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Charles Trip Letter


Somewhere in France


 and printed in the "Ruthven Free Press", Ruthven, Palo Alto Co., Iowa, 23 October 1918




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.
    Ruthven, Iowa.

Dear Friend:
    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 the game.
    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,

Address: Corp Chester A. Tripp
                351st Inft. Co C.
                American Ex. Forces
                A.P.O. No. 795.



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