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Full text of "War Time France: The Story of an American Commision Abroad"

PENNSYLVANIA 

940.9St64 





)F AN AMERICAN 
54526 2 )N IN FRINGE 



Class 3^0-3 Book bH4= 



Volume 




Pennsylvania 
State Library 



DtC 1 2 



WAR TIME FRANCE 

THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN 
COMMISSION ABROAD 



War Time France 

THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN 
COMMISSION ABROAD 



BY 

MAJOR F. R. STODDARD, Jr. 




NEW YORK 

MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY 
1918 



Copyright, 1918, by 
MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY 



DEDICATION 

To my Comrades of the Veteran Corps of Artillery and the 
Ninth Coast Artillery Corps of the New York Guard, 
vnth whom have been some of my happiest associations. 



185289 



INTRODUCTION 



BACK and forth across the Atlantic, ever 
since the entrance of America into the war, 
there has been a continuous procession of rep- 
resentative citizens from all the Allied coun- 
tries, soldiers, statesmen, technical experts, and 
business men, who are forging the chain of 
knowledge and understanding which will bind 
us together in a solid fellowship of efficiency 
and good-will for many years to come. The 
following story is the personal narrative of one 
such commission. It is not in any sense a mili- 
tary report, nor does it touch upon anything 
which can be regarded as a military secret. It 
is the intimate, informal story of the adven- 
tures and the day by day happenings of an 
American Commission abroad. 

This Commission is, to the best of my be- 
lief, unique in the annals of the Militia of the 
United States. It is the only time that a 
Board of Officers belonging to a militia organ- 



Vll 



viii 



INTRODUCTION 



ization has been sent with credentials from the 
Federal government to obtain important mili- 
tary information. 

The adventures of the Commission were 
many. Captain Wilder was gassed on the 
Aisne front at Chemin des Dames, the first 
man in the uniform of an American officer to 
receive that unpleasant distinction. The report 
presented by Major Stoddard to the Govern- 
ment of the United States on behalf of the 
Commission has been the principal document 
on the subject in the possession of the War De- 
partment. The services of Lieutenant Cabot 
Ward were of such value that he was per- 
suaded to remain in France and was made a 
Lieutenant-Colonel in the National Army. 

As the Commanding Officer of the Ninth 
Coast Artillery, N. Y. G., I feel particular 
satisfaction writing this introduction, and take 
this occasion to say a few words about the cir- 
cumstances which led to the sending of this 
unusual mission and about the regiment which 
accomplished such results. 

What would happen if, in some ingenious 
way, Germany should succeed in sending a 
fleet of aircraft to bombard our seacoast cities? 
We sincerely hope that no such event will ever 



INTRODUCTION 



ix 



occur. But it is a possibility and wars are not 
won by hopes. They are won by those nations 
who prepare in advance against every con- 
tingency, even what Aristotle calls "the im- 
probable possibility." It had occurred to a 
number of persons in this country as early as 
the summer of 1916, that, in case of trouble 
with Germany or any great foreign power, the 
coast cities of the United States might be 
raided by aircraft and attacked in such a way 
that they could not be defended by the existing 
coast artillery. 

In the fall of that year, after conferences 
with Major General Leonard Wood, U.S.A., 
then commanding the Department of the East, 
and foreign officers who had had experience 
with the anti-aircraft artillery, those of us who 
were the active officers of the Society of the 
War of 181 2- Veteran Corps of Artillery, came 
to the conclusion that such defenses were nec- 
essary and should be provided for the seacoast 
cities of the United States. 

We began a campaign of recruiting and or- 
ganization which has culminated in the forma- 
tion of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps, New 
York Guard, and the sending of this important 
commission abroad. Early in 1917 we began 



X 



INTRODUCTION 



recruiting a regiment made up of men, many 
of whom for one reason or another were not 
available for service abroad but who were 
willing to perform the patriotic duty of filling 
the place of the old National Guard which 
had been called to the Federal service. Two 
batteries were organized as early as March 
27th, 1917, and by the end of July there were 
1400 men enlisted and organized into twelve 
Provisional Batteries. We not only recruited 
the men, but we provided our own equipment, 
rifles, ammunition and machine guns and, with 
the consent of the War Department, we con- 
tracted for a three-inch anti-aircraft gun for 
drill purposes. Later most of the personnel 
of these batteries became the Ninth Coast 
Artillery Corps of the New York Guard. 

During this time the officers of the regi- 
ment were busily engaged in the study and 
investigation of all matters relating to ord- 
nance and anti-aircraft artillery, as far as such 
information could be obtained in this country. 
But we soon became convinced that anti-air- 
craft fighting was such a new branch of war- 
fare that the only reliable information was 
obtainable through foreign sources. Although 
the War Department and the United States 



INTRODUCTION 



xi 



Navy offered us every assistance and gave us 
access to their confidential documents, it be- 
came very clear that if we wanted complete 
information on how to defend our coast cities 
against German aircraft it would be necessary 
to send and get it from abroad. 

At the request of Major General J. Frank- 
lin Bell, U.S.A., the Governor of New York 
State directed that three officers selected by 
me from the regiment go to France and Eng- 
land, to make a study of anti-aircraft artillery, 
and bring back a report. I chose the best men 
I could find for the work. The Senior Officer, 
the author of this book, was Major Francis R. 
Stoddard, Jr., who was then in command of 
the Second Battalion of the regiment, havin 
served in the United States Artillery durin ^ 
the war with Spain and on the Mexican bor- 
der. The others were Captain Robert H. 
Wilder, a distinguished engineer and a special- 
ist in shells and fuses, and Lieutenant Cabot 
Ward, Adjutant of the Second Battalion, a 
man of the widest diplomatic experience, hav- 
ing been Secretary of State for Porto Rico, 
President of the Senate and Acting Governor 
of Porto Rico, and Minister and Special Rep- 



xii 



INTRODUCTION 



resentative of the United States to various 
South American Republics. 

Through the kindly assistance of Captain 
George W. Burleigh, later Lieutenant-Colonel 
of the regiment, many preliminary difficulties 
were overcome, and the Commission sailed on 
August 29th, beginning a journey which the 
personal reminiscences in this book recount. 

The Commission brought back a report 
which is the principal authority now in use in 
the United States on the materiel and conduct 
of anti-aircraft artillery. It is a most difficult 
form of gunnery, as it involves the destruction 
of targets moving with incredible speed and 
rapidly changing position in three dimensions 
of space at high altitudes. 

The personnel of the Board has not disap- 
pointed my choice. Major Stoddard, as Com- 
manding Officer, performed his duties with 
unusual ability. Captain Wilder, with his 
engineering experience and technical skill, 
obtained in a very short time exactly the infor- 
mation desired, data which it would ordinarily 
have taken a much longer time to collect. 
Lieut. Cabot Ward with skill and tact over- 
came difficulties and obstructions which with- 
out his aid would have been insurmountable 



INTRODUCTION 



xiii 



and in all probability would have defeated the 
purpose of the mission. 

John Ross Delafield, 
Colonel, Ninth Coast Artillery Corps, 
New York Guard. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I We are Off 1 

II Passengers and Submarines ... 11 

III The Spy Barrier 17 

IV En Route for Paris 23 

V Wartime in the French Capital . 29 
IV General Pershing Sees Us Through 41 

VII The Artillery School 49 

VIII The Greatest Sport in the World . 55 
IX In Mid-Channel 63 

X London in Wartime 71 

XI Air-Raids and Courage 79 

XII With the British Batteries ... 91 

XIII What to do in an Air Raid ... 99 

XIV The Bravest of the Brave . . . 105 
XV Americans with the Canadians . . 115 

XVI On the Somme 119 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XVII With "Byng of Cambrai" .... 127 

XVIII Stories from the Trenches . . . 135 

XIX The French Front on the Aisne . 143 

XX Fighting at Chemin des Dames . . 153 

XXI The Captain is Gassed . . . 161 

XXII What France Thinks ..... 167 

XXIII The Truth About German Atroci- 

TIES 175 

XXIV The Enemy in the House . . . 187 
XXV We Have Come 195 



CHAPTER I 



WE ARE OFF 

It WAS midnight and the great port was 
buried in darkness, when at last the bells 
sounded for departure and we said good-bye to 
those few of our friends who, after four days 
of delay and uncertainty, had come down to 
bid us farewell once more, and to see us safely 
on our way to France. The mountainous piles 
of cargo had been stowed aboard. A varied 
group of military men and civilians was gath- 
ered at the rail when the great ship, casting its 
moorings, slipped out in silence and in dark- 
ness to begin the perilous voyage through the 
lurking submarine danger of the wartime 
Atlantic. fj 

There were three of us in the party, Captain 
Wilder, Captain Ward and myself. We were 
on our way to Europe to gather information 
on the defence of American cities against 
enemy aircraft. What has happened to Eng- 
land can well be an object lesson to the United 
States; and fortunately for America, there are 



2 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



Army officers who are taking no chances. It 
is thus that we received our opportunity to 
render what service we could to our country in 
the expedition upon which we were setting 
forth. Our ship swung down the harbor. I 
looked back at the towers and pinnacles of 
Manhattan, silhouetted against the 9tarry sky, 
and offered up a prayer that our trip might 
add one more stone to the wall of safety that 
we are building around so dear and beautiful 
a land. 

We were sailing directly for France, and 
our chances of being submarined were not 
great. The line on which we were sailing had, 
up to that time, been comparatively immune 
from attack. There were many speculations as 
to this immunity. Some said that the German 
Emperor owned a large amount of stock in the 
company. Some said that it was the Pope who 
owned the stock, and still others believed that 
Germany had used this line for sending her 
spies back and forth across the Atlantic. 
Whatever the reason may have been, the idea 
was comforting. 

As it was midnight when we sailed, we re- 
tired promptly to our cabins to arrange for the 
voyage. Captain Wilder is a skeptic, and 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



3 



before he had unpacked his belongings he pro- 
duced a tape-measure from one of his pockets 
and carefully measured the port hole to see 
whether, in case we were submarined, we 
could escape by that route. He decided that 
we could not, and while I am not a nervous 
man, I confess to a qualm of misgiving at the 
picture which he so vividly suggested of a 
listed boat, sinking rapidly, a jammed door 
and a porthole through which there could be 
no escape. We had brought with us, at the 
urgence of our friends, some very complete 
and adequate life-preservers, but when morn- 
ing came and we realized how many women 
were on the passenger-list, we saw little chance 
of wearing them in case of disaster. 

That passenger-list was the most amazing 
that I have ever seen on any ocean voyage. 
There were uniforms of every hue and rank. 
There were civilians, both men and women, of 
every nationality and walk of life. No one is 
allowed a passport in wartime, unless he has 
an errand of great importance, and most of 
the passengers were on some mission con- 
nected with the war. Many of the civilians 
appeared after the boat had sailed in the uni- 



4 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



forms of Red Cross officers of high rank. We 
took them at first to be British officers. One 
in the uniform of a Lieutenant-Colonel, I em- 
barrassed greatly by saluting. I thought at 
the time that it was inadvisable to give mili- 
tary rank to Red Cross officers, but when we 
arrived on the other side and I saw the amount 
of "red tape" that a uniform can obviate, I 
appreciated the wisdom of so doing. 

There were on board officers of several of 
our Allied countries. There were some Amer- 
icans on special missions to the front. There 
were women in the neat dark uniforms of the 
canteen worker, and there were a number of 
men in the uniform of British privates, 
who turned out to be American Ambulance 
drivers. These men surprised us very much at 
first by not saluting, but the mystery was 
solved on the second day out when one of their 
number approached me, apologizing for the 
unintentional discourtesy, and explained that 
it was because none of them knew how to 
salute. They asked me if I would be willing 
to give them instruction, so, from two until 
three-thirty every day, I drilled them in the 
school of soldier, squad, and company, close 
order. The life of these Ambulance men was 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



5 



by no means a bed of roses. There has been a 
time when the American Ambulance drivers 
have been criticized because they had spent 
too much time in the bar, but there could be no 
complaint of the conduct of the men on our 
boat. From nine until ten-thirty they studied 
French, from two until three-thirty I drilled 
them, at eight o'clock in the evening a Red 
Cross surgeon lectured to them on surgical 
dressings, bandages and first aid. By bed- 
time they were ready for sleep. 

These American Ambulance Service men 
have been among the best men sent over by 
us during this war. At first there were young 
college men who did not wish to give up their 
citizenship by joining the army of another 
nation, but who, nevertheless, felt called by the 
wrongs of suffering humanity to do their "bit" 
in the war. When we entered the war against 
Germany most men of this type went to the 
Officers' Training Camps, but there were 
some who continued to enter the Ambulance 
Service. Those on our boat were mostly men 
who had been registered by the Army as 
physically unfit, or married men, with fami- 
lies, who did not feel that they could offer 
their services for more than six months. Some 



6 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



of them hoped later to enter the French mili- 
tary service where the physical standard is not 
as high as in our own army, and where they 
can become officers. 

I am sorry to say that the experience of 
many of these men, after their arrival in 
France, was most unpleasant. The American 
Ambulance service had advertised during the 
summer for volunteers for service and enlist- 
ments for six months. Many men with their 
families dependent upon them for support had 
arranged their business so they could be absent 
for that time, but when they arrived in France 
they were told that they must enter as privates 
in the United States Medical Corps for the 
duration of the war. Some did this, but others 
preferred to return to America and try again 
to enter a training camp, as not being medical 
men, they would have little chance for ad- 
vancement if they remained in that service. 

As on every ocean voyage and in spite of the 
submarine menace, there was much to enter- 
tain and divert us. In order to raise money 
for the wounded soldiers, a noted Italian 
painter offered to do a portrait of the most 
beautiful lady on board. It was decided to 
take a vote of the passengers as to which lady 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



7 



should be asked to sit for the picture. There 
was a very charming young woman, a moving- 
picture actress, on her way to fill an engage- 
ment in Italy. Although she had been very 
retiring and had avoided making promiscuous 
acquaintances, it got rumored about that she 
was going to try to win the prize. For a time 
the first cabin seethed with excitement. 
Friends would not speak to each other as they 
passed on deck. Factions sprang up for and 
against the young woman. It was the sort of 
situation that almost always arises when 
strangers are kept together incommunicado for 
some time. Of course the young lady with- 
drew from the contest. But even so, the wrath 
of the other passengers was not abated until 
the ballots were counted and it was found that 
she had received no votes whatever. The win- 
ner of the contest was a negro nursemaid. It 
added greatly to the gaiety of the rest of the 
trip to watch the struggles of the poor artist 
as he manfully tried to paint the ebony fea- 
tures of "the most beautiful lady on board."' 
This same painter we found most intelligent. 
What he had to say about America and the 
Americans interested us all very much. "Were 
I not an Italian," he said, "I would like to be 



8 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



an American. I believe that the United States 
will become eventually the greatest power in 
the world, and history shows that such will be 
the case. Power has gone constantly through 
the ages to the new nations whose populations 
come from mixed stocks to the west of what 
was the old civilized world. For instance, 
Greece was a new nation. Foreign stock came 
to her, and from the mixture was evolved a 
virile type of men who eventually dominated 
the world. Then Italy was a new country to 
the west. Greeks and men from all nations 
went there and settled, and Rome conquered 
the world. The mixture of races in Italy 
evolved a virile type of men who brought 
about the Renaissance that awoke the world in 
the Middle Ages. When Rome was in power 
Iberia was a new country to the west. She 
was conquered and re-conquered and alien 
races came, mixed and remained; and in the 
Middle Ages, Spain was the greatest power in 
the world. And now to the west of Europe, 
the present center of the civilized world, is 
the new western country, the United States, 
settled by men of many races whose blood is 
being mixed in their descendants, and now 
that she is being awakened to the fact that she 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



9 



can become a world power, it is only a 
question of time when she will dominate the 
earth." 

Exactly opposite opinions were expressed by 
a French Lieutenant who sat with us at the 
Captain's table, where Captain Ward had ar- 
ranged the seats for us. He delighted in con- 
demning the United States and everything 
American, and was particularly scathing on 
the subject of American women. He insisted 
that they had the worst manners in the world 
because he had often seen them put salt and 
pepper in soup without first tasting the soup. 
This same Lieutenant used to appear at break- 
fast in an entrancing pair of purple pajamas, 
and his anger against American women was 
not at all abated because some of the ladies on 
board asked him to wear at least a bathrobe, 
which he refused to do. Imagine our distress 
upon arriving at the port, to discover that 
the poor man was an invalid suffering severely 
from shell shock and that his curious behavior, 
at which we had laughed all the way over, was 
a manifestation of his mental trouble. That is 
war : comedy and tragedy crowding each other 
side by side, some of the saddest situations 
being also some of the funniest. 



CHAPTER II 

PASSENGERS AND SUBMARINES 

To SAY that we were not afraid of sub- 
marines would be untrue and indeed unnat- 
ural. Courage is not absence of fear, but the 
overcoming of fear. It is a common saying in 
the Army that there is something seriously 
wrong with a soldier who is not frightened 
during his first engagement. In a much lesser 
degree this is also true of an ocean passage 
through the submarine zone. We have all 
heard of the atrocities committed by Germans 
against merchant and passenger vessels. Be- 
fore our trip I discounted most of these tales; 
after our stay abroad I believed them all, and 
was ready to believe yet more. Each one of 
the passengers wondered whether his state- 
room was the most likely to be first struck and 
what the sensation would be when the torpedo 
arrived. We soon found from old ocean travel- 
lers the secret of not being worried about sub- 
marines; it was just to forget all about them. 
And yet one could not forget all about them, 



12 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



for evidences of expected attack were all 
about. The life boats, loaded with casks of 
water and provisions, swung out from their 
davits ready to be lowered at a moment's 
notice. Each passenger was assigned to a boat 
and boat drills in life preservers were held. 
At night, all ports were closed and dark cloths 
prevented the light from companionways 
being seen from without. The lighting of 
matches and smoking on the decks was for- 
bidden. During the last two nights passengers 
were requested not to remove their clothes. 
Many passengers slept all night on deck in 
their chairs with life preservers next them. 
The gun crews were ready by their uncovered 
guns. 

The third day out a lookout reported that 
he saw a periscope and the ship started away 
in the other direction, taking a zig-zag course. 
Later a vessel passed in the distance but no 
signals were exchanged. One day the smoke 
of a vessel, going very fast, was seen. Some 
passengers said they could see firing through 
their glasses. It was probably merely a sub- 
marine chaser on its rounds. 

We were told that at night came the most 
danger; then the submarine comes to the sur- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



13 



face and watches for its victim. When the vic- 
tim is located, the submarine submerges and, 
going towards it, sinks it during the dim hours 
of the early morning. In the submarine zone, 
however, all hours seem dangerous. The cap- 
tain of the boat did not have much sympathy 
for nervous people, however. To one anxious 
lady who inquired whether he thought that the 
vessel would be torpedoed by a submarine, he 
answered, "Madame, I have a presentment 
that we shall never reach port safely, and my 
presentments always come true." 

The most unpopular passenger on board for 
a time was a moving-picture operator whose 
specialty was to crawl out under fire and take 
scenes of actual fighting on the battle field. It 
was rumored among the passengers that he had 
said he hoped the boat would be torpedoed and 
sunk in order that he might get a picture of it 
going down. He later denied that he wished 
the boat would be sunk, but I found that when 
he made his denial he had found that he could 
not get his camera and film from the hold. 
Whatever may be the true facts of the case, his 
denial restored him to the favor of the other 
passengers. 

For excitement and the pleasure of the other 



14 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



passengers, the moving-picture actress and I 
agreed to fall overboard on arrival in port, 
with our patent life preservers, but alas! for 
our dramatic plans, — the Captain refused to 
allow it, giving as his reasons, first, that the 
current would carry us out to sea ; second, that 
the place was full of sharks, and, third, that 
the boat would go away and leave us. One of 
the ship's officers dryly suggested that the lady 
and I test our life preservers in the bath tub. 

There are three ways used by vessels to 
avoid submarines; convoys, speed and faith. 
The vessel upon which we were, trusted mainly 
to the latter, for certainly speed was not one of 
its qualities. Most of the passengers agreed 
towards the end of the voyage that no convoy 
was needed, for the Germans, out of respect 
for old age, would certainly never waste a tor- 
pedo on such an antiquated boat. 

Few vessels going across the ocean take a 
straight course. Some start as if they were go- 
ing on an Arctic expedition, while others aim 
for the equatorial climes ; most combine both 
trips during the voyage. It is no wonder that 
the journey that formerly took an ocean liner 
five days, is now strung out to anywhere from 
nine to sixteen or more days. The submarine 



WAR TIME FRANCE 15 

1 ) ) ) » 5 > ) 

■ 

menace is real, and ship captains appreciate it. 

During the last days, no men in uniform 
were permitted on deck. When two days from 
our destination, a full-rigged sailing vessel 
with three masts passed, going in the opposite 
direction, and the hearts of all were glad that 
she had found the way clear. Soon the exulta- 
tion subsided, for we began to pass wreckage 
and a life buoy. Late in the afternoon a war 
vessel approached and cheers rang out as she 
raised the French flag at her stern. After sig- 
nalling vigorously, she kept on to sea in pur- 
suit of a distant freighter. On the morning of 
the last day, while most of the passengers were 
writing letters telling that they had arrived 
safely, our real trouble began. 

It seems that three submarines had made 
their way into a certain harbor and had sunk 
two fishing vessels of the fishing fleet before 
being driven to submerge by the submarine 
chasers. Soon all the instrumentalities used 
for locating and fighting submarines were in 
action, and into the midst of the excitement our 
venerable vessel calmly steamed. All about 
our ship were submarine chasers watching 
here, there and everywhere for the vanished 
submarine. On the distant horizon other 



16 , .WAR TIME FRANCE 



chasers could be seen dimly. Overhead aero- 
planes were whirling round and round, as a 
submarine can sometimes be seen very high in 
the air when it cannot be seen from the surface 
of the water. High in the air at one side was 
a great dirigible balloon. When at last we 
arrived in the harbor we learned that two 
vessels just preceding us had been sunk, and 
the one just behind. 



CHAPTER III 



THE SPY BARRIER 

The French system for guarding against 
spies is extraordinarily efficient. I sincerely 
trust that our own country has by this time 
developed as good a one. No one is allowed 
to land in France without a properly vised 
passport, and no one is allowed to leave the 
country without an equally careful checking 
up of credentials. As we were carrying diplo- 
matic passports, and as in dealing with gov- 
ernment officials Captain Ward is one of the 
cleverest men I have ever met, we had little 
difficulty ourselves. Not so the other pas- 
sengers, some of whom were not as discreet as 
they should have been. 

Once in the boat and during the trip, one is 
apt to forget passports and their necessity. 
Once during the voyage a woman who- 
claimed to be American, entered into a violent 
tirade in my presence against Britain and the- 
British. I suggested to her that Germany 
might have attacked the United States long 



18 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



before, were it not for fear of Britain's inter- 
ference. "Nonsense," she cried, "Germany 
never intended to attack us." I told her that 
I disagreed with her, and thereupon changed 
the subject. I thought no more of this inci- 
dent until we arrived in port. 

Before the boat docked, officials boarded 
and it was announced that passports would be 
vised on the upper deck. It happened that we 
were waiting our turn in line when the anti- 
British lady presented her passport. It was 
retained by one of the officials who told her to 
sit down and wait. Later we learned that she 
was made to disrobe in her stateroom and 
everything she had was searched before she 
was permitted to leave for her destination. It 
was a good lesson to travellers whose loyalty 
is not above reproach. 

It is quite true that women make the most 
dangerous spies, because they are hard to de- 
tect in their work, and the United States, as 
well as France and Britain, is undoubtedly 
filled with women spies. It is a little hard to 
understand the distinction that prevents the 
Anglo-Saxon countries from executing women 
spies. The French have no such scruples. On 
all trains in the subways and in all public 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



19 



gathering places all over France, there is 
prominently displayed a sign 

TAISSEZ VOUS. 

MEFIEZ VOUS. 

LES OREILLES ENEMI 

VOUS ACCOUTENT. 
Which means: "Take care, and look out. The 
ears of the enemy hear you." It is a good sign 
and a good rule, and might well be imitated 
in America. 

Our little friend, the moving-picture ac- 
tress, nearly came to grief, because although 
she was scheduled to go to Italy, she decided 
that she would accept the invitation of friends 
to spend a few days in Paris ; but when she an- 
nounced her intentions at the port, her pass- 
port was seized, and had she not promptly 
reconsidered, the circumstances might have 
been serious. 

Everyone has heard the story of the English 
family with a German nurse of many years 
standing. One day the police called and said 
they wished to search the nurse and her effects. 
The family felt insulted and demanded that 
such an outrage be not perpetrated. The police 
persisted, and found in the nurse's trunk, plans 
of all the neighboring forts, and other infor- 



20 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



mation of military value. I have heard this 
story again and again. An Englishman told 
me that it happened in his brother's family. 

A rather amusing incident was related to 
me in England. A wealthy young American 
civilian of an old New York family, but with 
a name that sounded German, arrived from 
the United States, and visited some British 
artillery officers in England. As he was about 
to go to Paris, they asked him if he would con- 
vey certain military papers to an American 
general stationed there. He, of course, con- 
sented, and started for France with the papers. 
Because of his name and the fact that he was 
a civilian, he was at once an object of sus- 
picion wherever he went. When trying to 
take a channel boat, he and his effects were 
searched and the military papers found. It 
required a lot of explaining and verifying to 
prevent his incarceration as a spy, and the 
result was the reprimanding of the British 
officers, for entrusting military papers to a 
civilian. 

There is no possibility of remaining long in 
France without the proper credentials. All 
aliens must be registered; and if they are 
civilians, must obtain permission from the 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



21 



Chief of Police, to live in any given place, and 
must report themselves to the authorities at 
least once a month. And one cannot move 
from one town to another without permission. 
This is also true in England. An American 
lady living outside of London, told me that 
when she wished to go to London to shop she 
had first to register in her own village, then 
register in London, and then once more in her 
own village after she had returned. 

The United States has a very good passport 
system, but its system of keeping track of 
aliens and especially of alien enemies needs 
development. A French officer told me at the 
front, that formerly hardly a movement was 
made by the French troops but that the 
Germans knew of it in advance. In France, 
a spy caught at the front does not have to 
wait long to learn his fate. Long before this 
war began Germany had her spies in every 
rival country, who worked to undermine the 
allegiance of the people to their own govern- 
ment, and to spread German propaganda. It 
is now believed by those who know, that the 
distrust for the United States planted in 
Mexico and Japan was done by German spies 
and propagandists. This country will go a 



22 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



long way towards handling the spy question, 
when it gives them the fair but short trial and 
quick punishment meted out by France. 



CHAPTER IV 

EN ROUTE FOR PARIS 

The SUN was setting as our steamer sailed 
majestically into the great harbor that marks 
the mouth of the beautiful river. We had left 
our low-lying, battle-gray convoys at the 
mouth of the harbor and the hum of aero- 
planes began to fade in the distance. No mat- 
ter how greatly one loves the sea, the first 
glimpse of land, after a long voyage, has about 
it a touch of fairyland. How much more so in 
these tragic days, when the inevitable fear and 
tension of the submarine menace is at last over 
and the anxious traveller realizes that he has 
crossed the danger zone and has reached a 
friendly shore. 

The water at the mouth of the wide river 
is an unearthly light green, caused by the 
translucent muddy water of the river mixed 
with the deep green of the sea. On this clear 
and curiously transparent water there floated 
hundreds of little fishing smacks, each with 
its colored sail set out to dry in the evening 



24 WAR TIME FRANCE 



breezes. Red and yellow, and blue and 
purple and white, they were dotted over the 
clear green water, lit up by the rays of the set- 
ting sun. As our boat steamed up the river, 
we felt again that ever-blooming and dauntless 
charm of France, which no wars can destroy 
and no enemy desecrate. The willows dipped 
their green leaves along the reed-bordered 
shore. French houses with their long win- 
dows stood in their ancient fields. Peasant 
women could be seen in the distance tilling the 
soil, and little boats paddled up and down 
among the garden-like islands. 

The streets of the ancient seaport town are 
filled with soldiers and, like every other town 
in France, with women in the quiet black of 
many bereavements. There were some fine 
looking American soldiers who saluted as we 
passed. They were engineers, and I was not 
surprised to learn that many of them were 
college men. Some of the best troops we have 
sent abroad have been our engineers. 

Aside from the usual aspect of troops about 
the streets, the city shows little signs of war. 
After an excellent dinner at the hotel, the three 
of us set out to see the city. Because many 
motor vehicles had been taken by the army 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



25 



authorities, the supply of horse-cabs and motor- 
cabs are far less than the demand. The best 
way to get a cab in France, is to rush up hastily, 
grab the horse, thereby stopping the vehicle, 
and jump at once into the cab, shouting out the 
name of your destination. If a taxi-cab man 
tries to argue, a wise traveller steps up and 
turns down the flag, thereby turning the meter 
and registering a fare, and at once jumps in- 
side. These methods always succeed unless a 
second traveller rushes up and whispers a glit- 
tering promise into the driver's ear. In that 
case, the first occupant is pulled bodily out of 
the cab. Captain Ward, however, is an expert 
liaison officer, and we did not have to resort 
to such strenuous tactics. As we took our 
seats we noticed an American woman chauf- 
feur standing beside her car. She was dressed 
like an American private soldier with her hair 
cut short, and my eyes had been resting upon 
her for several moments before I realized that 
she was a woman. The French have tried to 
use women as chauffeurs for taxi-cabs, but for 
some reason they have not been successful. 

We took the first train for Paris, and with 
one American civilian, we had made ourselves 
comfortable, when the door flew open and 



26 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



three French ladies in mourning, a mother and 
her two daughters, approached. Captain 
Ward, true to his sense of duty, shouted that 
our carriage was full, but the mother came up 
to the door and with a charming manner and 
in a beautifully modulated voice, explained 
that her husband had lost his life in the army 
and that one of her daughters was going to 
Paris to meet her husband who was on leave 
for a few days. The mother was in despair at 
the thought of allowing her daughter to travel 
alone, as French girls and young women are 
very carefully chaperoned. She begged us to 
see that her daughter arrived safely in Paris. 
Of course this story melted our hearts, and we 
gave the girl a seat in our compartment. After 
the train had started, she explained to us why 
her mother had been so insistent. It seems that 
from a wide knowledge of the world, her 
mother had decided that Russian officers were 
impossible, that English officers sometimes 
were nice and sometimes were not, that French 
officers were none too safe, but that she was will- 
ing to trust her daughter anywhere alone with 
any American. We were not quite sure whether 
we ought to be flattered or not, but we did our 
best to make the trip a comfortable one. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



27 



One of us had a naughty French comic 
paper, and I was holding it in my hands when 
the lady got in. In somewhat of a quandary 
as to the proper thing to do under the circum- 
stances, I offered it to her before reading it 
myself. She thanked me and said that she had 
already read it, and imagine my horror when 
I opened the paper and found it full of pic- 
tures such as the American public would never 
allow in print. "Do you mean to say that you 
read such a paper," I asked her in surprise. 
"Oh, not in public," she answered, "my hus- 
band or my brother send them home to me." 

We rolled on through the beautiful chateau 
region in France that lies between our port 
and Paris, the great estates of the French 
nobility and the charming villages of the 
French peasants. It seemed as peaceful and 
as undisturbed as though wars had gone out of 
existence, with the departure of the British 
yeomen, armed with bows and arrows, who 
had once attacked the chateaux on all the hills. 
But in the fields there were many stalwart 
men gathering in the crops with a curiously 
unenthusiastic air. They were German prison- 
ers, still in their German uniforms and under 
French guard. 



CHAPTER V 

WARTIME IN THE FRENCH CAPITAL 

To ONE who has not seen Paris since the gay 
days before the war, the face of the most beau- 
tiful of cities is sadly changed. And yet not 
so changed after all. The streets are filled with 
people and while the men are in uniform and 
all the women in black, there is still the air of 
indomitable gaiety which characterizes the 
Latin races. I sometimes think that the differ- 
ence between the Anglo-Saxon and the Latin 
is that the English-speaking races are so opti- 
mistic about life itself that they do not feel the 
need for gaiety, and they look upon the joyous- 
ness of other countries as a kind of swank, 
whereas the Latin, being gifted with imagina- 
tion, realizes fully the fundamental sadness of 
the world and insists upon gaiety as the only 
means for making life livable from day to day. 
When the war first broke out, Paris was 
plunged in grief, and underneath the surface 
there still runs a deep river of sorrow, but the 
brave people have rallied their spirits and the 



30 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



life along the streets moves on as heretofore. 

The crowds along the Boulevard are one of 
the most amazing sights the world has ever 
seen. The black in which the women are 
clothed is not so somber as in 1915. There was 
a time when every woman who had lost a rela- 
tive in the war, even to second and third 
cousins, was swathed in crepe. The effect was 
so lugubrious that the French Government has 
passed a law that heavy mourning can be worn 
for only a few days after the funeral. Never- 
theless, most of the civilian population is in 
dark clothing. Mingled with the crowd are 
many wounded young men without arms or 
legs, limping men, blind men, men mangled 
and maimed in every possible way; all in uni- 
form and all a sacrifice to German aggression. 
Many of them wore the Croix de Guerre, and 
sometimes also the ribbon of the Legion of 
Honor, the highest award for bravery granted 
the French soldiers. Unlike the Americans, 
the French wear their medals with their field 
service uniforms. At first sight this is con- 
fusing to an American. As we walked down 
the street on our first day in Paris, we met a 
large man with a row of medals running 
across his breast. I took him for a Colonel, at 



/ 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



31 



least, and saluted. He looked surprised, and 
as we waited on the corner for the traffic to 
pass, I spoke to him, explaining that I was a 
stranger. He smiled again and, saluting 
politely, informed me that he was a Second 
Lieutenant. The French custom of wearing 
chevrons is confusing. A chevron on the right 
arm indicates wounds, and on the left arm, one 
chevron for each six months of service after 
the first year. To an uninformed American, 
a French officer whose chevron showed that he 
had received two wounds and had served a 
year and a half in the army would appear to 
be a Corporal. Non-commissioned officers 
are indicated by stripes placed at an angle on 
the cuff of the coat sleeve. 

Soldiers of every allied nation were stroll- 
ing about the streets of Paris. The English 
are splendid, manly looking men. The Scotch, 
in 'their kilts, are the special delight of the 
French crowds. The Irish and the Welsh were 
distinguished from the English by their regi- 
mental designations. The crowds are extraor- 
dinarily sober and law-abiding in spite of their 
cosmopolitan character and the fact that most 
of them were soldiers on leave. There was a 
time when an occasional British soldier 



32 WAR TIME FRANCE 



or an American Ambulance man was found 
drunk, but that was probably because it is 
always hard to adjust one's self to the customs 
of a foreign country. There is a freedom and 
an air of joy in Paris which a young American 
sometimes misunderstands. I was talking to a 
French officer one day at a little table in front 
of one of the big restaurants and two Ameri- 
can boys entered. They were behaving in a 
manner not too discreet, and my French friend 
looked at them with a mingling of amazement 
and pity. "Alas!" he said, "It is only too true 
that people like the Russians and the Ameri- 
cans are confused by their first contact with 
civilization." The French have indeed a right 
to be proud. No one has questioned their emi- 
nence in making life comfortable and happy in 
little ways, and they have proved themselves 
heroic, even beyond their own dreams. If that 
is civilization, let us have more of it. 

Belgian soldiers were everywhere; in fact, 
next to the French, it seemed as if there were 
more than of the soldiers of any other nation. 
There are many Russians about in their curi- 
ous green uniforms, remnants of the Russian 
Army which is now fighting in France. They 
were smaller men than I had expected. I 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



33 



think one forms one's opinion of Russian 
stature by pictures of the Grand Dukes. There 
were Portuguese, there were Canadians, Aus- 
tralians and New Zealanders. With their en- 
thusiasm, their excellent carriage and their 
kindly faces, they give the impression that 
England has a right to be proud of her Col- 
onies. There were Algerians, wearing a fez, 
the badge of a believer in Islam. There were 
Arabs with white mantles, there were Sene- 
galese, fierce, powerful negroes from North- 
ern Africa, black as our own darkies, with a 
curious metallic look to their skins, and there 
were Annamites, whom I first took to be Japs, 
Perhaps our men were at first somewhat lack- 
ing in military courtesy, but this is not surpris- 
ing. When an army is gathered together in a 
hurry, the men are not expected to have the 
military bearing of veterans. When we en- 
tered the war regiments were expanded by an 
influx of new recruits, and often the new men 
outnumbered the older men. Officers were 
sent abroad with only a few months' military 
training, and many officers and men with no 
military training at all, because they were 
specialists and were needed for some duty 
back of the lines. However, that is all being 



34 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



changed; even semi-civilians like Y. M. C. A. 
men, are being instructed in the school of the 
soldier. 

If an American going to any French city- 
wears an old uniform because of the war, he 
will find himself sadly out of place. French 
and English officers are immaculate. All 
American officers, unless provided with one, 
buy a Sam Brown belt as soon as they arrive in 
Paris. This belt is copied from the British 
and serves no special purpose. It is meant 
for nothing except looks and it distinguishes 
officers from enlisted men. The French 
limit its use to officers of regiments who have 
seen active service at the front. General Per- 
shing at first decreed that American officers 
must wear campaign hats to distinguish them 
from officers of other armies. This hat 
caused the French much amusement, and sev- 
eral people asked me if it were true, that the 
Americans could afford only one hat. British 
officers carry canes, but Americans do not. 
Theoretically, a cane is for use on horses, but 
some of the French canes have ferrules, some 
have balls of lead for a handle, as a black-jack 
has, and others look like nothing so much as a 
club. The American uniform is becoming 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



35 



highly popular in the streets of Paris. When- 
ever we stopped at a shop window we at- 
tracted a crowd of admiring solders and civil- 
ians. They have waited so long for us to come, 
they have suffered so much themselves in de- 
fence of freedom, and they have always looked 
upon us with so much friendliness, that now 
that we have come, heart and soul, and good 
right fist, they are delighted. I am sure that 
the courage of our men in the more recent 
troubles has not diminished their ardor. 

The food in Paris is bountiful, although 
plenty of travellers returning to the United 
States, have told some tall stories about the 
lack of provisions in Paris, but I think the 
stories come, probably, from a desire to be 
dramatic, and not from a reverence for the 
truth. The French are husbanding their re- 
sources, but there is plenty of food for all. 
There is no white bread, but the black bread 
used as a substitute was excellent, and many 
people liked it better than the white. Wines 
are abundant, though increasing in price. 
White sugar was plentiful in hotels, although 
the rules of buying limit its use in private 
houses. Brown sugar is used as a substitute. 
Except during the winter, there are meatless 



36 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



days, when omelets and other substitutes are 
eaten. There are no meatless days, nor sugar- 
less days, nor wheatless days in the army. The 
men in service are well fed, whether they be 
French, British or American. Perhaps it will 
be a pleasure to many careful and patriotic 
housewives to know, that so far, their efforts 
have been amply rewarded. 

There was an attempt to save coal in Paris. 
As a result, buildings are heated very poorly, 
if heated at all, and the hotels are allowed to 
have hot water only on Saturdays and Sundays. 
As there are none too many bath-tubs in Paris 
at best, guests who are amply able to pay any 
reasonable sum for accommodations could be 
seen standing in line in the corridors for a 
chance for a bath. The elevators take pas- 
sengers up, but not down. 

The conscription of all able-bodied men 
from nineteen to forty-eight years of age has 
caused a large influx of Spanish, Swiss and 
other neutrals to take the positions left vacant 
by the French. There has been some com- 
plaint of this by French labor, but it seemed 
to be the best solution. Every possible position 
is filled by women. A woman carries your 
trunk from station to cab, another acts as clerk 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



37 



at a hotel when you arrive, they are motormen 
on the street cars, they do all the work of the 
stores, they manufacture most of the muni- 
tions, they operate the subway, as ticket sellers, 
ticket takers and guards. In the country they 
go out into the fields and bring in the crops. 
When the war is over and its story is told, his- 
tory will give one of her chief chapters to the 
heroic women of France. 

The blue dusk of Paris was settling down 
over the city, softening the outlines of her 
beautiful old buildings and adding the last 
note of romance to the cosmopolitan crowds, 
as we set out from our hotel for our first din- 
ner in this most picturesque of all cities. We 
wandered across the Place de la Concord, as 
the night came on. There was a full moon 
shining on the river and there were almost no 
lights in the city. No one who has not seen 
Paris under the reign of terror, caused by the 
Boche air-raids can have any conception of the 
extraordinary change wrought on her beauti- 
ful and ancient monuments. There are many 
buildings in Paris, built in the middle ages, 
which were lighted only by a few flaring 
torches. No one who has seen the Con- 
ciergerie or the old Cathedral, only lit up by 



38 WAR TIME FRANCE 

modern incandescent lamps, can have the least 
conception of their true proportions, and their 
wonderful charm in the pitch dark of modern 
Paris. These old buildings stand out against 
the moon-lit sky exactly as they stood when 
knights in armor and all the pageantry of the 
Medieval Church passed through their por- 
tals. As we walked along the shore of the 
river, it seemed impossible to believe that this 
was Paris of the twentieth century, and that 
we were American officers on our way to 
dinner. 

We wandered into an unostentatious restau- 
rant on the left side of the river. It was one 
of those charming spots, simple, quiet and un- 
obtrusive, where there are no prices on the 
bill-of-fare, and your bill can be almost any- 
thing. As the Captain remarked, "The sky is 
the limit." We had a delicious meal, but it 
was rather disturbed by the fact that the 
waiters were so excited over the advent of 
American officers, that they stood around us in 
circles, watching us eat, like animals in the 
zoo. It was before American officers were a 
common sight in Paris, and we were hailed 
everywhere as the vanguard of the great army 
that was to deliver Paris. The waiter who 



WAR TIME FRANCE 39 



served our steak was young and enthusiastic 
and he picked up a morsel with such a flourish 
that it flew out of his grasp and struck me 
squarely in the chest. I had had tender steaks 
before, but never one that had showed a desire 
to kiss me. Some Englishmen at a near-by 
table were highly amused, but the proprietor 
almost died of mortification and followed us 
all the way out on the quay, protesting volubly. 

Back we went to our hotel through the 
moon-lit city. I have seen Paris under many 
guises, under the chestnut trees in one of the 
gayest of its many gay springtimes, during the 
tourist season, when Americans were gathered 
here on a very different mission, and during 
her short and gloomy winter days, when the 
great world of continental Europe was making 
merry along the Boulevards, but I have never 
seen the city with such charm and such alto- 
gether irresistible beauty as broods over her 
today. 



CHAPTER VI 

GENERAL PERSHING SEES US THROUGH 

No FIGURE in the world today is more fasci- 
nating or more impressive than that of General 
Pershing. No man commands the enthusiasm 
of the civilized world more completely. The 
General who will lead our troops to victory 
stands first in the hearts of all America; and 
next to her own beloved commander, first in 
the hearts of France. Our Commission car- 
ried letters to General Pershing, which it was 
necessary to present in person. We inquired 
of the various Americans whom we met as to 
the whereabouts of the General's Headquar- 
ters. We could get no information except 
that he was not in Paris. When we finally 
were informed by official sources of the where- 
abouts of Headquarters, we were told that it 
was a profound secret and warned about 
divulging our knowledge to anyone, but to our 
great amusement, we soon found that almost 
everyone on the street seemed to know where 
the General was. On remarking, casually, to 



42 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



a French officer, that we were going to Head- 
quarters within a few days, he replied, "Oh, 
yes, you are going to X, but I understand that 
the General has gone to Y for the day." Our 
pride in being intrusted with secret informa- 
tion was greatly diminished. 

The next day we all three set out for the 
General's Headquarters. The train was rilled 
with soldiers returning from leave, and going 
to the general portion of the French front 
where the Americans have since "gone in." 
General Headquarters is in a beautiful French 
town in a lovely undulating country, much 
better for the health and happiness of our men 
than Paris. I learned it has been since ar- 
ranged that our armies are not to be given 
leave to go to Paris, a very wise precaution 
considering the dangers and temptations of a 
great foreign city. After the proper arrange- 
ments had been made by Captain Ward, and 
we had been duly presented to Pershing's 
Chief of Staff, we were ushered into the pres- 
ence of the man who is making history for 
America and for the world. The General was 
sitting before a wide table in a room from 
which every unnecessary stick of furniture 
had been removed, and which had much of 



WAR TIME FRANCE 43 



the appearance of a modern city office. The 
General is a tall man over six feet in height, 
with a square chin and a large jaw. His eyes 
are clear and penetrating and everything 
about him suggests force, intelligence and 
splendid courage. He rose and greeted us 
with a beaming smile as we entered and in- 
stead of returning our salute extended his 
hand. He had evidently confused us with a 
well known Artillery Corps of Boston, for 
his first remark was, "Well, gentlemen, you 
don't look very ancient, but you may be hon- 
orable — I hope you are." He seated us and 
he asked many questions in rapid succession, 
and with extraordinary penetration and clar- 
ity. He gave attention to the importance and 
standing of our commission. The instant he 
started with the necessary instructions, Cap- 
tain Ward pulled a note-book from his pocket 
and asked the General to lend him a pencil, 
and sinking on his shoulder blades carefully 
compiled the General's directions. 

If I am any judge of character, General 
Pershing will do all and more than is expected 
of him. His hold over the army is wonderful 
and he is a strict disciplinarian. Often he has 
personally corrected officers and men for 



44 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



violating military rules, but he is always just, 
and the men have faith in him. He looks like 
a soldier, acts like a soldier, and will undoubt- 
edly turn the splendid material that we are 
sending to him into one of the best armies in 
the world. The men on sentry duty who 
saluted us as we left General Headquarters 
were the same Marines who have since dis- 
tinguished themselves so gloriously in recent 
battles. There were many young conscripts 
scattered among our men. They were lungeing 
fiercely at imaginary German enemies and 
parrying hostile thrusts. Others were build- 
ing practice target posts in the trees and their 
work was extremely good. 

On the way back to Paris we had another 
amusing experience of travelling in France. 
The train was filled with men on leave, offi- 
■ cers in their best uniforms, many of them 
with bandages, and exhausted men in the vesti- 
bules lying against their heavy packs. In 
France, officers go first class, ordinary French 
civilians usually go second class, laborers and 
private soldiers go third class, but all Ameri- 
cans, whatever their rank, treat themselves to 
a first class seat. 

Our compartment was filled. There were 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



45 



six seats, three of which were occupied by our 
party, the fourth by an American Major, the 
fifth by a Frenchman assigned as an inter- 
preter by the American Army, and the sixth, 
in a corner beside the door, by a French Cap- 
tain. As the interpreter said that he did not 
intend to eat on the train, we four American 
officers asked him to watch our seats while we 
dined in the dining car. He consented, and 
we left him. When we returned, after dining, 
we found the interpreter alone in the com- 
partment except for a French lady, sitting in 
the French Captain's seat. The interpreter 
stated that he had explained to people who 
tried to enter our compartment that the seats 
were engaged, but that the lady in the corner 
had insisted on entering and taking the seat of 
the French Captain, who had followed us to 
the dining car. All went well until the Cap- 
tain returned. He told the lady that of course 
he would not suggest her returning to him his 
seat, which she should do; that he would be 
obliged to stand all the way back to Paris, 
when he really had a seat; that she really 
ought to return what she had so rudely taken, 
but that he did not intend to suggest it. The 
lady, in turn, obviously without any intention 



46 WAR TIME FRANCE 



of really doing so, offered to return him his 
seat, but carefully refrained from giving the 
Captain an opportunity of taking advantage of 
her offer. The Captain said he did not really 
care for the seat, but no real lady would ever 
take a seat under such cimcumstances, and the 
conversation continued at length, the Captain 
saying he didn't wish to have the seat, when 
he really did, while the lady offered it to him 
but without the least intention of letting him 
have it. The Captain left after an interminable 
discussion, only to return and continue the 
same thing for about twenty minutes longer. 
At the end of this period he left and once more 
we all breathed in peace. Finally he returned 
the third time and demanded that the inter- 
preter give up his seat, which the latter 
refused to do. He had arrived at the point 
where he, as a captain, was ordering the inter- 
preter, as a private, to give up his seat, when I 
told him that he could have my seat, where- 
upon I crowded in with the other American 
officers and left my seat vacant. His manner 
changed at once. He said that I could not be 
serious, and he departed not to return. 

When the train arrived in Paris, we were 
greeted by one of the most touching sights I 



WAR TIME FRANCE 47 



have ever seen. As the procession wended its 
way along the platform from the train, there 
gathered about the entrance, in the station 
through which the passengers must come, a 
large crowd of anxious-faced women, waiting 
for these fighters from the front, waiting, per- 
haps, for a husband, son or brother. And 
when they saw him, there would be glad cries, 
and a little black figure would be clasped by a 
larger blue figure, and the two would go forth 
from the station, his arm perhaps about her 
waist, and both utterly oblivious to the fact 
that the world was going on about them and 
that France was at war. 



CHAPTER VII 



THE ARTILLERY SCHOOL 

In AN old French chateau in a charming 
agricultural village, set amid the rolling fields 
of northern France, the anti-aircraft school 
was situated. When we arrived, this school 
was just being set up, and it was there that we 
were sent from general headquarters, to make 
our investigations into anti-aircraft artillery. 
America probably knew less at that time about 
the defense of its own cities than any other 
civilized country. Thanks to the officers in 
charge of the school, and thanks to Captain 
Wilder's helpful work in co-operation with 
them, the American Government has now that 
information. 

When the United States officers first arrived 
they were authorized to hire quarters, and they 
promptly hired the chateau, a beautiful build- 
ing set in extensive grounds and brooding over 
a little French village with narrow streets,, 
children playing in the roadway, and soldiers; 
sitting on the door-steps. The French officers 



50 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



connected with this school, not wishing to be 
out-done by the Americans, promptly requi- 
sitioned all the chateau not in use by them. 
The chateau had belonged to Louis XV, King 
of France, and was built around a court and 
surrounded by broad terraces extending the 
width of the building. These terraces swept 
down in stately procession to a small river 
which flowed out at one end of the garden into 
a little lake. Wide lawns stretched away from 
the house in every direction, an old rustic 
bridge, tall, well-kept hedges and all the other 
surroundings of an ancient, royal estate, gave 
the place such charm and beauty, such dignity 
and repose, that modern warfare seemed 
almost an impertinence beside it. And yet, in 
the little village, many French soldiers, in the 
horizon blue of France, sat basking in the thin 
sunshine, and in all the fields, so peaceful 
under the summer sky, the brave peasant 
women of France were gathering in the crops. 
And all through the fields, as far as the eye 
could reach, were the remains of French 
trenches, dug by the French, when the Ger- 
mans were on their way to Paris, already cov- 
ered with young grass and rapidly becoming a 
part of the ancient landscape. 



/ 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



51 



Inside the chateau, the walls were hung 
with mellow old tapestries and with portraits 
of men in armor. The furniture was that used 
by the French nobility two hundred years ago. 
Beautifully-painted tables of the period of 
Louis XV, stood against the walls, and beside 
them were pine tables from America, upon 
which lay the military maps of France. As 
night settled down over the countryside, the 
moon rose behind the poplar trees, and as mid- 
night approached, we heard in the silent air, 
the voice of a nightingale singing in the rose 
garden, and then a boyish laugh and the voice 
of young America raised in a bantering good- 
night. 

In this chateau had been stationed two 
American Captains, West Point and Annap- 
olis, experts in artillery. They were busy 
preparing an artillery school for the instruc- 
tion of young American officers in anti-air- 
craft fighting. Captain Wilder was promptly 
urged to assist in the establishment of this 
school, and he remained with them for several 
weeks, compiling his report and lending his 
assistance in organizing the school. This 
school has since instructed scores of Amer- 



52 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



icans in the difficult art of anti-aircraft 
artillery. 

No branch of the military game is more 
interesting than anti-aircraft artillery. Even 
as the role of aircraft grows more and more 
important, so must the science of circumvent- 
ing the aircraft be studied with equal care. 
All students of the subject agree that the for- 
eign armies have not yet begun to use the tre- 
mendous possibilities that fighting in the air 
will develop. Britain has made land tanks, 
which are moving forts, and are impervious to 
anything except direct hits by armor-piercing 
projectiles from high-powered guns. Why can 
we not have flying tanks which will be much 
harder to hit and which will fly over all 
obstructions and attack the enemy from above? 
In back of the lines, aircraft can be equally 
useful. After watching long lines of wagons 
loaded with supplies, painfully plodding 
through the mud or dust of a Texas summer 
and fall, one wonders, for transportation 
of wounded, for every purpose that involves 
the moving of anything, why not use the air? 

Away from the battle line, away in our 
home cities near the coast, what is to prevent 
hostile aircraft, as at present constructed, from 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



53 



dropping bombs on our homes? Some vague, 
but growing realization, of the increasing pos- 
sibilities of aircraft attack, combined with a 
desire to be useful, caused me first to become 
interested in anti-aircraft artillery. 

It was in the fall of 1916, after I had 
returned from the Mexican border, that I first 
had an opportunity of studying the problem of 
defending American cities from aircraft 
attack. It was remarkable how little was 
known in this country at that time about the 
subject. No manuals were available, and the 
men with whom I associated were forced to 
get practically all their information from 
British and French officers, none of whom 
were very up-to-date in their knowledge. 
No one permitted himself to get discouraged, 
for all firmly believed that the great war in 
Europe made it clear that all the cities in the 
United States, near the seaboard, were liable 
to attack from hostile aircraft, and would 
surely be attacked when Germany once made 
up its mind that it wished to punish us as it is 
trying to punish England. We read that 
Brigadier-General Squier, formerly in charge 
of the aircraft of the United States Army, had 
testified before the house Committee on Mili- 



54 WAR TIME FRANCE 



tary Affiairs, that an enemy ship could lie off 
three hundred miles from the City of New 
York, and could easily send a number of flying 
machines to raid the city. It was also shown, 
by foreign experts, that a large number of sub- 
marines had been built by Germany for the 
express purpose of carrying hydroplanes to 
attack distant cities. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE GREATEST SPORT IN THE WORLD 

I WONDER how many people think of anti- 
aircraft fighting as something which greatly 
resembles partridge shooting. How many 
believe that an anti-aircraft gun is aimed at 
the approaching aeroplane much as a shot-gun 
is aimed at a bird on the wing? Nothing could 
be further from the truth. The target of an 
anti-aircraft gun is a point moving perhaps a 
hundred miles an hour many thousand feet in 
the air, and with the ability to turn and twist 
in any direction with great rapidity. Anti- 
aircraft artillery is, therefore, one of the most 
exact of all military sciences. I remember 
falling into error myself one time when I 
depicted to a number of possible recruits, the 
excitement of dashing at full speed through 
the streets of a bombed city with an anti-air- 
craft gun mounted on an automobile and firing 
as we rode. Of course, such procedure is 
utterly impossible, and if American cities are 
to be defended against hostile aircraft, they 



56 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



must be outfitted according to the latest Euro- 
pean method. To get this was the purpose of 
our mission, and all three of us felt rather like 
"Babes in the Woods," when we found, on our 
arrival at the general headquarters, just what 
our problems were to be, although we had 
been picked for the job because of our sup- 
posed knowledge of anti-aircraft artillery. 

The use of anti-aircraft artillery in the 
defence of cities is a problem differing from 
its use along the firing line, although in the 
case of a city like Paris, the anti-aircraft artil- 
lery along the front is obviously, the first line 
of defence. So few enemy planes get by the 
anti-aircraft artillery in the trenches, that the 
worst of the problem has been solved before it 
becomes necessary to defend the city proper. 
Paris is an inland city, and before a German 
plane or planes can attack it they must cross 
the firing lines at night or above the clouds and 
escape detection by the anti-aircraft batteries. 
If they are seen, the information is promptly 
reported to the rear and the defenders of the 
city are ready before they arrive and planes 
are sent up to oppose them. Back of the actual 
front there are watching stations distributed 
through various parts of France, whose busi- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 57 

ness is to report planes that escape the notice 
of the guns at the firing line, and in case a 
fleet eludes both of these, it will be detected 
and intercepted by the airplanes, which are 
constantly patrolling the air above Paris. 
Thus, in order for an airplane to attack Paris, 
it must pass three lines of defence. This is 
known as depth of defence and is of prime 
importance in defending an area or a city. 

A seaport, on the other hand, such as Lon- 
don or our own coast cities, presents an entirely 
different problem. The only way to warn the 
city of an approaching enemy esquadrille is 
by means of a fleet at sea, because by the time 
the airplanes have arrived at the coast or har- 
bor, there is no time to make preparations for 
intercepting them. The best way to guard 
against aircraft attack on such cities is by 
means of other airplanes. In order to make 
such a defence effective, it is necessary to 
install a system of signals between patrol boats 
and the shore and to place watching stations 
in the other three directions to prevent planes 
from crossing a neighboring frontier and 
approaching the city from the landward side. 
It must be remembered that the speed of an 
airplane being nearly three times that of a 



58 WAR TIME FRANCE 

fast train, a frontier many miles away may be 
useful as a starting point for enemy aircraft. 

The French cities suffered from air attack 
during the early part of the war. In Septem- 
ber, 1914, a German aeroplane visited Paris 
nearly every day, and dropped insulting mes- 
sages on the population. Every civilian who 
possessed fire-arms rushed into the streets and 
began shooting in the direction of the heavens. 
The result can well be imagined. How much 
damage was done will never be known in 
detail. I once asked a French captain what 
proportion of casualties during an air-raid 
was caused by falling shrapnel from friendly 
guns. He laughed, and answered, "There are 
no records of any such casualties. Everything 
that goes up is French, and everything that 
comes down is Boche." 

Little by little, France has developed a very 
perfect system of defence against air-craft. 
When Zeppelins first began coming over 
Paris and dropping bombs, they came on clear 
nights and used the rivers as guides to Paris, 
especially the river Oise. During the second 
year of the war, the Germans developed their 
instruments so that it was not necessary for 
them to use natural land marks as guides. By 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



59 



getting their bearings by instruments, they 
were enabled to proceed to much greater 
heights and above the clouds on a cloudy 
night. It was reported that they used smoke- 
making devices for concealment. The Zep- 
pelins, going higher, meant that attacking 
aeroplanes must be developed which could 
quickly go higher. One method of attack was 
for an aeroplane to get over the Zeppelin and 
drop an incendiary bomb through the gas bag. 
When the French improved their type of 
aeroplane so that it successfully met the Zep- 
pelin, the Germans began using aeroplanes 
for their raids. At first they came by day, at 
an average height of about 1500 metres. Now, 
German planes average 6000 to 6200 metres in 
height, and there it is difficult for the anti- 
aircraft guns to reach them. Since the end of 
1916, the German aeroplanes come usually at 
night, following some natural landmark, for 
they have not yet been able to keep their bear- 
ings or sense of direction in fogs or clouds as 
could the Zeppelins, by the use of instruments. 
Bomb-dropping from such altitudes has 
proved to be very inaccurate. No military 
damage of consequence has been accom- 
plished, and the French officers consider that 



60 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



the bombing has been intended merely to 
intimidate the civilian population. Paris has 
had good luck, for a very large proportion of 
the bombs dropped by the Germans have 
fallen in the parks or squares which abound in 
Paris. 

An unsatisfactory device is the attempt to 
illuminate fighting planes by means of search- 
lights. These searchlights may inconvenience 
the enemy aviator, but they are certain to 
dazzle the pilots of the defending planes. The 
aviator can guard himself against being daz- 
zled by the use of goggles, but, if this is done, 
it decreases his ability to find the enemy planes, 
and when the searchlight is taken away, he is 
in a worse predicament than before, as he is 
then lost in the dark. It has been suggested 
that searchlights be kept playing upon an 
enemy plane in order to dazzle the aviator so 
that, if he does not lose his sense of direction, 
his efficiency as a bomb-dropper and an 
observer shall be diminished. But this has not 
proved practical, as it is almost impossible to 
follow a moving machine with a searchlight. 
The moment the light strikes the aviator, he 
drops, and it is some minutes before he can be 
picked up again, while in the meantime, the 



WAR TIME FRANCE 61 



light has, perchance, revealed the where- 
abouts of the friendly aviators. 

The best defence for American seacoast 
cities is in addition to guns an alert and well- 
trained esquadrille, guided by watching sta- 
tions and always on the lookout for a possible 
attack. 



CHAPTER IX 



IN MID-CHANNEL 

It WAS with little pleasure that I accepted 
the suggestion to go to England. We had 
come to France to see as much of the war as 
we could, in a brief visit, and I did not want to 
tear myself away from the so-called battle- 
lines for any purpose whatsoever. Little did I 
realize that in going to London, I was going 
directly to the heart of the very kind of fight- 
ing that we had come abroad to see, — the 
defence of cities against enemy aircraft. 

On the boat-train from Paris, I had one of 
the pleasantest experiences of my life. My 
compartment was filled with French people, 
charming and intelligent, including two very 
pretty girls, travelling with their mother. We 
soon entered into conversation and I found 
that the interest of the French people in every 
thing relating to America is intense and sym- 
pathetic. The French have, themselves, so 
perfect a civilization, such a perfect home life 
and such a high development of both art and 



64 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



science, that they have been in the past a 
somewhat provincial people. Why study 
other countries, when their own country was 
almost everything that humanity desires in a 
high state of perfection. Now, however, like 
the rest of the world, France is beginning to 
open her eyes and reach out her hands to her 
sister democracies. To the average French 
person, America is almost incomprehensible; 
almost everything about us is beyond the ken 
of an old and settled country. Everything, 
indeed, except our love for freedom and our 
cordial manners. We have, in large part, the 
gaiety and optimism of the South combined 
with Anglo-Saxon political institutions. That 
much the French understand, but many other 
things are beyond them. Our practical effi- 
ciency, combined with an almost sentimental 
idealism, is in exact variance with the Latin 
point of view, which is rather materialistic in 
national affairs and a bit old-fashioned in their 
conduct of their personal business. It is 
almost impossible for a Frenchman to under- 
stand our habit of assimilating the crowds of 
foreigners who come to make their homes with 
us. It is hard for them to grasp our enormous 
size, the off-hand way in which we wander 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



65 



about from city to city, and our lack of respect 
for money. A fortune is so hard to amass in 
Europe, that a Frenchman cannot understand 
the comparative indifference with which we 
make and lose money. All these things and 
many others we discussed as the train ran 
through the beautiful rolling fields of Nor- 
mandy. Captain Ward had told me not to 
talk about America to the British, as the sub- 
ject enraged them. That was only a few short 
months ago. Nothing could be more hearten- 
ing to those who love other countries beside 
their own than the whole-hearted way in 
which both the French and British have wel- 
comed us with all our faults and short-com- 
ings, as though we were their dearest and their 
oldest friend. 

I was met at the Havre station by a sergeant 
of the American military police. He took me 
at once to the major in charge of the lines of 
communication, and treated me with the 
utmost courtesy and respect. These Ameri- 
can military police are a very useful branch of 
the service. When large numbers of Ameri- 
can soldiers, many of whom do not speak 
French, are travelling in strange countries, it 
is important that there be men stationed at 



66 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



every large city to see that they are guided 
promptly and courteously about their affairs. 
Sometimes one meets an inefficient one. I 
remember the American military police at 
one port, when we were on our way home. I 
stepped up to him and asked, "Are you one 
of the military police?" He answered, "Yes." 
I asked, "Can you speak French?" He said 
"No." I then asked him if he knew where the 
boat left for the United States, and he said that 
he had not the slightest idea. I was then look- 
ing at him rather curiously to determine 
whether he was drunk or just stupid. He 
heaved a deep sigh, shifted his weight from 
one foot to the other, and remarked, "There 
'haint the Hell of lot to this job." There cer- 
tainly was not. However, I am glad to say 
that most American military police are both 
efficient and courteous. The one at Havre did 
everything possible to expedite my errands. 

The streets of Havre might well be those of 
a British city. British soldiers are every- 
where. The streets were crowded with them 
and the tram-cars were filled with them going 
to and from their camps. There were many 
English women in uniform. They wore soft 
campaign hats, olive-drab blouses and skirts, 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



67 



brown stockings and low shoes. They were 
the members of the Woman's Army Auxiliary 
Corps, which supplies stenographers, clerks, 
chauffeurs, and other workers to the British 
Army. They were neat and intelligent 
women, doing a vast and highly important 
work toward winning the war. As they 
walked about the streets of Havre, each one 
was accompanied by a young soldier, and all 
seemed to be having a good time. I asked a 
British officer if the presence of these women 
in France, was not a great help toward keep- 
ing soldiers from getting home-sick. He said, 
laughing, that many of them were more effi- 
cient at that than at whatever they had enlisted 
to do. He added that as they held the rank of 
privates or of non-commissioned officers, the 
officers were not allowed to associate with 
them. I think he was rather jealous of the 
Tommies. 

Part of the beautiful city of Havre rises to 
high cliffs overlooking the Channel. On the 
highest point is a lighthouse, and about it were 
many British soldiers lying in the grass, look- 
ing wistfully out across the Channel to the dis- 
tant shores of home. Every few moments an 
aeroplane would rise up from the shore and, 



68 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



joining others wheeling about over the water, 
watched for submarines. Behind the cliffs is 
the portion of Havre now occupied by the 
Belgian Government for its capital and the 
transaction of its business. Below the cliffs 
stretches a wide and sandy bathing beach, 
dotted with bright-colored umbrellas and 
little bathing-houses, and thronged with Brit- 
ish soldiers and French and British civilians. 
The beach might have been one of our Long 
Island beaches on a pleasant summer Sunday, 
except that the women wore the charmingly 
suitable and scant bathing suit customary in 
France. Opposite the lower part of the city 
are the long and busy wharfs. They were 
crowded with German prisoners, young, active 
men, still in their own uniforms, busily 
engaged in loading and unloading freight. I 
was told that they were perfectly contented, 
and had been promised the same pay that they 
would have received as soldiers in the Ger- 
man Army. They were within sight of a few 
sentries, but they practically never tried to 
escape. There were officers, sometimes, who 
tried to get away, but it is unheard of for an 
enlisted man to do so. They consider that the 
fighting is ended, as far as they are concerned, 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



69 



and they do not wish to go back to the trenches 
to be killed. 

The Channel route from Havre to South- 
ampton is mostly used by civilians, but there 
is a goodly sprinkling of soldiers and officers 
going home on leave. My chair was placed 
next to that of a Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel, 
who was going home for a rest after having 
treated 60,000 soldiers suffering from malaria 
in his hospital at Malta. Turks are not the 
only enemy that the British must meet and 
conquer in the Orient. The Channel was 
somewhat rough and it was a funny, though 
pathetic, sight, to see tanned and battle- 
scarred British officers, who had dutifully 
faced the guns of the enemy for many months 
without a qualm, leaning helplessly over the 
rail of the boat and descending at last in 
Southampton, pale and dishevelled. Our train 
for London was crowded with men home on 
leave, their rifles and shrapnel helmets 
strapped on their backs, but on their tanned 
faces a smile of happiness that came from the 
heart. 



CHAPTER X 



LONDON IN WARTIME 

On REGISTERING at a hotel in London, I was 
given a blank which must be filled out by all 
aliens, and on which I was obliged to set forth 
at length what seemed the history of my life. 
I also was told that I must register at the near- 
est police station. I registered at the Bow 
Street police station, where I met a very 
pleasant officer, who told me that being an 
American officer, I was not obliged to register 
at all. 

On the evening of my arrival, I walked out 
to the Strand, which is crowded with people 
if a German raid is not taking place, and got 
my first view of a London crowd in wartime. 
The atmosphere struck me as distinctly 
unpleasant. Nine out of every ten persons 
walking on the Strand were women. It may 
be perfectly legitimate for women to walk 
through the Strand in the evening attended or 
unattended, but the appearance and actions ofj 
many of the women made one glad that no 



72 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



American soldiers were with them. One 
grabbed me by the arm as I passed. I was 
impressed that the London authorities do very 
little, if anything, to protect soldiers from one 
of the worst enemies that an army has to fear. 

And while thoughtless soldiers and painted 
women walked up and down the street, 
another little scene was being enacted across 
the way, at a large station on the Strand. A 
curious crowd was gathered about one of the 
station's wagon entrances, near which the 
trains unloaded, watching ambulance after 
ambulance being filled with wounded from 
the recent push in France, and quickly driven 
away. While the crowds in the street thought- 
lessly enjoyed themselves and carelessly 
glanced at the swiftly-moving, white ambu- 
lances, with the red crosses on the outside, 
inside lay some of the very men that had made 
Britain's last great victory possible. I glanced 
in one of the ambulances and saw two boys, 
still in uniform, lying with their eyes closed 
and bloody bandages about their heads. 

In London, only the Strand appeared 
thoughtless. In general, British men and 
women there, and in every other part of the 
island, seemed to be doing their best to win the 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



73 



war. In London, I first learned from men, 
who had been present, of the wonders per- 
formed by that "contemptible little army," 
when first sent to the continent. Barely a 
handful, as modern armies go, they lacked 
everything which usually makes success pos- 
sible in warfare. Their largest gun was an 
eighteen pounder, and for a long period of 
time, they had so little ammunition that they 
could only fire six shots a day. The Germans 
might relieve their front line trenches in plain 
sight, but if the six shots had been expended, 
the British could not fire at them. They did 
not have control of the air and, as a result, 
they could not obtain the accurate range for 
the few shots they could fire. Their guns 
were not big enough to blow away the Ger- 
man barbed wire entanglements, and as a 
result, they charged with insufficient artillery 
preparation and were caught on wire that 
should have been blown to shreds, or were shot 
down in rows by machine guns which could 
not be silenced because of lack of artillery. 

Often, because of inferior ammunition or 
for other causes, then not possible to rectify, 
the weak British barrage, directed against the 
Germans, fell among their own troops, and 



74 WAR TIME FRANCE 

one well-known Canadian regiment is said to 
have been nearly exterminated from this 
cause. As one English sergeant expressed it, 
"The men will gladly go against whatever 
they are sent, but it does take the heart out of 
the men for our own guns to be turned on us." 

Insufficient food and insufficient clothing 
and other hardships were borne, enough to 
break the spirit of ordinary men, and yet they 
withstood the attack of the German hordes, 
equipped with big guns, an abundance of 
machine guns, plenty of ammunition, food and 
clothing, and everything else needed by an 
army, and forced them to take to trench war- 
fare and give Britain and France a real chance 
to prepare. When the war began, France had 
barely one thousand rounds per gun for her 
artillery, and was little prepared for the 
unexpected onslaught made on her. 

An English officer described fighting in 
those days, when complicated systems of first 
trench dugouts were not employed, as follows : 
"You are in a trench and the Huns begin to 
bombard you. Your guns, because of lack of 
ammunition, withhold their fire. A Hun shell 
bursts just short of your trench with deafen- 
ing roar, but you are still safe. Shells are 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



75 



bursting all about. One goes past, just miss- 
ing landing in the trench. One falls in a 
traverse next you and kills every man in it. 
And so it goes; you hope each moment that 
you will be safe to the next." 

Another British officer told me how one 
day the commander of the artillery came to 
the men in the font trenches and quietly said, 
"I have all the ammunition I need. At what 
shall I fire?" A German battery that had 
been killing many British in the front trench 
was selected as a target, and the British artil- 
lery opened fire. The German battery imme- 
diately responded by firing on the British 
infantry, which called the British artillery 
upon the telephone and begged it to stop as 
the target was killing more of their men. The 
answer was that the British artillery intended 
to finish what it began. Shells came from 
every direction back of the British trenches 
towards that German battery, which was soon 
put out of action. The British infantry did 
not know the army had so many guns, and 
from that time forth, British soldiers fought 
on more equal terms with their opponents. It 
is calculated that had Britain been prepared, 



76 WAR TIME FRANCE 



over two hundred thousand of her dead sol- 
diers would be alive to-day. 

The men of Britain have not been the only 
ones to win glory in this war. The women of 
Britain, often of gentle birth and unused to 
any form of labor, have gone into the muni- 
tion factories and made possible the victories 
of the front. Everywhere they have taken 
man's place to leave him free to fight. In the 
ages to come, when British boys read of the 
glorious deeds of Britain's soldiers and sailors 
in this war, let him also remember British 
women, who have given up everything, 
including, frequently, their health and lives, 
to help add the glory to those deeds. 

London, like Paris, seemed to be filled with 
soldiers. The best drilled soldiers I have ever 
seen, were those of the crack British regiments. 
I saw a company of new men drilling outside 
of the barracks near Buckingham Palace, who 
were being trained to be sent shortly to the 
front, and the drill of those young soldiers 
would have done credit to West Point Cadets. 

I saw many wounded about the streets of 
London. When first out of the hospitals, they 
wear uniforms of blue overall material with 
red neckties. When nearly well, they wear 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



77 



their regular uniforms with a blue band about 
the arm. I asked a British officer why the 
wounded wore the blue band. He answered 
that it was so that they could not get a drink. 
It seems that Tommy can get all the drink he 
can pay for unless he is wounded, in which 
event, he must go to the extra trouble of wear- 
ing something that will conceal his blue uni- 
form or band. It will take something more 
than a blue uniform or a band to keep Tommy 
from getting his drink. 

The price of food in London was less than 
in the United States, and the prices of most 
other commodities were likewise cheaper. All 
military equipment could be purchased for 
about half the price that similar articles 
would cost in the United States, and there did 
not seem to be a noticeable scarcity of any of 
the so-called necessities. It would pay the 
United States to copy British laws against 
profiteering. 



CHAPTER XI 



AIR RAIDS AND COURAGE 

In FORMER wars, every civilized nation has 
refrained from injuring non-combatants 
whenever possible. This practice was based 
upon rules of warfare recognized by all 
nations for centuries, and was originally 
founded upon humane grounds. In this war, 
Germany apparently regards no rules of inter- 
national law or usage as binding upon her 
where it is to her advantage to violate them. 

Warfare, as developed by German stand- 
ards, demands that the home cities of the 
enemy be bombed without any intention of 
doing direct military damage. The purpose 
is to create such fearful havoc among non- 
combatants that panic and a desire for peace, 
at any price, will ensue. The attacks by the 
Germans on London, and other unprotected 
English cities, show clearly that they aim to 
exterminate as many British as they are able 
without regard to either age or sex. 

London is as much a fortified city as is 



80 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



New York City, with Governors Island near- 
by, which means, of course, that in a military 
sense, it is not a fortified city at all. Bombs are 
dropped from such a height that absolutely 
no accuracy can be obtained, and the Horse 
Guards or Tower of London might not be hit 
even if the hostile aircraft, without interfer- 
ence, dropped its bombs from exactly over- 
head. The ordinary height of raids while I 
was in England, was 14,000 feet. Assume, in 
addition, that the hostile aircraft is travelling 
seventy or more miles an hour, then one can 
appreciate the difficulty of accurate bomb- 
dropping. Since all Englishmen from nine- 
teen to forty-five years of age are in the army, 
unless exempt, and are presumably away on 
duty, the Germans must know if they bomb 
an English residential section, that old men, 
and particularly women and children, will be 
the main sufferers. If they kill a soldier, it 
must be when he is home on leave. Most of 
the bombs have been dropped in the resi- 
dential and hotel sections. Once, entirely by 
accident, a bomb struck a barracks, and while 
I was in London, a bomb fell on one of the 
few German landmarks, a German gym- 
nasium. "The folks at home" are what they 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



81 



are after, and women and children furnish the 
greatest number of their victims. 

The aircraft attacks on Great Britain began 
with Zeppelin raids, which at first caused 
great damage. They came at great heights, 
and for some time it was very difficult to 
injure them. The anti-aircraft guns reached 
them with difficulty, and the bullets from the 
machine guns of the British aeroplanes caused 
little damage. Finally, incendiary bullets, to 
be used in the machine guns of the British 
aeroplanes, were invented, the purpose of 
which was to set fire to the gas in the Zep- 
pelin's gas bag. There were three kinds of 
incendiary bullets produced, and there was a 
wide difference of opinion as to which kind 
was preferable. An aviator named Robinson 
decided that he would use all three kinds alter- 
nately, and he attacked a Zeppelin and 
destroyed it. It was then for the first time 
discovered that the effect of the three kinds of 
incendiary bullets, combined, was much bet- 
ter than any one kind singly. Robinson 
received the Victoria Cross. From the time 
that he brought down his first Zeppelin, one 
was destroyed in nearly every raid on England^ 
thereafter. 



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Zeppelins, having thus proved unsuccess- 
ful, aeroplanes began to come over in the day- 
time. The English planes attacked them, and 
they were further subjected to fire from the 
anti-aircraft guns. The practice finally was 
adopted by the Germans of coming over on 
moonlight nights, when rivers and other nat- 
ural landmarks could be used as guides. The 
Zeppelins had come over on cloudy days and 
nights, but the aeroplanes were afraid to lose 
their way on such nights. A British aviator 
told me that if a German aviator came over in 
a cloud or a fog, he might not be able to tell 
whether he were flying upside down or right 
side up, for the reason that he would lose all 
sense of direction. At the present time, most 
of the attacks on London are made by aero- 
planes, coming singly, at intervals on moon- 
light nights. 

I arrived in London at the ideal time for 
air-raids, during what the English call "the 
harvest moon." While I was in or near Lon- 
don, six air-raids took place. The first raid 
occurred about 8 o'clock in the evening. Next 
day I saw where three bombs had fallen. One 
fell in St. James Park, and left a hole about 
30x30x8 feet. Windows, several hundred feet 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



83 



away, were shattered. I saw a five-story, 
wooden, frame house beyond St. Pancras Sta- 
tion, which had been hit by a bomb, and it 
appeared as if a section 40x40x40 feet had 
been bodily cut from it. A bomb fell on a 
hotel near the one in which I was staying, 
killing several persons and wounding an 
American lieutenant in the arm. The British 
official report stated that fifteen people were 
killed during the raid, and seventy injured. 

As a sample of what the German rulers tell 
their people, let us look at the official Ger- 
man report, as published next day: 

"Last night our airmen attacked England. Bombs were 
dropped on military buildings and warehouses in the heart 
of London. Fires gave evidence of the effect. All our 
machines returned undamaged." 

I believe that I saw where everyone of the 
bombs dropped on London landed, and I later 
saw where some poor workman's home had 
been demolished at South End. After most 
careful inquiries, I could not find that a single 
bomb had been dropped on a military build- 
ing or a warehouse, nor were there any fires. 
The incendiary bombs formerly dropped from 
the Zeppelins caused great fires, but those 



84 WAR TIME FRANCE 



dropped from aeroplanes while I was in Lon- 
don did not cause fires. They were built to 
demolish and kill. 

During the time of the harvest moon, raids 
were expected every evening; in fact, they 
could gauge about the time the raiders would 
arrive. I watched the next raid from the street 
in front of my hotel. During raids the streets 
were deserted except by Americans and 
"drunks." After a few Americans have been 
killed, they will learn to take cover, and the 
"drunks" will have the streets to themselves. I 
left cover during raids for the reason that I 
had been sent abroad to study the very thing 
that was happening, and it was my business to 
be in the best position to see. Otherwise, it 
was foolhardiness, not bravery, to neglect tak- 
ing cover. I could clearly see the bursting 
shells in the sky, but was unable to see the one 
German aeroplane that had penetrated the 
London barrage. 

The next day I saw where two bombs had 
been dropped in quick succession on Old Kent 
Road, near Old Grange Street. One bomb 
had fallen in the center of the street, and 
another in the middle of the adjoining block. 
Being in uniform, I was admitted inside the 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



85 



police lines. It was a poor section of the city, 
where many families lived in each small house. 
I counted, approximately, 150 houses that 
ranged from being practically demolished to 
having some portion of their fronts blown in. 
The official report stated that seven persons 
had been killed and twenty-five injured. The 
small number was probably because the raid 
took place at 8 o'clock. Had it occurred later, 
hundreds would have been killed in their beds. 

The one raider who did this damage had 
gotten past the London barrage and had shut 
off his engine when high in the air to the west 
of London. He then planed down noiselessly 
towards London, with his engine shut off, 
dropped the two bombs, and started for home 
as fast as he could. It is the practice of the 
German raiders to get rid of their bombs as 
fast as possible, for the reason that the bombs 
are just as dangerous to them in the air, should 
a bomb be struck by a shell from the ground, 
as it is after it falls. 

The next night was foggy, and London 
drew a sigh of relief, for this meant no air 
raid. The following night, a raid on London 
was expected, but was aimed elsewhere. On 
the night that followed came a raid, but no 



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hostile plane got through the London defences. 
The next night another raid occurred. I 
could plainly see the burstingshrapnel directly 
overhead. I first went out on the street with 
a Canadian officer who had served in the 
American Army during the war with Spain. 
The streets were deserted, except for the 
usual intoxicated men. Even the police had 
taken shelter. Thinking that we might see 
better from a higher elevation, we returned to 
the hotel, where many guests were huddled 
away from the shafts and windows, and we 
were looking out of an upper window when an 
old man came over to where I was and, timidly 
touching my coat, said, "Young man, you 
should not look out of that window; your life 
is much too valuable to lose it in that way." 
I said that I wished to see the fighting. He 
said, "One can see it well out of my room." 
He opened the door of his room and went to 
the window, and we could see the bursting 
shells. Suddenly, he realized where he was, 
and crying out, "Oh, I should not be here, I 
should be in the hallway," he ran from the 
room. I saw all I could, and then I heard one 
of the maids say, "The best place is on the roof, 
but no one is allowed to go there because of 



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87 



falling shrapnel." Up on the roof my newly- 
found friend and I went, and we discovered a 
most wonderful fight going on over our heads. 

Across the sky came burst after burst of 
exploding shells following the course of the 
German aeroplanes. Suddenly, another series 
of bursts would take place in another direc- 
tion. Several fights were going on in several 
different directions at once, accompanied by 
what sounded like exploding bombs. After 
about ten minutes, the manager of the hotel 
came up and ordered us off the roof. I do not 
blame him for being careful, for I learned 
afterwards, that a bomb had fallen on the 
hotel a short time before I arrived, and that 
fifteen people had been killed. This, per- 
haps, explains why most of the people were so 
anxious to take cover. On my way down- 
stairs from the roof, I met a young Canadian 
lieutenant "from Arizona," who suggested 
going out on the street. As we went, I heard 
one of the maids say, in a loud tone of aston- 
ishment, "Why they enjoy it." 

We had the streets almost to ourselves. 
Above our heads, the shells from the anti-air- 
craft guns continued to explode. A shell fell 
into the street near us and half buried itself in 



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WAR TIME FRANCE 



the roadway. Almost as soon as it fell, some 
men ran over from a neighboring building 
and began digging for it. Crowds of people 
were huddled in doorways, and my Canadian 
friend would jocularly ask them what was all 
the excitement. He told me he knew of sev- 
eral places where the crowds from the theatres 
went to get shelter, so he and I varied watch- 
ing the bursting shrapnel with wandering 
about and looking over the crowds that were 
taking shelter. When my newly-made friend 
saw a number of people who looked particu- 
larly disconsolate, he would remark, in a loud 
tone of voice, "There must be a raid ; this is a 
most terrible occasion." The official report 
stated that eleven persons were killed and 
eighty-two injured. 

About a month before, raiders dropped a 
bomb in a street off the Strand. The street 
had been repaired when I saw it, and a hotel 
opposite, in which several people were killed 
in their beds, was being rebuilt. Holes were 
blown through solid brick walls some distance 
away. Anyone standing within a radius of 
several hundred feet might have been killed, 
and if much closer, would surely have been 
killed unless they were lying on the ground. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



89 



The most pathetic raid was when a bomb fell 
upon a children's school. I was told that chil- 
dren's arms and legs and heads were scattered 
around a bloody street littered with little 
mangled bodies. 

Though the damage caused by the dropping 
bombs seems to be great, much of the loss of 
life comes from flying shrapnel and pieces of 
high explosive shells from the British anti- 
aircraft guns, for it must be remembered that 
everything that goes up must come down. 
While I was in London, a young girl went to 
her front window to look at the raid when an 
anti-aircraft shell came through the window 
of the bedroom above, crashed through the 
ceiling, and struck her on the head. Many 
others were killed, likewise, by the fire of the 
home defence guns. The English prevent 
more loss of life by ordering all the inhabi- 
tants to take shelter. 

As for reprisals, whenever I heard it said 
that Americans and Britons must not adopt 
German methods of warfare, I am reminded 
of a little incident that occurred on a railroad 
train in England. A friend of mine, a civil- 
ian, was talking, and there were three British 
Tommies in the same carriage, apparently 



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WAR TIME FRANCE 



paying no attention to what was being said. 
My friend remarked that English soldiers 
would never be willing to attack unfortified 
German cities through the air, and thus be the 
cause of killing women and children. No 
sooner were the words out of his mouth, than 
the three Tommies shouted in chorus, "Oh! 
wouldn't we!" 



CHAPTER XII 

WITH THE BRITISH BATTERIES 

I WAS overjoyed when I received permis- 
sion from the British Home Defence Office to 
join some anti-aircraft batteries near the 
mouth of the Thames, at a point where the 
raiders, following the course of the river, 
would first arrive over England. Once the 
Germans had tried to destroy the place by 
dropping twenty-eight bombs on it, and shortly 
after five more. They succeeded in killing 
two persons. One bomb, meant for a powder 
boat in the harbor, was dropped by a German 
who flew low to insure accuracy. The bomb 
actually dropped in the water between the 
boat and the wharf, in a space of about two 
feet, and did not explode. 

I arrived on Sunday. That night about 
fourteen German planes came overhead, 
passing from the continent, on their way to 
bomb London, and I was with the British bat- 
teries in action against them. We could hear 
the drone of the German motors above us. 



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Sometimes the aeroplanes, themselves, could 
be seen indistinctly against the moon. All was 
silence at the guns until the gun commander 
considered he had the proper range, and then 
the racket began. Few sights are more won- 
derful than many guns in action at the same 
time. The noise was deafening until the Ger- 
man raiders got out of range, and our work 
was taken up by the batteries nearer London. 

The next evening, while I was eating my 
dinner, air-raid signals came and the firing 
began. The shrapnel could be heard bursting 
high up in the air somewhere above the house, 
and the windows rattled with each explosion. 
The officers off duty took their time about 
finishing eating, after which I accompanied 
the Commandant to the guns, where he 
assumed command. High in the air, forming 
a zone of fire, were the bursting shells from 
the guns of our batteries. From above, came 
the drone of the German motors. It reminded 
one of a good, old-fashioned Fourth of July, 
only more of it. An added excitement comes 
from the fact that the Germans can see the 
flash from the battery and may succeed in 
landing a bomb close enough to put it out of 
commission. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



93 



I have mentioned days, so as to illustrate 
what was not such an extraordinary week for a 
Londoner as Americans might imagine. I 
had arrived in London on a Sunday. There 
had taken place in nine days, a total of six 
air-raids on London, and one attack elsewhere. 

Next day, as I was working at my books, I 
heard what seemed a familiar drone overhead, 
and soon the alarm came that a day raid was 
being attempted. The batteries were manned, 
but did not get a chance to fire. I learned, 
later, that by mistake, a British seaplane, com- 
ing from the ocean had flown without giving 
notice, through the zone from which only 
enemies usually came. As a result, an alarm 
was given and business in London and other 
places was suspended for hours. The head of 
the anti-aircraft service was very clever in 
explaining the mistake to the public. As may 
be well imagined, an alarm creates real alarm 
and the public would be even more caustic in 
criticising the anti-aircraft service were they 
sent to cover and prevented from attending to 
their business for some hours because of base- 
less alarms. He got over the difficulty beauti- 
fully, by having all the papers publish 
accounts to the effect, that the raiders had been 



94 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



successfully driven off, whereupon everybody 
said, "Good, old, anti-aircraft service, it is 
really getting quite efficient." 

The personnel of the British anti-aircraft 
troops for home defence has changed mate- 
rially. The British began with a system 
under which volunteers did duty every third 
night. There was little discipline among 
these troops, and many of the men, because of 
age and physical condition, were unfit for 
their work. The chief of this service was con- 
stantly annoyed because at the last moment 
when news was received of a coming raid, 
some man would call up and say that he had, 
for instance, a stomach-ache and it thereupon 
became necessary for the head of the service 
to find some other volunteer, whose turn it was 
to be off duty, to take the place of the man 
who claimed to be ill. The aircraft attacks 
on Great Britain became so numerous that 
these volunteers were told that they would be 
obliged to enter the regular service and serve 
continuously or be discharged. The old and 
physically unfit were thus forced out, and an 
efficient fighting force of young men was left. 
These men are now the same as regulars, and 
are on duty all the time. They do not attend 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



95 



to their business when they are off duty, as 
their work at their guns takes too much of 
their time to permit this. 

The question has been continuously asked 
why London suffers from air-raids while Paris 
has been nearly exempt. There are many rea- 
sons and I will state a few of them. In the 
case of London, the raiders from the conti- 
nent, following the Thames or other natural 
landmarks, are over London in a very few 
moments after reaching land. They are not 
subjected to gun fire while crossing the chan- 
nel and the only opportunity of the British 
to fight them is during those comparatively 
few moments when the hostile aircrafts are 
over England. The situation in the case of 
Paris is very different. Hostile aircraft must 
first pass several entrenched French armies, 
each of which is prepared to send up artillery 
barrages and to have its fighting aeroplanes 
follow the enemy. The aeroplanes at the 
British front take no part in the defence of 
London. The aeroplanes at the French front 
are part of the defences of Paris. When one 
considers that every city is largely deprived 
of aeroplanes for the benefit of the armies at 
the front, one can imagine the great advantage 



* 



96 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



if those same aeroplanes can still at the front 
be used in the city's defence. 

In addition to London being easier to at- 
tack, there is another factor and that is that 
Germany hates England and wishes to bring 
home to English people the same suffering 
which Germany has been able to inflict on 
her other enemies. Northeastern France has 
been stripped bare. England itself also must 
be taught the cost of opposing the Prussian 
war-lord and German terrorizing means the 
killing of non-combatants and the doing of 
all material damage possible. 

There is one other reason why London 
seems to be attacked more than Paris. The 
British report all raids while I have heard it 
said that the French do not. Whether France 
suppresses news of raids or not, the fact re- 
mains that the raiders constantly reach Lon- 
don while Paris is seemingly free from con- 
stant attack. 

The British are not idle. A stay at their 
artillery school and an inspection of the Lon- 
don defences showed me that. They are grad- 
ually developing a defence that in the end 
may successfully keep away raiders. At night 
when approaching enemy aircraft cannot be 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



97 



seen, a barrage or wall of fire is sent up and 
a hostile aircraft must go through it or turn 
back if it cannot get around it. 

Anti-aircraft artillery is still in its infancy, 
particularly night fighting, which is evidenced 
by the fact that the Germans are limiting their 
raids to dark nights when they cannot be 
seen. Britain is working hard on her anti- 
aircraft problem, and she may at any time find 
the secret of stopping aeroplanes just as she 
did in the case of the Zeppelins. 



CHAPTER XIII 



WHAT TO DO IN AN AIR RAID 

Since the United States may be attacked 
from. air at any moment, it will be well to set 
forth what precautions the British have taken 
to minimize the damage done by air raids. 

The City of London is kept as dark at night 
as is consistent with safe passage through the 
streets. A few street lamps are dimly lighted. 
All shades over windows of buildings must 
be lowered. In every room of each hotel is 
the following sign for the benefit of strangers : 

"defence of the realm act, order in council 
"In compliance with the above, it is requested that 
blinds (shades) be kept lowered between sunset and sun- 
rise. A breach of this regulation renders the visitor liable 
to a penalty not exceeding £50." 

All outer doors must be securely closed, and 
many persons have been arrested and fined 
because a small reflected light showed through 
a crack. 

The worst damage that can be sustained by 



100 WAR TIME FRANCE 

any city is loss of life, and this can be largely 
eliminated if the inhabitants of the bombed 
city will obey certain simple rules of conduct. 
The London authorities have published rules 
which, in their essential particulars, should be 
adopted by the authorities of our cities likely 
to be attacked, and should be learned and 
obeyed by the inhabitants. I set them forth 
at length : 

"The following recommendations are to be read as gen- 
eral rules to be followed by each person so far as they 
apply to the circumstances in which he finds himself. 

"Do not pay heed to mere rumors of a raid, but as soon 
as you know, whether from a public warning or from 
anti-aircraft guns coming into action or from the explo- 
sion of bombs, that an attack is imminent or has begun, 
take the best cover near at hand. 

"Do not wait till you see aircraft nearly overhead or 
hear the explosion of a bomb near you. You cannot tell 
how near the next bomb may fall, especially at night, and 
apart from the danger from bombs, fragments of shell may 
fall a long way from the guns. To stay in the open in- 
volves needless risk even if the attack seems a long way off. 

"If you are in the open, go into the nearest available 
building. A doorway or open archway, though better 
than remaining in the open, is not good cover, as it affords 
little protection against fragments of a bomb exploding on 
the ground. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 101 



"If bombs are being dropped and there is no building 
near, it is better to lie down on the ground in the best 
ditch or hole you can find near at hand, or behind a strong 
wall or tree, than to remain standing in the open. 

"If you are in a building on the top floor, go downstairs 
where you will have the best available cover overhead, 
avoiding lift wells, open stairways, and parts of the build- 
ing under skylights. 

"Do not look out of windows, but keep in a part of a 
room or passage where you will be out of the line of frag- 
ments of metal or debris which may enter by a window or 
if a bomb should explode outside. 

"Do not crowd in a basement with only a single means 
of exit. The fumes from all bombs are injurious if 
breathed in any quantity, and it is advisable to have a 
second means of exit in case fumes should enter, or a gas 
pipe be broken, or rapid escape be necessary for any other 
reason. 

"Horses, if left unattended, should be secured suffi- 
ciently to prevent their running away. 

"fire precautions 

"Water is far the best extinguisher for general use 
against fires caused by incendiary bombs, and should be 
applied as promptly as possible. Keep a supply of water 
ready in buckets or cans, some on each floor if possible. 
See that they are kept filled. 

"Liquid fire extinguishers and hand-pumps for direct- 
ing the water on to the flames are very useful, though 
more expensive. 

"You are advised not to buy an extinguisher without a 



102 WAR TIME FRANCE 



written guarantee that it complies with the specifications 
of the Board of Trade Office of Works, Metropolitan 
Police, or some approved Fire Prevention Committee. 

"A supply of fine dry sand or soil may be kept ready, in 
pails or scuttles, in addition to water, especially where 
there are inflammable liquids which might be set alight. 
See that the sand or soil does not cake. 

"If the gas is turned off at the meter, see that all burners 
are turned off as well; otherwise there will be serious 
risk of fire and explosion when the gas is turned on again. 

"Make a note of the quickest means of summoning the 
Fire Brigade — whether by telephone or the nearest fire 
alarm post. 

"UNEXPLODED BOMBS AND SHELLS 

"Do not move or touch any unexploded bomb or shell. 
The police should be informed at once where any such 
missile is lying and steps should be taken to prevent its 
being interfered with meanwhile. 

"If the bomb has broken, and powdered explosive has 
been scattered about, do not bring a naked light near. 
"fumes from bombs 

"Be careful not to breathe fumes given off by bombs. 
Do not go near where any bomb has fallen unless it is 
necessary to do so for rescue purposes or to extinguish a 
fire, or unless you are sure all fumes have cleared away. 

"If a bomb falls near you, get away from the place 
where it has fallen as quickly as possible, and keep away 
until the air has cleared. If you are indoors and fumes 
have entered the building, go out into the open away from 
where the bomb has fallen; and if the raid is not over, 
find other shelter. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



103 



"While good cover is the point of most importance, 
choose, if you can, rooms, corridors, etc., where in addi- 
tion to cover overhead, there are alternative means of 
exit, so that if fumes should enter from one direction you 
may be able to escape the other way. 

"It is better to avoid going near the place where any 
bomb has fallen than to trust to respirators. If, how- 
ever, you desire to keep a respirator available for use in 
case it should be necessary to enter a room where there 
may be noxious fumes, make sure that the respirator is 
guaranteed by the maker to comply in all essential points 
with War Office specifications. Do not on any account 
rely on a respirator offered for sale unless it is accom- 
panied by such a guarantee. 

"use of the telephone 

"Do not use the telephone during, or immediately after, 
a raid except for the most necessary and urgent calls. 

"false reports of air-raids 

"Remember it is an offence punishable by fine or im- 
prisonment under the Defence of the Realm Regulations 
to spread false reports of an air-raid warning having been 
issued or an air-raid having taken place." 

If a house is fairly well built, occupants 
may consider themselves reasonably safe from 
injury, except from broken glass, if there are 
two stories above them, though three stories, 
afford a surer protection. It has been found' 
by experience that a bomb will expend most 



104 WAR TIME FRANCE 



of its force in the two upper stories of a fairly 
well built house. 

The surest way to be safe, however, is to fit 
up and occupy during raid alarms a little 
place in the most secluded part of the cellar 
where one can perhaps forget in the pages of 
some interesting book that Germany is trying 
to inflict wholesale murder upon him and all 
who reside in his neighborhood. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE 

Tragedy was all about us there in England. 
Bereavement, poverty and actual physical 
danger were never absent from the minds of 
the English people. Yet there is something 
extraordinarily splendid about the way in 
which everything is done that can be legiti- 
mately done to maintain the amenities of life 
and to add what charm and cheer is possible 
to daily life. It is an ever recurrent surprise 
to Americans when it is first born in upon 
them that this war is not a distant thing fought 
in some out-lying part of the world, to which 
troops are sent and from which, in time, they 
return, but that the ugliness and simplicity 
and bitter practicality of military life is super- 
imposed directly upon the most finished civil- 
izations, the most beautifully cultivated 
country-sides and the most charming homes. 
Something of that idea struck me on my first 
visit to an English country house when I saw 
my modest military toilet articles, last in use 



106 WAR TIME FRANCE 



on the Mexican border, spread out upon the 
priceless antique bureau in one of the loveliest 
sleeping rooms I have ever entered and when 
I realized that just such strictly utilitarian and 
dun-colored equipment were the treasured 
possessions of every house in England. 

That evening at dinner I succeeded in prov- 
ing for the first time that Captain Ward is 
not infallible. We talked of America and 
my host and his guests were far from infuri- 
ated. They were, on the contrary, intensely 
interested and sympathetic. If America and 
England can come to understand each other 
and love each other as brothers should, it will 
almost be worth the bitter price we have had 
to pay for such friendship. The English 
speaking races of the world can insure peace 
and freedom for all humanity, if they will 
only drop all international rivalry and jeal- 
ousy, and stand by one another in every pos- 
sible way. 

While the English have cut down ostenta- 
tion as far as possible, they have maintained 
the simple comforts of life to an extraordinary 
degree, sometimes with amusing results. I 
was awakened one morning by a knock at my 
door, and getting out of bed very scantily 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



107 



draped, supposing the valet had arrived, I 
opened the door and in tripped a dainty little 
servant girl carrying hot water. I got hastily 
back into bed again and she departed. A few 
minutes later I had risen again and was pre- 
paring to shave, when the door flew open and 
she walked in, this time carrying a breakfast 
tray. I had just recovered from my second 
fright and was preparing to eat my breakfast, 
when she returned with my boots. After that 
I kept the door locked until I was fit to be 
seen. When I began to get ready for the train 
I found that the maid had completely packed 
my roll and that it was in the carriage waiting 
for me. Some day I hope to find out where 
in my room that maid had hidden that roll, 
for I hunted for it "from top to bottom." 

The coachman who drove me to the station 
told me that his brother had just been blinded 
in military service; he himself had been 
examined and rejected five times for physical 
disability. When I arrived at my hotel, I 
read in the morning papers that an air-raid 
had taken place in the evening previous while 
we were at dinner. 

I quote the foregoing story to illustrate the 
British point of view. Whether my hostess 



108 WAR TIME FRANCE 



and host knew an air-raid was going on, per- 
haps overhead, I have no means of knowing, 
but they must have known that an air-raid was 
expected to occur that evening. They typify 
the point of view of the ordinary intelligent 
Britisher concerning air-raids, namely to take 
all reasonable precautions as to cover and then 
forget about them. 

Another British point of view as to material 
damage caused by raids was shown by an inci- 
dent that occurred while I was examining 
some bombed houses. One of the occupants, 
who had lost apparently everything he owned 
in the world, was showing me the damage and 
did not seem very much disturbed by what 
had been done to his property. I asked him 
in as sympathetic a tone as I could muster 
whether his loss had been great. "Oh, no!" 
he answered, "I am insured." Both the Gov- 
ernment and private companies give cheap 
insurance against loss caused by air-raids, and 
the Government is now planning to give such 
service free. This insurance is becoming a 
war measure because it prevents the Germans 
from succeeding in their attempts to dis- 
hearten the mass of the English population. 

British character is changing. The slow, 



WAR TIME FRANCE 109 



conservative, self-satisfied individual formerly 
depicted in our comic weeklies has departed, 
and in his place stands a quick-acting, pro- 
gressive person who wishes to improve 
methods wherever possible. Great Britain 
has been "cleansed by fire." Her tremendous 
losses caused by lack of foresight, the ever 
impending possibility of defeat unless tremen- 
dous efforts are made by the nation as a whole, 
have inculcated new ideas and ideals into the 
national character. 

Formerly the belief in the rights of the 
individual as distinct from those of the nation 
as a whole seemed ingrained. That a free- 
born Englishman should be made to serve in 
the army only if he wished, appeared axiom- 
atic. Conscription was hard for the ordinary 
Englishman to swallow, and yet today the 
motto that "England expects every man to do 
his duty" should read "England compels 
every man to do his duty." It has found ready 
assent. 

The old British belief in the rights of the 
individual finds expression in the provision 
that conscientious objectors to the draft need 
not be obliged to serve. In the United States 
a man is exempted providing he belongs to 



110 WAR TIME FRANCE 



a religious denomination that keeps him from 
warfare, but in England a man needs only to 
"object conscientiously" in order to be 
exempted. This means that British conscrip- 
tion is a form of voluntary conscription, and 
yet, to the credit of the British let it be said, 
that conscientious objectors are comparatively 
few. 

The English belief in the rights of the indi- 
vidual was typified by an occurrence in Lon- 
don while I was there. A noted pacifist min- 
ister announced a pacifist sermon, and the 
authorities sent one hundred and fifty con- 
stables to protect him. In the United States 
there would have been sent one stenographer 
to take down his sermon as evidence, and two 
policemen to arrest him. Though the London 
pacifist preached sedition, the police protected 
him from a howling mob. The English 
authorities have not yet learned that there is a 
great difference between free speech and the 
right to give utterance to seditious ideas. 

The English treatment of Ireland is diffi- 
cult to understand. It is difficult for Ameri- 
cans to understand why Great Britain does 
not give Ireland home rule; it is equally diffi- 
cult for Englishmen, Scotchmen and Welsh- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



111 



men to understand why Irishmen shouldn't be 
made to serve in the army as they are forced 
to do. In her treatment of Ireland, Britain 
has inconsistently ranged from extreme sever- 
ity to what seems extraordinary good nature 
and the two follow each other with remarka- 
ble speed and without apparent reason. 

The British formerly gave a man a com- 
mission in the army because of his family or 
social standing; now they give it to him 
because of his military ability, and because he 
deserves it. Britain now makes a prominent 
show of her democracy. I saw in London a 
very amusing play which showed the changed 
British point of view, and which set forth 
pleasantly how real Democracy is getting a 
hold on Britain's social life. The play was 
called "General Post" and next to the musical 
comedies it was having a good run. 

The first act is laid in 1911; the heroine 
falls in love with her father's tailor, who is a 
successful one and an officer in the territorials 
(like our National Guard) ; her father being 
one of the old school, loudly proclaims that 
there is no possibility of war with Germany 
and that the territorials are of no use ; he states 
that Germany knows that if she went to war 



112 WAR TIME FRANCE 



with Great Britain she would be wiped off the 
map in a week; the tailor, recognizing his 
inferior social status, tells the heroine he can- 
not marry her. The second act is laid in 1915 ; 
the tailor is Colonel of the territorial battalion 
in which the heroine's brother holds a com- 
mission as second lieutenant; her father is a 
private in the volunteers, father and son, being 
military inferiors to the tailor, are now well 
disposed, but not the mother, who still retains 
the old ideas of caste. The third act is laid 
after the war; the hero is a Brigadier-General 
and, for saving the victorious army at the risk 
of his life at a critical point, he is given the 
Victoria Cross and is about to be promoted 
and made a baronet; all England is filled with 
his praises; mother, father and brother are 
now anxious for the girl to marry him, but 
now the heroine refuses. Finally, by accident 
she is thrown into a position where she accepts 
him and the curtain goes down on a "bear 
hug." 

The foregoing outline hardly does justice 
to the play which was cleverly acted and 
brought home a salutary lesson to its audience. 
That such a play should be popular speaks for 
the changing British point of view. 



WAR TIME FRANCE 113 



The feeling of ordinary Britons for the 
Americans is very friendly at the present time. 
They greatly admire President Wilson and 
they now believe that he wished to be in the 
war from its inception but was held back be- 
cause he did not have a united nation behind 
him. They do not believe that he at any time 
was a pacifist and are quite ready to withdraw 
all the disagreeable statements formerly writ- 
ten and said about him. The President's notes 
and messages are eagerly read and, since our 
entry into the war, are welcomed as master- 
pieces of careful diplomacy. 

Public sentiment in the United States is 
carefully watched. The opinions of our prom- 
inent men are sought on matters affecting 
English party politics and our editorials are 
quoted at length in the English papers. In 
fact it has been said that the American editor- 
ials are more read and have more real effect 
in England than they do in the United States. 

I am constantly asked the question, "How 
do the British feel about this war?" This 
question I think I can answer. Britain is« 
determined to win this war. The new nation 
is using every ounce of its energy to utilize all' 
it possesses of people and wealth for that end.. 



114 WAR TIME FRANCE 



Britain is far from exhaustion in men or 
money. Efficiency is taking the place of 
inefficiency. Unnecessary business has been 
made to give in to the conduct of business 
which tends towards the prosecution of the 
war. Women are doing all they can to free 
men for active service in the army. Every- 
body's wealth is being made subject to the 
nation's needs. Whatever may happen to the 
individual of good or bad the war must be 
won. With that slogan, Britain is growing 
stronger each day, and her victories on the 
fields of France are a proof of the efficiency 
of her newly developed point of view. 



CHAPTER XV 

AMERICANS WITH THE CANADIANS 



It HAS been said that there are nearly thirty 
thousand Americans with the Canadians in 
the military service of Great Britain. 
Whether attracted by love of adventure or by 
more serious motives, since 1914, and until 
our advent in the war, without the knowledge 
of our Government, Americans in increasing 
numbers have been crossing into Canada to 
enlist. Most of them began as privates. Many 
of them are now officers. They have helped 
make that brilliant Canadian military record 
of which all Canadians may be justly proud. 

Many of these Americans can be found on 
leave in London and I met several of them. 
One night while I was walking on a London 
street, a young Canadian lieutenant stopped 
me and introduced himself as coming from 
Somerville, Mass. While I was talking to 
him three other Canadian soldiers stopped, be- 
cause of my uniform, and introduced them- 
selves as coming respectively from Syracuse, 



116 WAR TIME FRANCE 



New York, and Cleveland, Ohio. 

One day while at lunch in my hotel, another 
Canadian soldier introduced himself and said 
that he was from Chicago. He told the story 
of how he came to enlist. He was engaged 
to a girl of German extraction in Chicago, but 
her brother for some reason broke up the 
engagement. When war came, the brother 
returned to Germany and became an officer in 
the Prussian Guards. When the American 
heard of this, he immediately enlisted in the 
Canadian Army, in the fall of 1914, to look 
for that brother. His battalion has met the 
Prussian Guards many times, but he has never 
been able to locate him. He seemed to have 
an idea that if he could find and kill the 
brother, all obstacles to marrying the girl 
would be removed, and if he survives the war 
he could return to Chicago and claim her. 

This American was in London on leave and 
had been given hopes of obtaining a commis- 
sion before he returned to the front. He said 
that he was a scout and that his duties were 
to crawl between the lines in "No Man's 
Land" and sometimes into the German 
trenches. Previously he was with a machine 
gun squad and his duty was to run ahead of 



WAR TIME FRANCE 117 



an infantry charge firing a Lewis machine 
gun. He carried with him a diary of his 
experiences wrapped in an American flag, and 
firmly believed that if the Germans ever cap- 
tured him and read his diary, they would 
surely kill him. He also said that ninety per 
cent of his battalion were Americans. These 
men were only a few but they could be met 
wherever Canadian soldiers were gathered in 
any numbers. They are suffering in the great 
cause, for hardly a day passes but what there 
are published the names of several American 
killed and wounded from among those whose 
desire for military service could not wait the 
entry of this country into the war. 

I hope that something can be done to get 
these men into the American Army. Every 
one of them that I met said that he was home- 
sick for our army now that we are in the war 
and begged me to do everything possible to 
get him transferred. If Great Britain saw 
fit to transfer these men in a body to the Amer- 
ican Army they would form the best possible 
nucleus for our own newly forming regiments. 
If some American statesman wishes to earn 
the undying gratitude of thousands of his fel- 
low citizens, let him arrange for their transfer 



118 WAR TIME FRANCE 



to the army of their own country. 

I met another Canadian, this time really a 
Canadian, who had served in a Louisiana 
regiment during our war with Spain. Later 
I told an English officer of this incident and 
remarked that as Canada had helped us dur- 
ing our war with Spain, it was equally fitting 
that the United States should help Canada at 
this time. The Englishman's reply was, "Oh, 
I dare say that you would have won your 
war with Spain without Canadian assistance." 
He was not one of the new type of Englishmen 
developed by the war. 



CHAPTER XVI 

ON THE SOMME 

It IS most difficult to describe a battlefield 
so that another person who has not seen it can 
visualize it. Imagine a country where the 
ground has been churned and churned until 
nothing remains except churned sub-soil, top- 
soil and rubbish. Imagine nothing left but 
shell holes, smashed dugouts and graves. 
Imagine the land as lands were ravaged by 
Attila the Hun, who left nothing except the 
earth and the sky, and then one can perhaps 
picture the condition of France when the 
Germans have done their work. 

Poor France! The Somme Valley was for- 
merly a flourishing agricultural community 
with populous villages and towns, and now 
nothing but the earth and sky remain except 
where a few ruined cellar holes show the 
former location of a town or village and a few 
charred stumps show what remains of a mag- 
nificent forest. 

The town of Albert is on the edge of the 



120 WAR TIME FRANCE 



Somme battlefield where the hard fighting of 
1916 took place. Albert was not in the Ger- 
man lines at that time, but was unfortunately 
subject to shell fire from the German guns. It 
was abandoned by its inhabitants on the 
approach of the Germans. Many of the houses 
show the effect of the bombardment, and 
though a few of the inhabitants had returned 
the streets and houses seemed deserted except 
for the British soldiers. All except the few 
occupied houses were open to the elements and 
many of them in ruins. From the top of the 
steeple of the Cathedral still hung the image 
of the Virgin, since shot down, stretched out 
horizontally and showing the effect of the 
German bombardment. 

The road from Albert to Bapaume passed 
through the scenes of some of the hardest 
fighting of the Somme battle. From the road 
could be seen what was formerly Ovillers, 
Pozieres, Le Sars, Eaucourt-l'Abbaye; noth- 
ing but rubbish heaps. All along the road 
were British dugouts, British trenches, British 
barbed-wire, what was formerly "No Man's 
Land," German barbed-wire, German 
trenches, German dugouts and British and 
German graves. A few hundred yards farther 



WAR TIME FRANCE 121 



along the same scene is repeated. So it is all 
along this terrible battlefield where thousands 
of British lives have been given to win a few 
hundred yards of bare ground. I counted 
nine British tanks that had been put out of 
action and the other debris of a battlefield 
lay in every direction. The British were try- 
ing to save as many of the objects abandoned 
on the field as could be used again. This work 
is done by British Indians who pile the mate- 
rial on trains operated on narrow gauge tracks 
by American engineers. 

When the Germans retreated from the 
region they showed their diabolical ingenuity 
to accomplish the killing of men. They left 
in the abandoned territory many houses, and 
attractive things, little things scattered about, 
souvenirs, like German helmets and shining 
objects. When a British soldier touched the 
helmet or object, he would be blown up by a 
bomb. When a soldier went through a path, 
he would trip over a wire and a bomb would 
explode. When a man entered a house and 
stepped, for instance, on the first step of the 
stairs to the second story, the whole house 
would be blown up. For months afterwards 
the houses were blowing up by means of time 



122 WAR TIME FRANCE 



devices. Soon practically no whole houses 
were left. In the town of Bapaume, a big 
chateau, a landmark for miles around, was 
left intact. I never could find out how the 
British used it, but I rather imagine that a 
headquarters was there. One day someone 
moved an image in a small pagoda-like out- 
house and the chateau went up in the air leav- 
ing only a big hole in the ground. One night 
I dined with some British anti-aircraft artil- 
lery officers in a bomb-proof shelter near this 
spot. Next the shelter was the pagoda where 
the image had been. To our rear was the hole 
where the chateau had been. 

One night while dining near Peronne in 
one of the few whole houses left standing, one 
of the officers of a battery stationed near that 
point casually remarked during dinner that 
since most of the houses in the neighborhood 
had blown up there was really no telling when 
the house in which we were dining would also 
go. I really felt relieved when I got out of it. 

Anything that is likely to attract attention 
and which will blow up when one touches it 
is called a "booby trap" by the British. Dur- 
ing the following up of the German retreat 
so many British soldiers were injured by these 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



123 



traps that orders were issued to the effect that 
anyone being injured by one of them would be 
considered as having received a self-inflicted 
wound. This order somewhat reduced the 
number of casualties. 

I spent some time in Arras, which had been 
again bombarded by the Germans two days 
before I arrived. The town had been aban- 
doned by its inhabitants and most of it was in 
ruins. North of Arras is Vimy Ridge, where 
the Canadians gained undying fame. On the 
way there we passed more leveled towns whose 
names on the map alone showed where towns 
formerly existed. Everywhere were dugouts, 
trenches, wire entanglements and graves. The 
Indians had not yet reached that point in their 
cleaning. I saw everywhere German shell 
cases, relics of when the Germans held the 
ground, and German shrapnel and high ex- 
plosive, British unused three inch shells, Brit- 
ish fuse caps, British bandoleers, British cart- 
ridges both in clips and loose on the ground, 
and other things of similar nature which 
showed the later occupancy of the ground by 
the British. The German graves seemed to 
be as carefully looked out for as British 
graves. A wooden cross with the dead man's 



124 WAR TIME FRANCE 



name and regiment marks each British or 
German grave, though some of the latter had 
elaborate stones. The graves were grouped 
as if, after an advance, the bodies from that 
immediate locality had been gathered and 
buried near where the men were killed. Some 
distance to the rear, all the street signs were 
in English. Close behind the trenches, the 
signs frequently were in German. 

The British get so accustomed to condi- 
tions that they pay no attention to the proxim- 
ity of the German lines when using the roads 
in the rear. One day while at Vimy Ridge 
on the road to Lens, which town was in pos- 
session of the Germans, my guide, a British 
Major, pointed out to me where the German 
front and second line trenches were, and also 
indicated some high ground to the rear which 
he stated the British hoped soon to possess. 
It appeared to be merely a desolate waste 
upon which no human being could be seen. 
I did a lot of thinking because it seemed to me 
that if we could see the location of the Ger- 
man trenches so clearly that the Germans 
surely could see us. Intermittent firing was 
going on at the time. We walked to the 
Major's motor and went along a road parallel 



WAR TIME FRANCE 125 



to the German lines. It was broad daylight and 
a clear day. After we had been proceeding 
some few minutes, I asked a question. "Can- 
not the Germans see us?" "Yes," he replied. 
"Is it not dangerous going along like this, 
within plain sight of the Germans?" I asked 
further. "No, the Germans have not been 
shelling automobiles on this road lately; they 
will not turn their guns on us unless we get 
stuck," he answered. "But we might get 
stuck," I suggested. "That might not make 
any difference," he replied, "we would then 
have two chances : in the first place, the Ger- 
mans might not open fire after all; and, in 
the second place, they might not hit us if they 
did." 

All along the front excellent roads lead up 
to the front trenches. When the Germans are 
driven back, Indians, British workmen and 
prisoners continue the building behind the 
advancing British line. Road builders are a 
very important part of a modern army. Back 
of the trenches also are railroads. Far in the 
rear are standard guage tracks with ordinary 
trains which run to the danger zone where 
trains run on narrow guage tracks. These 
latter tracks can be built to the trenches them- 



126 WAR TIME FRANCE 



selves and handcars can save much manual 
labor. Railroad men are also a very impor- 
tant adjunct to the modern army, and it is in 
this capacity that many of our engineer regi- 
ments are doing most valuable service at the 
front. 

Nearly all supplies are brought up at night, 
and as a result the Germans put a barrage on 
the roads, in the rear of the British trenches, 
to prevent supply wagons from being 
advanced. An old soldier can well imagine the 
excitement when a barrage lands among a 
convoy of mule teams. Even such a "staid 
character" as an army mule may then show 
signs of life. 



CHAPTER XVII 

WITH "BYNG OF CAMBRAI" 

It WAS a black night with only a few lonely 
looking stars hanging low above the tree-tops 
and a feeling of hushed expectancy filled the 
damp warm summer night. It was the eve- 
ning of the day that I arrived at Albert and I 
had been invited to attend an entertainment 
being given near Bapaume by the Tommies 
of a departing division to the officers of the 
division that remained. Overhead was the 
brooding sky of the lowlands. Along the hor- 
izon, made dusky and far away by the mists, 
an occasional star-shell rose up like a sky- 
rocket and lighted for a moment the mutilated 
trees. In the field beyond the jagged rem- 
nants of a little village was a bomb-proof 
shelter in the ground backed up to a pile of 
earth thrown up by the heavy bombardment. 
As we drew up before the door we could see 
tiny cracks of light around the entrance and 
the quiet figures of British sentinels who, with 
their cumbersome equipment and their long 



128 WAR TIME FRANCE 



habituation to the life of the trenches, have 
come to seem almost part of the soil for which 
they are so bravely fighting. In the dark mys- 
tical evening they rose up like rocks or trees 
until a pleasant English voice spoke a sharp 
challenge. Within the shelter there was for 
that part of France a brilliant scene. The 
room both in size and shape resembled a hall. 
At one end a stage had been erected with space 
provided for the orchestra and camp chairs 
had been set in rows, eked out by wooden 
benches directly to the rear. In the front row 
sat Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng and 
his Generals. In the second row sat nurses, 
and back of them all the officers according to 
rank. To the very rear sat the lieutenants and 
subalterns, who added loud and cheerful 
applause to the general gaiety of the occasion. 
The orchestra was made up of Tommies and 
most of the music was American rag-time. 
Why the British soldier should respond with 
such unfailing delight to "I want to go back 
to Michigan," is a question for psychologists 
to solve. I don't suppose that one out of a 
hundred of the men who march to battle 
shouting the tune have the slightest idea where 
or what Michigan is. It is the same with 



WAR TIME FRANCE 129 



many other typically American songs. 

The show was excellent as all the per- 
formers were professional entertainers, men 
who had made a living before the war, by 
doing just such stunts in the London Music 
Halls. And from moment to moment at irre- 
gular intervals all through the performance 
there would come the distant boom of heavy 
artillery and the nearer crash of bursting 
shells. We were well within range of the 
German gun-fire but no one paid the slightest 
attention and the entertainment came to a suc- 
cessful and hilarious conclusion. As we filed 
out into the summer darkness there was a 
crash and for a moment the night was lit up 
like noon-day by a bursting shell and as a 
British officer and I motored along a darkened 
road parallel to the German lines a light sud- 
denly flared up in the field at our left seem- 
ingly only a few yards away. I assumed that 
we had been heard and that the Germans were 
firing at us, but my companion laughed and 
remarked, "That is just a flare from the Ger- 
man trenches. They are trying to light up 
'No Man's Land,' they are afraid that we 
may raid them." 

My duties led me to the inspection of 



130 WAR TIME FRANCE 



various anti-aircraft batteries up and down the 
British lines just in the rear of the infantry 
trenches. I visited one battery that had been 
pushed up well under big gun-fire of the Ger- 
mans but the location of which the latter had 
not yet discovered. The gun was concealed 
in a hollow and on either side there were the 
dugouts in which the gun crews lived. The 
men seemed fairly comfortable considering 
the usual Somme fall weather conditions and 
their proximity to the enemy. After having 
a cup of tea with the young lieutenant in com- 
mand, in his dugout, which contained a 
bureau, table and bed, captured from the Ger- 
mans, I began to retrace my steps. It was 
raining, there was almost a foot of mud and 
water in the trenches and the night was so 
dark I could hardly see a foot in front of my 
face. As I started off in the darkness, the 
lieutenant casually called out, "Oh! By the 
way I If you don't take the first road to the 
right, you will be in the German lines!" I 
am glad to say that my companion and I 
located and took the first road to the right. 

The British throughout the Somme had 
captured the ridges and commanding places 
desired by them preparatory to their next 



WAR TIME FRANCE 131 



drive. Some miles to the rear were the rest 
billets where the troops go to recuperate after 
their turn of duty in the trenches. By these 
billets were fields and it was quite a usual 
sight to see football games taking place with 
the same enthusiasm that surrounds a match 
at home. The houses of the men were made 
of iron and looked much like large sewer 
pipes except that they were flat on the bottom. 
The ingenuity of the soldiers can make them 
very comfortable and everything possible was 
done for the comfort of the men. The worst 
of the front is the monotony and to overcome 
this, public entertainments for the men and 
officers were given and much private enter- 
taining, especially among the officers. The 
British have their afternoon tea even at the 
front and I can well imagine a British Tommy 
sipping his tea at the proper time while an 
intense bombardment goes on overhead. 

In England and at the British front, I 
learned to respect the British officers that I 
met. They appeared to be earnest gentlemen 
who were giving their best to their country. 
They treated us with all the thoughtful kind- 
ness that one person could use towards another 
and they seemed anxious that Great Britain 



132 WAR TIME FRANCE 



and the United States might be drawn closer 
together. Frequently they talked of America. 
One night several officers were gathered to- 
gether around a wooden table in a damp and 
dim-lit dugout and they amused themselves 
by telling the place in the United States they 
would like to visit were they able to go. One 
selected Atlantic City; another selected New- 
port; and all the others selected Coney Island. 
The officers that one meets at the service 
schools in England, particularly, and at the 
front, may be English, or Scotch, or Irish, or 
Welsh, or Colonial, but they are going at their 
task with a seriousness and steadfastness of 
purpose that augurs well for the success of 
the allied cause. 

The interest of Americans has been directed 
toward the Americans stationed with General 
Byng's army. When General Byng sur- 
prised the Germans and everyone else by al- 
most reaching Cambrai in an attack led by 
tanks and unheralded by gunfire, it was the 
duty of the American engineers to build tracks 
and operate trains in the rear of his advancing 
army. In the Somme valley during the winter 
months, the mud is deep and the best of roads 
are almost impassible. Tracks are not affected 



WAR TIME FRANCE 133 



by the weather and are useful not only as a 
means of bringing up ammunition and sup- 
plies but also for the heavier guns which are 
brought up and fired from rails. 

Britain lacks technical men. At the begin- 
ning of the war under the vicious volunteer 
system, large numbers of technical men en- 
listed as privates in the first British Army and 
were killed in France. Today Britain feels 
the loss of these men from whose education 
and training she received no benefit. America 
fortunately has been able largely to fill the 
breach by supplying both Britain and France 
with technical men. I frequently saw these 
American engineers on the Somme. Before 
the advance on Cambrai they were industri- 
ously aiding in moving supplies to the front 
and cleaning up and sorting those objects left 
on the old Somme battlefield of 1916 which 
might be of further use. When I saw them, 
they wore their campaign hats and though 
they were within range of the bigger German 
guns, none of them that I saw, wore the shrap- 
nel helmet. The only ones that seemed to 
have rifles were sentries. When working they 
appeared to be unarmed so far as I could see. 

From my knowledge of the Somme, I can 



134 WAR TIME FRANCE 



well imagine what happened to these men 
when the Germans repulsed General Byng's 
attacks and broke through in their turn. The 
duty of the engineers was to have roads built 
and tracks laid in rear of the advancing army 
right up to the front trenches and there they 
were when the Germans succeeded in break- 
ing the British line in the region of Gouzeau- 
court. When the Germans pushed the British 
aside and smashed through their lines, they 
came upon the Americans right in the rear 
and when British reinforcements came up the 
Americans were naturally caught between the 
forces of the combatants. Without shrapnel 
helmets or rifles they are said to have escaped 
by lying in shell holes while the British fired 
over them and there they remained until the 
advancing British were near enough to enable 
them to seize whatever weapons were avail- 
able and join their ally. Until the immediate 
danger was past, these engineers served in the 
ranks with the British and helped withstand 
the German onslaughts. All of this was not 
without its cost for many of them fell and 
added their lives to the toll of the dead on the 
battlefield of the Somme. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

STORIES FROM THE TRENCHES 

THE HORRORS of war have their funny side 
if one can forget for a moment their grue- 
someness. Many wierd incidents relieve the 
monotony of trench life. Once in the Somme 
region a portion of the front trenches was held 
by a regiment that was new and particu- 
larly ineffective at making or resisting raids. 
Nearly every night the Germans raided its 
trenches and almost nightly many of its men 
were killed by the German raiders. The regi- 
ment was a failure either at resistance or at 
retaliating successfully. Finally the general 
commanding in that sector determined to 
make a change and he placed in that portion 
of the line a regiment famous for its raiding 
ability. That night the Germans raided as. 
usual but the new regiment was prepared.. 
Next morning the Germans at dawn could see- 
from their lines the heads of their late com- 
rades placed on posts along the outer edge of; 
the British trench. This effectually put a 



136 WAR TIME FRANCE 



stop to further German raiding in that portion 
of the lines. 

Another story is told about a British general 
who was only 27 years of age. Originally an 
officer of New Zealand troops, General C. B. 
Freyberg is one of the most picturesque char- 
acters that this war has developed. Once 
when the warships were going through the 
Dardanelles, he volunteered to swim ashore 
and light a flare to guide the ship, which feat 
was successfully performed. Later at the Bat- 
tle of the Somme, he led a division in a bril- 
liant charge and captured Beaucourt though 
four times wounded. He has won the Victoria 
Cross and every other reward for bravery 
given by Great Britain. In the early part of 
the war, he is said to have been bandaging the 
wounds of a German when the latter shot him. 
As a result of this treachery on the part of a 
man he was befriending, he has become ex- 
tremely bitter against the Germans and insists 
on leading in person all charges of his troop. 
Each night he prowls in "No Man's Land" 
looking for a chance to crawl into the German 
trenches and capture or kill Germans. He 
has been wounded seven times and when I 
was in England was again in a hospital. A 



WAR TIME FRANCE 137 



Major told me that a patrol frequently re- 
ported at night, "All quiet between the lines 
except for a brigadier-general prowling 
about." 

A friend of mine was driving an ambulance 
over a rough road behind the lines. He had 
with him a wounded German prisoner and a 
Turco. The night was dark, the road was 
rough and my friend was having trouble get- 
ting his car past the convoys going in the other 
direction. He felt a continuous tapping on 
his shoulder, but at first paid no attention. At 
last in exasperation he turned around and saw 
the wounded Turco cut the German's throat. 
The Turco had thought that the driver would 
enjoy this spectacle. 

Shell shock has curious effects. Once, I 
have been told, a man lay twenty-four hours 
apparently quite dead in a trench. Suddenly 
a shell burst within a few feet of him. The 
man leaped to his feet shouting, "This is too 
hot for me," and rushed to the rear. Appar- 
ently the shell, bursting so near to him, had 
reversed the effect of a previous shell that had 
seemingly killed him. 

There is another story of a man whose hip 
was broken so that he could not move from a 



138 WAR TIME FRANCE 



shell hole near the German lines. If the Ger- 
mans had known he was there, they could eas- 
ily have reached him and killed him. While 
he was lying in the shell hole, unable to move, 
a British soldier found him and stayed with 
him in the hope of eventually getting him 
back to the British lines. Each night the well 
soldier sallied forth in search of food which 
he obtained by raiding the neighboring Ger- 
man trenches. With food thus obtained, he 
sustained the wounded soldier and himself. 
For six weeks the well soldier, who at any 
time could have gone to his own lines but 
could not have returned to the aid of the 
wounded man, raided the German trenches 
and kept the wounded man and himself alive. 
One night he went on a raid as usual but did 
not return. The next day the wounded man, 
despairing of his former companion's return, 
determined to try to make his way back. He 
was making the best progress possible when 
some British going forward found him and 
brought him to their lines. The wounded 
man told the story of how he had been tended 
for six weeks by an English soldier who at 
the constant risk of his own life stayed with 
him and provisioned them both by raids of 



WAR TIME FRANCE 139 



the German trenches. The British general in 
command of the troops in that sector did not 
believe the soldier's story and directed that 
an X-ray photograph be taken of the break in 
the soldier's thigh. When the photograph was 
developed, it showed a six weeks' growth and 
malformation, which it was not possible to 
break anew. The wounded man was perma- 
nently injured but his life had been saved. 
When the photograph showed that the man's 
story was true, the British tried to find the 
soldier who had saved the wounded man's 
life so that he might be awarded the Victoria 
Cross. The man was never found. 

I have heard it said that this war has been 
full of incidents for which men were formerly 
awarded the Victoria Cross, but which are 
now matters of everyday occurrence. The 
Charge of the Light Brigade is quite sur- 
passed by one charge north of Arras, where 
the British massed thousands of cavalry for 
breaking through the German lines to follow 
up the charge that would be made by the 
infantry. The advance was ordered, the 
infantry charged and then the cavalry. The 
hope was that the German lines could be 
rolled back on either flank by pouring through 



140 WAR TIME FRANCE 



thousands of cavalry past the infantry at that 
point. The cavalry captured much ground, 
but at a fearful cost. About sixty per cent, of 
the men, and ninety per cent, of the horses, 
were put out of action. The stench from the 
bodies of the horses could be smelled in that 
sector for months afterwards. 

One of the most awful stories told me at the 
British front bears on Germany's treatment of 
her own women. Statements have been 
repeatedly made and printed in the papers of 
the United States, that Germany, realizing 
that she cannot win at this time a decisive vic- 
tory, is striving for an inconclusive peace with 
the purpose of preparing for another war in 
about twenty years. By that time, she believes 
that she can make, with her spies, all nations 
except France, Great Britain and the United 
States, impotent or her allies. The three 
countries mentioned will have lost so many 
men in this war that the ordinary birth rate 
will not replace their losses by that time. A 
British officer told me that a certificate had 
been captured which designated a certain Ger- 
man soldier to act as the official husband of a 
portion of a German city, with a provision that 
if he finished his labors in that portion by a 



WAR TIME FRANCE 141 



certain time, he should continue his duties in 
another section. Thus the normal birthrate of 
the Teutonic powers will be raised to the 
point where Deutchland Uber Alles will be 
no longer a dream. The Germans are a prac- 
tical people. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE FRENCH FRONT ON THE AISNE 

One OF the best and most respected and 
most feared Generals in all France is the com- 
mander of the 10th French Army, General 
Duchene. He has the reputation of being the 
least approachable man in all France, a brave 
and silent soldier. It was to General Duchene 
that our commission was sent in order to 
receive permission to visit the French front on 
the Aisne. French officers whom he first met 
looked at us with awe and pity when we told 
them where we were going. They were evi- 
dently sorry for any officer, and especially a 
stranger, who had to report to so terrible a 
personage. The French officer detailed to 
accompany us was almost rigid with fright. 
But luck was with us and by the purest acci- 
dent we were given an introduction to the 
General unsurpassed for absurdity. It was 
the most ridiculous accident that could befall 
three well-meaning and innocent Americans 
in the presence of foreign greatness. 



144 WAR TIME FRANCE 



We had with us a German dog, a dachs- 
hund, captured in the French raid, and being 
cared for by the French officer as a pet. The 
little dog liked us and went with us every- 
where. Although we had not intended to take 
him to call on the General, he slipped behind 
us into the ante-room where we were waiting 
for the General to receive us. We quieted him 
down and put him out of sight. We waited 
for a few moments in apprehensive silence and 
then the great doors swung open and we came 
into the presence of the man of ferocious mem- 
ory. He was standing against the mantel and, 
as we approached him, he returned our salute 
and stared at us with his penetrating gaze. 
Just at that moment there was a wild rush of 
little feet, — the General's dog, one of the 
things he loves best in life, had spied the Ger- 
man dog in the ante-room. There was a fusil- 
lade of snaps and grows and a battle royal 
began in the middle of the General's reception 
room. Before we could separate them, the 
French dog had come out victorious, and as 
we removed our mascot, in chagrin, the Gen- 
eral straightened up and smiled at us. We 
were told later, many times, that it was the 
first time in the history of the French Army 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



145 



that General Duchene had smiled. He asked 
us several questions, abruptly, but kindly. He 
asked me how long I had been in military ser- 
vice, and I answered that I had first entered 
the American Army at the time of the war 
with Spain. To forestall the possible com- 
ment about our being "ancient and honor- 
able," I added that my companion, Captain 
Wilder, was an engineer, an expert on time- 
fuses and explosives. Our answers seemed to 
please him. When we described the infor- 
mation which we desired to obtain, he directed 
the French officer with us to introduce us to 
the Chief of Artillery, who would see that 
everything possible was done for us. He then 
shook hands with us most politely and we 
departed. For weeks afterwards, we kept 
meeting French officers who wanted to do 
their best to smooth down the impression of 
fierceness that we must have received from 
General Duchene. We never told them about 
the dogs. 

All battlefields nowadays are very much 
alike. The typographical distinction of the 
Chemin des Dames, over which the tide of 
battle had poured back and forth so furiously,, 
is the long ridge which runs down the center; 



146 WAR TIME FRANCE 



of a wide and fertile plain. The Road of the 
Ladies runs along this ridge. As we arrived 
at the French front, preparations were in 
progress for the opening of the great offensive 
made by the French a few days later. The 
roads on the French side of the ridge, excel- 
lent military roads running to all points of 
importance and up to the French trenches, 
were lined with curious military camions 
filled with the Alpine Chasseurs, who are the 
shock troops of the French. The camions 
were carefully covered so that the Germans 
might not know that crack regiments were 
being brought up against them. The roads 
were camouflaged wherever they could be 
seen from the German captive balloons. These 
balloons are stationed over the trenches. It is 
difficult to reach these balloons with gun fire 
because they are far to the rear, but it is a 
favorite game for the aviators to try to drop 
incendiary bombs on the enemy balloon, 
bringing it crashing to the ground. The aero- 
plane will mount high in the air, and then 
diving suddenly, will drop a bomb. The 
observer in the balloon is supplied with a 
parachute. When his balloon is struck he 
jumps off in space and the parachute is sup- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



147 



posed to bring him safely to the ground. 
Usually it does. 

As we drove along one of these beautiful 
military roads we passed a steady tramp, 
tramp of French soldiers going to the front. 
We passed enormous loads of supplies of every 
kind for the great battle which soon followed. 
Although the camouflage made by strips of 
sheeting about ten feet high is between 
the roads and the enemy, the Germans 
take no chances of missing anything im- 
portant, and kept up a steady bombardment 
of shrapnel. As we drove along, there was a 
sudden crash and a shrapnel shell burst high 
in the air about sixty yards to our right. The 
French captain paid no attention to it. I 
eyed it with considerable mistrust. The chauf- 
feur put on a bit more speed. That was all. 

That night I spent at Battery Headquar- 
ters in a building which appeared to be an Inn, 
where a make-shift bed had been arranged for 
me in the dining-room. It was more luxurious 
than anything I had expected at the front. I 
was told that every building in the vicinity 
had been shelled by the Germans except this 
one, probably because some trees concealed it 
from the German balloons. I hoped that they 



148 WAR TIME FRANCE 



would not discover us that night. There was 
an alarm of German aeroplanes in the night, 
but I was too tired to get excited and went to 
sleep again. The next morning at breakfast, 
I learned that the Germans had tried to gas us 
in the night. 

The arrangement of a modern battle line is 
fairly clear by this time to the American peo- 
ple, but the exact position of the anti-aircraft 
artillery may not be so clearly understood. 
The extreme front facing the enemy are the 
infantry trenches. Directly behind these are 
machine guns, which not only protect the 
infantry from attack from above, but force the 
hostile aeroplane to rise high enough in the 
air to be within reach of the shells of the anti- 
aircraft guns in the rear. The machine guns, 
therefore, by firing at hostile aeroplanes, force 
them to rise to such a height that the bursts of 
the anti-aircraft guns can take effect. 

Many of these anti-aircraft guns are cleverly 
hidden from the German eyes. I visited one 
anti-aircraft gun which was set up in an 
elaborate system of trenches and dugouts. I 
remarked upon the excellence and care with 
which the trenches had been devised. "Yes," 
said the officer in charge of the batteries, "the 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



149 



trenches are good, but we did not build them; 
they were built for a field battery which was 
here for some time until the Germans got the 
exact range and put it out of existence. The 
Germans, having the exact range, do not 
believe that anyone would be crazy enough to 
come back, but here we are." 

On the sides of the trenches were dugouts 
which inside appeared to be veritable houses. 
Other dugouts were dressing stations and store 
rooms. In other dugouts, where soldiers 
lived, there were sometimes amusing names on 
signs over the doors. On a muddy road com- 
ing from the direction of the infantry trenches, 
I saw an American Ambulance driven by an 
American Ambulance Service man. No one 
seemed to pay any attention to men slightly 
wounded. I saw one man sitting on the road- 
side, with his head in his hands and a small 
pool of blood on the ground in front of him. 
He was probably on his way to a dressing 
station in the rear. 

We crossed a bridge which was covered 
with little black pieces of high explosive 
shells, showing how the Germans had tried to 
kill persons on their way across. Bushels of 
such souvenirs could have been swept up on 



150 WAR TIME FRANCE 



the bridge. We passed a farm completely in 
ruins, and I picked up a large piece of an 
eight-inch shell that had perhaps aided in 
doing the damage. There were many graves 
at this place. Proceeding further, I saw some 
objects on the ground and asked what they 
were. We were told not to touch them as they 
were hand grenades that had not exploded and 
which might explode if touched. Everywhere 
on the ground about, were fragments from 
German shells of all sizes, and other odds and 
ends of a battlefield. From our left we could 
hear the noise caused by the firing of a French 
ten-inch gun above the other noises of the bat- 
tlefield. These big guns are pushed into posi- 
tion on the battlefield by engines on tracks, 
and the guns are fired from the tracks. One 
amusing sight was that of a locomotive pulling 
a heavy train of cars and advancing down an 
ordinary wagon road. At first we could not 
make out the cause of the apparent miracle, 
but as we looked more closely we saw a squad 
of soldiers rushing back and forth in front of 
the train and laying down rails for it to run 
upon. This war has many strange sights. 

We went beyond the line of anti-aircraft 
batteries, beyond where two days before, a 



WAR TIME FRANCE 151 



mobile battery had been demolished, to a point 
just back of where the machine gun trenches 
were situated. Overhead the German shells 
were bursting, while around us were great 
shell holes where some had landed. The loca- 
tion of the German trenches could be plainly 
seen, as well as the soldiers in the French first 
line infantry trenches. We could hear the 
rattle of the German machine guns. The Ger- 
man big guns were firing far over our heads at 
the French field batteries to the rear, and the 
French returned the fire over our heads at the 
German batteries. Frequently, the Germans 
dropped large shells, called "Big Berthas," 
after the lady proprietor of the Krupp works, 
which made a black explosion about sixty feet 
high and about thirty feet across. Near where 
I was standing, the Germans began to fire 
shrapnel, and one exploded about thirty yards 
away. I heard the bang and the succeeding 
whizzing as the shrapnel balls went past. Any 
shrapnel which can be heard is apt to be all 
right. When one bursts close to a person and 
he does not hear the balls go whizzing past, 
that's the one for his friends to fear. 

At night, the firing still continues, but at 
irregular intervals. Both combatants, at dusk 



152 WAR TIME FRANCE 



and at night, shell all roads leading to the 
infantry trenches to prevent the bringing up of 
food and ammunition and other supplies for 
the men in the trenches. At frequent intervals 
during the night, both sides send up lights. 
The French flares only light up for an 
instant. The German flares light for some 
time. Rockets go up at intervals. The whole 
scene would be a wonderful pyrotechnic dis- 
play if it did not signify the slaughter of men. 



CHAPTER XX 

FIGHTING AT CHEMIN-DES-DAMES 

So MUCH has been said and written about 
the tragic side of war that those at home are 
apt to forget at times that there is no game in 
the world as thrilling as war. It is sport car- 
ried to the nth power. It is a game played by 
enormous numbers with all the resources of 
the nation to call upon, and with life or death 
the stakes. It is natural for those who come 
to look on at the war to write out its sad results, 
but one might as well try to give an adequate 
description of a dinner party by telling about 
the dish-washing as to give an impression of 
war by describing the suffering and desolation 
which follow in its wake. To one who has 
had any experience of this great game of war, 
everything else in life thereafter seems a little 
dull. 

And of all the varied phases of modern war- 
fare, none has this element of sport more 
strongly marked -than aircraft and anti-air- 
craft combat. When I was at the French 



154 WAR TIME FRANCE 



front, they were preparing for the infantry 
thrust by General Le Mestre towards Laon, 
which later brought them about eleven thou- 
sand prisoners and one hundred and sixty guns. 
Down long white poplar bordered roads, com- 
pany after company of French troops were 
marching, stoically and in silence. There was 
a sort of pathetic patience about the way in 
which they carried the heavy burden of the 
war, and yet nothing could have been less 
pathetic than their heroism, when a few days 
later, they actually went over the top. 

The sky was full of French aeroplanes, 
observing and photographing the German 
lines and getting ready for the infantry attack 
that was about to take place. Unusual hostile 
aerial activity indicates one of three things, an 
impending attack by the enemy, the relieving 
by the enemy of the arm holding the opposite 
lines, or a fear on the part of the enemy that 
you are about to attack. If no occasion has 
been given for the third situation, one of the 
other two will probably take place. If the 
hostile aerial activity is excessive, it is a sign 
of an impending attack by the enemy, gen- 
erally in about three days. 

The Germans use high explosives which 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



155 



produce black smoke, and the French use 
shrapnel which produce white smoke. As 
the French planes circled above the German 
trenches, the air was filled with puffs of black 
smoke. Suddenly, a German aeroplane 
would dart over the French trenches, and the 
French anti-aircraft guns would speak in their 
turn. It is only seldom that a plane is actually 
struck by a shell from the anti-aircraft guns. 
The enemy is more apt to be frightened back 
to his own lines. 

Each clear day this wonderful panorama in 
the air was repeated. Once I saw a German 
aeroplane fly near one of the French batteries 
with which I had been. It fired two shots and 
the aeroplane just managed to drop, appar- 
ently disabled, into the German lines. 
Because the aeroplane reached its own lines, 
these shots, which were right on top of the 
target, were called misses. Early one morning, 
two German aeroplanes tried to attack one of 
the French observation balloons. A French 
battery nearby placed a barrage between the 
aeroplane and the point above the balloon. 
The bombing aeroplane turned and gave up 
the attempt, followed by the other plane. This 
was extremely good shooting, but unfor- 



/ 



156 WAR TIME FRANCE 



tunately, the position of the French gun was 
now known. Soon after the German aero- 
plane had returned, shrapnel began to burst 
over the French anti-aircraft gun that had 
done the shooting. The crew at once called up 
their own batteries, which concentrated on the 
German gun and effectually stopped its fire. 
The next day the French changed the position 
of their anti-aircraft battery. 

The French are extremely clever at anti- 
aircraft artillery, and the German is not 
nearly so good. I have often noticed black 
puffs and looked in vain for the French aero- 
plane, only to find that it was a mile or so in 
another direction; but when white puffs 
appeared against the blue the German plane 
was never very far away. This is good shoot- 
ing, because it is considered a record to bring 
down one enemy plane for every six thousand 
shots. 

The Germans were constantly bombing the 
French towns in rear of the French front. At 
Fimes, back of the then Aisne battlefield, I saw 
three private houses in the main part of the 
town, that had been entirely demolished. This 
was the work of two bombs on one night, and 
a third bomb about two weeks later. The 



WAR TIME FRANCE 157 



smaller towns of France, near the front, had 
a hard time when attacked by aircraft. It was 
impossible to give every town an adequate air- 
craft defence because the anti-aircraft guns 
were needed at the front and in the defence of 
Paris and at other important points. As a 
result of this scarcity of guns, the people of 
the smaller towns were often forced to submit 
to bombing without being able to fight back at 
the raiders. Germany did not neglect these 
opportunities of killing helpless old men, 
women and children, and so the number of 
dead non-combatants is quite large. 

The French, however, are employing 
against the Germans the one means which 
seems to be effective in lessening to some 
degrees, German cruelties, and that is retalia- 
tion. For some time, the French have sent 
their aeroplanes over Germany, and when a 
French town has been bombed, a German 
town suffers also. This has decreased the num- 
ber of German attacks considerably. It is only 
lately that the British have employed retalia- 
tion. 

When the Germans first raided England, 
many people clamored for revenge, but the old 
element said, "Britons will never bomb Ger- 



158 WAR TIME FRANCE 



man cities with their civilian populations, no 
matter how much British cities may be 
bombed." These English took upon them- 
selves a sort of superior air of righteousness. 
Other English said, "Let us bring home to the 
Germans, themselves, the horrors of what they 
are doing and perhaps they will stop." The 
first party kept England from revenging their 
cruelties in kind during all the first years of 
the war. While I was in London, whenever 
the German aeroplanes bombed London or 
other parts of England, the British aeroplanes 
responded by going over and bombing some 
fortified city in German Belgium. Poor Bel- 
gium, it did seem to many people that she had 
suffered enough without being bombed by the 
British because of German raids while the 
German cities went free. Finally, public 
opinion became so strong in favor of retalia- 
tion, that Lloyd George promised that it 
would take place, and Britain has just begun 
effectively to show the Germans what their 
own methods are like. 

The civilian population suffers most from 
these air raids, because the infantry canton- 
ments back of all the front line trenches are 
carefully protected with anti-aircraft guns and 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



the Germans are afraid to attack them too 
often. But it is impossible to protect, ade- 
quately, every village in France, and the Ger- 
mans thus prefer to bomb the little home 
villages, and it is the old men, women 
and children who are forced to take the 
consequences. 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE CAPTAIN IS GASSED 

While I was making the observations, 
described in the previous chapter, along the 
Aisne front, Captain Wilder, in pursuance of 
his duty, had joined the French officers in the 
anti-aircraft dugouts behind the first line 
trenches. It was there that the only serious 
accident befell our party. 

The anti-aircraft dugouts are built behind 
the infantry trenches in the position that best 
affords opportunity for firing upon the enemy 
planes. The actual artillery positions are 
moved from day to day. Positions are pre- 
pared in advance, and every day, after firing 
a certain number of shots, the battery is shifted 
to one of these new positions. So carefully 
have they been arranged, that firing is com- 
menced within five minutes of arrival. The 
living quarters of the officers are some little 
distance from the guns. The dugout in which 
the Captain and his two companies were 
quartered, lay behind a small rise of ground, 



162 WAR TIME FRANCE 

sheltered by clumps of trees. It was a simple, 
bare room, almost entirely underground, 
shored up with rough planks and re-enforced 
by sandbags to protect the men within from 
bursting shrapnel. The furniture was made of 
rough boards and bits of packing cases, much 
like a rough camp in the lumber district in 
our own far West. 

It is amusing to see the way in which man 
adapts himself to the most extraordinary con- 
ditions. The French officers had been living 
in this dugout for some time, and there were 
all manner of devices whereby the little 
uncomfortable temporary room was made into 
a habitable dwelling. No nation in the world 
knows less than the French about the sort of 
thing that we call camping, and yet here were 
these two Frenchmen from the city, adapting 
themselves with enthusiasm to just the sort of 
thing that delights the heart of American boy- 
hood. Neat shelves had been built along the 
walls. Strings had been arranged so that the 
doors and windows could be opened and closed 
by the officers without getting out of bed. The 
beds were rough pine bunks, built against the 
wall. And most amusing of all, the sheets 
were made in the form of bags, as a protection 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



163 



against the ever-present cooty. If one of these 
unwelcome visitors was discovered during the 
night, all that was necessary was to get up, 
turn the sheets inside out, and crawl in again. 
The bag-shaped arrangement was a protection 
against any further annoyance. 

If there is one thing that the French do well, 
it is to maintain the amenities of life against 
adverse circumstances. The meals were served 
in this rough and make-shift dwelling with as 
much care and precision as though the pine 
table was in the dining-room of some villa of 
Southern France, and the tin dishes were the 
silver service of a gentleman. The orderlies 
brought in the meals and served them to the 
officers. Every day for dinner there were 
hors d'ceuvres, soup, meat and vegetables, 
usually a salad, and some kind of dessert. The 
French officers assured the Captain that this 
had been their fare ever since the outbreak of 
the war, and that they had almost never missed 
a meal. Like all discomforts, the inconveni- 
ences of war seem worse at a distance than they 
do upon the spot. The only indication that 
the dugout was within range of the German 
guns was the fact that when the dinner was 
brought forward from the kitchen in the rear, 



164 WAR TIME FRANCE 



two men always carried it. Instead of one man 
carrying all the soup and all the meat, while 
the other carried all the vegetables and all the 
dessert, the food was so divided that each man 
was carrying with him a complete dinner, so 
that if one man was struck by a shell on the 
way, the officers need not go hungry. 

It was a pleasant summer night, and Cap- 
tain Wilder and his two companions had gone 
to sleep. It had been a quiet day and the Ger- 
mans seemed to be resting up for some attack. 
The door of the little dugout was open to let 
in the summer-scented air, and peace seemed 
to reign over the countryside. Only an occa- 
sional distant booming sound indicated the 
presence of the enemy. In the small hours of 
the early morning, when sleep is deepest, an 
orderly appeared in the doorway and rousing 
the officers, announced the presence of gas. It 
was customary when a gas attack was impend- 
ing to close all doors and windows of the dug- 
out, and to sprinkle water over the muslin 
window coverings, which take the place of 
panes of glass. The gas commonly in use at 
that time, at the front, had an affinity for 
water, and if the muslin window curtains were 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



165 



thoroughly soaked, the gas did not penetrate 
them. 

The French officers, having instructed the 
orderly to proceed accordingly, lay down and 
went to sleep again. But accidents will hap- 
pen in the best regulated armies, and the 
orderly did not latch the door. A few minutes 
later, Captain Wilder, who had been asleep 
during all the excitement, was awakened by 
a heavy odor of gas. He found the two French 
officers with the tears streaming down their 
faces, stumbling about the dugout setting out 
pans of water as best they could. Fortunately, 
the gas had come from some little distance, and 
had been so weakened that after a brief treat- 
ment, all three men were able to resume their 
duties. But it was some weeks before the Cap- 
tain fully regained the use of his voice, and 
many months before attacks of the poisoning 
had ceased to recur. 

Of all the weapons of modern warfare, 
poison gas seems to be the crudest and the 
most infuriating. The modern soldier can 
respect an opponent who meets him with bul- 
lets or with cold steel, but the poison gas that 
creeps up in the night, suffocating and poison- 
ing him, seems to any brave man like a 



166 WAR TIME FRANCE 



dastardly and barbarous weapon. The fact 
that the allied armies have been forced to 
adopt poison gas in sheer self-defence, does not 
mitigate the anger and horror of the French 
and English soldiers against the nation which 
invented such a weapon. 



i 



CHAPTER XXII 

WHAT FRANCE THINKS 



Two QUESTIONS have been asked me more 
than any others since I have returned from the 
war zone. One of them is, "Is it true that 
France is exhausted?"; and the other, "What 
do the French think about the outcome of the 
war." There is but one answer to both. France 
is not exhausted; and France will fight to a 
victorious conclusion if it takes her last man, 
her last pound of food, and her last franc. But 
France is undoubtedly tired. For the first two 
years of the war she did far more than her 
share, owing to the almost completely unpre- 
pared condition of Great Britain. With insuf- 
ficient guns, ammunition, food, clothing, 
organization, trained men and everything else 
that makes an efficient army, France, like 
Britain, was obliged to undergo huge unnec- 
essary losses because her men were not fight- 
ing with the advantages possessed by their 
opponents. It has been said that Great Britain 
could have saved the lives of 200,000 of her 



168 WAR TIME GRANCE 



men, now dead, by having been adequately 
prepared. How many more lives of French 
soldiers might have been saved, considering 
that the French were obliged to defend a front 
originally nearly six times that of the British? 

While France sustained the main burden of 
keeping back the enemy, the British gained 
the necessary time to prepare and perfect that 
wonderful organization that has equalled, and 
is surpassing, that of the Germans ; but France 
is tired. She is like the relay runner who, hav- 
ing run another man's relay besides his own, 
needs a rest before he runs again. Give France 
a little chance to rest and she will come back 
stronger than ever. 

And it is we who are giving the French the 
necessary help. With our wealth, with our 
enormous population, with our skill in organi- 
zation and in invention, and with the glorious 
and prompt response which we have made to 
France's cry for help, there is no longer any 
doubt whatever, either as to the outcome of the 
war or as to the encouragement and moral 
support which we have given France. Never- 
theless, we must not be too optimistic. Often I 
have heard Americans speak to the French 
about events which will happen "when we 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



169 



invade Germany." And the answer is always 
the same, "It will be very difficult." When a 
Frenchman says that, he has much the same 
look of wistful sadness as when he uses the 
phrase "After the war." The French have 
fought so long and so gallantly, they have 
worked so hard and suffered so much, that the 
longing for peace with victory seems to them 
almost like something which has been prom- 
ised them in another life. 

The French are filled with enthusiasm over 
the splendid progress that we have made, and 
their expectations are without limit. One 
rather amusing aspect of this intense faith in 
our power is their firm belief that we are the 
most inventive people in the world. 

I was constantly asked, "Que fait Monsieur 
Edison?" The French would not be aston- 
ished in the slightest if the inventors of the 
United States developed a new means of war- 
fare that would revolutionize all present 
methods. In fact, they rather expect that 
something of the sort will take place. In their 
minds, they do not consider at all improbable 
that the country that produced the telegraph, 
the telephone, the aeroplane, the submarine, 
and nearly every other invention of impor- 



170 WAR TIME FRANCE 



tance, will now, when put to a test for its nat- 
ional existence, produce something of even 
greater moment. Sometimes I wondered if 
the French were already not a bit disap- 
pointed that we, to date, had done nothing 
startling. 

It had been my good fortune to be present 
as one of the officers of the guard of honor 
when the first French mission was received by 
the Mayor of New York, at the New York 
City Hall, and I heard Viviani's stirring 
address on that occasion, and saw "Papa 
Joffre," when called upon for a speech, throw 
a kiss to the cheering crowd assembled in the 
Aldermanic Chamber. It was equally my 
good fortune to be present, as a member of the 
Mayor's Reception Committee, at the banquet 
given to the members of the French and Brit- 
ish Missions at the Waldorf-Astoria. 

I frequently told French officers about the 
enthusiasm of the crowds when the French 
Mission was in New York City, and they were 
always interested. A French officer told me 
that Joffre, impressed by the obviously sincere 
welcome and intense enthusiasm of the cheer- 
ing crowds surrounding him, turned and said 
to a French officer near him, "If these people 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



171 



mean what they say, I do not need to take the 
time to ask their government for their services. 
I can get them right now to fight to a finish 
against the Germans." Joffre and Viviani 
were impressed by the sincerity of their wel- 
come and the good feeling that they have 
spread throughout France will endure. 

France has suffered terribly. With much of 
her country obliterated and the inhabitants 
taken into slavery, with her sons killed and the 
murderers still on French soil, she fights 
bravely on, unmindful of her wounds, and 
without any other idea as to the outcome of 
this war except a victory for France and the 
ending forever of the frightful Prussian 
menace that has for years threatened her nat- 
ional existence. She is determined to have 
Alsace and Lorraine, for they were French. 
Some well-meaning Americans have suggested 
that a vote be taken among the population of 
Alsace and Lorraine, to determine whether 
they should be a part of France or Germany. 
Such a test would be unfair. Throughout 
France, I met men whose families had refused 
to stay in either Alsace or Lorraine under Ger- 
man rule, and who gave up their homes in 
order to continue to live under the French 



172 WAR TIME FRANCE 



flag. Germany has done everything possible 
to drive away the French and to cause Ger- 
mans to settle in their places. There is no 
question how the real Alsace and Lorraine 
population would vote, thousands of whom no 
longer live in their old homes. Their desire is 
to be French. The new population introduced 
by Germany, of course, wishes to remain under 
the government that has awarded them some 
other man's land. The population of Alsace 
and Lorraine might vote to be French, not- 
withstanding all attempts to Germanize the 
people, but the vote, to be a real test, should 
include the exiles living in France. Many of 
these exiles are serving in the French Army at 
the risk of being instantly tried and shot as 
traitors by the Germans, if captured. One 
thing is sure: France intends to have back 
Alsace and Lorraine, and is ready to fight for 
them to the death. 

It was a dark night after a heavy battle when 
the first American troops began to approach 
the front trenches. A friend of mine told me 
that as he marched his men down a road on 
their way to their positions in the front line, 
they passed column after column of tired and 
decimated French troops lined up by the way- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



173 



side to let them pass. The column was so near 
the German lines that no one spoke above a 
whisper, and it was too dark to see more than 
vague shapes as the American column passed. 
But suddenly it became known to some of the 
Frenchmen that it was an American regiment 
going into the trenches, and the word passed 
on down the long row of waiting figures. A 
whisper, "The American Relief!", "the Amer- 
icans!!", went from mouth to mouth like the 
rustling of leaves when a wind sweeps 
through a forest. And at that, without a 
definite order, every Frenchman saluted and 
stood at attention until the Americans had 
passed. That is the spirit with which France 
is receiving us, and that is the gratitude which 
has put us on our honor to prove ourselves 
worthy of so much friendliness and faith. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



THE TRUTH ABOUT GERMAN ATROCITIES 

Most Americans do not appreciate the hor- 
rors of this war. No longer is there any of the 
sportsmanship that formerly existed in war- 
fare. It is now merely a question of how to 
kill as many of the enemy as possible. The 
days at Petersburg, in Virginia, when the sol- 
diers of the Northern Army in our Civil War, 
exchanged coffee with their enemies for 
Southern tobacco, do not exist in the present 
war. That is not Germany's method of fight- 
ing. Her soldiers are taught to hate and to 
kill. 

I confess, when I went abroad, that I 
believed that the stories of German cruelties 
were exaggerated. I though that perhaps a 
few criminals brought into the army by uni- 
versal conscription, had perpetrated crimes in 
isolated instances which should not be laid to 
the German armies as a whole. After my stay 
on the British and French fronts, I believe the 
terrible stories related to me, and what is more, 



176 WAR TIME FRANCE 



I believe that these cruelties are practiced 
with the knowledge and with the encourage- 
ment and frequently at the instigation of the 
German commanding officers. One wonders 
that human beings can be so bestial and cruel. 
From every direction the evidence is accumu- 
lating that the German excesses are part of a 
great governmental plan to overawe their 
adversaries by terrifying acts of cruelty. The 
killing of the women and children of London 
and other parts of England by aircraft, surely 
is not the work of any unauthorized persons. 
The shelling of life boats filled with women 
and children and civilian passengers, the sub- 
merging of a submarine with captives on its 
deck from whom all life preservers have been 
taken, all these cruelties must be done under 
the orders of the officers commanding the sub- 
marines. The burning of French and Belgian 
towns accompanied by a systematic slaughter 
of the inhabitants, must have been done 
because of orders of German officers present. 
On all sides the evidence piles up that the 
awful cruelties are part of a huge precon- 
ceived plan. 

In the Somme, the Germans for some time 
customarily shelled the churches on Sunday 



) 

WAR TIME FRANCE 



177 



morning, when they thought the people would 
be at worship. Hospitals are a favorite object 
of German attack by aircraft, which turn their 
machine gun fire on the men and women 
nurses with the patients they are in the act of 
trying to save. A German aeroplane will fol- 
low an ambulance and try to kill, with 
machine gun fire, the occupants and the 
driver. In the Somme, all captured inhabi- 
tants were taken into slavery, and made to 
work back of the German lines. Prisoners 
were made to work under shell fire in the Ger- 
man front trenches. In fact, the British cap- 
tured Russians who had been taken prisoners 
by the Germans on the East front, and were 
being made to work under fire of the British 
guns in the front line trenches on the West 
front. 

I was told by both British and French sol- 
diers that the Germans killed the wounded 
of their opponents and generally only take 
prisoners, in the case of the British and 
French, when a large number surrender at 
once. If a small number of British and 
French surrender, they are usually killed. 
Concerning the killing of wounded, Captain 
Ward, who talked German as well as he did 



178 WAR TIME FRANCE 



English, asked one of the many German pris- 
oners he saw, how he liked being captured. 
His answer was, "I am glad to be captured." 
In answer to the question, "How were you 
caught?", he answered: "The British will 
spare you, if you act fast. I was near the 
mouth of a dugout and when the British came, 
I got my hands up fast and they let me out but 
they threw in a bomb and killed all my com- 
rades. But I do not blame them for killing us 
when they can for we are instructed to kill all 
their wounded" 

It is a usual happening for a wounded Ger- 
man not only to shoot passing British or 
French soldiers, but also the person who has 
just bound his wounds or given him water. 
When the British make a charge, Germans 
will raise their hands and cry "Kamerad," 
and then shoot in their backs, the men who 
have just passed and spared their lives. We 
have all heard the story of the Canadian Scot- 
tish. Several of the Canadian Scottish who 
were captured by the Germans were fright- 
fully mutilated and sent back to their own 
lines. The Canadians were wild with rage, 
and when they were permitted to charge, they 
swept everything before them. As they cap- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 179 



tured the German trench, they saw another of 
their men, a sergeant, crucified with bayonets 
through the palms of his hands, and still liv- 
ing. I mentioned this to an American who 
had served with the Canadians and had been 
present when this happened, and he laughed, 
a not pleasant laugh, "One crucified," said he, 
"there have been dozens." It is said that the 
Canadians die fighting, they never surrender. 

A French captain told me that some of his 
men were taken into a building where kero- 
sene was poured upon them and they were 
burned alive. A French officer told me that 
a company of his regiment became separated 
from the others and was captured by the Ger- 
mans. Some time later the French found the 
bodies of these men in a trench, each with the 
head cut off and placed on the body, and inde- 
scribable indecendies practiced. There were 
no other marks on the bodies, showing that 
they had not been killed fighting. Their 
throats had been cut after they had been taken 
prisoners. 

A French officer told me how he and sev- 
eral of his men were taken prisoners by the 
Germans during the first of the gas attacks, 
when the gas was not as strong as it is now. 



180 WAR TIME FRANCE 



He became insensible and awoke next day a 
prisoner with seven of his companions, while 
a German surgeon was working over him. 
While he was lying in that position, German 
soldiers came in and began killing his com- 
panions. He said one French boy, nineteen 
years of age, begged the soldier, whose rifle 
was pointed at his forehead, not to kill him for 
the sake of his mother. The officer told me 
that he turned his head away when the shot 
was fired. He added that all his companions 
were killed, but he was spared, perhaps, 
because he was an officer, and perhaps because 
a German surgeon was working over him at 
the time. This surgeon was an officer, and yet 
he made no attempt to stop his men from kill- 
ing the prisoners. As the French officer said 
in his description to me, "These men were not 
killed fighting or when they tried to sur- 
render on the battlefield, they were murdered 
the day after they had been disarmed and their 
surrender accepted." 

One hardly wonders that certain of the regi- 
ments of the allies that have suffered, refuse 
to take prisoners. This is not as bad as it 
seems, for they let their adversaries die fight- 
ing and with a chance of killing them or they 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



181 



pass prisoners along to a regiment that does 
take prisoners, so that their boast will be kept 
true. 

The cruelty of the Germans has brought 
forth repayment in kind. An American, in 
the Canadians, who had been several times 
fired at by wounded Germans whom he had 
forborn killing, told me that he knew how to 
keep a wounded German quiet. I asked him 
what was his method. His answer was, "I 
just put a bomb under him and then he will 
keep quiet enough." I asked about the ambu- 
lance men, "Don't they get blown up by that 
same bomb when they try to move the wounded 
man?" "Oh, no!" he answered, "the ambu- 
lance men have four seconds to get out of the 
way." 

A French officer told me a case of retalia- 
tion by a French soldier who had seen the 
bodies of several of his friends who had been 
wounded and killed and then mutilated. A 
wounded German called for water. The 
Frenchman, crazed by what he had seen, 
seized the wounded German and hurled him in 
a shell hole half full of water and drowned 
him, yelling at the same time, "Yes, I will give 
you all the water you wish." 



182 WAR TIME FRANCE 



Many Americans have said that they have 
lived in Germany, and that they cannot believe 
that the Germans are as cruel as pictured. The 
ordinary German that they have met and 
learned to like as a friend, does not seem to be 
a heartless murderer. I, too, have lived in 
Germany, and I have liked many Germans 
and have admired the efficiency of the German 
nation. But these facts do not cause me to close 
my eyes to Germany's faults. The reason 
why the German soldiers are cruel arises from 
the point of view of their rulers and from their 
form of government. If Germany had con- 
quered the world, the men of this class would 
have been the supreme rulers everywhere. 
The remainder of the German population is 
controlled both by an iron discipline and by 
deceit. The remainder of the German popu- 
lation is what is meant by the commonly used 
term, "the German people." The German 
people were told by their rulers, when the 
German armies first moved, that the French 
and Russians had already invaded Germany, 
and that the British were in Belgium. Diaries 
of soldiers show that the ones invading Bel- 
gium, were stung to fury by their officers who 
told them that the Belgian inhabitants were 



WAR TIME FRANCE 183 



poisoning the wells and murdering their com- 
rades in other barbarous ways. There is no 
question but that these stories, with the excep- 
tion of some firing by civilians, which could 
be easily controlled, were entirely invented by 
the German officers to enrage their men with 
intent to cause them to commit excesses. 
Diaries of soldiers show that it was the officers 
who ordered their men to kill the enemy 
wounded and prisoners. In the heat of battle, 
it is very easy for soldiers to obey such com- 
mands. Atrocities provoked some retaliation, 
and this made it yet easier for the German sol- 
diers to continue as they began. 

The frightfulness begins with the German 
Emperor, who commanded his soldiers going 
to China, to spare no one, to kill all prisoners, 
to emulate Atilla the Hun, to create such ter- 
ror in China that a Chinaman would fear for 
years to come to look askance at a German. 
From his own words, his soldiers are now 
called "Huns" by the British. His Kingdom 
of Prussia has grown great by the robbery and 
forcible annexation of the territory of his 
neighbors. His throne and power are based 
on bloody wars. 

The only limit of German barbarity is set 



184 WAR TIME FRANCE 



by a fear of retaliation by her enemies. 
Recently, I was asked why Germany had not 
tried to spread disease germs, which would 
cause epidemics among her enemies. My 
answer was that Germany had tried spreading 
disease germs in Roumania, and would do the 
same thing on the West front, were it possible 
to do so, and provided that she did not fear 
retaliation. 

Germany has reduced cruelty to a science 
and her method of reasoning is much as fol- 
lows: War is legalized murder or the killing 
of as many of your adversaries in a short time 
as possible; any means to bring about the 
winning of the war are justified in warfare; 
wounded enemy soldiers should be killed 
because you are exhausting their man power 
without having to guard or feed anyone ; your 
own wounded men should continue fighting 
for they then continue to be of value; for a 
wounded man to await his opportunity and 
then kill the man who has perhaps bound his 
wounds, is all right, for he is continuing to ful- 
fill the purpose of his being in the army, 
namely, killing the enemy and to accomplish 
that end he may use any necessary artifice; the 
inhabitants may be taken into slavery for their 



WAR TIME FRANCE 



labor is needed in factories and on fortifica- 
tions; anything is justified, according to Ger- 
man opinion, which will win the war for 
Germany. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



THE ENEMY IN THE HOUSE 

It IS difficult for a Frenchman to under- 
stand the melting pot of America. It is some- 
thing new in the history of the migration of 
races. To go and live in France and to take 
out French citizenship papers does not make 
a Frenchman any more than residence in 
China would make him a Chinaman; and it 
is almost impossible for the French to under- 
stand that living in America does actually 
change the individual into an American. Just 
what quality in our civilization makes this 
possible, we ourselves, do not understand. 

In France, all men of German birth or 
descent, departed and joined the German 
Army or remained as spies in France. There 
were sons of many mixed marriages between 
French and German persons who entered the 
French Army. I was told that everyone of 
these men turned out to be a traitor to France. 
The prejudice is so great that the French 



188 WAR TIME FRANCE 



believe that no one of German origin can be 
trusted. 

In Great Britain, the situation is much the 
same. Many Germans resided in England, 
and later, they furnished the guides for many 
of the early Zeppelin raids. Others remained 
as spies. Many others claimed to be loyal and 
undoubtedly were loyal. So many of them, 
however, were not loyal, that the good suf- 
fered with the bad and Britain would trust 
none of them. The country is over-run with 
spies, and the authorities intend to root them 
out no matter who suffers. 

Even Americans who have served in the 
British or French Armies question the use of 
men of recent German origin. An American 
with the Canadians told me that in his regi- 
ment there was one man whose father was 
German and his mother English. He claimed 
to be very bitter against the Germans. One 
day, from the trenches, a wounded British 
officer was seen in "No Man's Land" and this 
man volunteered to go and rescue him. He 
crawled from the British trenches towards the 
wounded man, passed him and kept right on 
into the German lines. Thereafter the Ger- 
man guns were given the exact range of where 



WAR TIME FRANCE 189 

his old companions were stationed and, as a 
result, a Major of the regiment with a couple 
of staff officers were killed besides a large 
number of other soldiers. 

The experiences of France and Great 
Britain are due to many reasons. The coun- 
tries are not a long distance from Germany 
and it is not difficult for their German resi- 
dents to maintain contact with their old home. 
Being so close, both have many German 
visitors or temporary residents who do not 
intend to give up their German citizenship or 
to reside permanently away from Germany. 
These temporary residents keep the permanent 
residents in constant touch with Germany. In 
addition, neither France nor Great Britain 
expect a German to become naturalized. The 
European countries try to hold a citizen to his 
allegiance in no matter what other country he 
may be living. All of the European countries 
have disliked the actions of the United States 
in naturalizing their subjects. 

In the United States the situation is very 
different. America is so far away from 
Germany that most German settlers go there 
intending to remain permanently. Instead of 
expecting these settlers to preserve any senti- 



190 WAR TIME FRANCE 



ment for the land of their birth, the United 
States has naturalized them and has at once 
demanded their full allegiance even as against 
the land in which they were born. In the 
United States a divided allegiance is not 
recognized. 

This attitude has led to some misunder- 
standing. The French seriously believed, as 
late as 1915, that if we were to go to war with 
Germany we should have on our hands a dis- 
loyal element as large as our German popula- 
tion, and it is a constant source of wonder to 
both the British and the French that so many 
of our army in France are the children and 
grandchildren of German parents. They 
would not wonder if they knew more about 
our history. The first large influx of Germans 
was in the middle of the eighteenth century 
prior to our revolution. The descendants of 
these men are the same as any other real 
Americans and the only thing German about 
them is perhaps their family name. Germans 
came to this country in large numbers prior 
to and following the German unrest in the 
forties. These men and the ones who followed 
them, furnished many soldiers in the Northern 
armies in the Civil War and saved at least one 



WAR TIME FRANCE 191 



State to the Union. There is no question 
about the loyalty of the descendants of these 
men for their ancestors came to the United 
States because of sympathy for an unsuccess- 
ful revolt against the very things that the 
United States is fighting against now. Prac- 
tically no men such as these settled in France 
or Great Britain. 

Some years ago, I lived for about two years 
in a city in Prussia. Placards were posted 
urging the people to .settle in America and 
setting forth how much higher wages could be 
earned there. The placards contained the 
following significant statement of which I give 
a free translation, "You can be just as much a 
German in America as in Germany." The 
United States is a unit in believing that any 
former German who tries to carry out that 
doctrine is no American ; he is an enemy. 
Then there is another kind of German: the 
one who has come over to blow up our muni- 
tion works, to start strikes, to encourage sab- 
botage among workers, to influence us through 
our press to our damage, to get us into war 
with Mexico, to encourage a hatred for Japan, 
to stir up South America against us, to do 
anything and everything that will hurt us and 



192 WAR TIME FRANCE 



help Germany. There is a quick way of 
handling such persons used by France which 
our Government may be forced to employ. 

The United States holds a high standard for 
her citizens of foreign extraction to follow. 
Any German-American who says that he 
would defend this country were it attacked, 
but will not take any part in the war in 
Europe, is set down as offering a paltry excuse 
to this, his country. Our history has taught us 
that members of many of the older American 
families had ancestors who were Englishmen 
and who fought the land of their birth and 
won the independence of this country. The 
descendants of these men consider that it is 
not too much to ask a man of German birth 
to preserve that independence from attack by 
Germany. 

I once met a French officer who had no 
French blood in him at all. His father and 
mother were both English and had been 
brought to France when children, and he had 
been born and reared in France. He consid- 
ered himself thoroughly French. One day we 
were talking about what his attitude would be 
in the event that war should sometime arise 
between France and Great Britain. He ques- 



WAR TIME FRANCE 193 



tioned whether he would fight against Great 
Britain under such circumstances and he mar- 
veled when I told him that Americans of 
German birth were supposed to be as ready to 
fight Germany as any other American. 

Only persons who have been to the United 
States can understand our point of view. A 
young Scotch officer told me the following: 
"I visited America about five years ago. I 
stayed with an uncle in Pennsylvania. He 
and his wife were Scotch. Say, but I admire 
the sentiment you teach in your schools. My 
young cousin got talking to me about America. 
I referred to him as being Scotch and he got 
quite angry. He said he was an American 
and there was nothing Scotch about him. He 
said it made no difference from where one's 
ancestors came, if one became an American 
he was as much of an American as any of the 
oldest settlers. Why that boy was really 
Scotch on both sides and he actually talked 
like that and believed what he said. I admire 
your schools because they are teaching that a 
boy must be an American and that he cannot 
be something else at the same time, and your 
boys believe what they are being taught." 

I think that the young Scotch lieutenant 



194 WAR TIME FRANCE 



correctly set forth the American point of view. 
Nearly every regiment going to France has 
men on its rolls whose names show their Ger- 
man ancestry. Let not the loyal man of 
German extraction suffer for the sins of the 
disloyal, but when the latter is caught let him 
suffer quick and severe punishment as an 
example to all spies and traitors. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

WE HAVE COME 

WHEN THE French officers who had been 
assigned to instruct the army of the United 
States in France first inspected the regulars, 
they expected to find seasoned troops who were 
well trained and organized according to mod- 
ern theories. They found, instead, regiments 
largely composed of recruits and lacking 
a large part of the training and equipment 
required for modern warfare. 

After our army arrived in France, the num- 
ber of men in the companies was changed, as 
well as the number in the regiments, brigades, 
divisions and corps. Many supply and auxil- 
iary units had to be formed. There was no 
provision for grenadiers, bombardiers or other 
like positions necessary for modern infantry 
fighting. 

They did not have any conception of how 
to meet or how to use gas or liquid fire. Their 
method of fighting with the bayonet was at 
once abandoned for the British system. They 



196 WAR TIME FRANCE 



were ignorant of trench warfare as practiced 
abroad. To send such troops into battle would 
have been to send them to destruction. The 
only thing was done that could be done. All 
through Eastern France, towns were given 
over to the American soldiers and there they 
began to learn the modern way of making war. 

I have only mentioned a few of the troubles 
of the army when it first arrived in France. 
The persons in control of the government in 
Germany, openly stated to their people that 
it would make no difference to them in the 
war whether the United States came into it 
or not, that in military effectiveness the United 
States was about equal to Roumania. They 
stated that it was rather an advantage to have 
the United States among Germany's enemies, 
because it was powerless to fight, but could 
pay Germany's bills after it had been con- 
quered. Now all this is changed. 

The personnel of the American Army has 
saved the situation. The men of our splendid 
forces are like those of the troops of the best 
foreign regiments. Officers and men are intel- 
ligent, willing and most enthusiastic. Their 
record has shown that they will equal or sur- 
pass any of the other armies, for in spite of 



WAR TIME FRANCE 197 



their handicaps, they started with many 
advantages not possessed by the others. Not 
only have most of the Americans a fair edu- 
cation, but they have within their number 
many highly trained technical men. The qual- 
ity of the officers obtained from the training 
camps has been of the best. The conscripts 
have surpassed everyone's expectations and 
are gloriously vindicating our hopes for them. 

The American Army has the additional 
advantage of being able to learn the science of 
warfare without the necessity of undergoing 
the costly mistakes of its allies. Both France 
and Great Britain have sent large numbers 
of their best officers to the army in France to 
act as instructors. Realizing that it knew 
nothing of modern war-making, the American 
Army in France began its military education 
by first learning elementary principles before 
trying to learn the more complex ones. Slowly 
but surely, General Pershing is turning his 
men into trained soldiers. 

The American soldiers have another advan- 
tage in that their moral conditions are of the 
highest. The officers and men of the Ameri- 
can Army are worked very hard, get few 
leaves of absence, and practically never get a 



198 WAR TIME FRANCE 



chance to go to a large city like Paris. The 
painted women of Paris by censor get few op- 
portunities to get at the Americans. The 
greatest encouragement to immorality was the 
excessive pay given to the American enlisted 
soldier in France. The French private sol- 
dier received five cents a day while the Ameri- 
can private soldier was paid thirty dollars 
a month or approximately one dollar a 
day. It was practically impossible for a soldier 
to spend legitimately the French equivalent of 
thirty dollars or one hundred and fifty francs 
a month, and General Pershing sent to the 
United States a request that his men be not 
given so much money. As a result of his com- 
plaint, a soldier is now made to save a part of 
his pay, or if he has a wife or family, a part 
is paid to her or to them for her or their 
support. 

The foreign armies marvel at the abste- 
miousness of the Americans. Wine is issued 
to the French soldiers as part of their ration. 
The British soldiers are issued rum. Our 
soldiers are encouraged not to drink at all. 
The soldiers of the other nations do not admire 
the non-drinking of the American soldiers; 
they rather look upon their point of view as 



WAR TIME FRANCE 199 



something queer in a person who otherwise 
is very sensible. 

I told many French and British soldiers 
about the sixth division of the National Guard 
with which I was stationed on the Mexican 
border during the summer and early fall of 
1916. I told an English Lieutenant-Colonel 
that during its tour of duty on the border, the 
commander of this division had prevented 
all its men from drinking and with the 
co-operation of the civil authorities had closed 
up all the vice resorts, and as a result his men 
were morally good in every way. His com- 
ment was "Poor fellows!" 

The discipline maintained by General 
Pershing is very strict. He believes in watch- 
ing for and correcting small defects, and he 
does not hesitate to set right any person no 
matter who he may be. The officers and men 
are afraid of him, and with good cause. The 
General has decreed that no married officer 
may have his wife in France. No soldier will 
be permitted to return to the United States 
unless on duty, or unless his term of active 
service is at an end. Every officer going to 
France does so for the duration of the war. 
The officers and men of the American army 



200 WAR TIME FRANCE 



are worked hard, but they are cheerful and 
are looking forward to their turn at the front. 
Foreign officers marvel at their aptitude and 
good nature in their work. In the American 
army camps in France the seriousness of the 
war is fully appreciated and the success of 
our troops in battle shows the result of their 
careful training. 

But we must not relax for an instant our 
efforts at home. We are going to win the 
war, because we are doing the one thing neces- 
sary to win it. We are sending abroad over- 
whelming numbers of troops and supplies. 
Our troops, young and fresh, are more than 
a match for the Germans, man for man. 
What we have to fear is the German organi- 
zation. If we will put into the field, as we 
easily can, twice as many troops as are opposite 
to us on the western front the victory will be 
won with comparatively small loss of life. 
When the Germany army does break it will 
go all to pieces. Practically ever German 
who can carry a gun is on the west front 
while women and prisoners do the work at 
home. The British Army cannot supply 
surplus troops. Their armies are scattered 
throughout the globe. We alone can furnish 



WAR TIME FRANCE 201 



troops until we out-number the Germans two 
or three to one. When that happens, Germany 
will collapse and there will be no further 
question of dealing with the Kaiser. The 
fighting on our front has shown that our men 
are anxious and eager to get into the fight, 
whereas the armies of all the other belligerents 
are tired of the war, the Germans no less than 
the French and the British. But we are 
fresh, we are young and we will win the war. 



2 
A 



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Form -to 




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