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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Letter 106 ~ December 3, 1918

A map showing all of the army camps in 1918. Note Fort Brady in Upper Michigan.

I write Minnie about a possible transfer to some other army post for guard duty. I also let her know that I get relief from drilling because I am on the football squad at Camp Funston.

Letterhead: Knights of Columbus War Activities, Camp Funston

Camp Funston
December 3, 1918

Dear Kid,

Well, I got my four-day pass just in time. When I got back there was an order posted on the bulletin board to the effect that no more four-day or weekend passes or furloughs would be issued until further notice. This was dated the 28th, two days after I got my pass. The reason given was that the railroad facilities were inadequate. I think I was lucky for once in my life at last.

During my absence, the company had been issued caps & gloves so I got mine Saturday. The only caps that were left were all too small so to keep mine on, I had to cock it over one ear & if I keep from wagging my ears, I get along very nicely.

When I got back, I went into the orderly room & got my mail & there was that package we thot was lost. It had been in there quite awhile. I don’t know why I hadn’t gotten it sooner. They probably forgot all about it. The fudge was awfully dry but that didn’t make any difference in the way it disappeared. One of the socks had a hole gnawed into it by a mouse. I also got a letter from you that you wrote November 11. No telling how long it had been in the office either. I got those pictures. They are fair but I hope that we can get some better ones. I wish I had of had my picture taken when I was down home but if I don’t get home for some time, I can have it done here. Land knows there are plenty of places on the zone where they fight for a chance to take your picture.

I heard some news yesterday. I don’t know whether to believe it or not & for that reason I don’t suppose I ought to tell you about it. But it at least gives me something to write about. We had a regimental parade yesterday & when we were halted after the parade, the Lieutenant leading my platoon said that we didn’t expect to be discharged within six months. He said that the 20th and the 41st [Infantry Regiments] were unlucky because they had been picked to remain intact for some time, probably to do guard duty at some army post. He said that the 20th would leave this camp, however, inside of two weeks. He said he didn’t know where we were going but we have heard rumors of our going to Ft. Braden [Fort Brady] up in Michigan near the Canadian line. I sure hope it isn’t any farther north than this but I am afraid it may be. My, but you can’t imagine how I dread being in here six more months. But I am not going to worry about it until we are actually moved because lots of men from this camp are going to be discharged shortly after that Divisional parade which comes off Saturday. I had had hopes of being out by Christmas but maybe I won’t now.

I am on the football squad & so I haven’t drilled any this week. We have to go out to the drill field tho, and practice out there. When we got through with football practice, we went over to where the rest of the company had unslung their equipment. There is a Swede in the company that always makes a hog of himself at the tables. Well, we unrolled his pack & put about 8 or 10 iron grenades & another piece of old iron in it. We didn’t get to see him carry it but I’ll bet if he carried that load clear in, it nearly killed him. It sure tickled me because that “ornery” Swede sat next to me at the table once & all he ate was prunes. He grabbed that prune dish & filled his plate full & the rest of us didn’t get any. I expect we will get weenies again for breakfast tomorrow. We only had them once today.

Well, be good & write often. With lots of love, Ward Clarke Griffing

  • The Zone” was a shopping and entertainment mall constructed during 1917-18 for the troops stationed at Camp Funston.

An infantryman in front of "The Zone" near Camp Funston in 1918. Note the depth of the mud.


  1. Oddly,his reminds me of a Polish friend who spent 5 years from the age of 12-17 in a Nazi forced labor camp. He was an accomplished athlete and made the camp soccer team. As a result he got more and better food and got out of forced labor to practice and play soccer. It appears that Ward didn't get as good a deal being on the Football team.

  2. From the many pictures I have seen of my grandfather, and from my personal memories of our time together, I don't think Ward ever weighed more than 170 pounds (dripping wet) his entire life. It's hard to imagine him playing football, though I know he was regarded as a good athlete. It's clear that Ward's gridiron experience at Camp Funston was limited to inter-company skirmishes and he did not play for the "Camp Funston" football team that actually scheduled some games against major colleges in 1918 and 1919. The record books show that Camp Funston fielded a team against Kansas State University in 1919. --wg

  3. I live in Nitro WV. We have a WW1 museum, it is small. It is my hope and dream to see a new 6000sft museum erected next to the library. I am interested into talking to the individual responsible for this web site. There are some interesting stories I would like to see in our video library for the new museum. My name is James McKay, I am on the Nitro City Council, amd my number is 304-415-4514. I also can be reached at