August 5, 1918 – Training? Maybe cooking

More training….it just never ends but now that the Engineers are getting closer and closer to the Front, I doubt anyone was complaining…except about the heat.  One hundred years ago on this date, August 5, 1918 finds Jay and the 301st Engineers keeping busy.

But, was Jay drilling and marching?  Doing bayonet and gas training?  Or maybe, just maybe he was somewhere in the back, cooking up dinner?

On Monday, August 5, the training for the front was renewed by following the schedules which closely resembled those at Camp Devens, and included close order, open order, gas training, bayonet exercises, and problems in minor tactics.  While the work itself proved familiar enough, the climate was decidedly novel, and when the mercury hovered about 110 degrees one could not help pining for a little of that cold that had numbed us in camp during the previous winter.  A little relief came with an order that drilling could be done in blue jeans.

To add to the troubles, the Quartermaster Corps at Saint-Amand was not able to take care of us in an approved fashion, as they had just taken station there and had not had time to get their affairs running smoothly.  Mess became a serious event and not a mess sergeant in the regiment can look back on happy days in the vicinity of Saint-Anand.

But apparently those crafty mess sergeants did their jobs…

Each evening the roads to Saint-Amand were lined with the men, who, even after a hard day of drilling and marching, would hike from four to five miles for the purpose of sitting down to a dinner of steak, des pommes de terre, du pain, and du vin, visit the Commissary, or make a raid on the Y.M.C.A.  Some of the more fortunate members of the command were able to make deals with owners of donkeys and carts, and their evening trips to Saint-Amand were real pleasure rides, for the proud possessor of a Ford was never more envied than were the occupants of the donkey cart.

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


Typical mess prep, everyone’s at work.

Photo courtesy Steve Murphy.

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