Stories of Iowa in the Great War



John Milton McCullough


His Experiences in the Great War



     Having decided to put my experiences in the war in writing so that my grandchildren may have it and that I will not forget myself.

     I had been thinking of joining the colors from April 6,1917 (his father died on February 24 1917) when war was declared until Oct. 15, 1917. I decided to go. I enlisted in Davenport Ia. Oct 15 and was sent to Jefferson Barracks Mo. Arriving the morning of the 16 and the morning of the 17th I took the federal oath. Our duties in this camp were very easy only drilling 2 hrs. a day and our food was very good as also were our sleeping quarters. I didn't' like this army life at all although I never even hinted this to my friends and folks. After being here one month I had begun to get quite homesick and was lucky enough to obtain a 5 day furlough home.

       I returned to camp and spent Thanksgiving day standing guard. I must say I have never sat down to a table that had a better variety of well prepared food than was on the table there.

       Dec 2 I was transferred and sent to Camp Greene Charlotte N.C. We were 72 hours on the road and I seen some very interesting sights on the way. I went to Memphis Tenn. And to Chattanooga Tenn. Then to Atlanta Georgia and then up to Charlotte N.C. upon arriving there we found things not quite as nice as at Jefferson Barracks but we hadn't' very much to complain of there. We remained there until about March 15.

      We were shipped to New York City or rather to Camp Merritt N.J. We remained there until April 2. We boarded the British liner Acquitania which was 90 ft long 92 feed wide and carried 8000 troops. It had six cannons mounted on her deck which was manned by a British crew. The trip was uneventful until the last 2 days out. 

      We met our convoy of which there were 14. Things began to liven up then as the torpedo boat destroyers were throwing out targets for our gunners to keep in practice. One although we did sight., and sink one submarine and probably another.


      We landed at Liverpool England April 8 having made the trip in 6 days. We disembarked the
following day and boarded the train and went to Winchester Eng. Arriving about 9pm were moved to barracks and stayed there four days. We were on British rations which consisted largely of cheese
and goat meat and such.


      We then moved to South Hampton England and loaded on a small boat to cross the English Channel but they discovered that one Engine was broken down so we were compelled to unload and go in to camp for 2 days. We then loaded on a boat and crossed the channel at night. We were loaded and crowded in so thick it was impossible for all to lie down. We arrived at Le Harve France April 16. ( The End)

[contributor's note:  My grandfather was born of June 8, 1898 in Buffalo township Scott County Iowa, a son of Francis Marion and Phoebe Verrier. He enlisted October 17, 1917 in Co G 30th Iowa Infantry from Scott County. His service record states that he was gassed on October 17, 1918 in  France. He participated in the battle of the Marne. He died on June 8, 1968 at the VA hospital in Iowa City. His wife was Mabel Sackville. My mother tells me that Mabel encouraged him to write his  service memories. I have a copy of the following memories. I am  very proud of his service and only wish that he would have written more. It was just too difficult for him and so most of the information I have found for the battles in France have come from the web. Camp Dodge did send me his records and battle history for this company in France.

~ contributed by Susie