Guys, as many of you will know, the latest copy of The Vintage Ford has a splendid article on the American Field Service. This spiked my interest as, as much as I like to think I have a good general knowledge, I knew nothing of this organisation or even that the US was involved in the Great War before its official entry.
On mention of the three volume work, written in 1920, of this service I jumped on the Internet (as I am wont to do) and hunted up a copy. It arrived yesterday (17/05/13 Australian time) and I began to read last night in bed and again today. My excuse is that it is 11C outside and damn windy so to be warm and unruffled inside with a good book is perfect!
I am only three quarters through the introduction but am already hooked! Once the intro is finished I get to read actual accounts by the brave men that drove the ambulances and worked in France in that terrible phase of our (shared) history.
It is difficult not to jump ahead! I think the original owner did exactly this as a number of the pages are still uncut. I have to say here that this is the first time I have ever had to read a book (in bed or otherwise) with a knife close by!
I am not in a position to offer a critique of the work (having only just started) but I would recommend it to anyone interested in Model T's ( most of you here I think) or early 20th century history.
Ok, that is enough......the book (and knife) await.
Cheers from Aus,
There was no US involvement before 1917, other than selling weapons and material to the allies. The American Field Service was an extension of the American Ambulance, which was a hospital in Paris, and later another in Nueilly. The AFS was not a US contribution, it was a contribution of individuals who were from the US. There were other groups in the US who sent aid and support to the Germans in the first few years of the war as well.
The AFS also operated an ambulance service in the Second World War and is still in operation and is one of the few respectable programs for exchange students.
The AFS was not the only organization to operate ambulance cars in WWI, the Norton-Harjes sections operated under the Red Cross as well, they were all taken over by the United States Army Ambulance Service when the US entered the war in 1917.
One of my uncles joined the army when we got into the war and drove an ambulance in France. It seems that cured him for the rest of his life of any desire to travel.
My great-uncle, Clarence Emerson, was also an ambulance driver in France. After the war he spent the next forty years in and out of the V.A. hospital in Wichita, KS., suffering from the effects of mustard gas.