Guest Notes for Episode 362: Retracing the Steps of a WW1 soldier

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Categories: Alsace and Lorraine, Champagne Area

Discussed in this Episode

  • Reims
  • Valmy
  • Sainte-Menehould
  • Brizeau
  • Passavant
  • Beaulieu
  • Varennes-en-Argonne
  • Fleury-devant-Douamont
  • Simone Veil
  • American WWI Meuse Argonne Cemetery at Montfaucon
  • La Petite Pierre in the Vosges
  • Logis Hôtel Des Vosges (Famille Wehrung)
  • Domremy-la-Pucelle
  • Spending Bastille Day in Paris

Dates of the trip: July 3 – 15, 2015


               Eurostar from London (Friday, June 3, 2015)

St Pancras to Gare du Nord

Rented a car in Paris

Speeding Ticket

Small, non-moving accident ended up not being covered by the car rental insurance



Hotel de la Paix


De Gaulle & Konrad Addenauer: Mass for Peace (July 8, 1962)

Taittinger Champagne Cellars

Valmy* (Sept 1792) site of the first major military victory of the French Revolutionary forces – stopped the Prussian advance on Paris – Gens Kellerman & Dumouriez vs Duke of Brunswick


Lovely, but unremarkable, town

Chambre d’hôtes Demeure d”Argonne* on the town square – lesson: don’t stay above a bar on a Saturday night.

DAY TRIPS from STE MENEHOULD to sites in my grandfather’s photo album of his WWI service



Beaulieu* – site of Evacuation Hospital No. 11

Argonne Forest*

L’abri de Kronprinz*

American WWI Meuse Argonne Cemetery at Montfaucon


Ft. Douamont*

Fleury-devant-Douamont* – “village that died for France”

Varenne*s – Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette captured June 21, 1791


Logis Hôtel Des Vosges* – Famille Wehrung

Family of my great-great-grandmother, Catherine Wehrung, emigrated to US mid-19th century



We fell in love with this lovely city.

Stayed at Maison Rouge


Half-timbered buildings


Cathédral* (1015-1439)

L’Horloge* 1547

Moving figures

Les apôtres



Sound (cock crow)

Astronomical elements – planets, seasons, solar position, etc.

Light show *– exceeded our expectations

Day trip to Domrémy-la-Pucelle* (Vosges)

Home of Jean d’Arc (1412-1431)

Departmental Archives to do some genealogic research

Boat tour

Petite France area

European Parliament Buildings


Citadines Trocadéro*

Bastille Day*

Differences between American celebrations of July 4 and French celebrations of Bastille Day

Jardin de Luxembourg*

Quai de la Tournelle – woman in window*

Marché aux Oiseau *– Sundays,  Ile de la Cité



After reinforcing Mobile Hospital No. 39, at Aulnois, and Field Hospital 41, for 10 days during and after the St. Mihiel operation Evacuation Hospital No. 11 located, September 21, about 1 mile north of Brizeau. This location was well toward the front, but suffered from the great disadvantage of not being on a railway. This situation required that supplies be brought in by truck and that patients be evacuated by ambulance from 11 to 15 km. (6.6 to 9 miles) to Evacuation Hospital No. 10, at Froidos; to American Red Cross Hospital No. 114, at Fleury sur Aire; to American Red Cross Hospital No. 110, at Viller Daucourt; or to Evacuation Hospital No. 9, at Vaubecourt. The capacity of the unit was 460 beds, but two annexes of 200 beds each were established, one on October 5, at Camp Raton, 1.2 km. (0.75 mile) distant, for influenza, pneumonia, and other cases of infectious diseases; the other, opened October 27, at Brizeaux Village, 1.6 km. (1 mile) distant, received only mumps cases. The hospital proper was ordered to receive only seriously wounded cases, but toward the end of the Meuse-Argonne operation some slightly wounded were admitted and after the armistice became effective, medical cases. While at this site the hospital with its annexes received 2,273 medical cases and 3,292 surgical cases. Of the latter, 2,792 were serious and among them 216 deaths occurred. The largest number of seriously wounded operated in one day was 195. In order to expedite care of patients still carrying tourniquets or suffering from shock, abdominal wounds, aspirating chest wounds, or hemorrhage, an “emergency tag” was used carrying the following notations: Name; urgency, 1, 2, 3; preoperative ward; X ray; evacuation ward; shock ward. In filling out this card the triage officer circled the number, 1, 2, or 3, according to circumstances, a circle around the figure “1” signifying “rush,” and made appropriate check opposite the other entries.

The personnel on duty in the receiving and sorting section of the hospital consisted of 6 officers and 58 enlisted men, divided into two shifts. The greatest number of admissions in one day was 224, all of whom were seriously wounded. After operation, abdominal cases were held 10 days, head cases, in the event the dura had not been opened, were evacuated at the discretion of the operator, but those in which the brain was involved were held at least 7 days. Hemothorax complicating chest cases with a through and through injury were operated in 48 hours and evacuated as soon as it was shown that the hemothorax was not likely to recur. If a foreign body remained in the thoracic cavity no attempt was made to remove it. No localized abscess developed up to the time of evacuation, and there were but two cases of infected hemothorax in 35 cases. Compound fractures, including those of joints, were held from 3 to 7 days, but simple fractures were evacuated at once. All amputations were held from 7 to 10 days and then evacuated as ordered by the chief of service. Spinal cases were at first held 7 days, but when it was learned that they were prone to develop bed sores and fatal spinal meningitis, they were evacuated as quickly as possible on well-padded litters. Cases infected with gas-forming bacilli were segregated, but it was never possible to give them a ward by themselves. The shock ward treated 240 patients, of whom 54 died. Stimulants used in this ward in order of their frequency were camphorated oil, caffeine, adrenalin, digitaline, strychnine, and whisky. Normal salt solution proved more satisfactory than gum acacia solution for intravenous injections. The hours of operating teams were at first 8 hours, but were later changed to 12, which proved more satisfactory. Teams were then required to dress their own cases. The two splint teams, which alternated in service, found the Thomas leg splint and the Murray modification of the Thomas arm splint to be the most suitable for outgoing patients, employing 126 of the former and 122 of the latter. Other splints applied were Cabot, 166; Liston, 10; Jones, 8; wire ladder, 85; and wood support splints, 90. Splinting was required in 6 of the 13 cases of maxillofacial injuries. The number of fluoroscopic examinations made was 3,143.

During the Meuse-Argonne operation, Evacuation Hospital No. 11 admitted 3,654 patients, of whom 265 were sick, 4 gassed, 3,365 wounded. Operations numbered 3,364 and deaths 208. The annex at Brizeaux received during this operation 469 patients and that at Camp Raton 366; of the latter, 25 died.

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Categories: Alsace and Lorraine, Champagne Area