100 years ago today, “Somewhere in France”

Exactly one hundred years ago today, my great-uncle William Alonzo Bailey (the boy in the header photo above) wrote the following letter home to his mother, Ellen Caroline (“Carrie”) Severson Bailey (the older woman in the header photo above).

Will was serving in the U.S. Army in France during World War I. The Dorothy he mentions is his sister, Dorothy Mary Bailey, from whom I inherited this and dozens of other letters from World War I. The Cambrai he refers to is the Battle of Cambrai in France at the end of November to early December 1917.

“Somewhere in France”
Dec. 30, 1917.

Dearest Mother:
Received Dorothys letter of the 5th of December yesterday. Also got my mackinaw to-day.
Was certainly glad to get it too as the weather has been quite cold the last few day’s. I have had a touch of the grippe so haven’t been out in it much tho. Expect to go out tomorrow and try out the shirt. In another letter you spoke of sending me another package which I am expecting any time. I receive Mrs Jenne’s papers at irregular intervals and enjoy reading them immensely. I received the sweater and tobacco weeks ago and have written several letters since then acknowledging the same.

Do not worry about us being mixed up in that Cambrai affair as we are about as far away from there as we could be and still be in France.

Indeed I am as safe here as I would be working anywhere in the U.S.

We are very comfortable here and have plenty to eat. You should have seen our Thanksgiving and Xmas dinners. Real turkey, pie, cake, and etc. But just the same I will be glad to get home when the time comes. Am just realizing that the old saying “There is no place Like Home,” has more truth than poetry.

We have had quite a Xmas too. Nearly everyone receiving more than one or two packages and gladly sharing the goodies with there less fortunate friends. Will close now with lots of love to you all.

Your loving son.
Will.

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