1919

1919-1-10 – Großmaischeid, Germany

reference to letter written the day before 

cost of living references

 “Y” Army of Occupation stationery  w/ cover

from:  Serg. C.M. Cummins, Hdq. Co. 324 F.A.

[something][flound?]

to: Mrs. Olive Cummins, New Waverly, Indiana, United States

postmark: U.S. Army Post Office MPES 734, 1 11 19 [looks like the ‘9’ is upside down]

censor: A.E.F. passed as censored 1399, O.K. and signature handwritten

Großmaischeid, Ger., 1/10/19.

My dearest Olive:

Just a line or two today. I said something about sending some money to you and now I have the money order for the letter. I am sending 100f or $1824. One hundred f is equivalent to 1834 but the money order cost 10¢. This will pay your board three weeks, get you a couple pairs of shoes, or some new clothes, all depends on what you most need. It is not so very much but it all counts in time.

I wrote you a long letter last night and nearly wrote myself out. Took a bath today. They have a shower apparatus fixed up here which very well serves this purpose.

We are going to get some mail today and maybe my Xmas package is in it. That box is certainly delayed somewhere, but others have not yet received their. Had a very good dinner today. boiled beef potatoes with jackets gravy and coffee.

 I have a good bed to sleep in.—a feather tick for a cover. That is something I never saw in America. They do not seem to have much use for covers like ours here. We also have a food stove in our room and plenty of wood to burn. Really we have but little room to kick—only the eats do not at all satisfy me and it would be much better home. It is an anxious time for us all, but such is life in Germany. It was an honor for us to come into Germany but that is wearing off now and we would consider it more of an honor now to say howdy to the Statue of Liberty.

You can consider this a belated Xmas gift. Better late than never.

 Yours affectionately,

Clyde

1919-1-13 – Großmaischeid, Germany

Cover:  AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION ARMY OF OCCUPATION (in black and white)

Return address:

C.M.Cummins

Hdq. Co., 324 F.A. Germany

 to: Mrs. Olive Cummins

New Waverly, Indiana,USA

Postmark:
U.S. ARMY POST OFFICE MPES 734 (734 is preceded and followed by a figure “X” with a vertical line through it)
Censor mark: PASSED AS CENSORED (unreadable) OK, Matley (?), Lt. F.A.

Großmaischeid,  Ger. 1/13/19

My dearest Olive:

Just a line this evening, principally to tell you that I received your Xmas package in good shape. Everything was in excellent condition and just the things I wanted. The tubs of medicine will go very well, but I have not been troubled with the sore throat very much this fall and winter. I used it on the boy’s boils today.

I forgot to tell you that you used good discretion in sending what you did. Some of the chocolate drops were smashed just a little but the enough to hurt anything. The handkerchief was there also. There could not have been anything taken from it, because the box was full.

They are having a calls in elocution here now, led by the chaplain. I hardly think that I will go.

All the boys here in the P.O. received boxes and we all made a division. I was last to receive mine.

I would like to make a trip down the Rhine sometime. They are grating passes and I would go if I could go with some one that is interested in the things that I am.

 I have not had any cooties, but some of my associates have in fact three of the boys in the P.O. have had cooties. Hardly feel like a veteran without the cooties. It may be my inspections have not been close enough.

Will close,

Yours lovingly,

Clyde

1919-1-9 – Großmaischeid, Germany

Small, BW YMCA stationery, ‘Army of Occupation’

Großmaischeid,  Ger. 1/9/19.

My dearest Olive:

Had three letters from you today, dated from the second to the tenth of November, and you can rest assured that they made me feel good. Your picture in front of the school building was good. Lon G. [Green] also wrote me a letter containing some home pictures. One of home, one of mother, one of himself out bicycling. One of bear den park and one of Loyd’s home on the Kinsey farm and they all made me feel much better. You hardly know how we boys appreciate pictures from home.

By the way the P.O. force had their pictures taken again yesterday and if we are successful in getting them, I will be sure and send you one. Do not know when we will get them.

Too bad about the schools being close so long, but they being closed against the teachers’ wills, I should think would entitle them to their full pay. Any other arrangement would be unfair to the teacher, and I think they will receive their pay in full. It is different in your case where you had to pay your board as though you were teaching. You were ever there waiting for duty to call you.

In regard to those French children, let the French take car of their own. We have done enough for them, and now out services are needed at home. Somehow the mid of the American soldier towards the French is entirely different from civilian feeling. the American soldier has but little use for most French soldiers, and will deride and ridicule them on the least occasion. To be truthful the soldiers from America like Germans just as well as the French. Perhaps all this is due to the skillful tact of the Germans. They are naturally a hospitable sort of people, and sometimes we think that perhaps there might be a diplomatic reason for all these accommodations and privileges given us. Maybe they think that if they change their attitude towards us they will receive better peace terms.

Be that as it may, as for myself and most to whom I have spoken, I have great respect for most Germans. Of course it is here as in America there are different sorts of families. Insofar as the neediness of the French in concerned, that is mostly uncalled for. France is not in such a critical condition that she cannot take care of her own orphans. In fact they have said themselves that the American soldiers should not give to those begging children whom we say on the streets in French towns. We are not troubled in the least with that here.

I thought that your judgment in purchasing your dress was good. I always liked the blue color. You will certainly need some summer clothing of some sort, and that is forthcoming. You should not stint yourself, and get what you desire. We are going to lay aside several hundred for the year. What did mother day she is doing with the money I allotted? Think she bot some war saving stamps.

Tell you what I think would be a good plan in the teacher’s favor and that is extend the term one month and pay the teachers for straight time. How would you like such a plan. to be honest with you, it seems that I will hardly be home before the middle of the summer. Have been reading some of the General March’s and Wilson’s statements about A.E.F. plans and they sound distant to me, insofar as getting home in a few weeks is concerned. Some of the boys are rather blue about the situation, but most consider it as a matter of course and take things as they come.

I spend considerable of my time in reading now, when the mail business is not so flourishing. The “Y” has come to the front now since the war is over. I bot a bar of chocolate from this evening. We have a man with us now. all during our stay on the front we only saw a Y man one or twice. They are starting an educational scheme here and have been after me as a teacher, but I consider that since the Y men are receiving a minimum salary of $2000 that I should not be required to do their work on $44 per month. Most of their work is common school work. All of that dope they are telling you about, perhaps is taking place back near Paris, but not among the men of the Army of Occupation. We most deserving of all, because we stood the blunt of hardships. I hear that all those who were actually under shell fire are to have a distinguishing badge of some sort, and I hope such will be the case. By the time I am decorated my clothes will be nearly covered with comparatively worthless insignia.

You ask if I will be excited by people making over me when I return home. The way I have it figured is that by the time we return the U.S. will have forgotten we were in a war. So I am not worried a mite about being spoiled.

Well a fellow came in and he talked all my thoughts away.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

1919-3-29 – London, England

Plain 4-fold stationery

75 Bethune Road, Stoke Newington N. London England    3/29/19

My dearest Olive:

I realize that I have not written you as promptly as I might the last few days, but certainly you knew by now that I was in England—“Merrie” England. away from sunny France.

I have no class Saturdays. this morning took a walk with Mr. Snyder to get the answer from his cablegram sent a week ago and to be sure we succeeded. He is buying a new military uniform with his money. Guess I will do with what the government gives me now since I hope not to be in the uniform long.

None of the boys are home this evening, which leaves ne all to my lonesome. I just finished reading a part of Leslie’s. I am reading English magazines too. I am pretty much an Englishman all around now. I suppose you can hardly understand my English when I return.

I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday. Do not like the architecture of it so much as Notre Dame, or the Cathedral in Cologne. Of course the style of architecture is entirely different. One Roman and the other Gothic. Also saw where Lover Goldsmith was buried. You would be surprised to see “Old Curiosity Shop” the place where Dickins made famous. I is only a very small, two story concern preserved on the corner of a street.

I also visited to tower of London. Many things of interest there. the King’s and Queen’s jewels. Saw the largest diamond in the world, old armor, executioner’s block, where Anne of Boelyn and another of Henry VII’s wives was beheaded. Saw the small dungeon like cell where Sir Walter Raleigh was kept for several years, until he was beheaded.

I read some English history this P.M. to refreshen my memory while in the right atmosphere. I want to go out to Stratford some of these days to see William’s stamping grounds. After next week I will have a vacation of two weeks. I am learning so much in a thousand ways about people and things, more that than my studies. I suppose that after we get down into regular work next term the University work will be more interesting.

I think of you very often Olive and wish that I could see you and talk with you. It seems ages since I have heard from you.

Lots of love,

Clyde.

1919-4-16 – London, England

Stationery: ON ACTIVE SERVICE         YMCA logo on left, inverted triangle on left [as much of his memoir]

London England     4/16/1919

My dearest Olive,

I did not write you yesterday. Wrote one letter to Cecil Bedell. I want to by all means keep in touch with them if I can. You know that I have had one letter from them, but none lately. One of the boys has received word direct from New Jersey since he knew that he was assigned to London Univ, so I suppose I will hear from you within a day or two now.

 I drawed my pay the other day and was also reimbursed for my room and soon I will be getting my ration money, which will be over fifty dollars. Think that I will have that within a day or two now. Had I known that things would come my way as soon, I would not have sent for any money. Think that I will not need any of it. You see I am to get 300 a day for my expenses and I do not need all that for board and room. Expenses are not high here, since I stay around the Y so much. You know that the Y is operating two or three big hotels here now, besides a number of very valuable huts. I loaf mostly about Eagle Hut, since it is so convenient for me. King’s College, as you already know, is immediately across the road from the hut. Our hut here is really a hotel because it has all the aspects of one.

eagle hut

I went to the house of Parliament this morning, hoping to gain entrance to the house of commons, where George was to report on the Peace Conference this afternoon. Having received no encouragement., I crossed the street and entered Westminster where I had attended the memorial service for the American soldiers about a week ago. [there are memorial cards apparently from this service in our documents] I meandered about there under the leadership of a “Y” man for about an hour and a half, and saw the remembrances of English History from Edward III to the present time. Saw the Longfellow bust which Irving speaks about in his sketch. You know he says something about the Poets corner in his description of Westminster Abbey. I will go back there again sometime and take a directory book with me and then I can get more out of it. One can easily spend a half day there.

I think that I told you that I had gone to the Ambassador’s office a couple of days to get tickets to parliament to day, but some members of the embassy were going to use them.

Between times I am trying to write a few experiences of my life since I left Camp Sherman to the present time—just for my own enjoyment in later days more that than anything else.

So far I have written about 80 pages long hand on my journey to Bain de Bretagne. Now I must write of my experiences there. It will be interesting for you to read when I return. I enjoy doing it. I have used that diary book you presented me before leaving and know very much what I did those days, and by associating the dates with places I can recall many little thing which we were doing.

I wanted to go to a play this P.M. but the people of England, outwardly are far more religious than we and unfortunately many of the play houses are closed. The Shakespearian dramas begin soon now.

I may take a notion to go to Ireland during last two or three days of vacation and if I do so, I will miss quite a number of things in London. This is certainly an interesting span. Moreso than Paris.

My telling you all this will maybe make you fell homesick for entertainment too. I am only fortunate these few months that is all and I am certainly glad that I got to come. All of the boys are enjoying themselves here.

Ha! I must go and have a venereal inspection to-morrow. Army rules require that every month. that will spoil the most of my morning.

This is enough for this time. Don’t you think? I will be hearing some now how you took my coming to England.

Yours affectionately,

Clyde

[end of document]

Following the U.S. entry into World War One in April 1917 and subsequent shipment of American soldiers to France for active duty, servicemen’s centres were established throughout the world but most notably in Europe.  This had been initiated a week earlier with the publication of a General Order (#26-II-1) by U.S. Commander-in-Chief General John Pershing.

Published on 28 August 1917 it affirmed that the Y.M.C.A. would “provide for the amusement and recreation of the troops by means of its usual programme of social, physical, educational and religious services”.

Perhaps the most famous of the servicemen’s centres was the so-called Eagle Hut opened in London on 3 September 1917.  Operated by the Y.M.C.A. the centre, staffed by some 800 voluntary personnel, offered overnight accommodation and food for American servicemen passing through London.

The centre additionally helped with arrangements for London sightseeing tours and entertainment.  Turnover was heavy: in February 1919 alone 134,566 meals were served.  The Eagle Hut remained open beyond the armistice, finally closing its doors on 25 August 1919.

Many other such centres were operated worldwide, each funded through a combination of public government and private subscriptions.

1919-4-26 – London, England

Stationery: “with the colors” (Flag in red and blue on left, “Army and Navy Young Men’s Christian Association “With the Colors” in the middle, and YMCA logo in red and blue on right)

London, England., 4/26/19.

My dearest Olive,

Well I had my first direct letter from the States yesterday. It was written Apr. 12, and took thirteen days to come. That is very good time. I have never gotten the one that was sent to the British University Hdqrs. I suppose it will be forwarded to me in time. I took from the letter that you wrote in Logansport that you had sent money also in a previous letter. Oh! well why talk about it? It will find me in a day or two.

I meant for you to send the order by the Reg. U.S. Postal money order, since it would have been much cheaper. We have an Army P.O. here. What did the international ones cost you? I had an idea that they were very dear. I thank you for your trouble. Think that I will need no more. Got 12£ from the Gov. this morning.

I am glad that you saw something about getting a place for me. Not much use in my trying this far away, just now. You can keep me posted from time to time. However you go ahead and get you a school and when I return we will at least be safe for some sort of an income. I can take your place and you can darn my socks.

I saw a play “Going Up” last night. A sort of an airplane plot. I was not so very well satisfied with it.

Mr. Ludders and I have met. You rember [sic] about our meeting at Waverly. If I have to take an examination I am sore afraid that I will have to do a little reviewing. Are the papers examined by the State or County Supt.?

I think that I should at least get the $150000  per year. Go and talk with the gent—that sort of a school would suit me very well. Do they have much athletics?

I may be home for two or three weeks vacation anyway before school begins.

This is rather an odd day. One minute it rains and another the sun is shining. I wore my raincoat and am prepared for any sort of weather. I have had a cold for a couple of days, but I think that I will feel O.K. in a few days.

I suppose that about now you are having you H.S. commencement and are feeling entirely free. You did not tell me where you were going when school closes.

Do not know that I will do to-morrow.

Yours lovingly,

Clyde

1919-6-10 – London, England

Stationery: folding “With the Colors,” “Soldier’s Letter” in the stamp corner, addressed to Mrs. Olive Cummins, Freeport, Ohio, U.S.A, in bottom left hand corner at an angle: CM Cummins, 75 B. Road, London, Eng.

London, Eng. 6/10/19

My dear Olive:

Tomorrow I will be able to put on another wound [?] stripe for overseas service, altho I do not care so much about it.

Just wrote a letter to Unc. David [there is a David, brother of Buchanan] thanking him for his services, etc. Have a class this afternoon and must attend. I am getting more ourside the class than in. Did I tell you that my glasses are quite an aid to my eyes.

I am tickled to death to think that we are near our home. Somewhat deferred—but.—Saw one of my old roomies—Mr. Johnson—my Chicago mate. He was in ordnance dept here in London, but tells me that he leaves today. We had quite a time thinking of ye old times.

There is no use writing me letters which will arrive after June 30th since after that time I will be on my way. It take your letter 12 to 14 days to come. I may telegraph you when I land, but do not look for it. I am likely to walk in on you in the middle of the night. Will close.

Lovingly,

Clyde

1919-6-11 – London, England

Stationery: folding “With the Colors,” “Soldier’s Letter” in the stamp corner, addressed to Mrs. Olive Cummins, Freeport, Ohio, U.S.A, in bottom left hand corner at an angle: C. Cummins, 75 Bethune Road, London, Eng.

London, England 6/11/19

My dearest Olive,

Just a line to you before I depart for home. You know that I have not been writing to you so much lately, but it is not because my heart is not in the right place. I have written some very long letters interesting? and uninteresting—and perhaps I do write about as much as you at that.—Slam [?] no. 1.

Yesterday evening had a comp ticket to “The Luck of the Navy.” I was not particularly stuck on it. I expect that if the English knew I left before this conclusion, it would be a long time before I get another complimentary ticket.

Now this afternoon, I went to Harrow-on-the-Hill—a public shool [sic] for the training of the elite of England. Was favorably impressed with the staff, buildings, etc. It is something after the style of Eton and Rugby. Have been thru Rugby two or three times but never stopped to see the school.

They are having quite a wrangle in the Senate now, and what with the widespread strikes! What is the word coming to [?] anyway? Shall we have the peace before July 1? I doubt it. I am afraid that if they continue putting it off that the Big Four might get into a wrangle and then what? Enuf of the world. I do not mean that I have enuf but I mean that I am going to quit discussing such now.

Had tea with the head master to-day—a Ph.D. and an Oxford man. He seemed to be quite democratic and congenial and treated us royally. As the Englishman would say! I had a ripping good time.

I like to write on this paper, so I use it in preference to the other even though is it not trimmed.

Will close.

Yours Lovingly,

Clyde

1919-6-12 – London, England

Stationery: folding “With the Colors,” “Soldier’s Letter” in the stamp corner, addressed to Mrs. Olive Cummins, Freeport, Ohio, U.S.A, in bottom left hand corner at an angle: C. M. Cummins, 75 Bethune Road, London, Eng.

London, England. 6/12/19

My dearest Olive,

Just another line or two. You will be disappointed if I do not write to you often. I did think of visiting the British Museum again this afternoon—but just saw a movie ad fell that it is most too late now. I have been getting mail from you the first of every wekk. Guess the ships do not come in but once a week.

I wrote a letter to the government about some land in Mont. yesterday. Am just feeling about to get what information I can about different places.—not that I am going to take advantage of them immediately at all.

Thot something of going to Stratford-on Avon today, but rain yesterday, and it may be fixing to do the same thing today. We have not had a good rain now for about 3 weeks. the crops need a good rain.

I which that I were home. I would try and make arrangements for a house for us to live in, in Norway. We may have to board for a few weeks, but I would rather be settled at once, if possible. If we could only get a few furnished rooms for awhile, that would be very good. I asked Geo. in my letter about a place to flop. Think that it is most time that I am hearing from him but suppose that we will write later. I did not send any word to Galveston—that was the Indiana place, wasn’t it? Had a notion to cable them that I would not take less than $1700 but decided not to do so. In regard to your fruit proposition, spect that it will cost as much to have it shipped as it would cost on the spot. What about it? Well I am at the end of this page.

Yours lovingly, Clyde

Did I tell you that we have orders to leave here July 1. That is we are ordered to be ready to leave. We may have to go by way of France thru Brest.