Thursday, May 17, 2018

May 1918: “Trust In God. Hold Your Head High and Fly the Service Flag.”

by Captain William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

By May, the grim reality of trench warfare had set in for the men of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion. In the two and a half months the 151st spent occupying the relatively quiet Baccarat sector they were exposed to regular direct and indirect fire as well as gas attacks and probing actions. Life in the trenches was unsanitary, boring and terrifying.

Letters from home provided the only relief from the dull routine and tense waiting while reminding the Soldiers that a world existed outside the scarred landscape of France. Corporal Robert Gober Burton’s aunt Mary Eulalia Gober wrote frequently to him and the other Soldiers in the 151st from Monroe, Ga. One of the Monroe Soldiers, Sgt. Tom Hensler, wrote back:

In the Trenches
Gas-proof shelters for dressing stations, near Badonviller, Baccarat Sector,
April 29, 1918. Photo from The Medical Department of the United States Army
in the World War, 1925
April 28, 1918
Mrs. W. H. Nunnally
Monroe, Ga,
My very dear Mrs. Nunnally
Received your card yesterday and was glad to know that there was still one in my old home town that hadn’t forgotten me altogether.