Letters from the Great War, 1917-1919

My great-grandfather Glenn M. Kaiser served during World War I, serving in the 127th Infantry, 32nd “Red Arrow” Division of the Army. He was drafted in September 1917, and was sent overseas in February 1918. His company fought in France and Germany, and he was part of the occupying army after the war was done. He was a Private, and was later transferred to a cook. He was honorably discharged on 19 May 1919. While he was in the Army, he sent frequent letters back home to his mother Jennie (Holbrook) Kaiser and siblings Katie, Floyd, and Anna in DeKalb, IL. Some of his letters survive, as well as some letters from his brother Alfred Kaiser and a friend named Harry Aument. I have scanned the collection of 45 letters and transcribed them below. Kaiser_Glenn_WWI_letter_1919-04-15_envelope

Transcriptions may include minor spelling corrections, added punctuation, and clarifications in brackets to improve readability.

Click on the link for each letter to read it. Then, click on the image of the letters to see them full-size. Full-size letters are large files and may take longer to load, depending on your connection speed.


  • 1917 – Training and Preparation
  • 1918 – Glenn fights in France
    • March 6, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Brest, France (just after arriving in France)
    • March 29, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Brest, France
    • April 30, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Training near Brest, France
    • April 30, 1918 – Glenn to his mother (published in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle on May 31, 1918)
    • May 14, 1918 – Alfred to his mother – Kenosha, Wisconsin
    • June 29, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Haute Alsace, France (includes a photo!)
    • July 2, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Haute Alsace, France (fragment of a letter) [NEW!]
    • July 4, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Haute Alsace, France (just before leaving to join the Aisne-Marne Campaign)
    • July 17, 1918 – Harry Aument to his friend – Puget Sound Navy Yards, Washington
    • July 29, 1918 – Harry Aument to his friend Floyd Kaiser – Puget Sound Navy Yards, Washington (includes photos!) [NEW!]
    • August 9, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Château-Thierry region, near Marne, France (just after the Second Battle of the Marne)
    • August 12, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – Château-Thierry region, near Marne, France
    • September 12, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Joinville, France (just after the Oise-Aisne Campaign)
    • September 12, 1918 – Glenn to his sister – near Joinville, France
    • September 14, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Joinville, France
    • September 14, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Joinville, France (extra note with envelope) [NEW!]
    • September 20, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Joinville, France (as published in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle on October 25, 1918, in article titled “On the Trail of the Kaiser.”) [NEW!]
    • October 28, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Meuse, France (just after the Meuse-Argonne Campaign)
    • October 29, 1918 – Glenn to his sister – near Meuse, France
    • November 12, 1918 – Glenn to his mother – near Meuse, France

Kaiser_Glenn_WWI_letter_1919?_envelope

 

[Please note: some of these letters contain offensive terms and/or otherwise objectionable and outdated language. This language does not reflect my own views or values. These terms may be omitted from the transcription, but are not censored from the original letters.]

 


Sources:

  • Kaiser family photos, original; Kaiser Family papers, privately held by Emily (Drake) Weil, Kingston, Ill.
  • Kaiser, Glenn, letters, originals, 1918-1919; Kaiser Family papers, privately held by Emily (Drake) Weil, Kingston, Ill.
  • “The 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Division in World War I, From the ‘Iron Jaw Division’ to ‘Les Terribles’” by The 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Veteran Association, revised 26 Feb 2017. http://www.32nd-division.org/history/ww1/32-ww1.html

Interested in reading more about Glenn’s experience in WWI or the Kaiser family? Read more stories here:

 

2 thoughts on “Letters from the Great War, 1917-1919

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