Gordon Van Kleeck's war journal - part 3 - Brest, France

Ancestral Photographs of Upstate New York

by Roxy Triebel

Pvt. Gordon Van Kleeck

Co. F. 51 Pioneer Inf.

American Expeditionary Forces

Part 3

Brest, France
Aug. 8.

It rained all last night and half today.  We had two meals today and are feeling fine.  Orders have been given for us not to leave camp or buy anything of the peasants.  I am broke so that does not bother me.

Brest, France
Aug. 9.

We all from Co. F had to go to the dock today and carry railroad rails.  Our dinner was given us there and we were sent back in auto trucks.  I am tired out and will have to rest.  That was the hardest job I ever saw.

Brest, France
Aug. 10.

We went to the docks early this morning.  It was an easy day for we only had to sweep the dock and most of us only worked a couple of hours.  At dinner I got in line twice and had enough for the first (time) since I came here.  This afternoon we found a place to wash up and it was great.  At camp water is scarce and we are allowed only one canteen full a day for all uses.  Coming back we rode through the business section of the city and it was fine.  I hope to get a chance to visit it.  One of the officers took a bunch for a walk tonight but they are not allowed to stop anywhere and my feet are sore so I am staying in camp.

Brest, France
Aug. 11.

Half of the Co. went to the dock today but I was one of those who stayed in camp.  This morning some of us were put on water detail.  We had to go quite aways for it and there was no hurry about it so we made several trips and walked around the country.  This afternoon I wrote a letter home but have not sent it yet as I cant get an envelope.  After supper Lieut. Julian took between two or three hundred men over to the barracks for a shower bath.  It sure did us good and I for one feel like a new person.  I have been having trouble to keep warm nights so tonight I am making a sleeping bag of my blankets with some saf(e)ty pins in my comfort.  I think it will be better.

Brest, France
Aug. 12.

My sleeping bag was fine last night and I will use it all the time now.  We did not go out to work but were in camp all day.  Had some exercise in the Manual of Arms and foot inspection.  This afternoon went were taken to a place where we could wash our clothes.  I had quite a lot of it to do.  It was only a ditch but I managed to get them partly clean.  We have orders to be ready to move any minute and may go yet tonight or early in the morning.  We were given an extra amount of supper.

Brest, France
Aug. 13.

Did not do much today but at night sixteen men including myself were given orders to pack up and went with Lieut. Matthews down to the dock. There we worked all night getting out rations for our battalion on the trip from Brest. I only got an hours sleep about morning.

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Gordon's Journal part 4:  aboard train and Sexey-aux-Forges, France

© 2001 by Roxy Triebel or the original contributor.
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