French Postcards 11

Postcard 27:

Legend: A poilu who thinks about you


Dear Claudia,
I send you this cute card to show you that I think about you, as here you don't see pretty girls like my little sisters Claudia and Louise. Your brother who kisses you warmly.

Mademoiselle Claudia Henry

Note: A pretty postcard and a very generic picture that could be used to send to either family, wives, lovers or girlfriends. Pansies illustrate the legend (pensees). The fresh and immaculate presentation of the poilu obviously contrasts with the poor living conditions soldiers had to endure, as described in the content of the postcard.

Postcard 28


Dear Claudia,
Today Sunday it's raining. We're off to Souindre for some machine gun practice I think. I'm going to tell you what happened when we first arrived at the regiment. First when I arrived in Serin, I went  sadly on arrival to the courtyard; thinking that's death. After the 5 o'clock call we were told to assemble; so we assembled like chickens when you are about to feed them. Then they counted us, 15; to feed us they brought us a large dish with some yellow stuff on it. It looked like calf's s...with some meat cut on top. I took a bit of it; tasted it and sent it to hell; I kept away from all these poisons. Then they took us to sleep to the Iles Barbe: there were straw mattresses on the floor - I was wondering where my bed was; I just slept on the floor. The next day they took us back to Serin - we had coffee

Note: Postcard of a young poilu to his sister Claudia. He is obviously not impressed by the food or the living conditions offered to soldiers. Ii all comes as a bit of a shock to him.

Postcard 36:

Legend: My sister let us wait for them, these heroes, these victorious men

In blue ink:

Cluses 6 April 1915

My dear Hector,

Two words to give you some news that are always quite good for the time being. I wish with all my heart that my present beautiful card finds you the same; receive it from the one who loves you and thinks about you continuously. I kiss you very warmly. I keep courage - I know that I need to live for you and for our children. I hope that you do the same as I, that you do all that is possible to stay in good health, that you have a good rest, that…[right corner last line not legible]

Top left corner: The one who loves you a lot, Alice

Upside down in pencil:

Dear little Laurent,

I got some molletieres [piece of leather or cloth to cover the lower part of the legs] but I do not know how to put them on yet. Like you I would like to be with you so that you can teach me how to put them on. Your papa who kisses you and your brother and your sister and let’s not forget your dear maman. Hector

Note: The postcard is a representation of Alsace-Lorraine as two pretty girls waiting for the heroic soldiers to come and deliver them from the German oppressor. Alice, the wife, bought and sent the card to her husband (blue ink) and he reused it (pencil) to send a note to his son and the rest of the family. An example again of recycling- very common at the time.

A poignant message from a wife and mother to her husband, urging him to take care of himself for the sake of his family.