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World War One America Soldier's Trench Diaries - Van Pelt, Captain David B - 1918. [1229101]
France, 1918. Diary. Very Good. Exceptional two-volume journal (about 125 pages) kept by an Infantry Officer in the 7th Division during World War One. The diaries are in nice shape. Collection also has other post-war related items including a calling card engraving plate showing, medical records, will, obituary, etc. The 7th Division, the last Regular Army division to arrive in France, was rushed through in-country training to the trenches near Villers-en-haye in October, 1918 where it conducted a reconnaissance-in-force and prepared for the massive 2nd Army Offensive, which was cancelled with the signing of the Armistice at 11 o'clock on 11 November just as the doughboys were to "go over" the top. Unlike most World War One diaries or letter collections, Van Pelt notebooks provide a detailed description of life in the trenches. Some of the entries include: - "Terrific bombardment kept us awake practically all night. . . . Trenches muddy as the devil. . . . Enemy plane flying around and 'Archies' (anti-aircraft guns) got busy. Shrapnel dropped around us in trench and in front of dugout." - "About 9 o'clock . . . everything opened up until about 1:30 am we get our first gas alarm." - "Hear that Evans and Yeager were killed . . . Capt. Johnson gave me Evans ring which I will take to his mother after the war." - "Had a devil of a bombardment during the night and early the next morning the enemy opens up. . . . rifle and machine gun fire kept up at front for two hours." - "Quite a bit of small arms fire during early morning. Shelling continued . . . about 300 yards to our right. . . . Went over to outpost . . . Capt and I get sniped at by a machine gun." - "They dropped a devil of a fire all around us . . . ending about 6am. . . firing continues . . . artillery cuts loose." - "Making final setting to go over. Get everything set to pull out for jumping off place on a minutes notice. . . . Artillery continues to raise the devil. . . . About 11 a.m. we hear that all hostilities and firing ceases at 11 a. m." - "Hear I was reported Dead for several days." Van Pelt continued on active duty after the war until 1925 and died in 1928. Although his obituary stated that he died as the result of complications from a gas attack injury, Van Pelt actually died from testicular tuberculosis which he contracted while in France. The diaries are in nice shape. Collection also has other post-war related items including a calling card engraving plate showing, medical records, will, obituary, etc. As of 2016, the Rare Book Hub shows no auction records for similar American trench diaries and only three records for similar British trench diaries.
      [Bookseller: Read 'Em Again Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2016-10-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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