Letters from Oregon Boys in France
Compiled by Mrs. Frank Wilmot 1918
Charles W. Irvine
Mrs. R. A. Stewart, 496 E. 19th North, has received the following letter from her brother, Charles W. Irvine, Company F, 18th Engr. Ry., telling us the American Red Cross train is the finest in all Europe.
I just received letters from all of you and I was sure glad to hear from home. We have surely made some moves in the last three weeks; in fact, I have moved four times and I am now with the main part of the company and the rest of them are not very far away from here. We have been in the advanced zone a couple of weeks getting ready for the next move, which we hope will be up to the place we have all been longing to see. I wish I could tell you all that has happened of late but the censor stands in the way. We were the only company in our regiment to get the chance to come up here and believe me we were a happy bunch when we left the service of the rear. We hope our next move will be right up with the Yanks.
I wish I could have seen Major Brandon before he went home. It is sure hard luck to have to leave here before this thing is over. The men of the 116th lost a mighty fine major when they lost him.
Speaking of snails, they eat them and they all say they are good; but I haven't tried them myself so couldn’t swear to how good they really are. They eat lots of things that we wouldn’t think of eating and then we eat lots of things they don't. The last job we were on, all the people around the village where we made our camp thought we were "bugs" when it came to eats, for when we were out in the fields during the day we ate potatoes, corn, carrots, turnips, onions, in fact, all kinds of things without being cooked; and believe me, you would never want to see a healthier bunch than we, when we hit this camp. We see lots more of what is going on, also we have a chance to talk to all the men coming from the front for a rest. We also see many German prisoners just as they are when taken.
The allies are going after them now; they have been falling back all along the lines, and if they can keep it up for a couple of months the allies will have them just about where they want them. I don't think it will be many days till you hear a lot about the U. S. boys, from what we hear and see. We have been expecting them to break loose at any hour, and then watch them go. The Yanks have the Germans' goat.
I saw the big Red Cross train pass with about twenty cars, going to the base hospital; and it made us think a whole lot when some of them mentioned they were from the state we all know so well. But they all seemed happy and no doubt will be anxious to get back and help finish the guy who tried to get them. The U. S. has the swellest Red Cross train you would ever want to see. All steel cars with all the comforts of home in them. It does a person good when he sees what good care the U. S. takes of her men when they are wounded. They run the train slowly so it won*t jar the men and they have everything they could ask for on that train. It is by far the finest hospital train in Europe.
I received the pictures of Isa Bell and was glad to have them. Well, mother, you look so well in the picture taken at Gearhart. and you musn't worry about me or the war either, for both are coming out on top.
My first year's allotment ran out with September's pay. I have made another one for four months as I figure that by the first of the year we will know more about how things stand and I want a few months pay to travel on.
There is one thing I wish you would do, that is, if at any time you can send a package, I wish you would send me a long sleeved sweater-coat without a collar, either gray or O. D. You will know before we, if they are going to let any packages come through.
I am feeling fine and dandy and am as happy as a clam at high tide, so don't worry about me. If I don*t write for a week or two don't worry as we don't know from day to day what we are going to do, but I will write as often as I can.
Well, it is getting dark and candles are scarce, so I will close with loads of love to you all and a hug and kiss to Isa Bell.
Your loving son and brother,