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Have you used online newspapers to try and locate letters soldiers wrote to their families? I’ve recently being doing such a research for my grandfather, Leon Crawford, and his brother, Marion who served during World War I.

I found letters in the 16 Sept 1918 issue of The Dodge City Daily Globe.

Explains Anti-Aircraft Work

In explaining the work of the anti-aircraft battalion is, Leon Crawford, who is enlisted in Battery D, 1st Anti-Aircraft battalion, France, in a letter to his mother, Mrs. J. F. Crawford, says in part:

“The anti-aircraft is a separate division of its own and was originated since war was declared, but we are in the First Army, which consists of about 5 divisions, I think. We can surely make it hot for the Huns when they come over us now, as we are on the largest guns that are used in the anti-aircraft service.

“We were on some of the French ’75’s, which are claimed to have had a great part in saving France early in the war, as they are easily loaded and can be fired very rapidly. We helped dismount a German plane with two of them.”

“Explains Anti-Aircraft Work,” The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas), 16 September 1918, page 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 16 August 2021).

In the same paper was a letter from Leon’s brother, Marion.

Had Been at Front 14 Days

Marion Crawford, also a son of Mrs. J. F. Crawford here, writes under date of August 14 that he is in good health and feeling fine. Private Crawford is a member of Battery D, 13th Field Artillery, France. Among other things, he says:

“Cecil Campbell came back to the battery a few days ago but I don’t think his folks know where he is, so if you see any of them you can tell them. How is everyone at home? I have seen several anti-aircraft battalion men around here recently, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to any of them so I don’t know whether Leon is near here or not.”

Private Crawford goes on to say that letter writing is done under difficulties in his camp — a mess kit was his desk, he says. Letters also must be finished before dark, as no lights are allowed.

“Our battery so far has been successful in dodging shells,” he writes, “but were often exposed while hauling shells to the guns. We have been on the front since August 1 and haven’t lost a man yet, but I guess we are lucky, although some batteries have been here four months without losing a man.”

“Had Been at Front 14 Days,” The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas), 16 September 1918, page 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 16 August 2021).