15 November 2012

World War I - Letter from Uncle Tom

Corporal "Tom" Willis Depicts Life on the Western Front

John Murphy of Au Sable Forks, boss machine tender for the J. & J. Rogers Company, is in receipt of the following letters from Corporal Thomas Willis, who has been on the western front for a considerable spell:
Co. F, 303d Inf
A.P.O. 773, A.E.F.

Dear Friend Jack:

Just a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this letter finds you the same.  Well, Jack, I was certainly glad to hear from you also to get the address of the boys.  I probably won't ever have the luck to run across Wilfred but I wrote him just the same.  I like it over here all right.  Of course I am not a very good Frenchman but as long as a fellow has the money he is all right.  We are in a good part of France at present; the climate is pretty warm and for the last few weeks it has rained a lot.  We do not have nice large barracks and nice spring cots over here.  We sleep in what they call billets.  The billet I sleep in is pretty comfortable.  We sleep in one side of the barn and a few rabbits and chickens and a nice little mule in the other side.  About time to get up in the morning the mule will start braying and there is no more sleep.  I have seen quite a bit of England and quite a bit of France and if Germany does not throw up her hands pretty soon I will probably see what there is left of Germany.  There is lots I would like to tell you about my trip but will wait and next summer I will be back and while we are waiting to turn a reel of muisc {sic} paper I will tell you all about it.  I will in the army one year the 22d of this month, and in that time I have had one hell of a good time and I wouldn't have missed what I have seen for anything.  There is only one trouble over here:  if you want to visit a nearby town you have to walk, but we do not mind that now.  Well Jack, how are all the fellows in the mill, and what is old "Smut" doing? I suppose he is fooling with the speed wheel every time the machine is running good.  I wish he was over here.  I would like to see him in uniform carrying a rifle and a pack.  Tell him to write to me as he owes me a letter.  I guess I will close for this time hoping to hear from you soon.  I remain,
Your friend,
Published in The Adirondack Record, Au Sable Forks, NY, Friday, November 15, 1918.

Thomas Willis is my great uncle by his marriage to my great aunt, Mamie Duprey. Another Uncle Tom posting will be made soon!!!

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