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Letter from Richard Riedler, Renville Star Farmer, 11-14-1918

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Richard Riedler
September 13, 1901 – August 9, 1986

Everywhere in General, (in England now), Oct. 25th, 1918

Dear Folks:

Well all I can say is that Columbus had a lot of nerve when he crossed the ocean in his little row-boat. I’m not coming back until they build a bridge across, or else walk back. I didn’t get sick at all but there isn’t enough change of scenery to suit me.

Nothing exciting happened except one day I was carrying a pan of apple sauce down stairs and when I got half way down the ship gave a lurch and down I went with the pan above my head doing my best to save all I could because apple sauce sure was scarce on that boat. I het every step too and you can imagine how I felt when I hit the bottom. Murphy was going down ahead of me with another pan of sauce hugging the rail for dear life. I just hollered “lookout Murphy” and I got “right of way” without any argument whatever. Since then I was nicknamed ‘apple sauce.” I never spilled a bit though so I think I have “served by saving.” Hereafter I carry nothing but bread.

England surely is a beautiful country. All the farms are divided by hedges, so you can imagine how beautiful it is. We traveled way across England in a thing they call a train over here. The coaches are divided into apartments with a capacity of eight persons. There are no aisles running through the cars and how they manage to collect fares I haven’t figured out yet. At each station there is a platform the same height as the doors of the apartments so one can step from his apartment on to the platform. The wheels look like a small wagon wheel or a wheelbarrow, and the locomotives are about the size of those I used to get for Christmas. They sure can travel though, even though they are small.

“2 and four,” and then we get a bunch of great big coins the size of an American dollar but only worth two cents in U.S. money. By “2 and 4” they mean 2 shillings and six pence, equal to 58 cents in our money. I have laughed more today than I have for a long time over the money proposition.

Don’t worry about me, because I am having the best time ever. Slept on three boards last night and I never slept better during the time I have been in the army. We didn’t go to bed until about 3:30 A.M. and slept until 9:00. I feel fine and feel as though I can call myself a soldier now. I hope we can get right into it and help. I talked to an English soldier last night who had served three years in France and he said you, you “bloody” chaps are doing fine especially when it comes to going forward because they want a position they generally get it.” That’s the old football “pep” and as long as there is “pep” nothing can stop a yank.

Met some American Red Cross ladies on the way last night and they gave us coffee and cookies. Oh boy! That coffee sure was good. The Red Cross surely is a wonderful organization. Every place a troop train stops they are there with coffee and other eats.

Dont worry about me folks because if old “apple sauce” can fall down a flight of stairs he’s not going to let a little Hun army stop him. Write often and let’s hear all the news. “Hello to all the gang and tell everybody to write when they get a chance.

With love, Your loving son, Richard Riedler, M.G. Co. 135 U.S., Infantry, A.E.F.