A Day Off

July 15, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Ditched drill all day.

Bought a Y.M. Draft for 150 Francs, $28.07.

They send it to Nora. Am writing her a letter. Took a swim.”


I’ve written previously about the service offered by the Y.M.C.A. that allowed soldiers to send extra money home to their loved ones.

Chaplain Edwards, in From Doniphan to Verdun, has an appropriate passage regarding payday and the services of the Y.M.C.A.:

Here the American doughboy displayed his versatility… He quickly made the acquaintance of French money and the French girl. An American dollar presented at the Y brought in exchange a handful of what looked like soap wrappers, and always seemed to possess about that value to the American soldier. The French franc was worth about 18 cents. A five franc note has a picture of a woman apparently about to throw a hand grenade. Upon closer inspection she is discovered to be sowing wheat. On our first pay day in France it took two men to carry the money, which filled a whole gunny sack. 

The Y found us while were in Saulxures. Henry Allen came as Division Secretary, and made a splendid one. I do not think any other man could have obtained supplies as he did. 

He came to know and love the men, and his interest later is readily understood. They were his men.

I have heard a husky Ozark mountaineer, who did not know he was addressing the future Governor or Kansas, and wouldn’t have cared if he had known, say “Hello Fatty! When do you get some chocolate for us?” And Henry Allen used half his French vocabulary in replying “Toot Sweet.”


Not only was Henry Allen the future governor of Kansas, he was actually already a candidate by this time, according to the Kansas Historical Society:

The Republican party nominated Allen as their candidate for governor while he was in France during World War I, where he was head of communications for the American Red Cross. Allen was elected the 21st governor of Kansas and served two terms from 1919 to 1923.

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Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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