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anywhere from five to ten miles back from mans and were occupying. A section of the the actual firing line were pressed into serv- service, understand, consists of twenty-two ice for hospital purposes, and to these hospi- ambulances of a light Ford model, with five tals the wounded were brought by the auto or six auxiliary automobiles, including two mobiles from the dressing stations near the repair cars, a large truck, a moving kitchen, trenches.
and one or two staff cars for the officers. - I went to France in December of 1914. The first ambulance section was sent into Years before, as a student, I had lived in that the mountainous region of Alsace—a councountry, and had come to know the endear- try traversed by steep and circuitous mule ing and admirable qualities of its people, and paths which had been somewhat enlarged to when the war broke out it was with a spirit allow for the movement of troops, guns, and of affection and admiration for France that I · supplies. It was not believed possible that sought to render what service I could to a automobiles could negotiate these steep people in distress, to whose genius' and ideals mountain roads, so for a few weeks we were we in America owe so much of what makes : permitted to operate only in the valley. But life worth while. ... Pop )
. we finally persuaded the military authorities For two months I drove an ambulance in that with our little mountain-climbing cars Flanders and in the vicinity of Dunkirk in we could do the work required of us in the northern France. During that time we rough upper country as well, and that, too, Americans learned a good deal about the without interfering in any way with the milineeds of the army for transport service. . tary traffic. Permission being granted, we We came to realize that the rapid carrying soon proved that we could operate through of the wounded from battlefield to hospital almost any country that a mule had been was quite as essential to the saving of their capable of traveling ; and where the wounded lives as was surgical treatment. It was clear had previously been transported to the hosthat one way to help France was to place at pitals on mule-back or in horse-drawn, springher disposal a number of cars and volunteer. less carts, and with excruciating suffering to American drivers. So it was decided that the victims, over a journey of four or five we should organize a service on a somewhat hours, we brought them in carefully suspended larger scale and endeavor to have the same automobiles, with a minimum of suffering, attached directly to the French army.
and in an hour's time at that I Other cars having been given, and other Early in May, 1915, we were able to offer Americans having offered themselves for the the French Government another section, "cause," an attempt was made early in Jan- which they sent into Lorraine, and for nearly uary, 1915, to establish a field service at the , a year the men of this section worked in the very front to operate independently of the region of Bois le Prêtre, where there were American Hospital in Paris.
continual engagements, during which at least It was not until April, 1915, however, that forty thousand Frenchmen gave their lives. we succeeded in persuading the French Subsequently we supplied five more secGovernment to allow our cars, driven by tions, and we now have two others in course Ainericans, to go to the very front. Quite of formation. We have operated sections naturally the Government hesitated—although of our own all along the five hundred miles it did not actually object-to give our boys, of French front from Flanders to Switzerneutrals, a position almost on the firing line, land, of from twenty to thirty ambulances to where they could observe every operation of the section. Our little American cars, driven the armies. There was also some hesitancy by American volunteers, have run over the about submitting our boys to the risks which flat plains of northern France and the little such service entailed. But we assured the strip of Belgium which still remains in BelGovernment, in the first place, that no man gian hands; they have rendered service would be accepted for our service who was along the Somme, where the great Franconot known to be loyal to the cause of the British offensive is now under way; have Allies ; and also that we were quite willing worked on the Aisne, in Champagne, in Lorto incur the risks involved if only we could raine, and in reconquered Alsace. At the be of service to France.
great battle of Verdun we operated at one In April of the same year we succeeded time no fewer than one hundred and twentyin having a section sent to that part of Alsace five ambulances, and recently a section of which the French had wrested from the Ger- thirty-five of our cars and drivers has been
sent to Salonika to work with the French Army of the Orient.?
The personnel of this last-named section is typical of our service as a whole. It included eleven graduates or students of Harvard University, three each from Yale and Princeton, and one each from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia. In the service, as a whole, Harvard has shown more interest than any other college. We have had 114 Harvard graduates, about forty Yale men, a similar number from Princeton, and about a dozen each from the Universities of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Dart mouth, and Virginia, as well as representatives of about fifty other American universities. The Service has included doctors and lawyers, architects and painters-especially such as had been in France in their student days—brokers and business men, even a few clergymen, and several poets and writers of distinction, such as Henry Sydnor Harrison and Emery Pottle. They have varied in age
as much as in profession. The youngest volunteer we have had is Julian Allen, of New York, who was only fifteen when he joined us. In applying, he stretched his age to seventeen, and, as he looked at least twenty, he was readily accepted. We have had, however, at least half a dozen who were over forty-five. In the matter of availability for service age does not seem to count; the young men are the most eager and the most active, but also they are the most restless in periods of slack work. The influence of the older men is particularly helpful in maintaining discipline at such periods.
One great difficulty in the handling of our sections of volunteers has been to keep them contented in periods of repose. Each ambulance section, be it understood, is attached to a division of the army, and a division rarely remains in a sector or region of intense activity at the front for much more than a fortnight at a stretch. The strain is too great and the losses may be heavy. So every division is moved from time to time to a quieter section, often to some village back from the front, where its men can get rested, its losses be repaired, and its equipment restored. This process of rehabilitation may take three or
Quite independently of the eight sections of the American Ambulance Field Service, it should be said that there are also two independent sections of ambulances in which Americans have served, the Anglo-American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps, conducted by Mr. Richard Nor. ton, and a section controlled by the bankers MorganHarjes.