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Williston graphic. (Williston, Williams County, N.D.) 1895-1919, March 14, 1918, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88076270/1918-03-14/ed-1/seq-4/

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Pace Four
M»K *»,
CHAPTER I.
From Mufti to Khaki.
It was in an office in Jersey City.
I was Bitting at my desk talking to
lieutenant of the Jersey National
Guard. On the wall was big war
map decorated with variously colored
little flags showing the position of the
opposing armies on the western front
In France. In front of me on the desk
lay a New York paper with big flaring
headlines:
LUSITANIA SUNK! AMERICAN
LIVES LOST!
The windows were open and a feel
ing
of
spring pervaded the air.
Through the open windows came the
strains of a hurdy-gurdy playing in the
street—"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be
a Soldier."
"Lusitnnia Sunk! American Lives
Lost!"—"I Didn't Raise My Boy to
Be a Soldier." To us these did not
seem to jibe.
The lieutenant in silence opened one
of the lower drawers of his desk and
took from it an American flag which
he solemnly draped over the war map
•on the wall. Then, turning to me with
a grim face, said:
"How about it, sergeant? Tou had
better get out the muster roll of the
Mounted Scouts, as 1 think they will
be needed in the course of a few days."
We busied ourselves till late in the
evening writing out emergency tele»
grams for the men to report when the
call should come from Washington.
Then we went home.
I crossed over to New York, and as
I went up Fulton street to take the
subway to Brooklyn, the lights in the
tall buildings of New York seemed to
be
burning brighter than usual, as if
they, too, had read "Lusitania Sunk!
American Lives Lost!" They seemed
to
be glowing with anger and righteous
indignation, and their rays wigwagged
the
message, "Repay!"
Months passed, the telegrams lying
handy, but covered with dust. Then,
one momentous morning the lieutenant
with a sigh of disgust removed the
flaf from the war map and returned
Guy Empey.
to his desk. I immediately followed
this action by throwing the telegrams
into the wastebasket. Then we looked
at each other in silence. He was
squirming in his chair and I felt de
pressed and uneasy.
The telephone rang and I answered
it. It was a business call for me, re
questing my services for an out-of
town assignment. Business was not
very good, so this was very welcome.
After listening to the proposition I
seemed to be swayed by a peculiarly,
strong force within me, and answered,
"I am sorry that I cannot accept your
offer, but I am leaving for England
next week," and hung up the receiver.'
The lieutenant swung around in his
chair, and stared at me in blank aston
ishment. A sinking sensation came
over me, but I defiantly answered his
look with, "Well, it's so. I'm going."
And I went.
The trip across was uneventful. I
landed at Tilbury, England, then got
into a string of matchbox cars and
proceeded to London, arriving there
about tO p. m. I took a room in a hotel
near St. Pancras station for "five and
six—fire extra." The room was minus
the fire, but the "extra" seemed to
keep me warm. That night there was
a Zeppelin raid, but I didn't see much
of it, because the slit in the curtains
was too small and I had no desire to
«nake it larger. Next morning the tel
ephone bell rang, and someone asked.
"Are you there?' I was, hardly. Any
way, I learned that the Zeps hud re
turned to their fatherland, so I went
out into the street expecting to see
of awful devastation anil a cow
ANAMIMQU SOIMIt
WHO WENT
MACHINE MR,MNG
1517 OY
Mfiiuiiurcrvi
erlng populace, but everything was
normal. People were calmly proceed
ing to their work. Crossing the
street, I accosted a Bobbie with:
"Can you direct me to the place of
damage?"
He asked me, "What damage?"
In surprise, I answered, "Why, the
damage caused by the Zeps."
With a wink he replied:
"There was no damage we missed
them again."
After several fruitless inquiries of
the passersby, I decided to go on my
own in search of ruined buildings and
scenes of destruction. I boarded a bus
which carried me through Tottenham
Court road. Recruiting posters were
everywhere. The one that impressed
me most was a life-size picture of
Lord Kitchener with his finger point
ing directly at me, under the caption
af "Your King and Country Need You."
No matter which way I turned, the
accusing finger followed me. I was
an American, in mufti, and had a little
I American flag in the lapel of my coat.
I had no king, and my country had
seen fit not to need me, but still that
pointing finger made me feel small and
111 at ease. I got off the bus to try
to dissipate this feeling by mixing
svith the throng of the sidewalks.
Presently I carae to a recruiting of
fice. Inside, sitting at a desk was a
lonely Tommy Atkins. I decided to in
terview him in regard to joining the
British army. I opened the door. He
looked up and greeted me with "I s'y,
myte, want to tyke on?"
I looked at him and answered, "Well,
whatever that is, I'll take a chance
at
if
Without the aid of an interpreter, I
found out that Tommy wanted to know
If I cared to Join the British army. He
asked me: "Did you ever hear of the
Royal Fusiliers?" Well, In London,
you know, Yanks are supposed to know
everything, so I was not going to ap
pear Ignorant and answered, "Sure."
After listening for one half-hour to
Tommy's tale of their exploits on the
firing line, I decided to join. Tommy
took me to the recruiting headquarters,
where I met a typical English captain.
He asked my nationality. I Immedi
ately pulled out my American passport
and showed it to him. It was signed
by Lansing. After looking at the
passport, he informed me that he was
sorry but could not enlist me, as it
would be a breach of neutrality. I
insisted that I was not neutral, be
cause to me it seemed that a real
American could not be neutral when
big things were in progress, but the
captain would not enlist me.
With disgust in my heart I went out
In the street. I had gone about a
block when a recruiting sergeant who
had followed me out of the office
tapped me on the shoulder with his
swagger stick and said: "S'y, I can
get you in the army. We have a 'lef
tenant' down at the other office who
can do anything. He has just come
out of the O. T. C. (Officers' Training
corps) and does not know what neu
trality Is." I decided to take a chance,
and accepted7 his invitation for an In
troduction to the lieutenant. I entered
the office and went up to him, opened
up my passport and said:
"Before going further I wish to state
that I am an American, not too proud
to fight, and want to join your army."
He looked at me In a nonchalant
manner, and answered. "That's all
right we take anything over here."
I looked at him kind of hard and re
plied, "So I notice," but It went over
his head.
He got out an enlistment blank, and
placing his finger on a blank line said,
"Sign here."
I answered, "Not on your tintype."
"I beg your pardon?"
Then I explained to him that I would
not sign It without first reading it. I
read it over and signed for duration of
war. Some of the recruits were lucky.
They signed for seven years only!
Then he asked me my birthplace. I
answered, "Ogden, Utah."
He said, "Oh, yes, just outside of
New York?"
With a smile, I replied, "Well, it's up
the state a little."
Then I was taken before the doctor
1
and passed as physically fit, and was cruited me had joined the group, and
Issued a uniform. When I reported I could not help answering, "Well, sir,
back to the lieutenant, he suggested
WILLISTON GRAPHIC
enlisted. Why don't you join? Now
Is the time.'
"This argument ought to get many
recruits, Empey, so go out and see
what you can do."
lie then gave me a small rosette of
red, white and blue ribbon, with three
little streamers hanging down. This
was the recruiting insignia and was
to be worn on the left side of the cap.
Armed with swagger stick and my
I patriotic rosette, I went out into Tot
tenham Court: road in quest of cannon
fodder.
Two or three poorly dressed civil
ians passed nie, and although they ap
peared physically fit, I said to myself,
"They don't want to join the army
perhaps they have someone dependent
on them for support," so I did not nc
cost them.
Coming down the street I saw
a
young dandy, top hat and all, with
a
fashionably dressed girl walking be
side him. I muttered, "You are my
meat," and when he came abreast of
me I stepped directly in his path and
stopped him with my swagger stick,
saying:
"You would look fine In khaki why
not change that top hat for a steel
helmet? Aren't you ashamed of your
self, a husky young chap like you in
Down at the end of the bar was a
young fellow in mufti who was very
patriotic—he had about four "Old
Six" ales aboard. He asked me if he
could join, showed me his left hand,
two fingers were missing, but I said
that did not matter as "we take any
tiling over here." The left hand Is
the rifle hand as the piece is carried
sit the slope on the left shoulder. Near
ly everything in England Is "by the
left," even general traffic keeps to the
port side.
I took the applicant over to head
quarters, where he was hurriedly ex
amined. Recruiting surgeons were
busy in those days and did not have
much time for thorough physical exam
Inntions. My recruit was passed as
"fit" by the doctor and turned over to
a corporal to make note of his scars.
was mystified. Suddenly the corpo
ral burst out with, "Blime me, two of
his fingers are gone." Turning to me
I he said, "You certainly have your
nerve with you, not 'alf you ain't, to
bring this beggar In."
mufti when men are needed in the ^unjt, under which was a bluish gray
trenches? Here I am, an Ameiican,
Swearing In a Recruit.
came four thousand miles from Ogden,
Utah, just outside of New York, to
fight for your king and country. Don't
be a slacker, buck up and get into uni
form come over to the recruiting of
fice and I'll have you enlisted."
He yawned and answered, "I don't
care if you came forty thousand miles,
no one asked you to,", and he walked
on. The girl gave me a sneering look
I was speechless.
I recruited for three weeks and near
ly got one recruit.
This perhaps was not the greatest
stunt In the world, but It got back at. brushes,
the officer who had told me, "Yes, we Friend" paste then a shoe brush anfl
take anything over here." I had been a box of dubbin, a writing pad, Indel
spending a good lot of my recruiting lble pencil, envelopes, and pay book,
time In the saloon bar of the Wheat and personal belongings, such as a
Sheaf pub (there was a very attractive small mirror, a decent razor and a
blonde barmaid, who helped kill time— sheaf of unanswered letters, and fags.
I was not as serious in those days aa In your haversack you carry your Iron
I was a little later when I reached rations, meaning a tin of bully beef,
the front)—well, it was the sixth day four biscuits and a can containing tea.
and my recruiting report was blank.
I was getting low In the pocket—bar
maids haven't much use for anyone
who cannot buy drinks—so I looked erally carries the oil with his rations
around for recruiting material. You It gives the cheese a sort of sardine
know a man on recruiting service gets taste.
a "bob" or shilling for every recruit
The doctor came over and exploded,
"What do you mean by bringing In a
man in this condition?"
Locking out of
the
I
that, being an American, I go on re- here."
emitting service and try to shame some
of the slackers into joining the army."
"All you have to do," he said, "Is to
go out on the street, and when you see
a young fellow in mufti who looks
physically fit. Just stop him and give
him this kind of a talk: 'Aren't you
ashamed of yourself, a Britisher, phys
ically fit, and in mufti when your king
and country need you? Don't you
know thnt your country is at war and
that the place for every young Briton
is on the firing line? Here I am, an
American, in khaki, who came four
thousand miles to fight for your king
and country, and you, as yet, have not
1
he entices Into joining the army, the long, ungainly rifle patterned after the
recruit Is supposed to get this, but he Daniel Boone period, and you have an
idea of a British soldier in Blighty.
would not be a recruit If he were wise
to this fact, would he?
corner of
my eye
noticed that the officer who had ne-
was told that you took anything over
I think they called It "Yankee im
pudence," anyhow It ended my recruit
ing.
CHAPTKIt II.
Blighty to Rest Billets.
The next morning the captain sent
for me and Informed me: "Empey, as
a recruiting sergeant you are a wash
out," and sent me to a training depot.
After arriving at this place, I was
hustled to the quartermaster stores
and received an awful shock. The
quartermaster sergeunt spread a wa
terproof sheet on the ground and com-
menced throwing a miscellaneous a»
sortment of straps, buckles and othet
paraphernalia into it. I thought he
would never stop, but when the pile
reached to my knees he paused long
enough to say, "Next, No. 5217, 'Arris,
com puny," I gazed in bewilderment
at the pile of junk in front of me, and
then my eyes wandered around looking
for the wagon which was to carry it
to barracks. I was rudely brought to
earth by the "quarter" exclaiming,
"'Ere. you, 'op it tyke it aw'y blind
my eyes, 'e's looking for 'is batman to
'elp 'ini curry it."
Struggling under the load, with fre
quent pauses for rest, I reached our
barracks (large car barns), and my
platoon leader came to the rescue. It
was a marvel to me how quickly he
assembled the equipment. After he
had completed the task, he showed me
how to adjust it on my person Pretty
soon I stood before him a proper Tom
my Atkins in heavy marching order,
feeling like an overloaded camel.
Or: ray feet were heavy-soled boots,
studded with hobnails, the toes and
heels of which were re-enforced by
steel half-moons. My legs were In
eased in woolen puttees, olive drab In
color, with my trousers overlapping
them at the top. Then a woolen khaki
woo
jen shirt, minus a collar beneath
this shirt a woolen belly band about
six inches wide, held In place by tie
strings of white tape. On my head
was a heavy woolen trench cap, with
hugs earlaps buttoned over the top.
Then the equipment: A canvas belt,
with ammunition pockets, and two
wide canvas straps like suspenders,
called "D" straps, fastened to the belt
in front, passing over each shoulder,
crossing in the middle of ray back, and
attached by buckles to the rear of the
belt. On the right side of the belt
hung a water bottle, co\ered with felt
on the left side was my bayonet and
scabbard, and intrenching tool handle,
this handle strapped to the bayonet
scabbard. In the rear" was my in
trenching tool, carried In a canvas case.
This tool 3?as a combination pick and
spade. A canvas haversack was
strapped to the left side of the belt,
while on my back was the pack, also
of canvas, held in place by two canvas
straps over the shoulders suspended
on the bottom of the pack was my
mess tin or canteen in a neat little
canvas case. My waterproof sheet,
looking like a Jelly roll, was strapped
on top of the pack, with a wooden stick
for cleaning the breach of the rifle pro
tecting from each end. On a lanyard
around my waist hung a huge jack
knife with a can-opener attachment.
Fhe pack contained my overcoat, an
extra pair of socks, change of under
wear, hold all (containing knife, fork,
ipoon, comb, toothbrush, lather brush,
•having soap, and a razor made of tin,
with "Made in England" stamped on
the blade when trying to shave with
this It made you wish that you were
•t war with Patagonia, so that you
could have a "hollow ground" stamped
"Made In Germany") then your house
wife, button-cleaning outfit, consisting
of a brass button stick, two stiff
and a box of "Soldiers'
sugar and Oxo cubes a couple of
pipes and a pack of shag, a tin of rifle
oil, and a pull-through. Tommy gen-
Add to this a first-aid pouch and a
Before leaving for France, this rifle
Is taken from him and he Is Issued
with a Lee-Enfield short trench rifle
and a ration bag.
In France he receives two gas hel
mets, a sheepskin coat, rubber mack*
Intosh, steel helmet, two blankets, tear*
shell goggles, a balaclava helmet,
gloves and a tin of antifrostbite grease
which Is excellent for greasing the
boots. Add to this the weight of his
rations, and can you blame Tommy for
growling at a twenty-kilo route march?
Having served as sergeant major in
the United Sfates cavalry, I tried to
tell the English drill sergeants tlielr
business, but it did not work. They
Immediately put me as batinan In their
mess. Many a greasy dish of stew was
accidentally spilled oyer them.
I would sooner fight than be a waiter,
so when the order came through from
headquarters calling for a draft of
250 re-enforcements for France, I vol
unteered.
Then we went before the M. O,
(medical officer) for another physical
examination. This was very brief. Hq
asked our names and numbers and
said "Fit," and we went out to fight.
We were put Into troop trains an|
sent to Southampton, where we de*
trained, and had our trench rifles Is*
sued to us. Then in columns of twos
we went up the gangplank of a little
steamer lying alongside the dock.
At the head of the gangplank
there
was an old sergeant, who directed tha'
we line ourselves along both rails ol
the ship. Then he ordered us to tak4
life belts .from the racks overhead and
put them on. I have crossed the ocean
several times and knew I was not sea'
sick, but when I buckled on that
life
belt I had a sensation of sickness.
After we got out Into the stream all
I could think of was that there were a
million German submarines with a tor»
pedo on each, across the warhead of
which was inscribed myjaame and ad
dress.
After five hours we came aloi-gsldi
a pier and disembarked. I had at*
talned another one of my ambitions.
I was "somewhere in France." We
slept in the open that night on the side
of the road. Atyout six the next morn
ing we were ordered to entrain. I
looked around for the passenger
coaches, but all I could see on the sid
ing were cattle enrs. We climbed into
these. On the side of each car was
a sign reading "Homines 40, Cheveaux
8." When we got inside of the cars,
we thought that perhaps the sign
painter had reversed the order of
things. After 48 hours in these trucka
we detrained at Rouen. At this place
we went through an intensive training
for ten days.
The training consisted of the rudi
ments of trench warfare. Trenches
had been dug, with barbed wire en
tanglements, bombing saps, dugouts,
observation posts and machine gun em
placements. We" were given a smat
terings of trench cooking, sanitation,
bomb throwing, reconnolterlng, listen
ing posts, constructing and repairing
barbed wire, "carrying In" parties,
The Author's Identification Disk.
methods used in attack and defense,
wiring parties, mass formation, and
the procedure for poison-gas attacks.
On the tenth'day we again met oux
friends "Hommes 40, Cheveaux 8."
Thirty-six hours more of misery, and
we arrived at the town of F——.
Aftpr unloading our rations and
equipment, we lined up on the road In
ppiumnn of fours waiting for the order
to march.
A dull rumbling could be heard. The
sun was shining. I turned to the man
on my left and asked, "Whafe the
noise, Bill?" He did not know, btft hla
face was of a pea-green color. Jim,
on my right, also did not know, but
suggested that I "awsk" the sergeant
Coming towards us was an old griz
sled sergeant, properly fed up with
the war, so I "awsked" him.
"Think It's going to rain, sergeant
He looked at me in contempt, and
grunted, 'Ow's It a-goln' ter rain with
the bloomln' sun a-shinin'?" I looked
guilty.
"Them's the guns up the line, inc
lad, and you'll get enough of 'em be
fore you gets back to BMghty."
My knees seemed to wilt, and
squeaked out a_weak "Oh!"
(Continued next week)
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Thursday, 'March 14, 1918.
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Use "Gets-It"—See Corns Peel Off
The relief that "Gets-It" gives
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am In
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