TRAINING HARD IN FRANCE
Chester Tripp Writes from Training Camp "Over there."
Chester Tripp and the rest of the Ruthven boys in the 88th
division in France are anxiously waiting for their first turn in the trenches.
The following letter was received from Chester the first of the week:
"Somewhere in France,"
Sept. 22, 1918
Mr. J. J. Foy.
Have not written in some time but seeing that I don't find
much time [illegible] I have never felt better or [illegible] in my life. Had a
sick spell of a few days a short time ago but it did not stay with me long. I
have some wonderful things to tell you about when I get back but must be careful
what I write until the hen lays down. We are billeted in a small French village
where we can study the customs and ways of the French people. The village is
depleted of all young men, leaving the old men and women to carry on the work.
We are training hard every day and waiting anxiously for our
inning in the big game up front. Our boys look like regular veterans with their
street helmets and skins tanned to a nut brown. And when we finally do land in
the trenches I think we can make the Dutch think they are us against seasoned
soldiers, for training has ceased to be a thing to be dreaded. When you get over
here and view the wrecked villages, and destroyed homes, see thousands of
children roaming about, orphans, who only a few years ago were the new babies of
happy families, and in fact see nothing but ruin and destruction everywhere, the
direct result of greed and brutality, you realize what it all means. You enter
into the training with a new spirit. You no longer get tired or disgusted. You
drill in heat, rain and mud and are always anxious for more, for each man that
goes up front has a man sized job to perform, and in order to "get away
with it" as we say in the states, a man must be perfect in every detail of
I received several letters from Ruthven yesterday, the first
that I have received since landing here, and they surely were appreciated. I
took a bath and washed my clothes in an Alpine mountain stream this morning and
it was some cold, yes, it was colder than that. But more trifles like warm bath
are things that we have only a kind of hazy recollection of. Suppose that things
are moving along about the same in Ruthven. Corn husking will be on soon. I sure
would like to help pick at Saint's Rest this fall but have more important work
cut out for me. A U.S. farmer would starve to death in this country as he would
have to go back to the pioneer way of farming. I don't see very much difference
between the English and French as far as customs or habits, only that it is
quite impossible to understand a word the French say. It sounds more to me like
an old hen with twenty-two chicks trying to keep away a bunch of pups. We have
gone two days without tobacco. Can get plenty of the English brand but it
doesn't taste much like tobacco, but will have to content ourselves with it
until we reach an American camp. We had a couple of American theatrical troupes
in camp recently. They were showing under the management of the Y. M. C. A. and
they were very good, every one an artist. We sat out in the open and enjoyed it
greatly, forgot where we were for two hours just as completely as if we were at
home taking in a good show.
Have been appointed a corporal recently and must get busy and
sew on my chevrons. Well, I can't think of anything else to write about now so
will this good till next time. We are due up front most any time now so the next
time you hear from me I will probably have been through the mill. Give my best
to all my friends in Ruthven and write when you can find time.
As ever your friend,
CHESTER A TRIPP
Address: Corp Chester A. Tripp
351st Inft. Co C.
American Ex. Forces
A.P.O. No. 795.