100 Years ago this week: I am getting very tired of my job

Background:  In September of 1917 My grandfather, John Rodney Jamieson, who we later called ‘Poppa’, enlisted in the United States Army’s 20th Engineers whose primary purpose was to mill lumber and build the wooden structures needed by the soldiers. In November he sailed to France aboard a troop transport ship.  He is assigned to the headquarters unit of Company A and is based at a camp set up inside a bull ring in Dax, France.  Many of the soldiers around him have come down with the Spanish flu.  

We need your help!

Michel Boquet is a retired French engineer who has provided a lot of information used in this blog.  He has acquired a picture of Poppa’s battalion and is trying to identify the soldiers pictured.

A picture of the 20th Engineers before they left America for France. Secretary of War Baker is bottom row second from right. The commanding officer Major Hartwick is next to Baker (third from right).

Mr. Boquet is suggesting that Poppa is at the far left of the bottom row.

Here is a comparison picture.

The picture on the left is known to be Poppa. Is he also pictured on the right?

What do you think?  Feel free to post a comment here or on the Facebook page.

Here are Poppa’s Journal entries for this week in 1918.


Sunday August 11, 1918– Twentieth defeated the Tenth today in baseball at city park  12 to 6. Not nearly so good a game as that played on February 22.

Monday August 12– Mac, Schroeder and I took a walk this evening and while in suburbs of Dax an old man called us in to drink some wine with him.  He was old and crippled and had not seen many Americans. He was very happy to have us and we felt the evening well spent.

Tuesday August 13– Good lecture tonight by some Y.M. C. A. man.

Wednesday August 14– Am working on maps everyday.  Getting very tired of my job as draftsman and would welcome a change.  Letter from Jamie today.

Thursday August 15– Moore gives supper tonight to (?) squad on his retiring from club.  Now four members is full membership of club.

Friday August 16– The Y.M.C.A. give a picture show each Friday night in the camp.  Sometimes in arena. Sometimes in arena.

Saturday August 17– Rather great day.  Went to casino in evening.  Inspection in the P.M.


Wednesday August 14-…  “Letter from Jamie today.”

Presumably Poppa is referring to his older brother Hugh Clancy Jamieson who was called Jamie.  we knew him as great uncle Clancy.  Clancy also served in the U.S. Army during WWI. It appears that he served in the states as the only address for Clancy  in Poppa’s journal is Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois .  An article published in the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal on Oct 15, 1917 indicated that “the Madison Boys in Company I want a Victrola to pass the time…”   According to the article the Victrola should be sent to Uncle Clancy at Camp Grant which was on the outskirts ofRockford Illinois until, 1946.

Brothers Hugh Clancy (upper left) and John Rodney Jamieson (upper right) pictured with some of their Jamieson cousins. Circa mid 1890s

Next week:  Band Practice Every Monday and Friday

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