Dr Robert DuVal Jones to JA Jones, 1917

New Bern-Craven County
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Dr. Robert DuVal Jones to J.A. Jones, 1917


It has just been learned here, definitely, that Dr. Robert DuVal Jones, of this city, and who is chief surgeon for a fleet of United States destroyers, was with the fleet which convoyed the first increment of United States troops to France. This information was contained in a letter from Dr. Jones to his brother, Mr. J.A. Jones, of this city, and which was written on July 5 and mailed at Brest, France, the base from which the fleet to which he has been assigned, operates.

Dr. Jones states that the weather was pretty rough during the first few days out, but after that it was beautiful and the trip was uneventful until the submarine zone was reached. Then, he said, they had several experiences; several submarines were sighted and one encountered and destroyed by his group of destroyers.

The letter was passed by the censor without a scratch and in part follows:

The Letter

                                                                                    Brest, France, July 5, ’17.

Well, we are here at our temporary home, that is, it is our basing port. We had the distinction of being in the escort of the first troops to come over. The weather the first few days out was pretty rough and there was considerable seasickness aboard, however, I, much to my surprise, was not sick at all. After that it was beautiful and the trip was uneventful. We had several experiences after getting in the zones and several Subs were sighted by the several groups, and one encountered and destroyed by ours.

We landed at St. Nazaine from where I cabled you and trust you received same. This is, as you know, one of the main ports and submarines are very active in these waters. France as been hard hit; even this part of the country shows it and the scarcity of men, except soldiers invalided home, the great numbers of women in black, to see the women driving vehicles, acting as street car conductors, shop keepers and in fact doing the general duties of the men together with the general impoverished condition, tends to cause a feeling of madness and make one realize what a great calamity war really is. Everything is subservient to the military ends at present. I only hope this thing will end soon. Russia seems to be coming back and if she does, good and strong, with Austria showing perceptible weakness, if we could only come in with a million men right away, I think it would put “skibosh” [i.e. kibosh] on the whole thing.

The Morning New Bernian, Friday, July 27, 1917, p. 1, c. 3

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Updated: November 20, 2014.