Gordon Van Kleeck's war journal - part 11 - Conz, Germany to Wengerohr, Germany

Ancestral Photographs of Upstate New York

by Roxy Triebel

Pvt. Gordon Van Kleeck

Co. F. 51 Pioneer Inf.

American Expeditionary Forces

Part 11

Conz, Germany.
Dec. 3

I had a good sleep last night and bought a cup of warm milk before starting out.  We left about 8:30 with the band playing and the colors flying.  This is the first I have marched behind our regimental flag.  Pased through Ahm and another small town on the left bank of the Moselle.  Both sides of the valley are covered with vineyards and a railroad follows the river on the German side.  We saw a train of U.S. freight cars going in the same direction we were.  Also a couple of trains coming back filled with French soldiers.  They were prisoners of war going home I guess.  Crossed the river into Germany a few minutes after eleven at Grevenmacher and fell out near Oberbilling for dinner.  Hiked through Wasserleich and Reinig to Conz where we are going to spent the night. Adams and I are billeted in a house with a German family.  I dont know if we get a bed or not but think we do.  I talked to an old man tonight who had spent a few years in England.  He told me Conz had a population of about four thousand.  Ther(e) is a railroad station and yard here.

Fohren, Germany.
Dec. 4

The German man came in last night and insisted on giving lots of wine.  By signs and the few words we knew of each others language we talked until after ten oclock.  Then we had a good nights sleep in a real feather bed and left about eight oclock this morning.  Hiked through Trier and Ehrang besides a couple of small villages.  Trier is quite a large city.  It has large stores that seemed to have a good stock and a trolley system.  Women were running some of the cars.  It rained a little all day and we were all tired out when we came to Fohren where we are now.  I am bunking with Mays in a room in a deserted house.  We have plenty of straw and I am tired enough to sleep good.

Fohren, Germany.
Dec. 5.

I did not sleep last night.  I died and the bugle brought me to life again this morning.  We stayed here all day but probably will move tomorrow.  I have been sitting around and wrote a few postals.  Am to(o) stiff to walk around and there is nothing to see in this village.  I bought candles as they are cheaper than in Luxembourg.

Wengerohr, Germany.
Dec. 6.

Left Fohren about eight oclock and hiked through several small villages and one small city named Wittlich.  That is quite a nice place and Headquarters with Co E were left there.  We are about four kilometres from there in a small village named Wengerohr.  We are going to do guard duty on the the railroad.  I am billeted with Mays and McLoughlin in with a nice family.  Mays and I bought supper in the next house for four francs each.  It was very good.  The man in the house brought us in some wine tonight.  We have a nice room with a stove, table and electric lights.  I dont know how long we stay here but expect a week at least.

Wengerohr, Germany.
Dec. 7.

I was on K.P. today and did not work very hard.  The company is doing guard duty on the railroad here.  Some of the posts are a long distance away and the fellows were on post a long time before being releived today.  Some who went on at seven oclock last night did not get releived until nine or ten oclock this morning.  The owner of this house brought in lots of straw for us to sleep on.  It does not look nice in the room but we will sleep better.  Mail was brought in today and I got quite a bunch.

Dec. 8.

I did not do much today except sit around.  Maria the little girl here is teaching us German words and we are teaching her English.  I was on patrol duty on the railroad from for until ten P.M.  We walk to a tunnel stay there two hours and then come back.  The men are getting leather jackets and shoes now.  I got shoes but had to give them back as they were to small.  The patrol duty is not bad.  While at the tunnel we stay in a shanty and talk to the German watchman.

Dec. 9

I stayed around the house most of the day and talked to Maria.  Went on patrol duty at six P.M.  One other man and (I) went to the shanty on further side of tunnel.  He laid down in the floor and I on a bench.  Two hours later our releif woke us up.  We went back and stopped at the kitchen where we got some stew and coffee.  This patrol is some soft job.  The man's name where I am billeted is Jacob Arth.

Dec. 10.

Mays and I took a chance and went to Wittlich this morning.  Our captain had said we could not get in without a pass but no one stopped us.  We each bought a ring and some flashlight batteries.  At the Y.M.C.A. we got chocolate and tobacco.  I did not do anything in the afternoon and I go (on) guard from one A.M. to 7 A.M.

Dec. 11.

Went on guard and was not releived until 8:30 A.M.  I slept about an hour this morning and then ate a bunch of hot waffles.  The sergeants say we may move any time now.

Dec. 12.

Went on guard from six to twelve this morning.  Mays and I went to Wittlich this afternoon.  The Captain said today that we would leave tomorrow at eight oclock but tonight he changed the order.  I dont know when we go now but part of the track guard has been over by some other troops.

Dec. 13

Did not go on guard on guard today but was around the station for a while.  The Germans are sending numbers of locomotives down the line.  At night Mays, McLoughlin and I went to Wittlich for a couple of hours.  The officers are not takeing any mail here now.

Dec. 14

I did not do anything during the day but at night Dooley, Adams and I went above the station where some U.S. cars were loaded with rations.  We managed to get away with some bread and salmon.  Gave some of it to Orth tonight.

Dec. 15

I was supposed to go on guard on the railroad at two A.M. but the corporal said stay in bed and we went out at five thirty.  We made a mistake and went on the wrong tracks but it made no difference anyway.  In the forenoon I and Adams went for a walk to a small village where an old German showed us through the electric lighting plant and a grist mill.  In the afternoon some other fellows and I went over again and looked the mill over.  Today the sun shone and the weather was nice for the first time since we left Aspelt.

Dec. 16

We had inspection of equipment today and received orders to be ready to leave at eight oclock tomorrow.  An areoplane made a bad landing near here a couple days ago and was wrecked.  We have had to put a guard on it every since.

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Gordon's Journal part 12:  Aldgund, Germany to Treis, Germany

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