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1917 Diary Recounts WWI German Bombing

  • During World War I William Roberts of Washington, D.C. was stationed in Paris, France and was perhaps assigned to the American embassy there. (On the front Identification pages in wrote “American Expeditionary Force, France,” and before it he added “DGT” or “OGT.”) On many of the pages he mentions “working on cables.” In the entry of Wednesday, Sept. 12, 1917, he wrote: “Still on cables, making digest of all sent and received.” His working hours were regular and he constantly makes references to going to dinner or dances and visits to the YMCA and takes French language lessons. He is stationed in Paris and the entries for March, 1917 include a number of references to German aircraft bombing the city. On March 9 he wrote: “Started for Y. Got as far Building of Minister of Armament and siren sounded for signal air raid. Remained at building. 10 squadrons came in town. Much damage. 25 lives lost.” Then, on March 15, he reported: “Big explosion at St. Denis grenade factory. Many persons killed and wounded. Shook all of Paris. Glass breaking. Several killed at Minister of Ammunition Bdg while walking down stairs during accident.” The diary has entries on almost every page and provides an historic look at conditions in Paris during the war. The diary is accompanied by two civilian photos and a typewritten poem. Overall in good condition, with the exception of the diary’s spine, which is fragile making the back cover almost separated from the front. However, content can be described as quite good
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