Gordon Van Kleeck's war journal - part 12 - Aldgund, Germany to Treis, Germany

Ancestral Photographs of Upstate New York

by Roxy Triebel

Pvt. Gordon Van Kleeck

Co. F. 51 Pioneer Inf.

American Expeditionary Forces

Part 12

Dec. 17.

We left Wengerohr eight oclock and hiked until four thirty.  We are now in a small village along the Moselle named Aldgund.  Coming here we walked on the railroad for about seven kilometres and the rest of the way on the road along the Moselle.  Eight or nine of us are in some kind of a public building.  We have straw to sleep on, electric lights and a stove.  We got a boy to bring us some wood for which we gave him a pack of Bull Durham some soap, and bread.  Soap and tobacco are better than money in Germany now.  He brought two bottles of wine for us later.  It has rained nearly all day.

Dec 18

We left this morning at eight oclock.  It has rained all day but we did not get bad wet.  Part of the hike was over a mountain.  It was about (?) kilometres shorter that way than over the road but was a hard climb and very cold on top.  We are now in Sehl about one kilometre from Cochem.  I was in Cochem tonight and bought a cameo pin for sixty marks.  We bought some food where we are billeted and was charged five marks a piece for it.  It was only a little and we all think the woman over charged us for it.  But this is the first time we were over charged on our trip for eats.

Dec. 19.

We hiked from Sehl to Treis this forenoon and I am billeted with a lot of other fellows in a large building that I think is a dance hall.  It is not a very large town but the whole second battalion is to be billeted here.  There are no lights in the dance hall but we have a stove and plenty of straw.  I am getting so used to sleeping on a pile of straw that I wont be able to sleep on a real bed when I get home.  We are still in the Moselle Valley.  There is a pontoon bridge here in charge of some engineers.

Treis Dec. 20

We spent the day cleaning ourselves and equipment.  Stood retreat tonight and we are going to drill every day while here.  Lieutenant Richardson came back today.  Julian and Matthews are in Coblenz I hear.  Adams and nine other men were sent to Cochem today on a detail.  It is some kind of carpenter work and we hear they are going to make over seas boxes.  I hope it is true.

Dec. 21

We had inspection of quarters and equipment today and did not drill.  My Christmas package came with some other mail today.  The captain said the building was to small for for the hundred men who were in there and he was right.  Now a lot of the men have hired rooms of the people and we have more room in here.

Dec. 22

Today is Sunday and we did not drill.  We have been issued steel helmets in place of the ones we threw away on the hike.  I was to church in the morning.  Chaplain White was there and he told us he had heard Gen. Pershing say he was going to send us home by way of the Rhine.  Spent the afternoon writing letters and reading.

Treis, Dec. 23

We drilled on the road in the town today and as it rained we were given the afternoon off.  I got mail from home and some papers.  The papers were all pretty old but are interesting for me.

Dec. 24

We drilled five hours today and also got paid.  I had 164 francs, my first pay as first class private.  Tomorrow is Christmas Day and I dont think we drill.

Dec. 25.

Last night a bunch of the boys got drunk and this building was pretty lively until twelve oclock.  Today I have been sitting and writing most of the time.  Last night it snowed for a while and the ground was not fit to go for a walk.  This is a Devil of a place to spend Christmas.  We hear a lot about going home but I dont know how much of it is true.

Dec. 26 Treis.

We drilled for half a day and this afternoon Mays and I went for a walk on some of the hills near here.  The sergeant came in tonight and gave orders for us to be ready to leave at eight oclock tomorrow morning.

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Gordon's Journal part 13:  Lehman, Germany to Guls, Germany

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