March 18-19, 1919

Posted By on August 3, 2012

Philadelphia, Pa.
March 18, 1919
W. J. Nicholson, Supreme Court, San Francisco.
Landed Philadelphia three weeks trip reporting Camp Dix. Discharge well.

World War One Letters Blog

Hostess House, National Young Women’s Christian Association
Camp Dix, New Jersey
March 19, 1919
Dear Folks:
Back at last! As you know from the telegram I sent last night, I landed at Philadelphia yesterday afternoon at 2 P.M. on the Louis K. Thurlow. There were only three of us on board, two captains and myself. We came out here to Camp Dix, a forty mile ride, at once. It is now ten A.M. and we have completed our “paper work” regarding the discharges and are simply waiting for the orders to come through making us civilians again. They may come out this afternoon but tomorrow morning for sure. As soon as they come I will leave immediately for Philadelphia and catch the first train for the West you may be sure. Will send a telegram to the office in S.F. a day before arrival so you will know when and where to expect me. You will probably get that telegram just about the same time you receive this letter.
There is a lot of red tape to go through here at the demobilization center. We had a thorough physical examination this morning, and filled out a stack of forms regarding our past, present and future. Our discharge will be mailed to us later.
World War One Letters BlogI suppose you are anxious to hear of the trip across. It was quite pleasant and uneventful, although drawn out a bit. The Philadelphia Ledger this morning blossomed out with the enclosed. Where they got the information is more than I know, most likely from the debarkation office. We left Bordeaux on the morning of February 26. We went down the river, a trip of 90 miles, reaching the ocean at sunset. The bar was so rough though that the French pilot wouldn’t take us across, so we anchored there until morning. I might describe the Thurlow now. She is a lake boat 300 feet long, commissioned in the Navy. There were no regular quarters for passengers, so we were fixed up as comfortably as possible. It was far from being “deluxe” but we were so glad to get anything no one thought of complaining. The mess was “rough.” That is the only way to express it. It was meat three times a day every day, but again no one complained, because we were actually on the way home. The first three days I was really seasick. There was no doubt about it. I tried to eat, but couldn’t keep off my back long enough to down enough to do any good, and what did get down wouldn’t stay there. So for three days I lived on hope. At the end of that time the sea quieted down and I began to come around OK. After getting away with three or four good meals I felt all right again. From that time on I never had a touch of it again, even though we had some much rougher weather. About half way across we had a 48 hour blow that brought us to a standstill. The last eight hours we had to head into it to stop the rolling. Opinion varied as to its velocity. The Lt. Commander said 80 miles and the others 100. Anyway, it blew harder than I have ever seen or heard before. After that blow we had good weather except for some rainy days. We took the southern route, passing south of the Azores and skimming the Bermudas. This route is much smoother than the northern one this time of the year, although much longer. The ship logged 3800 miles for the trip.
On the morning of March 17th at 11 o’clock we first sighted the lighthouse on Cape May. It was certainly a treat to watch the shore gradually come into view. We picked up a pilot and started up the river to Philadelphia, a nine hours’ run. We had to anchor off quarantine at sunset, though half way up, and remain overnight. At daybreak on the 18th the doctor came out and soon ordered us to proceed on our way. We docked at 2 P.M. and I’m telling you it didn’t take us long to hop ashore. Here is where the “class” comes though. A Dodge car met us and took me up to the Headquarters building. They then sent a truck down for our baggage, taking it to the ferry. Then they took us down to the ferry, gave us our tickets, had our baggage already checked and wished us a bon voyage. We were not used to receiving such consideration in France. Over there, it’s get your luggage the best way you can, and shift for yourself generally.
I had the most wonderful shampoo and hair cut possible before leaving for the train. Also I realized one of my dreams of months. I went into a hotel and had a big piece of peach pie completely hidden by strawberry ice cream. The realization beat the anticipation this time, too.
Well, will see you soon now, within a week anyway.
Lost ten pounds on the way over, weighting 158 this morning.


2 Responses to “March 18-19, 1919”

  1. Bob Daverin says:

    FYI, the Naval Historical Center has an entry for the Louis K. Thurlow at with the notation that they don’t know of any images of the ship. If you have any, you might want to contact them at I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.

  2. the Editor says:

    Wow, I will definitely contact them. Thanks for the info!

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