Personal Diary of William Harrison Walp: 1917 - 1918

Part One, July 27, 1917 - August 31, 1917

See Notes page for additional tidbits as they arise.

  Diary Cover   William Harrison Walp  

(This picture shows the front cover of the Diary. I can see no lettering of any kind on the cover itself). Click for big image.


(Photograph of William Harrison Walp about 1925, taken in Portland, Maine. Click on the Image for a B&W copy of the original Group Photo. He is in the middle of the back row.)


The Inside Cover & First Page: Inside Cover.

(Inside the Diary was his American Legion Card. )American Legion Card

Inside Front Cover:

Finder will please the owner very much indeed by returning this book to:

Sergt. Walp

Bat F 6th Regt. C.A. (4th Co. at Ft. Williams, ME originally organized in 1901)

   51st REGIMENT (6th Provisional Regiment)

The 2d Battalion, 57th Artillery C.A.C.

U.S. Expeditionary Force


or on failure to locate him to forward as it was found to:

Mrs. W.H. Walp

317 Preble St.

So. Portland

Maine U.S.A.

Page 1.


Reminences of the Sphinx and musings of a nut.

July 27th 1917.

On guard. Got letter from home. Bum guard. Throat ground shut. Can't do anything with it. Cold dinner & bum supper; bum cook cause of it. Wish we could lose him somewhere. Rain.

July 28th 1917.

Off guard. Had swim. School of porpoises. Thought 1st were sharks. No drill this P.M. 1st clear day yet, its a dandy. Got sunburned on head; sore as h__l. Went home. 1st Para Typhus inoc, all settled in throat near strangled me. Went to beach tonight. Near died.

July 29th 1917.

Sunday.  Longest Sunday I ever put in. Throat and innoculation got me all in. Try the doctor once more in the morning. Won't do much good. As a doc. he is a good hack driver. Didn't have camp today...Long hike tomorrow, hope I can make it.

Mon. July 30th 1917.

Hotter than Hades is credited with. "Doctor" refused to see anything wrong, even on a 2nd examination. Went to doc. in town, he said our "Doctor" should be arrested. Rumor leave here in 4 to 7 days. Letter from home, too sick to answer.

Tues. July 31st 1917.

Hurrah for Doc Sullivan of Newport. By his good work and the Grace of God I have prospects of eating some breakfast in the morning the first in 4 days. Hope they have something good and a lot of it so I can make a hog of myself. Rumor pay day tomorrow. No good to me, owe all I got coming. Beat all drills today. The other morning should have busted today, hotter than H_ll. 10:30 bedtime Buenos Noches.

August 1st 1917. Wednesday

5:30 AM. A,h,h,h. Gee but it feels good to be able to breathe right again. Going to be hot. Sweating already. Wish it was breakfast time. 9 PM. Man o' boy but this has been a good old scorcher. Managed to stick it out but don't know how. Brigade review at the golf links this P.M. Nothing new and no rumors, isn't that funny. Well here's for the arms of Morpheus. I'm all in.

Thurs. Aug 2nd 1917.

8:15 PM. Chg'e of qrs today. Pretty soft for me. Lot of thunder and lightning today but no rain. Woods made 1st Sergt. Had his (diamond shape here) on a day ahead of time. Sort of anxious George. No fog tonight something funny about that. No passes. Epidemic of diptheria in Newport. (See NY Times Article) Hope it wipes it out so they can start a new town.

Aug 3rd 1917. Friday

12-30 Another bum feed due to a worse cook. Red letter day, "Got card from wifey." Capt. sick from innoculation. Place gets on my nerves and health. Not enough ambition to turn around. Wish we would get a move.

Aug 4th 1917. Sat.

Took test for dyptheria. Think it will turn out negative. Hope so. That antitoxon needle has me bluffed. No signs of pay yet. Composed a song to sing on hike. H.M.O. inspection. A Lady James gave the buglers of the Rgt. a bugle. also ten drums and Drum major's baton. class to our field music. Guess I'll turn in there goes taps.

Sunday Aug 5th 1917.

We beat the 9th Rgt ball team 9 to 1. 1st time they were beaten in 3 yrs. Parade at golf links. Woman gave us National Colors. Passed inspection for dyp (diphtheria) suspects. Red Letter day, got letter from home.

Aug 6th 1917. Monday

Saw areoplane. Guess it came from ???("Squam H.M.Ohike") New bugles and drums a d___d nuisance. All you can hear from morn 'til night. Went to pictures, on the bum.

Aug 7th 1917. Tuesday


Wednesday Aug 8th 1917.

On fatigue. Recruits went to range at 4 A.M. Bat. on guard and provost guard. Red Letter Day.

Thursday Aug 9th 1917.

Another stab in the arm. "Doctor" was drunk and stuck it straight in. Hope he chokes.

Friday Aug 10th 1917.

Oh you stab in the arm. Can hardly hold up my head. Arm looks like a bologna sausage with a couple of cocoanuts put in it. Rained like the devil last night and stars shone bright all the time; Camp was mud hole all day.

Saturday Aug 11th 1917.

Inspection L.M.O.

Sunday Aug 12th 1917.

Ready for move   don't know where.

Monday Aug 13th 1917.

Left at 1-05 P.M. Hiked to Newport. blouses & OD shirts.. Ought to had overcoats too. Some trip Arrived NY. 2-05 A.M. Passed w/in 9 miles of Dad & Sister wish I could have seen them.

Tuesday Aug 14th 1917.

Left NY - NH & H RR yards Barge towed by tug Edna NY in Harlem R. Pier 54 North River 1-55 PM. boarded RMS Andania weighed anchor 3-18 pretty good time Some place aboard, got lost doz. times. Slum and rocks for supper. All John Bulls in crew all look louzy. No one allowed on deck till boat gets out of sight of land. No smoking on deck after six. All ports closed at 6. Detailed look after waiters in mess hall. Some bunk I've got rather have picket fence.

Wed Aug 15th 1917.

5-30 A.M. rise and shine. Breakfast same as supper. roll call qr deck 2-30 P.M. Inspection in life preservers, wear them from now on. Some birthday. Bum dinner.

Thurs Aug 16th 1917.

"Fine Breakfast" hard bread and dishwater. 7-10 A.M. no sight of land yet. Drew for lifeboats; got no. 7. Another good feed. Must be hell to be an Englishman if this is the way they live. 5-30 P.M. - No sight of land yet. Begin to doubt landing Halifax as reported. 1st half-decent meal since we came aboard & I guess I foundered myself. 2 Sailboat going South 4P.M. Land-ho 6-45 P.M. You'd think to watch the bunch they had been to sea two years instead of days.

Friday Aug 17th 1917.

Anchored - Halifax harbor. Wrote letter home and they won't let me mail it. Bum breakfast, but we're getting used to it now and don't get anything to get excited over. Sighted 2 subs in harbor, - turned out to be friendly. Toys compared to ones expect to meet on way over. Rabbit stew for supper. Some rabbit! They died on the Ark and Noah threw them overboard. Life boat drill. Some lifeboat! We were out 35 minutes and she was filled up to the rail. Life belt for mine. Took water aboard.. Coal barge alongside to be unloaded in A.M. No chance moving tonight. Wish they would leave for someplace soon. Even Davey Jones' Locker.

Saturday Aug 18th 1917.

Rowed life boat about 1 mile. Hard time getting back against the wind. 2 bum feeds so far today. Last dose of Para typhus; Two days of misery to come. Rain.

Aug 19th 1917. Sunday

Fell asleep on deck, missed dinner. Arm sore as hell. I'm off of that stuff for life. Played up on deck tonight. Whole ship for audience. Rumor move Tues PM or Wed AM.. Had bath in quart water. Some bath. Washed my clothes in another quart. Get that? "Washed them"

Monday Aug 20th 1917.

Sail in lifeboat.

Tuesday Aug 21st 1917.

On guard 3:30 relief sub watch. Rained all day. 5-45 P.M. Just weighed anchor. Liverpool or bust. We should worry.

Wednesday Aug 22nd 1917.

Rained all last night. No lights even cigars or cigarettes between sunrise and sunset. Nothing to be thrown overboard, even a match. Changed from double line ahead to line ahead. Someone stole all my tobacco; hope it poisons him, got no more or money to buy it. Played for officers' dance. Had French lesson, be a jump in the pond soon.

Thursday Aug 23rd 1917.

7-30 AM just ran into a fog bank. Convoy fired 2 shots as she ran into it. All thought she fired at sub.

Friday Aug 24th 1917.

Fire drill. Boys feeding fishes. Ship on horizon westward bound. Don't know who or what she was. 3 days out, nothing doing yet. Wish something would happen for a little excitement.

Sat. Aug 25th 1917.

Made Hafner & Berchtold quit in pinochle. Got head cold. Just learned names of ships with us. Arlanza, Tunisian, Aurania, Cedric, Lapland and Justicia.. Rumor one has 5000 Chinese Coolies. Saw some flying fish.

Sunday Aug 26th 1917.

Liver & bacon for breakfast, sounds good, eh? But, Oh My! Sea pretty rough ship rocked a lot.

Mon Aug 27th 1917.

Roughhouse on deck.

Tue Aug 28th 1917.

Missed breakfast, didn't miss much. No convoy in sight yet.

Wed Aug 29th 1917.

Two freighters going S.W. 6 ships sighted off Port bow. 7-07 P.M. Proved to be destroyers.

Thurs. Aug 30th 1917.

No land yet.

Friday Aug 31st 1917.

Land-ho 5-30 AM Bantry Bay. 11 AM Means we don't get off this God forsaken ship today.

Click for September 1, 1917 - October 31, 1917