Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For Veteran's Day—My Grandfather's Pictures while Stationed in France during the First World War

I thought that I would share pictures taken by my maternal grandfather during his World War I duty in France. I'm not sure of the camera equipment he used, but it is amazing that with the technology available 100 years ago he was able to take these pictures, return home, get them developed and add a description of the pictures that survive to this day to be share over the Internet. Here are some of them:
After about a week at our first billet, we went into another billet at another side of town. This shows the cluster of buildings. The first night here I slept in a hay loft and then the next day we were assigned to our respective buildings. The lane leads down to a pond, where we washed and shaved – note that it too is lined with blackberry bushes. (He uses the word "billet." The term means "a place, usually a civilian's house or other nonmilitary facility, where soldiers are lodged temporarily."
This is about two miles N.W. of St. Germaine – our third place of abode. At first when situated at the second place we marched out here for drill. Then finally we were ordered to pack up and move out here. So we put up our little ‘dog’ or ‘pup’ tents and lived in them for about four weeks. This goes down in the History of the ‘309’ as “Thistle Hill” for the ground was covered thickly with a peculiar thistle which always and continually made a very vivid impression upon us. The lone tree at the right was in our company street. The three large tents in the foreground are kitchens. The smaller white tents are company headquarters and the others are the ‘pup’ tents.
This is a pretty good picture of Donges on the Loire River. You can see the barracks in process of completion. Our company kitchen is the building with the two stacks and the ladder. I helped make the stove pipe out of corrugated iron. My barracks is marked on the front, the second building from the kitchen. The town of Donges is clustered about the church, the steeple of which you can see in the background.
Here is a fine picture of the windmill I described in the letter I wrote you Father. Could see this from our back barracks door.