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DIARY CARRIED BY DOUGHBOY BEFORE BEING KILLED
- Small diary with few ink entries kept by Private Otto C. Bletzer of Roxbury, Massachusetts. The diary has few notations but Bletzer died of wounds while inaction in France and most likely had this diary with him when mortally wounded. The diary includes his name and address on the “IDENTIFICATION” page and on a Cash Account page he wrote in pencil “8th Field Bat. Signal Corp.” The first brief entry was written on Friday, February 15, 1918—“Examined for the draft.” On April 26 he wrote “Arrived at Camp Devens, Ayer, Mass.,” then on May 16 wrote “Arrived at Camp Merritt, New Jersey from Camp Devens.” On May 24 he wrote “Left Camp Merritt for over seas,” noting he was transported by the ship Von Steuben from Hoboken, N.J., leaving at 6:35 PM on Sunday, May 26, 1918. Subsequent entries included more movements in France, receipt of pay in French francs, sleeping in woods, and sleeping in pup tents. The last entry, “Received 105-1/2 Franks,” was written on Wednesday, July 24, 1918. The back of the diary contains the names and addresses of comrades. Loose and within the diary is a news clipping with short stories of the wounding of two Massachusetts men and the death of Private Bletzer. Headlined “JAMAICA PLAIN BOY KILLED,” it reads “Private Otto C. Bletzer, reported dead in France from wounds received while in action, formerly lived at 12 Atherton St. He was the son of Adam Bleter, an engineer. He was 27 years old and employed as a chauffeur before enlisting for the war. Last May the family moved to Jamaica Plain.” The diary is in very good condition.