100 Years Ago This Week: I Guess I Got it Too.

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.  Here are the journal entries he wrote one hundred years ago this week.

Sunday July 28, 1918 – I guess I got it too.  Feel very “bum” today. Woolie  also in bed with the fever.  Hope I don’t have to stay in bed tomorrow.

Monday July 29 – Took a trip in side car today with Munday nearly to coast looking for forest fire. Fire was out when we got there but had a very good trip.

Tuesday July 30 “Oui-Oui” has been gone for nearly two weeks we now have “Chick” a little puppy about six inches round.  Full of pup life.

Wednesday July 31– Another fire in “C” cos woods today.  Everybody out fighting the fire which was defeated after a couple of hours fight.

Thursday August 1– The Americans are doing some neat work up the line.  The allies are advancing every day.

Friday August 2– We have moved our offices from the arena uptown to a building formerly used as a hotel.  Much better place for offices but not so handy as before.

Saturday August 3– Payday and Saturday combined.  Enough said. Shorty put on a party with Joe and  Schroeder.

The Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-1920

Last week on July 26, 1918 Poppa wrote that ” at least half of the fellows are sick with the Spanish Fever. ”  He described the effects of the disease this way:  “Makes one quite sick for a couple of days and for several days before strong again. ”  At the time Poppa and the rest of the world had not yet grasped the severity of this disease.  The Spanish flu eventually killed over 20 million people around the world and was one of the greatest disasters in history.   Not all people react to the disease in the same way.  Fortunately for Poppa he was apparently able to return to work on Monday July 29th after feeling “bum” the day before.

Patients lie in an influenza ward at a U.S. Army camp hospital in Aix-les-Baines, France, during World War I. PHOTOGRAPH BY CORBIS

Tuesday July 30 “Oui-Oui” has been gone for nearly two weeks we now have “Chick” a little puppy about six inches round.  Full of pup life.

Here Poppa was referring to a pet mascot that was being kept by their company.  Poppa referred to Oui-Oui earlier but now it appears that he has gone missing.  However, the company has a new pet named chick.

This article from the battalion newspaper contains more detail about the new dog adopted by A company and named “Chick”. Credit Michel Boquet for this article

Next Week: “Hell, Heaven or Hoboken before Christmas”



“1918 Flu Pandemic That Killed 50 Million Originated in China, Historians Say.”National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 July 2018.


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