August 1, 1918 – Monsieur, nous préférons un château pour la nuit.*

One hundred years ago today, August 1, 1918, the companies of the 301st Engineers were assigned quarters after having arrived in the town of Saint-Amand (Montrond), France.

Finally the train halted and we were all ordered to sling equipment, pick up the fragments of the rations, and leave the train.  A look at the station sign told us that we had arrived at Saint-Amand, Montrond (Cher), and by a glance at the map, we were assured that we should sleep that night uninterrupted by shell-fire, for we were in the geographical center of France and some two hundred miles from the nearest front.

–  The Three Hundred and First Engineers – A History 1917-1920

Company A got lucky; they were sent to the nearby town of Colombiers:

About noon (August 1) the various companies began to move to the little neighboring hamlets where they were billeted.

Company ‘A’ proved to be the most fortunate of all in the matter of billets, as it was located in an old chateau which was large enough to billet the whole company.  After cleaning this out and putting it in shape, life was similar to that in Devens; in fact, in some ways better, for no matter how high the thermometer would rise, it was always cool in the chateau.

–  The Three Hundred and First Engineers – A History 1917-1920

1918.07.31 mem

* Sir, we prefer a castle for the night.

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