About Me

Born August 4, 1894 in Auburn, New York to William and Alice Beardsley Woodruff Hills. Younger brother Carroll Beardsley Hills and younger sister Mary Day Hills. Educated at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire and Princeton University, class of 1917

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letter written November 12, 1918

Dear Mother -:

The war is ended and just in time to let me stop as a soldier and not as what I became a couple of days ago, for then I was transferred from the line to the office of a G.H.Q. (general headquarters) colonel who is an authority on something and who had an idea I might be of some value to him. I had arrived from the front from where I last wrote you only a few days earlier and had not done much of anything when the end came. The way it came was quite remarkable and I suppose quite different from what anyone at home would imagine it would be like. We all knew that the German envoys had arrived and were trying to negotiate but peace has been so far from everyone’s mind for so long that it seemed absolutely incomprehensible that it would end. As soon as I got up yesterday morning tho, the rumor was all about that the armistice had been signed but there was nothing official; later it became more insistent until about 10: 30 it was finally announced and posted all over the city. The bells of the cathedral rang for a while, the children shouted a bit but it was very quiet and this is in a town that has been connected, and that intimately, with the war since it broke out. Among the older people there were more tears and hysterics than anything else, while the soldiers and people who had been actively in things couldn’t seem to realize it at all; they simply wandered aimlessly about, repeating “la guerre est fini, c’est la victoire.” Later in the day there was a band concert in the Place and things let down a little. All the national anthems of the Allies were played and the crowds which were large cheered a little but it was all very solemn. No one can seem to realize that the war is over and we have won. They know it but as yet they can’t feel it. I have heard that in some places there were real joyous affairs but for the most part it was as I told you. Too big an occasion for a frivolous celebration.

I suppose now that we will occupy some German territory for some time and then start coming home. When that will be heaven only knows for just now there is no making plans of any variety for certainly they will be all wrong. Personally, if I have to stay here any length of time what I am doing now would please me as much as anything for about all I have to do is to ride around the country in a marvelous automobile and look things over and then come back and pass out what some people are foolish enough to believe is expert advice. However I want really more than anything else to come home.

This is all now .

With love

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul:
So glad to hear that you have made it through. As for me, I have another year to go in France, fighting all the way. Stop by for a read if you have the chance.