“Somewhere in France”

This is a recent discovery from my own “archives”.

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A bit of back story – I knew that my grandfather Raymond Everett Bence served in World War I. There is a picture in a family album of him standing in uniform in the snow labeled “Camp Devens Feb. 1918” and a story my mother told of his being gassed. But that was the extent of my knowledge. Archive searches only turned up his draft registration with no unit information.

This summer I tackled a box of files that I believed consisted of my mother’s tax records (she died in 2011). One of the folders was labeled “Raymond E. Bence”. At first I thought  it was tax info for my father, but no…

Among the items in the folder were my grandfather’s honorable discharge – in addition to listing his unit it also listed all engagements he fought in including dates and the two times he was injured in the same engagement – once being shot in the arm and the other being “slightly” gassed.

Also in the folder was a small memo pad. The first few pages are a record of his first few weeks in France. The entries end about the time he first sees combat. I’ve attached an image of the front page showing his changing locations, ending with the note “somewhere in France”.

My next archival visit will be to learn more about his unit, Company L, 102nd U. S. Infantry.

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