Views From The Battle Front
World War 1 Photos and Postcards
By Robert Shelton McClellan
Scanned By Cathy McClellan Cheney
Shelton was inducted into the U.S. Army on July 22, 1918 at Sherman, Texas where he was staying with his brother, Charlie. He served as a private with Company E, 106 Engineers from Sept. 2, 1918 to March 18, 1919 and then with P.W.E. 274, Company A, P.O. 717 from March 18, 1919 to Oct. 14, 1919.
Shelton sent postcards and letters to his future wife, Mary, while he was in the service. One postcard simply said, “to my best friend”.
July 21, 1918 - From Co. A. 3rd Reg. Camp Pike Arkansas, Shelton’s brother, Roy, wrote a letter to the “homefolks”. Roy mentioned that Shelton came to see him (Shelton was in the service at the same time). Shelton had told him that “someone shot his old sow and killed her from her pigs”. He also told him that the calves were just as fat as could be and that had been offered $46 for the calf, but not to sell at any price. He stated that it would not be long till they will bring $75 a piece.
I have many letters written by Shelton to the "homefolks" during WW1. Below are quick summaries of some of those letters:
In an undated letter on YMCA letterhead, Shelton wrote to his father, Tom, stating that he arrived safe and was doing well.
Postmarked Oct. 7, 1918 - Shelton wrote that he arrived safely overseas on the ship, but that he got mighty sea sick before they landed. It took about 13 days and nights to cross the sea. He warned his family to not write anything about the war when they sent him letters or else the letter would be “canceled”. He asked about his brother, Roy, and if he made it safely to where he was stationed. Roy was also in the war at the same time. It was written on YMCA letterhead and signed Pvt. Shelton McClellan 106 Engineers Co. E.
Feb. 18, 1919 - Shelton wrote three pages on how he had not received letters from his family. He thought maybe something was wrong at home and they just didn't want to tell him. He said he could send a cablegram to them, but that it would cost $5 or $10 dollars. He said if he didn't hear from them soon he was going to send them a cablegram anyway. Signed Pvt. Robert S. McClellan, 274 P.W.E., Co. A, P.O. 717.
April 11, 1919 - Shelton wanted to come home. He told his father that some of the boys in his company got to come home and he thought it was because their parents wrote to Washington and informed them of their dependence. He wanted his family to do the same. Shelton stated that when he registered he declared his dependence and that if he could come home he could put in the crop for his parents and Aunt Vicky who were all getting old.
July 15, 1919 - Shelton typed to his father, Tom, from Tours, France. He stated that this was his first time to ever use a typewriter and that he was on Money Guard that night in the office. Shelton asked how his pony, Fannie Bell, was doing. The letter was signed Pvt. Robert S. McClellan 274 P.W.E. Co. A, P.O. 717 and was typed on a Knights of Columbus letterhead.
July 20, 1919 - Shelton mentioned that he was getting tired of guarding the German prisoners and that he hoped to get discharged in August of that year.
In an undated letter, but post marked July 21, 1919 (the letter must not have been mailed immediately because Shelton was with Co. E 106 at the time it was written and he was transferred to 274 P.W.E. Co. A on March 18, 1919.) Shelton told his family not to worry about him because he was alright now. That he was up and going anywhere he wanted, but would go to another hospital to rest up for awhile. He also jokingly stated that he wanted his mama to have some big frying size chickens when he got home. (Shelton had caught the flu and almost died. When he was finally released from the hospital, his company had already gone to serve on the front lines. Shelton was transferred to 274 P.W.E. Company A at that time).
Aug. 5, 1919 - Shelton wrote from France that he was fine and that he got back from Paris. He said “it certainly was a fine city” and that he went to Versailles to where the peace treaty was signed and saw the table that it was signed on.
Aug. 7, 1919 - Shelton wrote on YMCA letterhead from Tours, France to his mother, Tennie. He said he just got finished chasing prisoners. Shelton stated that there was a big vaudeville that night at the YMCA and that he was going. He also said they were going to send the prisoners home this week and that he thought he would sail on Aug. 20th for the U.S.A. He told Tennie that he had “lots of nice views of the battle front and that he was bringing a box full home with him”. Signed Pvt. Robert S. McClellan, 274 P.W.E., Company A, P.O. 717.
In 1919, a post card from Pvt. Robert S. McClellan to his father, Tom, stated that he had just arrived in the U.S.A. and he was feeling fine. He was headed for Camp Merrit in New Jersey and expecting to be home soon. The post card was stamped in Baltimore, Maryland. I am not sure of the stamped date, I think it is (Oct. 13), 1919. The post card was compliments of Jewish Welfare Board, United States Army and Navy. He was with Company 274th, Regt. P.W.E., Vessel Northern Pacific.
The box full of views of the battle front that Shelton mentioned were put in a scrapbook by his wife, Mary. Those “views” (postcards and photos) were so graphic and telling that I felt compelled to share them. Mary also put photos in this album that were sent by her brothers, Walter and Ben McCaleb, who also served in WW1.
We have divided up the pictures in to a somewhat organized fashion and this does not necessarily reflect there arrangement in the Scrap Book. Just follow the following links to view the many pictures of the World War I Scrap Book.
Follow these links, Enjoy!
Caution The Next Page Shows The Real Horror Of War