March 15, 1919 – Letter to Robert’s father:
Well I am three days (via rail) nearer home than when I last wrote but there is still a lot to be done in the way of waiting till I get home. We are shooting on the rifle range now.
This camp is a tented one like Camp Mills. It is called The Old Belgian Camp and is about six miles from Le Mans. We will leave here about the 18th and will billet in small towns till our turn comes to clean up Brest. It is rumored that we will sail April 25 but one can never tell anything till it happens.
The trip here was not so hard. We came on American trains and had our bed sacks on the floor of the cars. Of course it is tiresome eating canned stuff all the time.
I got a box from Scotland yesterday. I do not know who it was from but I rather think it was from Geo. West because I got some soup cubes in this one like the last they sent me.
The only thing I like about this camp is the bath house. It is open all the time + I make good use of it too.
I suppose it is nearly time to move out to the lake if you are not having your winter now. The weather is still cold here. There is little change from what we have had all winter. It is almost as rainy here as it is farther east.
Well as there is no more news I will close.
Love to all
Yes, the 140th’s long winter at Pont-sur-Meuse is finally over and they really are heading to the coast. Technically, they were in Champagne, and “The Belgian Camp” had been previously known as Camp d’Auvours.
On the eighth of March we left Boncourt, and in three days were in the Le Mans area. Here we were placed in tents and were given a week on the rifle range. The kitchens were enormous, well arranged sheds, and the men were easily fed.
Robert calls their current location “The Belgian Camp,” while Chaplain Edwards says they will be moving there in a few days. Nevertheless, I’ll start talking about it here.
The Belgian Camp was one of several large bases set up by the Army and supported by the Y.M.C.A., first for troops arriving in France and now as Army Embarkation Centers as the A.E.F. began sending divisions home.
This is from History of the Y.M.C.A. in the Le Mans Area, published in 1920:
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.