November 15, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Slept in water + mud all the time here. No roof on this billet.
Parade or maneuver each day.”
This is Robert’s last diary entry until December 1. Fortunately, there are several letters coming up in the next two weeks.
While I continue to doubt the truthfulness of some of Sergeant Triplet’s stories in A Youth in the Argonne, he was in Fresnes-au-Mont with Robert so it’s worth looking into his writings about this period just after the Armistice.
We’ve since heard that the rest of the world got drunk, danced in the streets, kissed and shacked up with total strangers, and had a real wing ding. We had nothing to drink but Lister bag water (the black-market cognac from Fort Vaux was long gone), no strangers of the right gender to shack up with, and no shacks to shack up in. We celebrated armistice day by sweating through a long afternoon, trotting over the abandoned French and German trench systems with our thirty pounds of tools, doing autos-right (front, left) to the point of exhaustion. By the end of the day we were little more effective but at a distance of a city block or more we were beginning to look real warlike, and just might scare a Landsturm outfit into thinking we were dangerous.
There was a lot of griping in the company, but I’ll still say that the skipper was right in spending armistice day like that. As the clerk explained, “An armistice is not the end of a war. According to Webster’s Dictionary it’s only ‘a temporary cessation of hostilities by mutual consent.’”
I’ll post more from Sergeant Triplet over the next few days.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.