Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Doing that for which we came."

My paternal grandfather was an Army surgeon who cared for the wounded in France during World War I. How cool is it that we have a candid snapshot of him playing checkers during his off hours? Even my grandmother didn't know the exact where, when or who of this photo -- she merely wrote on the back "Stuart & friend - 1918 -or 19".

He wrote the description, below, on the back of these 2 postcards, which my grandmother kept.

Began work in this hospital April 1, 1918. Receiving patients from the greatest battle in history the German western offensive directed at the junction of the English and French armies. The casualties were terrific and the wounds horrible. Men were mangled beyond comprehension. The battle started March 21 and many of these cases were wounded during the first three days, and had received no attention since. Needless to say, the infections were all of a severe nature.

Madame BrisoniƩr is in charge of this institution, there were no French physicians to

look after the patients so they called our Camp Hosp. #14 A. E. F. The French in attendance are very delightful. The patients are very brave and have much courage.

The work is the most interesting I have ever had. I feel at last that we are doing that for which we came. The reconstruction surgery holds a great amount of interest for me.

The wounds range from slight shell wounds to mangled masses of flesh and bone.

Kind of an abrupt end, but the cards aren't postmarked and were surely enclosed with a full letter.

Wherever some are destroying, others are repairing.

Wishing all a good weekend!


Catherine said...

My paternal grandfather was also in WWI -- as a medic. I have no photographs, so I envy you the one that you have. I envy even more the postcards with the explanation. What a priceless piece of family history!

Christy said...

Those pictures are priceless. Thanks for sharing them.

ronnie said...

A very fitting post for your Memorial Day. Thank you for sharing.