Gordon Van Kleeck's war journal - part 9 - somewhere near Thiaucourt, France to Treiux, France

Ancestral Photographs of Upstate New York

by Roxy Triebel

Pvt. Gordon Van Kleeck

Co. F. 51 Pioneer Inf.

American Expeditionary Forces

Part 9

Bois du Four.
Near Thiaucourt.
Nov. 12

We are still in the woods and have moved in a larger tent.  Last night I saw my first auto trucks with lights turned on since coming in this section of the country.  Most of the cars dont even have the lights in shape to use.  We expect to stay here for a couple of weeks.

Near Thiaucourt.
Nov. 13.

Last night was the coldest I have seen over here and we slept cold all night.  I worked on a dirt road most of the day and for a couple hours on a plank road that the Engineers are building in along a railroad.  The papers say the Kaiser has gone to Holland.  Guess he is out of luck alright.

Near Thiaucourt.
Nov. 14

I did not go out to work this morning.  Charlie, Ray and I are repairing a dug out for us to live in.  My platoon drilled this morning and worked this afternoon.  We hear that they are going over on German territory for a while.  I have seen plenty of troops and guns returning from the front.  Just received some papers and magazines from Genevieve today, also a check from Cox & Co., Paris.

Near Thiaucourt.
Nov. 15.

We slept better in our new dug out last night.  We have a stove in it and made a little extra supper before turning in.  French fried potatoes, corned beef with onions, bread and coffee.  I worked in the forenoon on a road and drilled in the afternoon.

Nov. 17

(A French correspondant has been unable to locate any place by the name of "Susacourt" in this area.  I think perhaps Gordon was very tired after all that hiking and may have mis-remembered the name "Suzémont".)

We worked for half a day on the road and then were paid.  I got 143˝ francs.  Right after that we rolled our packs and moved.  We had to carry our full equipment in our packs.  Hiked through Thiaucourt and Xammes.  We slept on the ground in a field near Xammes that night.  Charlie, Ray and I walked back to Thiaucourt that night and went to a Salvation Army station but could not buy any thing.  We were called out three oclock next morning and had to wait until nine oclock to start.  A line of troops and wagons went up all morning and I hear we are going to follow the Germans out of Alsace Lorraine.  We hiked to Chambley where I fell out to fix my shoe and got on the wrong road.  Had to hike back for several kilometres and a bunch of other fellows from the 51st also.  Some of them stayed in Xonville and some more in Sponville but I managed to hike here to Susacourt where the Company is.  I have a bed sack full of straw to sleep on and a stove in the next room.  And with some batteries, wire and a bulb we found here a fellow fixed an electric light for us.  These villages were held by the Germans for four years and are in good shape.  All the street names are German but there are no people to be seen anywhere.

Thuneeville (Thumeréville)
Nov. 18.

(A French correspondent was unable to find any town by the name of "Thuneeville", but did locate a "Thumeréville" in this area.)

We started at 7 A.M. and hiked through Porcher, Brainville, Puxe and Jeandelize to Thuneeville where we are now.  Reached here about noon and have had our feet inspected by the doctor.  A large number of the boys have sore feet.  Some of them fell out and are behind yet.  The Germans left here only three days ago and the fellows are out collecting souviners.  Some have found spiked helmets.  We saw a bunch of Russian, Italian and English prisoners that the Germans had turned loose a few days ago.

Thuneeville (Thumeréville)
Nov. 19

We have sheet iron barracks here with bunks made of poles and wire.  Our rations gave out and the mess sergeant got some from another company.  Also a few of us fellows went out and found some cabbage and beets.  We were all marched to a brook today and had to wash our feet.  I was to a woods near by and saw a prison camp.  The Germans had made the prisoners cut down trees and burn for charcoal.  One kiln was still burning.  The huts or barracks where they lived were rather poor places I think.

Thuneeville (Thumeréville)
Nov. 20.

I was out to a large farm house today where Germans had been billeted.  The(y) had built comfortable rooms in the barns for themselves.  Also a bunch of small barracks.  I got some buttons for souviners.  Was over to Mouaville and some of H.Q. and M Co. boys.  They all think we are going home soon.  We leave here tomorrow I think.  Two of our blankets are going to be carried for us on a wagon.  That will make our packs a little lighter.

Treiux (Trieux)
Nov. 21.

We started this morning about eight oclock.  Hiked through Mouaville, Fleville, Lixieres and Anoux.  The Germans had used most of the large buildings there for a base hospital.  We had dinner at Mancieulles.  Reached Treiux (Trieux) about four oclock and are billeted here for the night.  The whole company is in one row of nice deserted houses.  We have a stove where I am and a carbide lamp.  There are not many people in these towns but they are all glad to see us and have put up the United States and French flags and other decorations.  Our Regimental band played a while tonight.  We are the first American troops in this section of the country.  There is a prison camp here and a few Russian prisoners were left by the Germans.  They are using what was once a theater for a barracks.  We are only a few miles from the German border.

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Gordon's Journal part 10:  Woldereninger to Wormadange, Luxembourg

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