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Joseph Bohm WW-1 Story

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by: Pat Bohm Trostle

My father was born more than one hundred years ago and this is a story of something that really happened when he was a young officer during the First World War. Joseph served in the cavalry, so the soldiers were mounted on horseback. Since he was an officer, he was allowed to have his own automobile to use during time off.

One day when Joseph had leave, he drove to a town about 30 miles away. The roads were rough and unpaved. On the way, he drove the car across a steep gorge many hundreds of feet deep. Far below ran a thin silver river. He spent the afternoon in town. By the time he started back it was dark. No streetlights, a cloudy sky with no moon. He used his headlights as long as possible, but then he approached an area where explosions and gunfire told him a battle was going on. Ahead he saw flares and smoke. Fighting. He turned off the headlights so they wouldn't give away his position. Driving very slowly, mostly by the feel of the road under his tires, he felt he was approaching the bridge. As he edged toward it, the car lurched violently. Then it steadied. He drove across the gorge and finally into camp.

When he arrived, his aide looked at him in shock and asked, "How did you get here? There's been an air attack somewhere between our camp and town!" Joseph said calmly, "I turned off my headlights and drove slowly. I guess nobody saw me." The aide exclaimed, "But the bridge was bombed - it's gone!"

In the morning, my father and some men rode to the bridge. They saw what was left of the roadbed across the gorge - two supports spaced as far apart as the tires of his car.

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