A modern driver would not know how to drive these ambulances.
See the Ford Ambulance page.
Words cannot adequately describe No Man’s Land. Artillery destroyed nearly all structures and most of the trees. The land was churned up into a morass. After the rains, a soldier could hardly walk through it. Mud actually swallowed wounded men and lame horses. Barbed wire, artillery and Maxim machinguns made attempts at crossing it a suicidal gesture. Mustard and phosgene gas shells killed birds and many of the thousands of rats. Rats, dining on dead soldiers, could grow to the size of small dogs and were exceedingly bold in confronting soldiers in the trenches.
It was impossible to stay clean in the field. Mud was everywhere and trenchfoot was a problem for everyone including Ralph. They all had lice and that could lead to a nasty disease call “Trench Fever” which made a miserable existence even worse. Ralph had only one set of clothing so he had to literally run around naked under a blanket until his uniform dried out enough to wear. Here, French Colonial troops do their laundry near No Man’s Land.
This is my grandmother, Edyth Sarah Lemmon, an Army nurse at Camp Upton, New York, circa 1918. I called her “Nanny.” She died when I was five years old. She was one of the few women buried with full military honors in the 1960’s prior to the Vietnam War. She inoculated dough boys, American soldiers, before they left for France and she helped treat and rehabilitate wounded soldiers.
This is Ralph’s S.S. Baltic ship pass on his journey to England. Baltic was a huge luxury liner before the war, the largest ship in the world in 1905. He was berthed in second class, fine accommodations Ralph could have never afforded as a “starving” medical student. Prior to this, Ralph had never been more than 300 miles away from his home in Marietta, Ohio. Since it was printed, “KEEP THIS CARD,” being the good soldier, he kept it almost 100 years.
One of Ralph’s ambulances after being shelled by German artillery. Of the 126 American-manned Ford M1917 Ambulances destroyed in the Great War, Ralph lost three to shellfire and crashes. How he survived this shelling was a miracle.
About 100 more photos to come. Keep checking back!
Due to the state of my photos, I will be employing a professional to help digitize them.
Sorry for the delay. But quality is better than quantity!