My Grandfather’s World War I Log Book – Part 20 – France

My Grandfather’s World War I Log Book – Part 20 – France

November 5 – 10, 1918

“Liberated a number of French men, women & children”

My comments: My grandfather was with the U.S. Army 111th Engineers battalion. In this excerpt from his Log Book, he watched an airplane dogfight right over his head, and he helped liberate French men, women and children who had endured four years of German occupation. I was thrilled to find a November 6, 1918 photo from the National Archives that shows an elderly, just-liberated French couple, and connects nearly perfectly with my grandfather’s Log Book posts of this week.

Excerpts from Log Book*:

“Four boche [German] aviators brought down a French plane right over our heads”

November 5th, 1918: Worked on road toward Buzancy. Four boche [German] aviators brought down a French plane right over our heads & it sure was some battle. Shot the French aviator in the neck. Doc Driessel dressed him up. Jerry [German aviator] was over last night and kept us awake by dropping his tailgate and let the bombs fall. ”

November 6th: Worked on road in morning & moved beyond Buzancy in afternoon.”

November 7th: Moved to Harricourt.”

“Liberated a number of French men, women & children”

November 8th: On hike through St. Pierremont to Oches & she sure is a poor road.  Worked on road in afternoon.  Liberated a number of French men, women & children and say, they sure were glad to be free again.”

World War I, liberated

This photo shows Monsieur & Madame Baloux of Brieulles-sur-Bar, France, who have just been liberated after four years of German occupation of their village.  The photo was taken on November 6, 1918.  On that day, my grandfather was just 5 miles from this village.  My grandfather writes about liberating a number of French men, women and children on November 8, along a road just one village over from Brieulles-sur-Bar where this photo was taken.
(photo from National Archives)

November 9th: Worked on road in Oches.  1st Army Corps going out to another front.”

November 10th: Worked on road toward La Berliere.  Our boys drove them [the Germans] to Sedan today, about 15 kilos up.  Given afternoon off to clean up.  Received mail today.”

World War I, Argonne offensive

Map of the Meuse-Argonne offensive.  You can see some of the towns that my grandfather describes in his Log Book, where the 111th Engineers were building roads to support the offensive (for example, Varennes, Apremont, Chatel-Chehery and Buzancy). You can also see the town of Brieulles-sur-Bar, where the photo of the liberated French couple was taken.  (map from usaww1.com)

Next post will be — “The armistice was signed at 11 A.M – Nov. 11, 1918.”

Please share this with friends who might be interested so they can follow the story too.

*Quotes are from my grandfather Sergeant 1st Class Lou Sheckard’s World War I handwritten Log Book.  He describes his experience with the U.S. Army 111th Engineers from March 1, 1917 to June 15, 1919.  To learn how I discovered this 100-year-old family treasure, click here.

Peter Finkle bio: Husband, Father, Writer | Herbal Health Researcher | Co-Founder: Vets Vites dietary supplements

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