in hys- terics. The Cure at his wits' end. I went. I found Paddy red-eyed and excited, and things in a mess. I curtly ordered him into a chair, and sent for Doc.

Houghton, our mess officer, to do justice. Meanwhile I studied a map on the wall, with my back turned to the offender, and the following one-sided dialogue ensued — like a telephone scene at a play. If I was dying I wouldn't"- reconsidering — "I hope to God when Fm dying I won't have to put up with the likes of you. I'll tell it to you if you like.

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I've been wanting to do it time and times. You smoke cigarettes with the Officers, that's what you do. But I know what will happen. We shall eat army food au naturel for a week or so; and some noon the meal will be so good that we shall all eat more than is good for men with work still to do, and nobody shall ask a question about it, for everybody will know that Paddy, God bless him!

Of course I have a special liking for him because when he was in a mood to denounce me he let me off so light. It was my business to give them a religious celebration that they would remember for many a year and that they would write about enthusiastically to the folks at home, who would be worrying about the lonesome existence of their boys in France. The French military authorities and the Bishop of the diocese had united in prohibiting Mid- night Masses on account of the lights.

But General Leni- han, the Mayor, and the Cure decided that we were too far from the front to worry about that, and it was arranged tout de suite. I knew that confessions and communions would be literally by the thousands, so with the aid of Joyce Kilmer and Frank Driscoll, ex-Jesuit-novice, I got up a scheme for confessions of simple sins in English and French, and set my French confreres to work; the Cure, a priest-sergeant in charge of a wood cutting detail, a hrancardicr, and another priest who was an officer of the artillery — all on the qui znve about the task.

Christmas Eve found us all busy until midnight. I asked one of the men how he liked the idea of going to confession to a priest who cannot speak English. General Lenihan and Colonel Hine and the Brigade and the Regimental Staffs occupied seats in the sanctuary which was also crowded with soldiers. The local choir sang the Mass and I preached.

See a Problem?

It took four priests a long time to give Communion to the throng of pious soldiers and I went to bed at 2 :oo A. Everybody had a big Christmas dinner. The Quarter- master had sent the substantial basis for it and for extra trimmings the Captains bought up everything the country afforded. They had ample funds to do it, thanks to our Board of Trustees, who had supplied us lavishly with funds. The boxes sent through the Women's Auxiliary have not yet reached us.

It is just as well, for we depart tomorrow on a four-day hike over snowy roads and the less we have to carry the better. LONGEAU January ist, I cannot tell just what hard fates this New Year may have in store for us, but I am sure that no matter how try- ing they may be they will not make us forget the closing days of 19 We left our villages in the Vosges the morn- ing after Christmas Day.

From the outset it was evident that we were going to be up against a hard task. It snowed on Christmas, and the roads we were to take were mean country roads over the foothills of the Vosges Moun- tains. New mules were sent to us on Christmas Eve. They were not shod for winter weather, and many of them were absolutely unbroken to harness, the harness provided moreover being French and ill-fitting. To get it on the mules big Jim Hillery had to throw them first on the stable floor.

It was everybody's hike, and everybody's purgatory ; but to my mind it was in a special way the epic of the supply company and the detachments left to help them. Nobody ever makes any comment when supplies are on hand on time. On a hike the Infantry will get through — there is never any doubt of that. They may be foot- sore, hungry, broken-backed, frozen, half dead, but they will get through. The problem is to get the mules through ; and it is an impossible one very often without human intel- ligence and human labor.

On this hike the marching men carried no reserve rations, an inexcusable oversight. No village could feed them even if there was money to pay for the food ; and the men could not eat till the Company wagons arrived with the rations and field ranges. The situation for Captain Mangan's braves looked des- perate from the start.

A mile out of town the wagons were all across the road, as the lead teams were not trained to answer the reins. The battle was on. It would be impossible to relate in detail the struggles of the next four days; but that train got through from day to day only by the fighting Spirit of soldiers who seldom have to fire a rifle. Again and again they came to hills where every wagon was stalled. The best teams had to be unhitched and attached to each ,vagon separately until the hill was won. Over and over the toil-worn men would have to cover the same ground till the work was done, and in tough places they had to spend their failing strength tugging on a rope or pushing a wheel.

Wagoners sat on their boxes with hands and feet freezing and never uttered a complaint. The wagons were full of food but no man asked for a mite of it — they were willing to wait till the companies ahead would get their ijhare. The old time men who had learned their business on the Border were naturally the best. Larkin and young Heffernan and Barney Lowe and Tim Coffee were always first out and first in, but always found time to come back and take the lines for some novice to get his wagon through a hard place. Slender Jimmy Benson got every ounce of power out of his team without ever forgetting he belonged to the Holy Name Society.

Sergeant Lacey, Maynooth man and com- pany clerk, proved himself a good man in every Irish sense of the word. Hillery and Tumulty, horseshoers; Charlesj Henning of the commissary, and Joe Healy, cook, made themselves mule-skinners once more, and worked with energies that never flagged. Lieutenant Henry Bootz came along at the rear of the Infantry column to pick up stragglers.

The tiredest and most dispirited got new strength from his strong heart. I'll take your pack, but you'll have to hike. The first day Bootz threatened to tie stragglers to the wagons. The remaining days he took all that could move without an ambulance and tied the wagons to them. And they had to pull. Captain Mangan, the most resourceful of commanders, was working in his own way to relieve the strain.

One day he took possession of a passing car and got to the H. That wagon train had to get through. It got through; but sometimes it was midnight or after before it got through; and meanwhile the line companies had their own sufferings and sacrifices. They hiked with full packs on ill-made and snow-covered roads over hilly country.

At the end of the march they found themselves in villages four or five of them to the regiment , billetted in barns, usually without fire, fuel or food. They huddled together for the body warmth, and sought refuge from cold and hunger in sleep. When the wagons came in, their food supplies were fresh meat and fresh vegetables, all frozen through and needing so much time to cook that many of the men refused to rise in the night to eat it. Breakfast was the one real meal; at midday the mess call blew, but there was nothing to eat.

When they got up in the morning their shoes were frozen stiff and they had to burn paper and straw in them before they could get them on.


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Men hiked with frozen feet, with shoes so broken that their feet were in the snow; many could be seen in wooden sabots or with their feet wrapped in burlap. Hands got so cold and frost-bitten that the rifles almost dropped from their fingers. Soldiers fell in the snow and arose and staggered on and dropped again. The strong helped the weak by encouragement, by sharp biting words when sympathy would only increase weak- ness, and by the practical help of sharing their burdens.

They got through on spirit. The tasks were impossible for mere flesh and blood, but what flesh and blood cannot do, spirit can make them do. It was like a battle. We had losses as in a battle — men who were carried to hospitals because they had kept going long after their normal powers were expended. It was a terrible experience. But one thing we all feel now — we have not the slightest doubt that men who have shown the endurance that these men have shown will give a good account of themselves in any kind of battle they are put into. They are pleasant prosperous little places in- habited by cultivateurs with a sprinkling of bourgeois the red roofs clustering picturesquely along the lower slopes of the rolling country.

None of them is more than an hour's walk from our center at Longeau. The men are mostly in the usual hayloft billets, though some companies have Adrian barracks where they sleep on board floors. Apart from sore feet from that abominable hike, and the suffering from cold due to the difficulty of procuring fuel, we are fairly comfortable. The officers are living in comparative luxury.

Unforgettable: The Biography of Captain Thomas J. Flynn – TailoredBook

I am estab- lished with a nice sweet elderly lady. I reach the house through a court that runs back of a saloon — which leaves me open to comments from the ungodly. The house is a model of neatness, as Madame is a childless widow, and after the manner of such, has espoused herself to her home. She is very devout, and glad to have M. I'Aumonier in the house, but I am a sore trial to her, as I have a constant run of callers, all of them wearing muddy hobnailed brogans. She says nothing to me, but I can hear her at all hours of the day lecturing little Mac about doors and windows and sawdust and dirt.

I notice that our lads always strike up a quick acquaintance with the motherly French women. After all a language is only a makeshift for expressing ourselves. It was a big stable at the south end of the town — we had gasoline stored in it and some soldier was careless. The street was thronged in an instant with running soldiers and civilians. The village firemen or pompiers came running up at a plowman gait — looked the fire over — and went back to put on their proper uniforms.

One old lad came all the way from Percey in a gendarme's chapeau. He could not properly try to put out a fire in that headgear, so he went all the way back and arrived at last, puffing but satisfied, in the big pompier nickel-plated helmet. Their big pump was pulled up to Longeau, and the hose was laid with the proper amount of ceremony and shouting, and the stream finally put on the blazing shed.

The remainder of the popu- lation displayed little of the proverbial French excitability. They looked on with the air of men who can enjoy a good spectacle, happy in the thought that the rich American Gov- ernment would have to pay for it. The soldiers were happy too at having a chance to fight something.

Colonel Barker gave orders in his quiet way, which Captains Anderson and Mangan put into execution. The fountain ran out and bucket lines were formed. I am afraid that some of the contents instead of getting to the fire was dumped on the gaudy uniforms of the funny old pompiers, who insisted upon running around giving orders that nobody could understand.

It was a good show in every way — but incidentally the building was a total loss. Instead of having to make my visit through the scattered billets that line the entrance to the valley I found what looked like the whole Company along the roadside in vehemently gesticulating groups.

I hurried to find what the trouble might be. Val Dowling, the supply Sergeant, picked a uniform out of a pile and held it up. Ex- cuse me, Father, but you'll say as bad when you look at it. They want us to wear this. Did I know it was a British uniform? I'd stand hangin' rather than put wan of thim rags on me back. I didn't want him worried about us, and he naturally couldn't know; but I felt he could appreciate our attitude from his own very strong anti-German feelings.

We are all volunteers for this war. If you put our fellows in line alongside a bunch of Tommies, they would only fight the harder to show the English who are the better men, though I would not guarantee that there : would not be an occasional row in a rest camp if we were billeted with them.

There are soldiers with us who left Ireland to avoid service in the British Army. You can understand it. There i were times during the past two years when if England had not restrained her John Bull tendencies on the sea we might have gotten into a series of difficulties that would have led to a war with her.

In that case Germany would have been the Ally. You are a soldier, and you would have fought, suppressing your own dislike for that Ally. But supposing ill the course of the war we were short of tin hats and they asked you to put on one of those Boche helmets? Then he laughed, "You have a convincing way Df putting things, Father. I'll see that they clothe my men lereafter in American uniforms. General Lenihan al- ways picks me up in his machine and goes with me to my early service, at which he acts as acolyte for the Mass, a duty which he performs with the correctness of a sem- inarian, enhanced by his fine soldierly face and bearing and his crown of white hair.

The men are deeply im- pressed by it, and there are few letters that go home that do not speak of it. He brought me back from Cohons this morning and dropped me off at Percey, where I had a later Mass. These French villagers are different from our own home folks in that they want long services; they seem to feel that their locality is made little of, if they do not have everything that city churches can boast, and I some- times think, a few extras that local tradition calls for.

It is hard on me, for I am a Low Church kind of Catholic myself; and besides ''soldier's orisons" are traditionally short ones. The only consolation I have here in Percey is that the old septuagenarian who leads the service for the people sings in such a way that I can render thanks to Heaven that at last it has been given to my ears to hear raised in that sacred place the one voice I have ever heard that is worse than my own.

I called on Donovan this evening and found him sitting in a big, chilly chamber in the old chateau in front of a fire that refused to burn. He had had a hard day and was still busy with orders for the comfort of men and animals. What difference is thei. It supplies an ex- cellent romantic philosophy with which to face the sordid discomforts which are the most trying part of war. Pat Dowling told of a rather mysterious thing that happened to him while he was a Sergeant in the regular army. I go over to Cohons and the new French Chauchat automatics are barking merrily at tlie hill that climbs from the road.

At Percey I see our erstwhile baseball artists learning an English overhead bowl- ing delivery for hurling hand grenades at a pit, where they explode noisily and harmlessly. Vociferous young Lieutenants are urging the men to put snap into their bayonet lunges at stuffed mannikins. I had a little clash of my own with some of these en- thusiastic youngsters early in the game.

In the British school of the bayonet they teach that the men ought to be made to curse while doing these exercises. I see neither grace nor sense in it. If a man swears in the heat of a battle I don't even say that God will forgive it; I don't believe He would notice it. But this organized blasphemy is an offense. And it is a farce — a bit of Cockney Drill Sergeant blugginess to conceal their lack of better qualities. If they used more brains in their fighting and less blood and guts they would be further on than they are. Our fellows will do more in battle by keeping their heads and using the natural cool courage they have than by working themselves up into a fictitious rage to hide their fears.

Latterly we have had the excellent services of a Bat- talion of French Infantry to help us in our training. They have been through the whole bloody business and wear that surest proof of prowess, the Fourragere. I asked some of the old timers amongst them how much use they had made of the bayonet. They all said that they had never seen case when one line of bayonets met another. Sometimes they were used in jumping into a trench, but generally when it came to bayonets one side was running away. With me is Percy Atkins, a good man with only one fault — he is working himself to death in spite of my trying to boss him into taking care of himself.

We have suffered a real pang in the transfer of Colond Hine to the Railway Service. There is evidently to be no regard for feehngs or established relations of de- pendency or intimacy, but just put men in where they will be considered to fit best. I was ready for that after the battles began, but it is starting already. First Reed, now nine. I shall miss Colonel Hine very much — a courteous gentleman, a thorough soldier, a good friend. God prosper him always wherever he goes. Barker, a West Pointer, who had seen muth service and had been on duty in France since the beginning of the war.

He is a manly man, strong of face, silent of speech, and courteous of manner. We have learned to like him alreadyT— we always like a good soldier. We are also beginning to get some real training, as the weather is more favorable and our officers are getting back from school. We have all read descriptions of them and so had our preconceived notions. The novelty is that we are in a thick woods. You go out from Luneville where we have been having the unwonted joys of city life for a week or so along the flat valley of the Vesouze to Croixmare, and east to Camp New York, where some Adrian barracks, floating like Noah's Arks in a sea of mud, house the battaHon in reserve ; then up a good military road through the Forest of Parroy to Arbre Haut, where a deep dugout forty feet underground shehers the Colonel and his headquarters.

Duck-board paths lead in various directions through peaceful looking woods to a sinuous line of trenches which were, when we arrived in them, in considerable need of repair. Company D, under Captain McKenna, had the honor of being first in the lines. Off duty the men live in mean little dugouts thinly roofed, poorly floored, wet and cold. But they are happy at being on the front at last, and look on the discomforts as part of the game. Their only kick is that it is too quiet. Our ist Battahon left the trenches with few casualties to pay for their ten days of continuous work at trench and wire mending and night patrols.

I spent the afternoon before with i each unit attending to their spiritual needs, and ending i the day with a satisfactory feeling of having left nothing [undone. I The Company went out in the early morning of March [7th to relieve Company A, and soon had the position taken I 'over. About 4 P. The big awkward wabbling aerial torpedoes began coming over, teach making a tremendous hole where it hit and sending f up clouds of earth and showers of stone.

Lieutenant Nor- man, an old Regular Army man, was in charge of the platoon, and after seeing that his guards and outposts were in position, ordered the rest of the men into the dug- outs. While he was in the smaller one a torpedo struck it fair and destroyed it, burying the two signal men from Headquarters Company, Arthur Hegney and Edward Kearney.

He was inspecting the larger dugout alongside when another huge shell came over, buried itself in the very top of the cave and exploded, rending the earth from the supporting beams and filling the whole living space and entrance with rocks and clay, burying the Lieutenant and twenty-four men.

Major Donovan of the ist Battalion was at the Battalion P. As there were six positions to defend and the shelling might mean an attack anywhere along the whole line, the Battalion Commander's duty was to remain at the middle of the web with his reserves at hand to control the whole situation. So Major Donovan requested that as he had no general responsibilities for the situation he might be per- mitted to go down to Rocroi and see what he could do there. Stacom was unwilling to have anybody else run a risk that he was not permitted to share himself, but he gave his consent.

Major Donovan found the men in line contending with a desperate condition. The trenches were in places levelled by the bombardment and though the enemy were no longer hurling their big torpedoes they kept up a violent artillery attack on the position. The only answer that we could make to this was from the trench mortars which were kept going steadily by Lieutenants Walsh and F.

Young, Harvey, P. Garvey, Herbert Shannon, F. Ryan and Willermin. They knew that i many of their comrades were dead already but the voices i could still be heard as the yet standing timbers kept the I earth from filling the whole grade. A real soldier's first thought will always be the holding of his position, so the Major quickly saw to it that the defense was properly organized. Little Eddie Kelly, a seventeen- year-old boy, was one of the coolest men in sight, and he flushed with pleasure when told that he was to have a place of honor and danger on guard.

The work of rescue was kept going with desperate energy, although there was but little hope that any more could be saved, as the softened earth kept slipping down, and it was impossible to make a firm passageway. The Engineers were also sent for and w orked through the night to get out bodies for burial but with only partial success. The French military authorities conferred a number of. Over the ruined dugout we erected a marble tablet with the inscription, "Here on the field of honor rest" — and their names. Company E held those broken trenches with their dead lying there all of that week and Company L during the week following.

Finn, Michael Galvin, John J. Haspel, Edward J. Kelly, James B. Kennedy, Peter Laffey, John J. Le Gall, Charles T. Luginsland, Frank Meagher, William A. Moylan, Wil- liam H. Hegney and Edward J. Joyce Kilmer's fine instincts have given us a juster view of the propriety of letting them rest where they fell. So I went out today to read the services of the dead and bless their tomb. Company L is in that position now, and they too have been subjected to a fierce attack in which Lieutenant Booth was wounded. Today there was a lot of sniping going on, so Sergeant John Donoghue and Ser- geant Bill Sheahan wanted to go out to the position with me.

They are two of the finest lads that Ireland has given us, full of faith and loyalty, and they had it in mind, I know, to stand each side of me and shield me from harm with their bodies. But I selected the littlest one in the crowd, Johnny McSherry ; and little Jack trotted along the trench in front of me with his head erect while I had to bend my long back to keep my head out of harm's way. We came on Larry Spencer in an outpost position contemplating his tin hat with a smile of satisfaction. It had a deep dent in it where a bullet had hit it and then deflected — a, fine souvenir.

We finished our services at the grave and returned. I lingered a while with Spencer, a youth of remarkable elevation of character — it is a good thing for a Chaplain to have somebody to look up to. Shanley is from the Old Sod. Sheffler is a Chi- cagoan of Polish decent, a most likable youth. I gave them a good start on their careers as warriors by hearing their confessions.

That reminded me that I had some neglected parishioners in Company I, so I went over their set of trenches. Around the P. Where do the Irish get such names? Charlie Cooper is half way to being Irish now, and he will be all Irish if he gets a girl I know. I know how Charlie Garret is Irish, — for he comes from my neighborhood, and if it were the custom to adopt the mother's name in a family he would be Charles Ryan. The same custom would let anybody know without his teUing it, as he does with his chest out, that George Van Pelt is Irish too. Tommy O'Brien made him- self my guide and acolyte for my holy errand ; and he first took me on a tour amongst the supply sergeants and cooks for he wanted us both well looked after.

Religion in the trenches has no aid from pealing organ or stained glass windows, but it is a real and vital thing at that. The ancestors of most of us kept their religious life burning brightly as they stole to the proscribed Mass in a secluded glen, or told their beads by a turf fire ; and I find that religion thrives today in a trench with the diapason of bursting shells for an organ. I had a word or two for every man and they were glad to get it ; and the consolations of the old faith for those that were looking for it.

It was the vogiie at one time to say with an air of contempt that reHgion is a woman's affair. I would like to have such people come up here — if they dared: and say the same thing to the soldiers of this Company or of this Regiment — if they dared. The last outpost was an interesting one. It did not exist when I was in these parts with the 2nd Battalion, as our friends on the other side had not yet built it for us. But recently they have sent over one of their G. His mind is quick on the trigger, though the speed and accuracy with which it shoots a retort is rendered deceptive by his slightly humorous drawl in delivery.

He is not one of the big fel- lows, but the big fellows think twice before taking him on. I wanted Colonel Haskell to make him a Second Lieutenant, but Martin hadn't left the County Clare soon enough to satisfy the tech- nicality of having his final citizen papers. He could fight for the United States, but he could not be an officer. He came of age as a citizen during the summer and went to Plattsburg, and the people in charge there made him not a Second Lieutenant but a Captain.

Colonel Haskell, who is Adjutant at Camp Upton, found the chance to send him back to us as a Captain, and we were very glad to get him. For we know Martin Meaney; and everyone who knows Martin Meaney likes him and trusts him. He is a fine, manly upstanding young Irishman devoted to high ideals, practical and efficient withal. Granted the justice of my cause there is no man in the world I would so much rely on to stick to me to the end as Martin Meaney. It makes us all feel better to have him along with us in our adventure of war. He has the position of Johnny-come-lately with us yet, but he knows the game and he will be a veteran of ours by the time we get to our first battle.

His whole organization is practically new, but he is very keen about it, and is an excellent manager, so we feel that he will soon have it in shape. Captain John Mangan of the Supply Company is the salt of the earth. I like Jack Mangan so much that I always talk that way about him, and incidentally I waste his time and mine by holding him for a chat whenever we meet. He came to us before we went to the Border. His friends were in another regiment, but all that was nice and Irish about him made him want to be with the 69th. He is a Columbia man and a contractor.

Colonel Haskell got his eye on him, Tvhen, as a Second Lieutenant, he was put in charge of a aetail of offenders who had to do some special work. Under Mangan their work was not mere pot- tering around. They did things. While we were on the big hike Mangan was left behind with a detail of cripples to build mess shacks. They were built, created is a better word, but we were doomed never to use them, as we got orders during the hike to proceed to another station. I said to Haskell : "Don't forget to compliment Lieutenant Man- gan on his work, for he has done wonders, and it looks now to have been all in vain.

Regi- mental Supply Officer as soon as the formalities could be arranged ; and in a short time he was the best supply officer on the Border, as his training as a contractor gave him ex- perience in handling men and materials. Everybody likes Mangan — half -rebellious prisoners and sodjering details and grasping civilians and grouchy divi- sion quartermasters. For "he has a way wid him. So far as I can see it now, our Captains average higher than our Lieutenants, though time will have to show if I am right. But at present I can point my finger to half a dozen Captains at least who could easily fill the job of Major, without being so certain of finding an equal number of Lieutenants who could make as good Captains as the men they replace.

Probably all that this proves is that the Cap- tains have the advantage of experience in their positions, and that their juniors, when equal opportunity is given them, will develop to be just as good. Amongst the Lieu- tenants the first to my mind is John Prout, a fine young Tipperary man of the stamp of Hurley and Meaney. Oth- ers in line are Samuel A. Of the newcomers sent to us here at Camp Mills four of the old regular army men stand out : Lieutenants Michael J.

Walsh, Henry A. October 25th, We are the best cared for Regiment that ever went to war. Brady, who was chairman of the Com- mittee for employment, appointed by Justice Victor J. Dow- ling of the Friendly Sons of St. O'Brien, chairman, Daniel M. Brady, John J. Whalen, Joseph P. Grace, Victor J. Dowling, John D.

Brady, John E. O'Keefe, Louis D. Conley, and Bryan Kennelly. They have raised ample funds from private subscriptions and from the generous benefits offered through the kindly generosity of the New York Baseball Club and of Mr. John McCormack. The Women's Auxiliary is also formed, Mrs. Hennings being the President, for looking after the families of sol- diers while they are away, and sending gifts abroad. Some of our wealthy friends in the Board of Trustees have also held dinners to which have been invited the prin- cipal officers of Regiment, Brigade, and Division. It has helped us to get acquainted with our chief superiors.

I was particularly glad to have the opportunity of getting a more intimate knowledge of General Mann and his Chief of Staff, Colonel Douglas Mc Arthur — a brilliant youthful- looking soldier for whom I had already formed a high esteem and admiration from casual meeting. I went with them to Montreal, travelling with Companies B and D. Edward Connelly and I sat up chatting most of the night. One remark of his struck me. They stayed up all night to look after our needs, and they showed a combination of efficiency and cheerful- ness — a very model of soldierly spirit. I saw them all onto the Tunisia on their way to Liver- pool.

God speed them. We found at Hoboken that we were to sail on a fine ship — the converted German liner Amerika which had been re-christened with the change of the penul- timate letter. Our trip was uneventful. The seas were calm, and sailing on the America was like taking a trip on the end of a dock — you had to look over the side to realize that she was in motion.

No submarines, though we were on constant watch for them. We did not know where our journey was to end but finally on November 12th we made port in the beautiful harbor of Brest, where we have been idling all week be- cause we have been the first convoy to put in here, and no preparations have been made to land us and our equip- ment, and afford transportation to our destination.

November 15th, 19 17 This morning I told Colonel Hine that I wanted a day in town to get some necessaries for my church work, and permission was readily granted. As I rang the bell of the rectory, the door opened and a poor woman with two children came out carrying a basket into which the housekeeper had put food. I said to myself: Where charity exists, hospitality ought to flourish. I waited in the customary bare ecclesiastical parlor for the Cure, and at last he came, a stout middle-aged man, walking with a limp. I presented myself, very tall and quite imposing in my long army overcoat, and told him I came in search of altar breads.

He immediately proposed to take me to a convent some distance away where my wishes might be sat- isfied. As I followed him along the cobbled streets I said to myself, "I had thought these Bretons were a kind of Irish, but they lack the noblest of the traditions of the Celtic race, or this old gentleman would have asked me to din- ner. One need not say that this was a woman — the Mother Superior of an institution which was school, orphanage and pension in one. She was of a type not unusual in heads of religious com- munities — cultivated, balanced, perfectly serene.

Then I sallied forth with my stout Cure who evidently had absorbed, as he sat silent through the meal, all the information I had been giving out, particularly about myself. The introduction in- variably took this form: "Monsieur is an American. He has a large parish in the City of New York. He has been a Pro- fessor in the Seminary — of Philosophy, mind you. Monsieur has a parish with three vicaires. He receives from the noble government of the United States a stipend of ten thousand francs a year.

That is what this great country gives their Chaplains. He is a Chaplain. He has crosses on his collar. Also on his shoulders. HI were taller I could see them. I saw them when he was sitting down. L'Aumonier wears the tricolor of our country with the badge of the Sacred Heart, which was pinned there by the great Car- dinal of New York. I had to break away finally to get back to my ship as evening was beginning to gather. I started for the dock, interested all the way to observe the Celtic types of the passersby and giving them names drawn from my Irish acquaintance, as Tim Murphy or Mrs.

Feeling that I was not making for the dock from which I left, I turned to a knot of boys, introducing myself as a priest and telling them that I wanted to get back to the American transports. They jumped to help me as eagerly as my own altar boys at home would do. One alert black- eyed lad of fourteen took command of the party, the rest of them trailing along and endeavoring to give advice and support. But from the beginning this one youngster was in undoubted command of the situation. I tried once or twice to ask where he was bringing me, but received only a brief "Suivez-moi, Monsieur.

But they were ready to ferry me over to my ship for a compensation, a compensation which became quite moderate when my Mentor explained their obhgation as CathoHcs and as Frenchmen to a priest and an ally. I was about to embark in their fishing smack when a French marine came along the dock and said that under no circumstances could a boat cross the harbor after sunset. My fishermen argued ; I argued ; even my irresistible young guide stated the case; but to no avail.

From such a one I shall receive permission. He led me off to the ofifice of the Harbormaster. It was closed. I could find no person except the janitor who was sweeping the front steps. I was so put out at the prospect of not getting back from my leave on time that I had to talk to some person, so I told the janitor my worries. He insinuated that something might be arranged.

I had traveled in Europe before and had learned how things get themselves arranged. So I produced from my pocket a nice shiny two-franc piece; and in a moment I discovered that I had purchased for thirty-five cents in real money the freedom of the Port of Brest.

My janitor descended upon the faithful marine with brandished broom and bellowed objur- gations that such a creature should block the way of this eminent American Officer who wished to return to his ship. I stood in the prow of the smack as we made our way across the dark and rainy harbor and I felt for the first time the touch of romance as one gets it in books. I thought back over the day, and I had the feeling that my adventures had begun, and had begun with a blessing. If Thomas Cook and Son ever managed a per- sonally conducted party as we have been handled and then landed it in a place like this, that long established firm would have to close up business forthwith.

Guy Empey and all the rest of them had prepared us for the ''Hommes 40; Chevaux 8" box-cars, but description never made any- body realize discomforts. Anyway, we went through it and we would have been rather disappointed if they had brought us on our three-day trip across France in American plush- seat coaches by the way we growled about them when we went to the Border.

A year from now if we are alive wei shall be listening with an unconcealed grin of superiority to some poor fish of a recruit who gabbles over the hard- ships he has undergone in the side-door Pullmans. We are forgetting our recent experiences already in the meanness of these God-forsaken villages. We are in six of them — each the worst in the opinion of the Companies there. A group of 40 houses along the slopes of a crinkled plain. The farmers all live to- gether in villages, as is the custom in France. And many features of the custom are excellent.

They have a church, school, community wash houses with water supply, good roads with a common radiating point and the pleasures of society, such as it is. The main drawback is that the house on the village street is still a farm house. The dung heap occupies a place of pride outside the front door; and the loftier it stands and the louder it raises its penetrating voice, the more it pro- claims the worth and greatness of its possessor.

The house is half residence and half stable with a big farm loft over- topping both. The soldiers occupy the loft. Their life is typical of the rest. Up in the morning early and over to Sergeant Gilhooley's wayside inn for breakfast. Then cut green wood for fire, or drill along the muddy roads or dig in the muddier hillsides for a target range — this all day with a halt for noon meal. Supper at o'clock; and already the sun has dropped out of the gloomy heavens, if indeed it has ever shown itself at all.

Then — then noth- ing. They cannot light lanterns — we have landed right bang up behind the front lines the first jump ; we can hear the heavy guns booming north along the St. Mihiel lines; and the aeroplanes might take a notion to bomb the town some night if lights stood out. No fire — dangerous to light even a cigarette in a hay loft. There are a couple of wine shops in town but they are too small to accommodate the men. If they had a large lighted place where they could have the good cheer of wine and chat evenings it would be a blessing.

They are not fond enough of "Pinard" to dq themselves harm with it and I think the pious inn keepers see that it is well baptized before selling it. Good old Senator Parker of the Y. So most of the men spread their blankets in the straw and go to bed at six o'clock — a good habit in the minds of old-fashioned folks. The squad overhead have another good old-fashioned habit. From the stable below I can hear them say their beads in common before settling down to sleep. Good lads! I have a large square low-ceil inged room with stone floor, and French windows with big wooden shutters to enclose the light.

The walls are concealed by the big presses or Armoires so dear to the housewives of Lorraine. The one old lady who occupies this house has lived here for all of her 70 years a German officer occupied the high canopied bed in and she has never let any single possession she ever had get away from her. They are all in the Armoires, old hats, bits of silk, newspapers — everything. She is very pious and very pleased to have M.

I'Aumonier, but she wouldn't give me a bit of shelf room or a quarter inch of candle or a handful of petit hois to start a fire in the wretched fireplace, without cash down. She doesn't understand this volun- teer business. If we didn't have to come, why are we here? She was evidently not satisfied with what she could learn from me herself, so one day she called to her aid a crony of hers, a woman of 50 with a fighting face and straggly hair whom I had dubbed "the sthreeler," because no English word described her so adequately.

I had already heard the Sthreeler's opinion of the women in Paris — all of them. It would have done the hussies good to hear what she thought of them. Now she turned her interrogatory sword point at me; no parrying about her methods — just slash and slash again. I'Aumonier come over here? Why not send one of the Vicaires and stay at home in his parish?

No doubt the Government pays you more as aumonier than the church does as cure. Not having her courage, I did not venture to ask the sthreeler if she did not really envy them.

They are going in strong for education in the A. Lieutenant Colonel Reed has gone off to school and also the three Majors and half the Captains. I hope they are getting something out of their schooling for nobody here is learning anything except how to lead the life of a tramp. The men have no place to drill or to shoot or to manoeuvre. I hear we are moving soon to fresh fields further south — Heaven grant it, for we waste time here. GRAND December 23rd, I think it was Horace who said something to the effect that far-faring men change the skies above them but not the hearts within them.

That occurs to me when I see our lads along the streets of this ancient Roman town. It is old, old, old. You have to go down steps to get to the floor of the year-old Gothic nave of the church because the detritus of years has gradually raised the level of the square; and the tower of the church, a huge square donjon with walls seven feet thick slitted for defensive bowmen, is twice as old as the nave.

And it has the ruins of an amphitheatre and a well preserved mosaic pavement that date back to the third century, when the Caesars had a big camp here to keep the Gauls in order. They are an intelhgent lot, and unsated by sight-seeing, and they give more attention to what they see than most tourists would. When I worked the history of the place into my Sunday sermon I could see that everybody was wide awake to what I had to say.

But in their hearts they are still in good little old New York. The quips and slang of New York play houses are heard on the streets where Caesar's legionaries chaffed each other in Low Latin. Under the fifteen centuries old tower Phil Brady maintains the worth of Flushing because Major Lawrence hails from there. Paul Haerting and Dryer ex- change repartee outside the shrine of St. Libaire, Virgin and Martyr, after their soldiers orisons at his tomb.

Charles Dietrich and Jim Gormley interrupt my broodings over the past in the ruins of the amphitheater to ask me news about our parish in the Bronx. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions are not in such an antique setting, but in two villages along the bare hillsides to the south of us. It is a good walk to get to them ; but I have my reward. When I get to the 2nd Battalion, if the men are busy, I drop in on Phil Gargan for a cup of cof- fee. I am always reminded of my visits to Ireland by the hospitality I encounter — so warm and generous and bustling and overwhelming.

I get my coffee, too much of it, and too sweet, and hot beyond human endurance, and food enough offered with it to feed a platoon. And I am warm with a glow that no steaming drink could ever pro- duce of itself. It is the same wherever I go. For instance if my steps lead me to the 3rd Battalion Pat Poland spices his coffee with native wit; or if my taste inclines me to tea I look up Pat Rogan who could dig up a cup of tea in the middle of a polar expedition.

While I am on the question of eating — always an inter- esting topic to a soldier — let me say a word for French inns. I have seen a M. Gerard but, as in all well regulated fam- ilies, he is a person with no claim to figure in a story. I am in love for the first time, and with Madame Gerard. Cap- able and human and merry, used to men and their queer irrational unfeminine ways, and quite able to handle them, hundreds at a time.

A joke, a reprimand, and ever and always the final argument of a good meal — easy as easy. She reigns in her big kitchen, with its fireplace where the wood is carefully managed but still gives heat enough to put life and savor into the hanging pots and the sizzling turn- spits. Odors of Araby the blest! And she serves her meals with the air of a beneficent old Grande Dame of the age when hospitality was a test of greatness. Private or General — it makes no difference to her. The same food and the same price and the same frank motherly humor — and they all respond with feelings that are common to all.

I sit before the kitchen fire while she is at work, and talk about the war and religion and our poor soldiers so far from their mothers, and the cost of food and the fun you can get out of life, and when I get back to my cold room I go to bed thinking of how much I have learned, and that I can see at last how France has been able to stand this war for three and a half years. The Colonel's mess is at the Cure's house. It too is a pleasant place to be, for the Colonel lays aside his official air of severity when he comes to the table, and is his genial, lovable self.

The Cure dines with us — a stalwart mountaineer who keeps a young boar in his back yard as a family pet. One would have thought him afraid of noth- ing. But courage comes by habit; and I found that the Cure had his weak side. His years had not accustomed him to the freaks of a drunken man — a testimonial to his parish- ioners. We had a cook, an old Irishman, who could give a new flavor to nectar on Olympus; that is, if he didn't drink too much of it first.

One day Tom Heaney and Billy Heam came running for me. Paddy on the rampage!

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The aged bonne in hys- terics. The Cure at his wits' end. I went. I found Paddy red-eyed and excited, and things in a mess. I curtly ordered him into a chair, and sent for Doc. Houghton, our mess officer, to do justice. Meanwhile I studied a map on the wall, with my back turned to the offender, and the following one-sided dialogue ensued — like a telephone scene at a play. If I was dying I wouldn't"- reconsidering — "I hope to God when Fm dying I won't have to put up with the likes of you. I'll tell it to you if you like. I've been wanting to do it time and times. You smoke cigarettes with the Officers, that's what you do.

But I know what will happen. We shall eat army food au naturel for a week or so; and some noon the meal will be so good that we shall all eat more than is good for men with work still to do, and nobody shall ask a question about it, for everybody will know that Paddy, God bless him! Of course I have a special liking for him because when he was in a mood to denounce me he let me off so light.

It was my business to give them a religious celebration that they would remember for many a year and that they would write about enthusiastically to the folks at home, who would be worrying about the lonesome existence of their boys in France. The French military authorities and the Bishop of the diocese had united in prohibiting Mid- night Masses on account of the lights. But General Leni- han, the Mayor, and the Cure decided that we were too far from the front to worry about that, and it was arranged tout de suite.

I knew that confessions and communions would be literally by the thousands, so with the aid of Joyce Kilmer and Frank Driscoll, ex-Jesuit-novice, I got up a scheme for confessions of simple sins in English and French, and set my French confreres to work; the Cure, a priest-sergeant in charge of a wood cutting detail, a hrancardicr, and another priest who was an officer of the artillery — all on the qui znve about the task. Christmas Eve found us all busy until midnight. I asked one of the men how he liked the idea of going to confession to a priest who cannot speak English.

General Lenihan and Colonel Hine and the Brigade and the Regimental Staffs occupied seats in the sanctuary which was also crowded with soldiers. The local choir sang the Mass and I preached. It took four priests a long time to give Communion to the throng of pious soldiers and I went to bed at 2 :oo A. Everybody had a big Christmas dinner. The Quarter- master had sent the substantial basis for it and for extra trimmings the Captains bought up everything the country afforded. They had ample funds to do it, thanks to our Board of Trustees, who had supplied us lavishly with funds. The boxes sent through the Women's Auxiliary have not yet reached us.

It is just as well, for we depart tomorrow on a four-day hike over snowy roads and the less we have to carry the better. LONGEAU January ist, I cannot tell just what hard fates this New Year may have in store for us, but I am sure that no matter how try- ing they may be they will not make us forget the closing days of 19 We left our villages in the Vosges the morn- ing after Christmas Day.

From the outset it was evident that we were going to be up against a hard task. It snowed on Christmas, and the roads we were to take were mean country roads over the foothills of the Vosges Moun- tains. New mules were sent to us on Christmas Eve. They were not shod for winter weather, and many of them were absolutely unbroken to harness, the harness provided moreover being French and ill-fitting.

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To get it on the mules big Jim Hillery had to throw them first on the stable floor. It was everybody's hike, and everybody's purgatory ; but to my mind it was in a special way the epic of the supply company and the detachments left to help them. Nobody ever makes any comment when supplies are on hand on time.

On a hike the Infantry will get through — there is never any doubt of that. They may be foot- sore, hungry, broken-backed, frozen, half dead, but they will get through. The problem is to get the mules through ; and it is an impossible one very often without human intel- ligence and human labor.

On this hike the marching men carried no reserve rations, an inexcusable oversight. No village could feed them even if there was money to pay for the food ; and the men could not eat till the Company wagons arrived with the rations and field ranges. The situation for Captain Mangan's braves looked des- perate from the start. A mile out of town the wagons were all across the road, as the lead teams were not trained to answer the reins.

The battle was on. It would be impossible to relate in detail the struggles of the next four days; but that train got through from day to day only by the fighting Spirit of soldiers who seldom have to fire a rifle. Again and again they came to hills where every wagon was stalled. The best teams had to be unhitched and attached to each ,vagon separately until the hill was won. Over and over the toil-worn men would have to cover the same ground till the work was done, and in tough places they had to spend their failing strength tugging on a rope or pushing a wheel. Wagoners sat on their boxes with hands and feet freezing and never uttered a complaint.

The wagons were full of food but no man asked for a mite of it — they were willing to wait till the companies ahead would get their ijhare. The old time men who had learned their business on the Border were naturally the best. Larkin and young Heffernan and Barney Lowe and Tim Coffee were always first out and first in, but always found time to come back and take the lines for some novice to get his wagon through a hard place. Slender Jimmy Benson got every ounce of power out of his team without ever forgetting he belonged to the Holy Name Society. Sergeant Lacey, Maynooth man and com- pany clerk, proved himself a good man in every Irish sense of the word.

Hillery and Tumulty, horseshoers; Charlesj Henning of the commissary, and Joe Healy, cook, made themselves mule-skinners once more, and worked with energies that never flagged. Lieutenant Henry Bootz came along at the rear of the Infantry column to pick up stragglers. The tiredest and most dispirited got new strength from his strong heart. I'll take your pack, but you'll have to hike. The first day Bootz threatened to tie stragglers to the wagons. The remaining days he took all that could move without an ambulance and tied the wagons to them.

And they had to pull. Captain Mangan, the most resourceful of commanders, was working in his own way to relieve the strain. One day he took possession of a passing car and got to the H. That wagon train had to get through. It got through; but sometimes it was midnight or after before it got through; and meanwhile the line companies had their own sufferings and sacrifices. They hiked with full packs on ill-made and snow-covered roads over hilly country.

At the end of the march they found themselves in villages four or five of them to the regiment , billetted in barns, usually without fire, fuel or food. They huddled together for the body warmth, and sought refuge from cold and hunger in sleep. When the wagons came in, their food supplies were fresh meat and fresh vegetables, all frozen through and needing so much time to cook that many of the men refused to rise in the night to eat it. Breakfast was the one real meal; at midday the mess call blew, but there was nothing to eat.

When they got up in the morning their shoes were frozen stiff and they had to burn paper and straw in them before they could get them on. Men hiked with frozen feet, with shoes so broken that their feet were in the snow; many could be seen in wooden sabots or with their feet wrapped in burlap. Hands got so cold and frost-bitten that the rifles almost dropped from their fingers. Soldiers fell in the snow and arose and staggered on and dropped again.

The strong helped the weak by encouragement, by sharp biting words when sympathy would only increase weak- ness, and by the practical help of sharing their burdens. They got through on spirit. The tasks were impossible for mere flesh and blood, but what flesh and blood cannot do, spirit can make them do.

It was like a battle. We had losses as in a battle — men who were carried to hospitals because they had kept going long after their normal powers were expended. It was a terrible experience. But one thing we all feel now — we have not the slightest doubt that men who have shown the endurance that these men have shown will give a good account of themselves in any kind of battle they are put into.

They are pleasant prosperous little places in- habited by cultivateurs with a sprinkling of bourgeois the red roofs clustering picturesquely along the lower slopes of the rolling country. None of them is more than an hour's walk from our center at Longeau. The men are mostly in the usual hayloft billets, though some companies have Adrian barracks where they sleep on board floors.

Apart from sore feet from that abominable hike, and the suffering from cold due to the difficulty of procuring fuel, we are fairly comfortable. The officers are living in comparative luxury. I am estab- lished with a nice sweet elderly lady. I reach the house through a court that runs back of a saloon — which leaves me open to comments from the ungodly. The house is a model of neatness, as Madame is a childless widow, and after the manner of such, has espoused herself to her home. She is very devout, and glad to have M. I'Aumonier in the house, but I am a sore trial to her, as I have a constant run of callers, all of them wearing muddy hobnailed brogans.

She says nothing to me, but I can hear her at all hours of the day lecturing little Mac about doors and windows and sawdust and dirt. I notice that our lads always strike up a quick acquaintance with the motherly French women. After all a language is only a makeshift for expressing ourselves. It was a big stable at the south end of the town — we had gasoline stored in it and some soldier was careless. The street was thronged in an instant with running soldiers and civilians. The village firemen or pompiers came running up at a plowman gait — looked the fire over — and went back to put on their proper uniforms.

One old lad came all the way from Percey in a gendarme's chapeau. He could not properly try to put out a fire in that headgear, so he went all the way back and arrived at last, puffing but satisfied, in the big pompier nickel-plated helmet. Their big pump was pulled up to Longeau, and the hose was laid with the proper amount of ceremony and shouting, and the stream finally put on the blazing shed. The remainder of the popu- lation displayed little of the proverbial French excitability. They looked on with the air of men who can enjoy a good spectacle, happy in the thought that the rich American Gov- ernment would have to pay for it.

The soldiers were happy too at having a chance to fight something. Colonel Barker gave orders in his quiet way, which Captains Anderson and Mangan put into execution. The fountain ran out and bucket lines were formed. I am afraid that some of the contents instead of getting to the fire was dumped on the gaudy uniforms of the funny old pompiers, who insisted upon running around giving orders that nobody could understand.

It was a good show in every way — but incidentally the building was a total loss. Instead of having to make my visit through the scattered billets that line the entrance to the valley I found what looked like the whole Company along the roadside in vehemently gesticulating groups. I hurried to find what the trouble might be. Returning to civilian life with his young wife, Anna, Tom finishes college at Iowa State College on the GI Bill and becomes a veterinarian in Anna's hometown, Kimballton, Iowa, where they raised a large family.

The next forty years are packed with humorous, entertaining and touching stories of a humble man who touched the hearts of everyone he knew. Like many of our WWII heroes, Tom was a humble man who rarely spoke of his time in combat or as a Nazi POW so when Tom was laid to rest in November , his family was sure all the stories that he could have shared with them would never be known.

Fortunately that turned out not to be the case as author, Alice Flynn, uncovered books, National Archives records, consulted Battle of the Bulge experts, and combined with the few stories he did share with his wife and children, has put together the most comprehensive analysis of what happened in Hosingen during the Battle of the Bulge that is available to date. Acknowledgments vii. German Prisoner of. Chapter 8.

Index She has a B.