Paul Rademacher's Diary
Company A, 310th Engineers, 85th Division, U.S. Army
July 11, 1918
Left Camp Custer
July 21, 1918
Left Camp Mills Sunday morning, 4 o'clock, for depot. Took ferry boat up Hudson River to pier. Stayed in New York harbor until Monday morning 9 o'clock. Sailed with a fleet of 16 boats, some torpedo boats and a lot of submarine chasers. Saw 3 observation balloons out in the ocean anchored on ships. Had calm weather for 5 days - got a little stormy then. Was awful sick the entire trip.
Saw the doctor 5 days on the boat. Did not eat the entire trip. Saw flying fish and salt water sharks on the ocean. Met the British convoy fleet Wed. night. Saw 3 airships helping and searching for submarines.
August 3, 1918
Got in Liverpool Saturday morning, 3:30 o'clock. Got an early breakfast and rations for 24 hours. Started feeling better. Got in dock about 10 a.m. and waited until 6 o'clock before we got off to march to the depot til 1 a.m. Sunday morning was very tired. Got to our camp about 20 miles away from London at 8 a.m. Sunday. Camp Cowshoot is at Brooktown. A bunch of Canadian aviators sailed on our ship with us. Canprian was the name of our boat. Saw many strange sights in Liverpool. All houses and buildings are built of brick or stone.
The railroad cars are very small and light, about 40 men to a car when it is jammed. All the boys were making fun of the cars. Doors are all at the sides, 5 doors on each side. There were 5 different compartments to our car, with 6 and 8 men to a compartment. Freight cars are only about 10 ft. long with only 4 little wheels. Passenger coaches have six and eight wheels, looks as if England was about 100 years behind times. Locomotives are only small engines and very plain and simple. They carry no headlights and have an open cab. The engineer has no levers to pull, but just turns the throttle and everything else like a wheel. Talked with an engineer at the depot for a long time and he showed us how everything worked. He has been running a train for the last 28 years, and claims those engines can travel 75 miles an hour with those light cars.
The street cars are very small in Liverpool, smaller than the Charlotte street cars, and are painted white and look comical. People cheered us wherever we went. We stopped at Birmingham and the British government gave us all a cup of tea - of course I had two cupfuls. Very interesting scenery all along the line - mostly all buildings are built of red brick sandstone and all have tile roofs. They use a lot of bicycles in England - common to see little girls and ladies ride them. The wagons are very small buggies, only have two wheels. The country is populat4d all over. No fences, just trees and hedges instead of fences. Looks very pretty.
August 4, 1918
Got in Camp Cowshoot at 8 a.m. Had to march from the Brooktown depot to camp, about a mile through a small village with just 1 street about 6 blocks long - but pretty. Passed a small canal which runs to London. The camps are very pretty and are surrounded by trees. The camps are in different places about 3 or 4 companies together and each surrounded with trees. A little strip of woods runs along side here and are just loaded with blackberries, but not ripe yet. More berries growing here than I ever saw. Lots of holly growing here too. The trees look pretty and have green bark. Looks like moss or else painted green. They are very pretty.
Wrote a letter Sunday afternoon to my Marie, but can't mail it yet because there is nobody to collect them yet. British soldiers had a meal cooked for us when we got here, and hauled all our barracks bags to our camp. Their trucks are smaller and lighter than ours. Saw one Ford car today. The first American car since I'm here. We aare the first American troops in this part of England, and visitors come here looking us over, kids of all kinds hang around and ask for pennies. We can buy anything with our money here, but not with Canadian money, it's no good here.
British troops occupied these camps before we came here. There is a target range not far away and all kinds of trenches dug here. British soldiers pass here all hours of the day, some stop and talk to us. They tell us their experience on the front. Some of them are crippled. They are all fine fellows and are interesting to hear and talk to. We are not allowed to leave the camp for some time, maybe as long as we are here. We sleep in tents here, 8 men to a tent. The tents are only half the size as those at Camp Mills. We sleep on the ground. We were issued a rubber poncho to lay on the ground to spread over our blankets.
August 5, 1918
Monday morning. Got up at 5:45. Had first reveille since we left Camp Mills and started drilling again. I'm feeling much better today, but went to the doctor again. (Brookwood) Started eating more and feel stronger. We don't get coffee here - just tea - and I don't like it. But the cook is trying to get some coffee. Hope we get it soon, because we haven't had a cup of coffee since we left U.S.A.
Co. G, E, and F are somewhere in Southampton, England. Just Co. B and C are here with us. A Co. of Infantry arrived here last night at 11 o'clock - 339 Inf. of Camp Custer. The newspapers are very small and short here. They consist of only 2 sheets and cost 2 cents. Learning mounting guard rules this afternoon, expect to go on guard any day now. The people here are different than home. They don't dress very stylish and aren't as good looking.
August 6, 1918
Tuesday. Our whole squad went out on pass from 12 noon untill 12 Wednesday noon. Had a little drilling in the morning, started to rain a little at noon. Shaved. washed, and dressed before dinner and left at half past one. Did not know where to go. Borrowed a dollar from a friend and had an awful time changing our money in a small village like Brookwood. Finally cashed it at the depot. Bought two post cards, but could not mail them. Went to a tea room and had a little lunch. Walked up and down that village a few times and then made up my mind to go to another village a half mile away. There was nothing to see, so we came back and went to another direction.
Found a big cemetery about 500 acres. It sure was some place, the prettiest cemetery I every saw. Walked through there for about an hour. Saw where a lot of British and Canadian soldiers were buried. After that, we kept on walking and came to another village. Bought a few peanuts there, but they were not roasted. The British don't roast their peanuts. There were two saloons in this village, but are open only during noon hour, and after six o'clock at night till 9:00. Did not care to go into them. The sides of the roads are lined with blackberry bushes and are loaded with berries, but not ripe yet - wish they were tho.
Went back to camp at 7 o'clock for a little rest and went back to Brookwood. Stayed in the depot till 10:30 p.m. watching the trains. They have 4 tracks and a train passes here nearly every 5 and 10 minutes to and from London. Very few trains stop at this station. Saw a bunch of British soldiers leaving for France from this depot. All of them have seen 3 years service already and were home for 3 weeks. They were all from London, but had to meet at the British camp close by here. Talked with a lot of the boys. They sure could talk about the war, and they all praise up the American soldiers there. And they are all glad that we are helping them or they would of been lost. They all were feeling happy, singing and laughing. There were a bunch of us Americans watching them leave and everyone wanted to shake hands with us, and offered us cigarettes. They weren't satisfied until we took one from every soldier. I sure had a lot of hand shakes that night. Some of them were wounded and some went through some awful big fights. We were talking war with them all the time. Went to British camps in the afternoon and watched them at drilling.
August 7, 1918
Wednesday. Drilled in the fornoon. Had to go on guard at 11:15 until 12 a.m. next day. Was supper guard over 5 prisoners. It was my first experience on guard.
August 8, 1918
Thursday. Had off. Washed my clothes, shaved, and took a walk to Brookwood at night. Was very tired.
August 9, 1918
Friday. Drilled all day.
August 10, 1918
Saturday. Had inspection at 10 a.m. - passed everything. Drilled in the afternoon.
August 11, 1918
Sunday. Went to mass at the 339 Infantry camp. Mass was held out doors and the band played during mass. Lot of boys went to communion. Was a nice walk through the country. Stayed in camp in the afternoon and wrote a letter to Marie. Borrowed a stamp to mail it. Went to Brookwood after retreat to mail the letter.
August 12, 1918
Monday. Was called for K.P. duty, got through at 7 o'clock, did not have to stand retreat, was tired and stayed in camp at night. Saw about 28 searchlights shinning over London last night. Watched airoplanes all day today. Heard that 2 submarines followed our fleet for 4 days near England. Claim that 1 was sunk and 4 prisoners were taken on the battleship. The other sub escaped.
August 13, 1918
Tuesday. Drilled all fornoon. Sham battle in afternoon. Lessons in knot tying. Had a headache all afternoon. Stayed in camp at night reading Mouse's (Marie's nickname) letters. 50 of our company went to London this p.m. on a pass until Wed. morning. Fare was 55 cents round trip. Would like to go and see the city, but haven't got a cent, and don't care to borrow any.
August 14, 1918
Wednesday. On barbed wire detail all day. Record 29 minutes 150 ft. entaglements. Stayed in camp at night.
August 15, 1918
Thursday. Drilled part of the forenoon. On detail at 9 o'clock. Carried new supplies to camp, Russian guns, bayonets, gas masks, steel helmets, cartridges. Expect to go to Russia soon for 9 months work. Afternoon, lined up for new guns, bayonets, gas masks. Stayed in camp at night.
August 16, 1918
Friday. Drilled all day. March drill after retreat until 8 p.m. Stayed home at night.
August 17, 1918
Saturday. Inspection at 8 a.m. Shaved, got dressed, fixed full pack bayonets on rifles. Had tent pitching till noon. Off in the afternoon. Wrote a letter to Marie, tore it up because I didn't think it would pass censure. Stayed in camp all night.
August 18, 1918
Sunday. Reveille at 7 o'clock. Had to wash all clothes and packs. Shaved - not allowed to leave camp. Expect to get paid today. Will issue caps today. Could not go to mass today, because no one was allowed to leave camp. Another inspection tomorrow morning with tents and full packs. New list of equipment on board. Going to get new underwear tommorrow - woolen 3 suits. Have to turn light underwear in tomorrow morning - same with socks. Expect to get fur overcoats and caps before we go to Russia. Going to write a letter to Marie this afternoon.
Sunday afternoon We were issued 3 suits of heavy underwear, 3 pairs of wool socks, 1 heavy sweater coat, 1 overseas cap, 1 first aid kit, 1 fur woolen gloves, 1 box shoe grease. Turned in all other light clothing. Retreat at 3 p.m. Stayed in camp at night.
August 19, 1918
Monday morning. Had general inspection by Major of Infantry 339. Foot inspection at noon. After dinner, lined up for pay - got $9.16. Paid my debt of $1.00 to Prast. Bought some supplies for myself. No drilling in the afternoon. Stayed in camp at night.
August 20, 1918
Tuesday. Physical exercise in the morning for an hour. Went to British gas school for gas lessons. Could not get right size mask. Drilled part of the afternoon. Retreat at 6 p.m. Went to Brookwood with Brown at night. Bought some fruit and soft drinks and took in the sights.
August 21, 1918
Wed. Morning. Went to gas school again. Stayed there till 12:30 p.m. and could not get fitted out. Drilled part of afternoon. Had no retreat at night. Everybody allowed to be out till 11 p.m. Took in British carnival at the British camp at night, but did not sped a cent. We were paid off in British money.
August 22, 1918
Thursday morning. Reveille at 6 a.m. Breakfast at 6:30. Went to gas school again, got right size mask and passed through the school. Got back to camp at 2 p.m. Had dinner and then drilled for an hour, there were 15 of us. Rest of company are out on a hike this afternoon - 10 mile hike - got out of that easy. Our barracks bag left Wednesday morning. All we have is our full pack. Expect to leave any day now. One of our campany men shot himself this morning. Taken to the hospital. May recover, bullet hit 3 other men, but not serious. Damaged 3 guns in the same tent. Stayed in camp after retreat.
August 23, 1918
Friday morning. Drilled all morning till 11 o'clock, then got ready for a hike after dinner. Dinner at 11:30. Started on hike with full packs, helmet, and gas mask at 1 o'clock. Got back at 3:30. Walked 40 minutes with gas mask on. Entire trip about 8 miles. Foot inspection after hike. Retreat at 6 p.m. Lesley Handy died of gun shot.
August 24, 1918
Saturday morning. Breakfast at 5:30. Got ready for general inspection at 8 a.m. - tent inspection at 10:30 - dinner at 12. Off in the afternoon to wash clothes for last time before we leave. Shaved and washed. Had to sleep with clothes on tonight as everything is gone. Handy was buried this afternoon. 1 squad of our company carried him. 2 squads of English Engineers followed with 1 bugler. Fired 3 volleys and then blew taps. Lots of flowers were sent to him. Captain and 1st Sargent went along.
August 25, 1918
Sunday morning. Reveille at 7 o'clock. Breakfast at 7:30. Got everything ready to leave in the morning. Dinner t 12. Cleaned up the grounds after dinner. Got rations for 24 hours to take along. Rained nearly all afternoon. Expect to leave at midnight - no retreat tonight. The boys all happy - singing and playing. Looked at all of Marie's pictures and read all her letters I have from Camp Mills for the last time.
August 26, 1918
Monday morning. Left Brookwood at 2:15 a.m. Monday morning. Co. A, B, and C and 339 Infantry. Was very tired from waiting. Passed London. Arrived Doncaster 8:10 a.m. Changed engines Monday. Arrived York 9:30 a.m. Monday August 26, 1918. Had cup of tea from the British Government. Arrived at Tyne dock at 3 p.m. Marched through the city to the boat dock. Boat not as large as Grampian, but cleaner. Our company has the best part of the boat. We are the only company who have bunks. The rest sleep in hammocks. Meals are better on this boat - everything tastes fairly good. I'm feeling fine on this trip so far. There are only 4 boats in this fleet and 4 torpedo destroyers escorting us. Our boat is loaded with ammunition, skies, bicycles, and 9 months supply of food and everything. Saw a lot of seals out in the North Sea Tuesday night. Had fire call at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
August 28, 1918
Wednesday. Got up at 7 o'clock (Steamer Tydeus) The sun is out and the water calm. Fire call at 10 o'clock. Dinner at 12 o'clock. Sick with a headache all afternoon. Supper at 5 o'clock. Sea getting rough. Went to bed early.
August 29, 1918
Thursday. Got up at 8 o'clock with a headache - did not eat breakfast. Fire call at 9 o'clock. Went to bed again till supper time. Had a little lunch for supper. Went to bed after that.
August 30, 1918
Friday. Got up at 7:30, had a little breakfast, feeling a little better. The Artic ocean very rough. Torpedo destroyers returned home Wednesday night. We are sailing alone. Fire call at 9 o'clock. Notice from the Captain that we can only write 1 letter on the boat and not mention where we are going. Going to write to Marie in a little while. Wrote a letter to Marie until dinner time. Have a little headache yet. Dinner at 12. Slept all afternoon. Supper at 5 o'clock. Went to bed early.
August 31, 1918
Saturday. Got up at 6:30. Breakfast at 7 o'clock. Fire call at 10. Dinner at 12. Feeling fine all day. Played cards all afternoon. Still sailing in Arctic Ocean - sea calm. Supper at 5 p.m. Played cards after supper till 10 p.m.
Sept. 1, 1918
Sunday. Got up at 7 o'clock in time for breakfast. We are sailing south now in the White Sea. Heavy fog this morning and cloudy. Heard Grampian was sunk on return voyage after we got off. Two men died on boat aside of us and were buried in the sea. Going south east. Dinnerat 12 o'clock. Slept all afternoon. Supper at 5 o'clock. No fire call today. Met 4 mine sweepers and 1 cruiser about 7 o'clock. One of our boats followed cruiser in western direction. Rest of our boats with 4 mine sweepers going south. Boat stopped still for a long time during night.
Sept. 2, 1918
Monday. Labor day. Got up at 6:30. Breakfast at 7:30. Fire call at 10 o'clock. Dinner at 12. No land in sight yet. Supper at 5 p.m. Expect Marie starts teaching today. Played cards at night for awhile.
Sept. 3, 1918
Tuesday. Got up at 6 o'clock. Land on east side of our boat, nothing but hills covered with snow. Very cold this morning. Breakfast at 7:30. Fire call at 10 o'clock. Saw dozens of sailing vessels while going through the straits. Started to rain at 9 o'clock. No more land in sight since 11 o'clock. Expect to reach port Tuesday noon. Feeling fine. Dinner at 12 noon. Had a very fine dinner. Gun inspection tomorrow after fire call. Supper at 5 p.m. Had a very bad headache all night.
Sept 4, 1918
Wednesday. Got up with a sick headache at 7 a.m. Land in sight on west side. Reached the mouth of Dvina River at 8 a.m. Saw one sunken vessel at mouth of river, mast and stacks above water. Sailed up river and reached Archangel at noon. Lot of fishermen at mouth of river and a lot of big lumber mills along the river. River very wide. Boats and vessels of all kind along the river, thousands of them. Anchored at Archangel, all 3 boats. Won't get off until tomorrow.
Will have a parade Thursday morning in town but probably won't be able to go along account of kitchen duty. Expect somebody to take my place. Archangel is the best town we struck since we crossed the ocean. It is a very nice and clean city. Many nice churches with gilt steeples. 2 English cruisers lying in river near us and 1 torpedo destroyer and 1 French battleship. I'm feeling a lot better tonight. Anxious to get off boat and see the town - it sure is a pretty sight. We are anchored in the middle of the river. They have electric cars and saw some automobiles on the streets from the boat. The streets are a lot different than in the cities at home.
Sept. 5, 1918
Got up at 6:30. KP for the day. Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Sailed further up river and tied down to docks. Dinner at 12 - Supper at 5:00p.m. Our company and Infantry got off after supper. 12 of us had K.P., staying on boat until morning, rest of company marched away to someplace for the night. Raining pretty hard. Saw a lot of American Bluejackets from Battleship Olympia. Railroads are similar to those in England. Saw a load of American artillery docked along side of us. British, Russian and Franch soldiers around the docks watching us. Steamer Nagoya and Samali with us. Some companies of Inf. left tonight by rail to somewhere, all in box cars. Bought a loaf of bread for a shilling tonight from the cook. Expect to cross the river tomorrow morning.
Sept. 6, 1918
Friday. Got up at 6:30 a.m. Had breakfast on boat. Worked about 1 hour in kitchen on boat. B Co. came to boat early this morning to help unload boat. Did not have anything to do all day. Was watching the boys unload. Had dinner at 12 on boat. Taking it easy all afternoon on boat.Got orders to pack up at 5 o'clock and be ready to go to barracks. Had lunch before I left boat. Arrived at Russian barracks and made my bunk. Very warm and strong barracks. Double windows and double deck bunks. The boys trading tobacco for Russian money. People have lots of money, even all the young boys. But can't buy anything because the stores have nothing to sell. Money not worth much, about 12 cents to a rubble. They give us 10 rubles for 10 cigarettes. Slept good the first night here.
Sept. 7, 1918
Saturday. Got up at 7 o'clock. Most of our Co. went on guard today. Went out taking in sights and got out of guard duty. The Russian people get rations from the British here, but not enough. They eat anything we give them. They can't buy any food here. Russians trying to steal food from warehouses. Strong guard put on at night to watch the Russians. Bolsheviki airoplane captured in ARchangel. Was forced to land because of motor trouble. 2 were taken prisoners. Went down to the dock to see the captured airoplane this afternoon. American made machine. No good drinking water around here, everything has to be boiled. Went to bed early.
Sept. 8, 1918
Sunday. 10 of us were detailed to get wood for the kitchen today. Worked till 4 o'clock. No mail for us yet. Expect a fleet of transports this week - hope we get some mail. There are a few French and British troops up here doing a little fighting. We are the first American troops in this part of the country. One Frenchman told us he had to wait 35 days before he got his first mail. One company of American Inf. went to the front the first day we landed to relieve the British and French. They had their first battle yesterday. Nobody was killed nor taken prisoner. Lot of Bolsheviki prisoners taken by the Americans.
Sept. 9, 1918
Monday. Got up at 5:45 o'clock. Reveilled at 6 o'clock. Breakfast at 6:30. Detailed to haul fire wood all day - whole company. Supper at 5 o'clock. Took a walk down to the dock to watch unloading. Went to bed at 10 p.m.
Sept. 10, 1918
Tuesday. Rise 6:45. Breakfast 6:30. Hauled wood all day. Supper at 5 o'clock.
Sept. 11, 1918
Wednesday. Got up at 6:45. Breakfast 6:30. Hauled wood until 10 o'clock. Dinner at 10:30. Went on guard at 11 o'clock a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 12, 1918
Thursday. Had 2 hour sleep during night. No trouble on guard. Rested in afternoon Thursday.
Sept 13, 1918
Friday. Got up at 5:45. Reveille at 6:00. Breakfast at 6:30. Went to work at 7:00 rebuilding a barrack for a hospital. Dinner at 12:00. Work at 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Supper at 6:30. Went to village at night until 10:00. Nothing to see there.
Sept. 14, 1918
Saturday. Rise at 5:45. Reveille 6:00. Breakfast 6:30. Worked 7:00 to 11:30 - 12:30 to 5:30. Supper at 6:00. Went to bed early.
Sept. 15, 1918
Got up at 5:45. Reveille 6:00. Breakfast 6:30. Worked all day today 7:00 to 11:30 - 12:30 to 5:30. Tired at night - went to bed early.
Sept. 16, 1918
Monday. Got up at 5:45. Reveille at 6:00. Breakfast at 6:30. Worked at hospital 7:00 to 11:30 and 12:30 to 5:30. Supper at 6:00. Took a walk to village at night.
Sept. 17, 1918
Tuesday. Rise 5:45 - Reveille at 6:00 - Breakfast at 6:30. Worked at hospital 7:00 to 11:30 - 12:30 to 5:30. Supper at 6:00. Went to bed early.
Sept. 18, 1918
Wednesday. Rise 5:45 - reveille 6:00 - breakfast 6:30. Detailed for kitchen police 18 squad. Had a good time with Russian kids hanging around the kitchen.
Sept. 19, 1918
Thursday. All day on hospital
Sept. 20, 1918
Friday. All day on hospital
Sept. 21, 1918
Saturday. All day on hospital
Sept 22, 1918
Sunday. Reveille at 6:30, breakfast at 7:00. Worked all day around barracks. Went to bed early at night.
Sept. 23, 1918
Monday. Fixing barracks all day
Sept. 24, 1918
Fixing barracks all day
Sept. 25, 1918
Sept. 26, 1918
Thursday. Detailed to lay out timbers for blockhouse up the line.
Sept. 27, 1918
Friday. Worked in the morning on the blockhouse and loaded the parts on cars for shipment. Off in the afternoon. I was chosen with 15 others to go up the line to build blockhouse. Got ready to leave at 6 o'clock, but train did not leave untill 8 p.m. All of us slept in box car all night. Stayed overnight in a town up the line a ways.
Sept. 28, 1918
Saturday. Had breakfast on box car. Did not get to our destination until 12 o'clock noon. We built the blockhouse at a big railroad bridge crossing a river. Took three days to build it. Everybody worked hard. Slept all 3 nights out doors in my pup tent. Raining every night and cold. We were well armed. Everybody with 100 rounds of ammunition. did not have any trouble while up there.
Oct. 1, 1918
Tuesday. Got back Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Left at 2 p.m. Put up blockhouse in record time. 16 ft by 21 ft.
Oct. 2, 1918
Had all day off. Raining all day. Got our first mail since we left U.S.A. at noon today. 8 letters from Marie dated July 21 - Aug. 9. 1 from Nellie, 1 from home, 1 from Margaret and Alice, 1 postcard from my cousin Frank Becker.
Oct. 3, 1918
Worked on warehouse in stockade all day. Wrote a letter to Marie tonight in our new recreation hall.
Oct. 4, 1918
Worked all day on warehouse. Wrote a letter home tonight.
Oct. 5, 1918
Getting two more blockhouses ready. Got sick this morning. Laid off this afternoon. Suffering with a bad headache.
Oct. 6, 1918
Sick again. Went to see doctor this morning. Was sick all day.
Oct. 7, 1918
Monday. Sick again. Two different doctors looked at me. Probably will have to go to the hospital if not better by tomorrow. Headache left towards night.
Oct. 8, 1918
Headache coming back on me. Supposed to go up the line to help build those 2 blockhouses. Sargeant from 339 Inf. awarded military medal for bravery at front. Lots of Bolshevik prisoners coming in every week. U.S. boys doing good work at the front.
Oct. 9, 1918
Oct. 10, 1918
Oct. 11, 1918
Building warehouse. Got a lot of jam from wagons passing by from boat.
Oct. 12, 1918
On warehouse again. All day.
Oct. 13, 1918
Reveille at 6:30, breakfast at 7:30, inspection of rifles at 9:30, dinner at 12 noon. Went to Archangel in afternoon. Stayed till 6 o'clock. Saw a lot of sights. War boats of all different nations anchored in the river here. Supper at 7 o'clock. Went to bed early.
Oct. 14, 1918
Monday. On warehouse. Finished at noon. Afternoon cutting timbers for 6 more blockhouses for up the line.
Oct. 15, 1918
Tuesday. Same as Monday afternoon.
Oct. 16, 1918
All day on blockhouses again.
Oct. 17, 1918
Thursday. On blockhouses again. Wrote a letter to Marie at night, because was not able to write for about a week. Expect to go up the line tomorrow morning to build another blockhouse. Had off in afternoon to get ready.
Oct. 18, 1918
Friday. Reveille at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30. Issued a rubber poncho to take along. Left to go on train at 8 a.m. Had dinner on car. Got to our destination about 3 p.m. Started to build bridge so to carry our stuff across valley. Finished before it got dark. Had supper in woods at 6:30 p.m., after which we pitched our shelter tents for the night.
Oct. 19, 1918
Saturday. Got up at 6 o'clock. Started to build blockhouse. Worked hard all day.
Oct. 20, 1918
Sunday. Snowed hard all day but did not stop work. Was very wet and cold that night and had to sleep in the open tents every night.
Oct. 21, 1918
Monday. About 6 inches of snow laying and starting to freeze. Nearly finished with blockhouse at night. About an hours work in the morning. (size 16x20)
Oct. 22, 1918
Tuesday. Finished house at 8 o'clock and had to wait for our train till 11 o'clock to go back. Made big bon fires every day to keep warm. Rode back in coach with a lot of Russian soldiers. Got back to camp at 4 o'clock. Did not shave or wash the 4 days we were gone. Washed and shaved before supper. Supper at 5:30 p.m. After supper went down to the bath house and took a good warm bath and cleaned up, all of us. Expect to go out to the front soon.
Oct. 23, 1918
Wednesday. Had the morning off. Worked unloading scow loaded with lumber. Went to bed early that night, - tired.
Oct. 24, 1918
Thursday. Loading cars with lumber all day for barracks to be built at the front for the 2nd platoon.
Oct. 25, 1918
Friday. Cutting out 4 more blockhouses.
Oct. 26, 1918
Saturday. Cutting out blockhouses in morning. Loading them in afternoon on cars.
Oct. 27, 1918
Sunday. Loading on cars some of blockhouse and building bunks in 4 box cars for crew going up Monday eve. Finished about 5 o'clock. All going up the line. To have off tomorrow to get ready. Will be issued winter clothes before we leave.
Oct. 28, 1918
Monday. No work today. Went down to Quartermasters shed. Issued heavy fur lined overcoat, white winter shoes (Shackleton boots - 2 sizes, small and large), heavy socks, sleeping mitts, muffler, fur cap, leather vest, 2 suits, heavy shirts. Went to canteen in afternoon. Got supplies to take along.
Oct. 29, 1918 - March 21, 1919
Left barracks about 8 a.m. for cars. The boys took 3 bags of flour, 1 bag sugar, 2 boxes bacon, to the cars to take along with us. Left about 9 o'clock. Got about 25 miles from the front by night. Stayed there on side track over night. Left next morning about noon for 455, where we made our headquarters. Built 4 blockhouses at 458 and then 4 at the front 444.
Heard heavy artillery bombardment all morning Thursday from the Bolsheviks. They made an attack but were stopped by one platoon of American Infantry with heavy losses. Americans lost 1 killed, 3 wounded. Everything was quiet when we worked at blockhouses on the Bolsheviks side. Our artillery, which was back of us a half a mile, shot 2 days but did not get an answer. Our airoplanes flew across the Bolshevik line and were bombarded heavily. One of them was forced down on account of motor troubles and was damaged.
Found a lot of 3 and 4 inch shells in the woods. Some did not explode. Lots of trees shot down from shell fire and railroad bridges blown up. Found a lot of cartridges along the line and in the woods which were left behind. We had a special train that took us to work in the morning and brought us back to 455. We slept in box cars.
We came back Nov. 22 on Saturday. Had off that day and Sunday. While at the front we never had a day off. Had to work several nights and one night we were called out to a wreck at the front, on the railroad. One Russian was killed and 17 were hurt. We built 2 blockhouses on our way back at a little town not far from the front. We were 36 men up at the front from our Co.
When we got back we started fixing box cars for troops for the Winter. The boys stole 22 cases of whiskey from the stockade the night before Thanksgiving, most of the boys were all drunk Thanksgiving Day and the day after. I did not touch a drop. Had off Thanksgiving day. Worked all day the next Sunday and every day that week. Was K.P. twice this week.
Worked at Isagokorka for (?) weeks building a bridge 375 ft. long, 50 ft. high. Worked at 581 2 months building 17 blockhouses. Stayed in box cars there. Came to Bakaritza twice from there.
March 22, - March 24, 1919
Left Bakaritza on March 23 for the river front. Rode to Nomerskaya on railroad first day. From there we walked behind sleighs. First day we covered 24 1/2 verst, ( Russian mile ) and stayed there in billets. Started early in the morning again and covered 23 verst. This brought us in a village. We found shelter in different farm houses. Next day we covered 30 verst, which brought us to Emexkoe, quite a nice little village with a very beautiful church situated on the Dvina River.
March 25, 1919
We stayed in that town all day today, Tuesday March, - I don't know - think it's the 25th of March. This town the Bolos passed by and never touched on their retreat from Archangel. Co. K 339 Inf. is stationed here. Just one platoon for rest. Doing guard duty. Co. K is pretty well crippled, about 150 men left in their Co. Spent part of the afternoon and evening in the Y.M.C.A. here. Two different rivers empty into the Dvina at this village. Going to leave tomorrow morning for next town. All the boys were very tired when we arrived at this village. We still have about 100 verst to cover to the front. Most of our company are up there already.
March 27, 1919
Walked 22 verst. Stopped in a village at night and slept in farm houses.
March 28, 1919
Friday. Started early and walked 18 verst without a stop. Got in a village at 1:30 p.m. and had the rest of the day to ourselves, except a little guard duty. Bolos attacked this town the night before and lost heavily, about 35 dead.
March 29, 1919
Saturday. Started at 7:30 and walked 15 verst. Met 4th platoon of our Co. in a small village fortifying the town. Lots of Cossaks in this town and Russian soldiers. Going to travel 32 verst tomorrow to Beriznik, the end of our journey as far as we know now. All the boys are tired from walking. The English all ride on donkeys. Reached Beriznik at our Headquarters building early in the afternoon, after an early start in the morning. Part of our company here, part of 5th platoon and 4th platoon, and a lot of Headquarters platoon.
March 30, 1919
Sunday and nice weather.
March 31, 1919
Monday. All day rest. First little thaw we had this year, lasted about an hour.
April 1, 1919
Tuesday. Worked here a little today because we could not get any Russkies to take us to the Kitsa front. 19 of us are going. Four 5 pt. 9 guns came up with us. Big fire in this town last night. Woke us up at 1 a.m. to be ready. Going to leave this morning, 19 of us altogether, for Kitsa front. Picked out all the biggest men. 10 airoplanes in this town going up daily. Two more bombing planes expected here soon. Y.M.C.A. in this town. Can hear the artillery at the front from this town, about 40 verst away.
April 2, 1919
Left Beriznik after dinner and rode 16 verses to Gushvaga where we billetted overnight. A lot of Scottish troops in this town.
April 3, 1919
Left Thursday and arrived at Little (Malo) Kitsa at noon. Traveled 16 verses. No civilians living in this town. Everyone had to get out. Can hear the machine guns and artillery every day from here. Going to start work tomorrow morning. Built two machine gun replacements the first week. Vaga River is 1500 ft. wide here. Water on the river. Snow nearly all melted away the last 4 days. Expect it all to be gone in a week.
Artillery bombarding every day, and airoplanes going over every day. Expect to move to Malo Bereznik tomorrow on account of the river breaking up, or we won't get over. The Allies are going to retreat to this town in a few days on account of the front being on the other side of the river and can't get over for a long while when it breaks up. They brought 2 guns here from the front and they have a 5 point 9 gun here which they fired yesterday for the first time.
I'm in charge of a bunch of Russkies building a dugout on this side of the river. We have this town pretty well fortified, with marchine guns in nearly every barn or house. We got nearly 50 bushels of potatoes in this town out of pits which we found. They expect to burn down Kitsa and 2 other towns close by on of these nights before we retreat. There was a small pox epidemic in this town. There are a lot of houses marked where we aren't allowed to go into. Dead cats, dogs, sheep, and calves lying all around in this town.
April 16, 1919
Sunday. Moved across to Malo Bereznik. Worked in Little Kitsa for 3 days. More when the ice get to break up. Worked all day Easter Sunday. Raining all day. Building dug outs here. They retreated from Kitsa to this town early this morning, so the front is at this town. The snow is nearly all gone now.
April 17, 1919
Monday. Worked all day. Bolos attacked this town between 5 and 6 o'clock. They had 2 machine guns and fired from across the river. Many shots hit our billet, but did not hit anybody. Our troops answered back with machine guns and trench mortars. The Bolos withdrew. We had to work all night to fortify our billet. Next morning they attacked again, no damage, but you could hear the bullets coming over. We worked all day. We sent out a patrol today and they met with the Bolos and had a fight.
April 22, 1919
Worked all day and part of the night, which we have to do every night, till all the work is done. The British Infantry is helping us. We seem to get along fine with those boys. They work good and sing and talk all the time. The Canadians are taking care of the artillery up here. The Bolos attacked this town again tonight and we sent over some 18 pounders at them. Could see where they landed from the billets.
April 23, 1919
Wednesday. Worked all day and till 11 o'clock tonight. A Russian patrol met the Bolos at noon, right across the river from us. We could see them fight. 1 of the men was hit and we could see him being carried away. The Bolos haven't brought their artillery close to this town yet, so we have a chance to finish our dugouts before they start. We expect them to fire any day now.
April 24, 1919
Thursday. Worked on dugouts with English Inf. 7 airoplanes flew over the front and dropped bombs on the Bolos. 1 airoplane was lost on account of motor troubles. Our artillery shota while today. Worked till 1 p.m. Night.
April 25, 1919
Friday. On dug outs all day and half night. Talked with Canadian artillery. Lots of ice going down the river. Our big gun fired on a Bolo town, way back of the line.
April 26, 1919
Saturday. Worked all day and half night. Bolo patrol visiting us every day, but we are used to it. 2 Bolo patrols fired at each other and wounded some of their own men. One artillery active.
April 27, 1919
Sunday. Worked all day, off at night. Went to bed early to get some sleep. 2 Bolo patrols met again and shot at each other by mistake across the river. Our artillery opened up on them.
April 28, 1919
Monday. Worked all day and half of night. Bolo patrol shelled our town again from across the river.
April 29, 1919
Tuesday. Worked all day and half of night. Bolo snipers again active.
April 30, 1919
Wednesday. Worked all day and finished 2 dugouts. No work at night. Bolos firing with artillery at our airoplanes. Did not sleep all night.
May 1, 1919
Bolos opened a heavy attack on our town at 4:30 in the morning with their artillery and launched a big Inf. attack in the afternoon, and were defeated with heavy losses about 3:50. They shelled for 12 hours steady, our artillery answering back. We took 7 men, slightly wounded. Half of our village is burned down from the shell fire. Bolos used 8 aims.
We were in dug outs with hardly anything to eat untill the afternoon, shells bursting all around us. Part of our platoon lost all their blankets and equipment in the fire. One Bolo gun put out of commission. Had an awful headache from the shells bursting all around us. About 80 Bolos lay dead along one part of our barbedwire, machine guns got them. We got 36 prisoners and a lot of ammunition out of the attack. We lost about 600 trench mortars in the fire and a lot of ammunition. Worked all night building another dugout.
May 2, 1919
Bolos opened again with their artillery, but made no attacks. Did not sleep all day, and worked all night again.
May 3, 1919
Bolos shelled this town again. The first sleep I had for 3 days and nights. Going to work tonight again Only 250 troops holding this town. About 2,000 Bolos attacking this town.
May 4, 1919
Did not sleep all day, Bolos bombarding this town again. Worked all night on dugouts. 1 English soldier was killed today by shrapnel fire.
May 5, 1919
did not sleep all day again. Bolos bombarded this town for 17 hours steady. Had to stay in the dugout all the while, with hardly enough standing room. 6,000 shells fired in this town and 4 houses burned. About 5 more houses standing in this town. 2 of our dugouts burning. Had a big Bolo attack at 9 o'clock tonight. After the artillery let up, we had to line up for fight. The Bolos were defeated again. 1 English soldier killed, 1 wounded. After the battle we had to go in front of the trenches and repair the barbed wire which was pretty well shot to pieces.
May 6, 1919
Just got through making a little dugout for myself on a side hill to sleep in today. Bolos are around here sniping again. Going to bed now, for how long, I don't know yet........ Had a good sleep today. Bolo shelled this town for a little while. 7 p.m. Bolo plane came over visiting us, no shots fired. Worked all night. Bolo prisoner came over and gave himself up, but was shot in the leg. We had him all day in our dugout, got a little information out of him.
May 7, 1919
Went to bed early. Can't sleep because our artillery is active. Bolos are quiet. 2 Allies gunboats her bombarding. Worked all night on barbed wire on the front lines.
May 8, 1919
Little artillery action on both sides. Worked all night on wire detail on front lines. Bolos sniping early in the morning.
May 9, 1919
Had a good sleep today till noon. Our planes flying over the lines. Breakfast at 9 p.m. NO Dinner, supper at 4 a.m. Worked all night on wire detail on front lines.
May 10, 1919
Bolos sniping in the morning. Slept until noon. Our artillery active again. Worked all night on wire detail
May 11, 1919
Sunday. Slept from 3 a.m. till noon. Had snow all night and was freezing. Daylight at 2 a.m. Expect to leave here soon. Relief coming up. Our gunboat went up the river to the front line for the first time and shelled the Bolo line.
May 12, 1919
Worked all night on wiring. Bolos shelled a little
May 13, 1919
Moved all our equipment into the woods from there with wagons, 3 verst down the river. Crossed the river on a river boat and then marched back up the river 3 verst to Little Kitsa, across from Malo Bereznik. Arrived here at 12 p.m. Co. F 339th Inf. are here with us. Had a half day off to clean up. Worked in the afternoon with the Inf. boys. We eat with the Inf. (17 of us here). Worked all night on wiring on the front lines.
May 14, 1919
Slept all morning. Worked in afternoon till 9 p.m. In charge of a detail of Inf. boys building a dug out.
May 15, 1919
In charge of dugout detail of Scots. General Richardson here this afternoon. Gun boat went up river and shelled the Bolos.
May 16, 1919
Snowed all day, worked on dugouts with Scots.
May 17, 1919
Bolos patrol sniping. Bolos opened fire with artillery. Stayed in dugout. Worked in morning.
May 18, 1919
Worked on dugout all day in charge of Scots. Bolos artilery active.
May 19, 1919
2 a.m., Allies made a drive to capture Bolo guns. 1 airoplane bombing, 1 gunboat followed along. Our artillery shelled all night. 80 Bolos killed in their first line trenches, a lot of prisoners. Worked all day on dugout with Scots.
May 20, 1919
First warm day for a long time. Worked on dugouts all day with Scots. Building myself a little dugout along the Vaga River. Working after supper till 11 p.m. Spent 2 nights so far, expect to finish tonight.
May 21, 1919
Worked all day with Scots. Bolo airoplane over our lines. Our guns fireing at the plane. Bolo artillery active.
May 22, 1919
Worked all day. Took a bath at night and washed clothes and shaved. Bolo artillery active. Our plane dropped bombs on Bolo lines.
May 23, 1919
Worked all day with 10 339 Inf. men on dugout. Bolos artillery active. Bolo plane over us. Our plane fought with Bolo plane.
May 24, 1919
Burned my hand last night with bacon grease. Could not sleep all night. Went to Seltzo to hospital in the morning, got back at noon. Went on job in the afternoon. Everything quiet on fronts except a little sniping in the morning. Very warm weather, lots of flowers blooming, some snow left in the woods.
May 25, 1919
Worked all day with Scots and our men. Bolos shelled a little across river.
May 26, 1919
Walked to Seltzo hospital. Got back at noon. Off in the afternoon. Our artillery and airoplane shelling Bolo airoplane. Came over and looking for trouble.
May 27, 1919
Bolos sniping in the morning. Our artillery active. Worked all day.
May 28, 1919
Went to Selzo hospital. Bolos sniping this morning. Our airoplanes over Bolo lines.
May 29, 1919
Machine gun practive at 2 p.m. 9 p.m. at Malo Bereznik. Worked all day
May 30, 1919
Went to Selzo hospital. Bolos shelling our artillery sector. Bolos sniping in the morning.
May 31, 1919
Worked a little in the morning. Bolos shelling our town tonight. Expect a big bombardment tomorrow.
June 1, 1919
Allies made a drive on the Bolo's forward positions at 2:30 in the morning. Our artillery fired a barrage for several hours. Bolo artillery answering. Captured 47 prisoners, 2 machine guns, 2 officers. Many dead. 1 Bolo gun blown up. We lost 2 wounded. 1500 shells fired from artillery. Did not get much sleep. Worked in the morning with 2 Inf. boys building bunks in observers dugout. Went to hospital in p.m. Bolo artillery shelling in afternoon. Our airoplane observing for artillery.
June 2, 1919
Worked on barbed wire. bolo and our artillery shelling.
June 3, 1919
Worked on wire detail. bolo's patrol sniping at night. Our artillery shelling.
June 4, 1919
Picked up all tools in this town. Bolos sent a few shells over. Our artillery answered back.
June 5, 1919
Moved to Koslovo, 1 verst north of this town.
June 6, 1919
Stood guard all day. bolo and our artillery active. New relief starting to come in. Expect to leave Sunday.
June 7, 1919
Had off all day to clean and pack up. Quiet on front.
June 8, 1919
Moved everything to Seltzo in morning. Waited untill 7 o'clock for our boat. Bolos sent over some shells at night. R.E. relieved us. Arrived at Bereznik at 11 p.m.. Had a little lunch. Most of our company are here. Rest expected during the night. This is 3 a.m. and the sun is shinning bright. Expect to see 24 hours sunlight pretty soon. We are living in tents.
June 9, 1919
got up 7 a.m. Washed pack, turned in winter outfit, issued mosquito nets for sleeping and over our hats. K.P. in afternoon. Could hear bombardment on Vaga front.
June 10, 1919
Reveille at 6 a.m. Had off all day. 4 of us went swimming. Retreat at 6 p.m. Company drill after retreat.
June 11, 1919
Reveille at 6 a.m. Worked a little in morning. Mail at noon - 1 letter dated (?) 30. Received some Red Cross goods, chocolates and cigarettes. Had drilling all afternoon. Retreat with inspection at 6 p.m.
June 12, 1919
K.P. all day. Watched ball game at night - H.Q. and 4th Plat. - score 9-10 - F. 4th
June 13, 1919
Packed up - ready to leave after dinner for Archangel. Left at 5 o'clock on barge. Had a good send off.
June 14, 1919
Took in all the sights along river. 2 gunboats passed us going up. Expect to land at 1 p.m. Got a Y.M.C.A. issue on boat, cigars, cigarettes, chocolates, gum. Arrived Solombola at 4 p.m. Were stuck for a while on a sand bar. Marched to C Co. barracks and the Co. slept in the recreation hall.
June 15, 1919
Pitched big tents for our whole company. 15 men to a tent. Turned in our winter clothes - helmet and gas mask. Went to Archangel at night. Tried to send telegram, was too late.
June 16, 1919
Drilled all day. Received mail last night - 2 letters. Went to Archangel at night and sent a telegram - 39 rubbles 80 K. Band played in park at night. Visited the Y.M.C.A. and had coffee.
June 17, 1919
Reveille at 6:30 a.m., breakfast at 7. Drilled all day. Visited Russian navy yard where a lot of destroyers and submarines were.
June 18, 1919
3rd platoon on fatique duty. Went to Archangel station across river to sort fruit that came in from Italy.
June 19, 1919
Had off part of morning to wash clothes. Drilled in afternoon for a parade to be held tomorrow. Went on a little hike for about 3 miles down the river.
June 20, 1919
Cleaning up for parade in the morning. First call for parade at 9:45 a.m. General Ironside with Brig. General Richardson and many other British and American officers are here for the parade. Parade started at 10:30 a.m. 3 medals were given to our Co. B, Captain Clatell, Corp. Britz, Sgt. Stover. Both Generals gave a speech, said goodby, and thanked us. Off all afternoon. Expect to leave any day. Our boat was condemmed, so we are waiting for another. Co. C & B held a dance at night in the recreation hall.
June 21, 1919
Longest day in the year. Sun sets for about 3 minutes. Turned in our rifles last night. Expect to get American rifles again at Brest, France. Went to Archangel at night. Raking in the sights. Got an auto ride back to camp. We have inspection every morning at 9:30.
June 22, 1919
Sunday inspection at 9:30. Off after that. Expect to leave Wed. morning on a German liner which is coming to our dock Monday morning. Big celebration in Archangel, parades and street decorations. All war boats decorated with flags. Went to the navy yard in the afternoon to see the submarines. Two Ruskies took us around and showed us everything inside of it. Went to church in morning. Confession in the evening.
June 23, 1919
Went to communion in the morning after reveille. Inspection by the Major in the morning. Getting barrack bags ready in the afternoon. Off rest of day. Saw the submarine again and went through it again.
June 24, 1919
Inspection at 9 o'clock. Parade through Archangel 9:30. 3 Russian medals given to engineer battalion. Large crowd gathered. Went to a Russian show at night with George Runyan at Solombola. Visited Peter the Great carriage in Archangel in afternoon. Walked through the cemetery.
June 25, 1919
Fatigue detail today. Rest of Co. full pack inspection. Took a steam bath at night. Loaded our barracks bags on boat today.
June 26, 1919
Guard on the boat from 9 a.m. to 9 a.m. June 27. German liner Steigerwald. All British crew aboard. Expect to parade in morning and leave Russia in afternoon.
June 27, 1919
Releived from guard at 8 a.m. Rode back to Solombola with full packs on trucks. Had dinner 10:30 a.m. Marched at Hdq. for parade at 11 a.m. Paraded down main street - a lot of women crying and a lot of cheering. Left Archangel docks at 8:30 p.m.. Went out with the tide. Were out in the White Sea at 1 a.m.
June 28, 1919
Sailing close to shore. A lot of seals visible in the water. The banks of the shores are covered with snow.
June 29, 1919
Sailing west in the Arctic Ocean close to shore. Everything white along coast. Chaplain held mass in morning on boat. Went to Confession at night. Most boys stayed up to see the Midnight sun.
June 30, 1919
Went to communion in the morning at 6 a.m. We have nice weather all the while. Sailing close to Norwegian coast. Many high mountains along coast.
July 1, 1919
Little stormy today. Got some cigarettes from the Y. today. Heavy fog on sea all day.
July 2, 1919
Heavy fog all day. Ran alongside a floating mine after dinner. Circled around it untill they sunk it with rifles.
July 3, 1919
Arrived at Lerwick Shetland Island 3 a.m. Taking on fresh water and leaving off 3 officers. All buildings are built of stone, and there isn't a tree in sight for 20 miles. Past 4 whales yesterday. Lerwick is capital of Shetland Islands. A number of steamers anchored in this bay. Left Lerwick 12:30 p.m. Sailed down Shetland Islands to Orkney Islands and between Scotland and Hebrides Islands. Can see coast on both sides.
July 4, 1919
Held a few games aboard ship. See land most part of day. Passed light house where the Lusitania was torpedoed with 100 Americans on board. 600 Americans were drowned near Isle of Islay.
July 5, 1919
Weather fine with heavy fog. Could not see much land.
July 6, 1919
Sighted France at noon but did not get into harbor untill 3 p.m. 4 U.S. battleships, 2 Colliers, Imperator, and Kaiserian Augusta Victorian, lying beside us in harbor.
July 7, 1919
Got sick during night. Imperator left early this morning with troops. Big 2 decker ferry boat took us to shore. Got in ambulance at the docks with Pat Haley and two other boys and rode to hospital about 3 1/2 miles away. Rest of company camping 1/2 mile away from hospital. Been in hospital about 3 weeks.
August 6, 1919
Transferred to evacuation ward. Was there 3 days and left for the boat early Wed. Morning. Took a ferry to the U.S.S. Pres. Grant. 18000 ton boat. Left at 6 p.m. that afternoon. 2600 troops on this boat, besides nurses, Y.M.C.A. girls, and French brides. Have good meals and band concerts every afternoon. 730 U.S. Jackies man the boat. Moving pictures every night. Sea is very quiet. Had fruit and ice cream today, Sunday, for dinner. Met Zinow from our Co. on boat. Surprise to me.
Note: by Paul Rademacher