October 13, 1918. “…everybody here seems to think this definitely means the end.”

October 13, 1918 to Mother.

“Suppose tonight you are all talking of the great news of today as we have been here and figuring on when we’ll get home for everybody here seems to think this definitely means the end. If it is, it will be almost too good to be true though suppose it will be some time yet before any of us start back home. The service to which I belong will probably be in France longer than any other inasmuch as we will be the ones to settle up claims and there surely will be some claims to settle. However, if I have to stay over here another year or more suppose I’ll get leave back in the States some time early after the declaration of peace. That’s all guesswork, however.

He’s busy, apparently catching up with work, and tired. He is also “mess officer this month” at the apartment “and have had to put in several evenings straightening out these affairs.” He mentions the office move again, this time explaining that it was “a move from one office building to another.”

Had lunch a few days ago with a French officer I know well and his wife, both of whom are quite interesting. The wife was badly broken up in the St. Gervais church affair[1] on Good Friday when one of “Big Bertha’s” shells dropped in there and is now getting around again. She is an American by the way and said the hard part of it was that she had been a nurse on the front ever since the beginning of the war, had been under heavy shelling and never hurt, then came back to Paris for a few days and was badly hurt.

“The weather here is getting to be quite cool now and the clocks were also turned back a week ago so with the short afternoons and cool weather it really begins to seem like winter again. We have a cosy fire in our sitting room in the evenings and none of us stir from it very much. I don’t care much about going out any distance at night anyhow with the dark streets and difficulties in transportation but think I’ll go to the French theaters more this winter as I understand French well enough to appreciate them now and it’s one of the best ways to improve your French.”

He reports no home mail “in two weeks” and a sighting of “Rabbit” Mullins[2] who “was wounded and in hospital here and was then on his way back to troops.” He saw Monty pass through the hall and found him in his office. “It seemed quite funny to have him saluting me and tacking a ‘Sir’ on to everything he said.”

[1]Friday, March 29, 1918. This was the most damaging strike on Paris during WWI. The shell collapsed the roof of the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais church and killed 88 of the congregation while wounding another 68. The church was full for Good Friday services. The attack on the 4th century church located along the ancient Right Bank within a block of the Paris City Hall gave this attack much of the shock the German’s intended.

[2] Any info?