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Mobilization a French Soldier Remembers

Mobilization a French Soldier Remembers - magnificent row...

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Mobilization: A French Soldier Remembers Henri Desagneaux (1914) 2 August, Sunday Mobilized as a reserve lieutenant in the Railway Transport Service, I am posted to [assigned to] Gray. At 6 in the morning, after some painful good-byes, I go to Nogentle-Perreux station. The train service is not yet organized. There are no more passenger or goods trains. The mobilization timetable is now operative but nobody at the station has any idea when a train is due. Sad day, sad journey. At 7 A.M. a train comes, it arrives at its terminus-- Troyes--at 2 P.M. I didn't bring anything to eat, the refreshment room has already sold out. The rush of troops is beginning and consuming everything in its path. Already you find yourself cut off from the world, the newspapers don't come here any more. But, on the other hand, how much news there is! Everyone has his bit of information to tell--and it's true! . .. At last in the afternoon I catch the first train which comes along: a
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Unformatted text preview: magnificent row of first-class carriages (a Paris-Vienna de-luxe; all stock is mobilized) which is going no one knows precisely where, except that it is in the direction of the Front. The compartments and corridors are bursting at the seams with people from all classes of society. The atmosphere is friendly, enthusiastic, but the train is already clearly suffering from this influx from every stratum of society! The blinds are torn down, luggage-racks and mirrors broken, and the toilets emptied of their fittings; it's (typical) French destruction. At midnight, I am at Vesoul; nothing to eat there either; no train for Gray. I go to sleep on a bench in the refreshment room. The most fantastic rumours are going around; everyone is seeing spies unbolting railway track or trying to blow up bridges. Credits: Henri Desagneaux, A French Soldier's War Diary (Elmsfield Press, 1975), 3-5....
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