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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Letter 6 ~ September 9, 1918

Marching at Camp Funston, 1918

I tell Minnie about my expectations that we will be trained quickly and sent to Europe. I also mention my disappointment at not being selected as a squad leader.

Addressed to Minnie G. Frey, c/o J. E. Parkerson, Stockdale, Kansas
25th Company, 164th D.B., Camp Funston
Monday, September 9, 1918

Dear Kid:

Well it is sprinkling a little & so we are in quarters. You will probably think by this time that I have forgotten you, but dear, I haven’t. They have just kept ---

Had to fall out & were marched about 5 miles to listen to a talk by the Colonel. One thing he said was that the Prime Minister of England [David Lloyd George] said, “For God’s Sake Hurry!” So in all probability we will be sent over [to Europe] very shortly. If you do not hear from me regularly, please don’t blame me for we are being given very intensive training now. Also, I am studying extra for I will be given a shot at corporal. If I make good, I will be promoted. Regulations have been changed somewhat & I must do the very best I can at learning the details. I must make good. For goodness sake, write as often as you can, even if I cannot. I’m sure you understand my case. I’ve nearly lost track of time & hardly know that I used to be Ward Griffing. Sherman said it correctly. Come & see me as soon as possible. It may be the last.

I have so very much to tell you that it is hard to start in. In the first place, that comfort kit will be very acceptable immediately. I didn’t want to get one if you were going to send yours. Get my picture of you from the folks & put it in too please. The “Y” is so crowded here & I’m so busy. I’m short on paper so please excuse this poor attempt. The wind is blowing today & everyone is simply nothing but dirt. The dirt got so thick we had to chew it.

The squad leaders were just now appointed and I was left out, so maybe I have missed my chance [for a promotion] after all. I may get a chance [again] or maybe I won’t. Sure hope so.

Well, I suppose by this time you have your school all lined out & everything going fine. Well, I must hike to bed now. Goodbye Sweetheart, -- Ward Griffing


  1. David Lloyd George was Prime Minister of Great Britain when this letter was written. Winston Churchill was Minister of Munitions.

    Mr. Ward Griffing, you are an ambitious young man and are to be congratulated for striving to be a corporal. I'm sure you would have gone far in the army had the war not ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

  2. Whoops. Good catch. You are so right. I will correct the error made by my idiot grandson. Hey, corporal sounded pretty good to me back then!

  3. I wouldn't be so hard on your grandson. His heart is in the right place.

    Corporal would have been good. In WWII my father, who spent almost 3 years in the army, including 175 consecutive days on the battle line as an infantryman never got beyond Pfc....and he had a clean record!