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21ST DIV. SOLDIER DESCRIBES SUB DANGER ON SHIP
- Word War I “ARMY AND NAVY DIARY” kept by Lewis F. Gadbois, 102nd Company, Transportation Corps, 21st Division. The diary is accompanied by Gadbois’ two dog tags affixed to a shoelace-like cord. Each tag has the soldier’s name and “USA” on one side and his service number—3282825—on the other. This is a very personalized diary in that Gadbois has added small black and white photos to illustrate some of his entries on some pages. Photos are mostly of women. The book’s title page also bears three colorful paper flags (American, British and French) affixed to the page, with the typewritten entry—ATTENTION/ This Book contains the Army Life of one Lewis F. Gadbois; Buck Private; Private First-class; Acting Corporal and Sergeat. REST.” The diary is entirely written in ink and is quite informative. One page contains Gadbois’ account of “Equipment Carried Over,” with military jokes of the period. The first diary entry is “En Route” on “6-29-18,” with lots of descriptions of Camp Jackson then to Washington Barracks, D.C. His next duty station was Camp Merritt. He boarded the transport ship “Khiva” on August 26, 1918.
The diary includes an excellent account of the danger at sea, for on September 7, 1918, Gadbois wrote: “The twelfth day is a big one. A sub attacked the biggest ship (in the convoy) and we hear that she scored a hit. Plenty of shots fired, an airplane arrived and we were all lined on deck ready for further developments. The ship hit is not with us, but is reported to be hitting for the nearest shore, along with about three chasers. We’re hitting a zigzag course and land is in sight tonight. It’s needed—as plenty of fellows are rather nervous. I missed seeing the ship get hit as I was in the hold reading and did not hurry at the call ‘Everybody on deck.’ Sorry I didn’t, but I got up in time to see the water shoot up from the explosion of the depth bomb" For more details, contact Beltrone & Company.