"Somewhere in France" 1918

Updated: Nov 16


Although his aunt and uncle had moved to Portland, Oregon, young Robert Israel was quite close to his uncle Arch and Aunt Nell. Arch and Nell traveled extensively, including throughout much of Europe in 1911. Arch sent many postcards typically telling a little bit of the local history and sometimes a few impressions.


Arch returned to Europe as a Captain in World War I. He sent Robert at least one letter from "somewhere in France" in December of 1918. Arch had only passed briefly in England where "war is the thing always in evidence." He writes that he is spending one night in a "rest" camp in an undisclosed French city before heading to their permanent camp. Arch says that he had seen several American soldiers who had lost an eye in battle and a boy who had an "Iron Cross of the 1st Class" which he'd taken from a German mayor he had killed. Arch closes the letter asking his nephew to distract his now visiting Aunt Nell who must be lonesome, wishing the family happy holidays and reminding Robert “Do not however forget those in other lands who are not so happy & not so well fed.”


November 11, as a day of honoring our veterans, began as Armistice Day after World War I ended in 1919 - almost another year after Arch wrote his letter home to his nephew in Fairfield, Iowa. In recognition of all our veterans, Armistice Day became Veterans Day after World War II.

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It is always interesting to look at envelopes from years past. Fairfield, Iowa was small enough that only the town, state and Robt. Henry Israel was needed for the address. No postage stamp was needed because the mail was "Officers Mail," but note the "Passed as Censored" ink stamp at the bottom left.

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