York County Soldier Wounded in Battle of the Marne
A previous post told the story of the World War I origin of Connecting Links, a monthly news magazine published by ACCO (American Chain Company) for their employees in military service and workers in their plants at home. They told of marriages and new babies and war bond sales and social activities. One department was “Flashes from the Front,” made up of letters from soldiers, sailors and marines telling about their life in the war zone. In the letter below, published in the October 1918 issue, an infantryman tells his cousin how he was wounded.
(Learn more about York County people’s involvement in World War I and other 20th century wars when the new York County Heritage Trust exhibit Front Porch to Front Lines: York County Goes to War opens on Flag Day, June 14.)
“Miss Florence Shaffer
373 West King Street
I suppose you have heard of my traveling the other day at the front. Nevertheless, I will tell you about it.
I was wounded in the big drive on Monday, July 15th, being a very deep wound in the left thigh, although I am getting along fairly good at the present time.
I was in Paris for several days at the hospital, but yesterday I was sent down here, which is a little further south of Paris.
We sure had them on the run, but I could not be with them very long, as they got me about nine hours after we started.
This was one of the funniest drives I have yet seen. On July 1st we went to the front along the Marne River. We stayed there seven days and not a shot was fired at us. We were then relieved and went to the support line for a week, which also was very quiet. But when we went to the reserve line on the night of the 14th, we just got in our dugouts when the Boches started a beastly artillery barrage of high explosive shells and gas, in which we lost everything, our wagon train kitchen, water wagon, ammunition wagon and rations. We were just out of luck for a few hours. Also lost a lot of men in our regiment.
On the morning after the heavy barrage was over they started to come across the river at our section and did get across, but when we got our men together and got working you ought to see the squareheads go back over the hills and valleys. I’ll bet they are running yet. We captured a number of them. I went over the top and got my eye on one, and when I got there he started to cry like a child and said he wanted to go with me, so I turned him over to the company commander to whom he gave a little information. About nine o’clock I was hit with shrapnel, so this knocked me out of going further with the boys.
I had a hard time of it getting to a dressing station, as shells were flying thick and fast all around me, but I finally got there safe and had the wound dressed. I was then sent back to the hospital and operated on two days later. The ether made me a trifle sick for a few hours.
I guess I will be here for about six or eight weeks, so please don’t send your mail to present address.
Adams F. Arndt.
Co. “K” 7th U.S. Inft. A.E.F.
N.B.–Mr. Arndt was formerly connected with our Electric Welding Plant at York, Pa.”
A newspaper account of Arndt’s 1922 wedding to teacher Dorothy Atticks of York mentions that he as confined to a hospital for several months after being wounded at the Battle of the Marne. At the time of his marriage he was employed as a machinist at the United States Chain and Forging Company.
Another letter from an ACCO soldier.
More on Connecting Links.