May 18, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Inspection this morning.
Took sponge bath.
Wrote a letter to Bess.”
A few days ago Robert talked about really starting to feel the nearness of the war, seeing the airplanes and the wounded. This is captured nicely in From Vauquois Hill to Exermont: A History of the 35th Division of the United States Army by Clair Kenamore (as a reminder, Robert was serving in Company B of the 140th Infantry Regiment. The 140th was part of the 70th Brigade, which was part of the 35th Division).
All men of the division could feel the approach to the war, and could get much of the atmosphere of it from long trains of camouflaged trucks which plugged along the magnificent roads, or from the hospital cars which the trains carried daily down to Le Treport, where sick or wounded might recuperate by the sea, or from the airplanes which flew over in formation on their way to the front or back again.
These pictures (from the World War One Centennial Website) are almost certainly not of Robert’s unit, but they are pictures of American soldiers lined up for inspection in France during May 1918. Close enough for me.