firing line, they are all anxious to get at the Hun. My own platoon is most gratifiying in this respect. On marches, [inserted]at these[inserted] billets, or in any [?] proper places, my men are always singing such songs as "Machine Gun Boys Goin' After the Kaiser" or else are [deleted]laughing & talking[deleted] joking about [deleted]the[deleted] even the most serious phases of the war.
Fortunately or unfortunately it was my platon that got its first dose of "cooties". Each man blames [deleted]the other[deleted] [inserted]another[inserted] for having caught them first. Our littlest member, West, had one, only one, but it was reputed to be the biggest found in the two days "cootie" hunt." One of the men said that it was a question yet to be solved, whether the cootie was on West or whether [deleted] [inserted]he[inserted] was
on it. Boiling clothes and an application of [deleted]a[deleted] the medical officer's solution did away with the pests for the time being.
Marguerite Wilson received the most [inserted]frequent[inserted] honorable mentions while we were in our training billets. [deleted]The guard[deleted] And this is saying a great deal too, for the other three squads [inserted]of our platoon[inserted] had their guns as clean as new whistles [deleted]every time[deleted] at each morning's inspection. [deleted]The men of this [?][deleted]. The 10th squad's victory was by no means overwhelming. [deleted]At times it the balance lay between ---, ---- and ---.[deleted] The men would not [have?] their guns otherwise than for such popular finales.
It does a [deleted]fello[deleted] man all kinds of good to hear the men yell
[deleted]with[deleted] our platoon yell with all the spirit of a bunch of Rab, Rab boys & then some:
"We'll smash that line, we will; We'll knock the 'ell out of Bill. With machine gunners' [bad?] we'll advance like a flash, And make Germany look like a pill." And [deleted]had[deleted] need this invincible motto: Thoo' Boche, to Berlin, and back, or bust."
Mayor, Mr. [Paupe?] Secretaire, [Conteneaus?] & [constallignois?], & town idiot "[Choubin"?] - [(grase, feather apron)!?]
September 13 - Sudden orders to move to front. " 14 - Troops left. More weeping [?] [?] than America. Sept 14-22 - [Sta'd?] as Town Major - hunting, etc Sept 22-24 - En route. slept in aisle of railway car, caught motor [t?] train. Met Blue Devils Alpine [Cham?]. Sturdy, determined - officers gentle and pleasant.
Sept. 26. Rejoined company. Saw first bombarded city, [?] & [ca?]. German occupation 9 days in 1916. 9,000 French dead to retake.
" 26. Saw first German airplane. Several, antiaircraft guns. Drove off [Zale?] of daring German pilot. Swooped down 100 feet, dropped peace papers, machine gun killed two or three. Had to drive boys indoors.
Sept. 27. 1st 81st M.G. to enter front line, relieving 2nd Reg. 3rd MG. Co. Entered on shell scarred road. Shrapnel whistling & bursting around us. This night I slept that is, lay, with "pip squeakers" whistling over my head and bursting with their [comical?] spray of [deleted][?tality[deleted] [inserted]deadly grape shot[inserted] in the veritable proximity. The road over which we had just passed in safety. [deleted]The latter[deleted] strange to say, was shelled to a pitted [hog?] path. Once our guns were in position Little Fiscarelli said "If we don't get him tonight, we will in the morning."
Sept. 28. Today I rambled, with all the [inserted]trembling[inserted] joy of a school boy tying up a neighbor's door knob, through
communication, support, more [com.?], caves, and front line trenches. [deleted]I found it[deleted] My trip was unspeakably fascinating. At [inserted]different[inserted] pts. I passed where German canon had torn up trees, shelters, and parts of trenches. At one point Boches artillery had completely demolished [deleted] a certain portion of a communication trench. [inserted]so completely that it was [?] a question where the c.t. had really been.[inserted]] [deleted] Havoc-wreaking shells had dropped upon that very spot as early as five hours before my arrival there. I [deleted]was greatly relieved to have b[deleted] bowed down, ran, passed, and felt relieved.
A shrapnel [deleted]was[deleted] bursting near our kitchen today, caused a moment of uneasiness among our cooks & K'P's. [Falling?] a shower of [deleted]shrapnel[deleted] bits of lead