Date of Publish Unknown
The following letter from Private Lester J. Benzer, son of Joseph
Benzer, 1428 Washington street, was received by his former associates
of the Ninth street engine house. Private Benzer enlisted in the balloon
section in April and received training at San Antonio, Texas, and was
sent to France, where he is in Company C, Balloon Wing, American E.
F., A. P. 0. 705.
France, July 21, 1918.
Dear Pals: I am writing you to let you know that I am in the best of
health and have arrived here in fine condition after a good trip.
We had a. long ride on one of these French railways. They sure are a
joke alongside of our railways. One could put about three of these cars
in one of ours, but they make good time with them at that. Everything
is different here. The people, that is, most of them, wear wooden shoes,
the houses are all made of stone with high rock walls around them with
broken bottles set in cement on the top so that they cannot climb over
Nearly all of the French farmers use ox teams to plow their fields and
almost all of their grain is cut by hand with scythes or cycles. The
majority of the farm work is done by the French women; they also work
as section hands. When American troops pass through towns or along country
roads, the little children stand along the streets and roads to shake
hands with the American soldiers. We gave them some of our biscuits
which they sure like, as they do not get any to much to eat, as it is
and their bread is as black as can be.
The American soldiers are the only ones over here that are getting pure
wheat bread which the boys relish greatly. We are allowed all we can
eat of it. They are doing all they possibly can do for us over here
to make life as pleasant as possible.
Well, boys, how are you all? I wish I could write you more but you know
I cannot. The American boys will have a lot of tales to tell when they
get back to the states.
The detachment I was in is all broke up and I was put in a headquarters
company. I believe I will like it a lot better. Will let you know more
the next time. Write a letter once in a while for I will he glad to
hear from you all. Let me known how everything is going in dear old
Dubuque, for I think it will be some time before I get back there again.
I will close this letter with the hope of hearing from you boys soon.
With best regards to all, I remain as ever.
Your old pal,