WW1 1917 Aisne France 6 photos Americans of Réserve Mallet’s July 4th

$195.00 CAD

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Set of six photos of the July 4th 1917 celebration held for Americans in the ‘Reserve Mallet’, a transport reserve for the French. The Réserve Mallet was one of the most remarkable and least written about units serving in France during World War I.

Photos taken near Jouaignes in the Aisne region of N.E. France. They had recently participated in the the Second Battle of the Aisne (“Chemin des Dames") from 16 April – mid-May 1917.

Written on backs:

  1. “Jouaignes 4 juillet 1917 Revue des Américains (Fêté National) Garde du Drapeau"review of the Americans (National Holiday) flag guard
  2. "Jouaignes 4 juillet 1917 Revue des Américains Fêté National Drapeau Americain"review of the Americans National Holiday American flag
  3. "Jouaignes 4 juillet 1917 La revue Américaine"review of the Americans
  4. "Jouaignes 4 juillet 1917 La revue Américaine"review of the Americans
  5. "Jouaignes 1917 Le Capitaine Mallet remet des Croix de Guerre à des conducteurs français"... Captain Mallet awards Croix de Guerre to French Drivers
  6. "Jouaignes 1917 Remorque des Mes. les officiers"…trailers of the officers
The U. S. Army Ambulance Service (aka American Field Service) had been serving the French Army as a volunteer organization for about 2 1/2 years at outbreak of war. At this time the French Automobile Service was suffering from a lack of experienced drivers for its Transport Section. This condition prompted the French Government to inform the American Field Service in Apr. 1917 that personnel for driving trucks was more urgently needed than for manning ambulances.
Reserve Mallet
A section of volunteers from Cornell University arrived in France at the end of April and as a body declared their willingness to serve in the French transport service. They entered the French Automobile Reserve under command of Captain Mallet in May 1917.
Other sections, consisting of about 40 men each, from Andover School, Dartmouth College, from the University of California, from Princeton, Yale, Marietta, Tufts, etc., began to join. By Aug. 1917, some 800 American Field Service drivers had formed the personnel of 14 sections, thus establishing an American transport reserve for the French.
Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War: Zone of the Interior. (1931)


There is an excellent written record of that day by an Americans who participated,,some excerpts: 

  • day by day, various articles arrived in the camp --- live rabbits, narrow-gauge track, crates labelled "champagne," cigarettes, flower-pots
  • The programme of the day itself began with a review, which was hardly different from some peace-time reviews in the States. The ten sections present were in the bad humor common to troops on inspection.
  • The American flag was waving proudly in the breeze, borne by a color-bearer, who shared with every American there a thrill of patriotism as each passing French officer paused to give the emblem a graceful salute.
  • The ceremonies began by Captain Mallet calling for the Croix de Guerre section to come forward. So forward they came, three sun-beaten, war-worn French camion drivers, the youngest of whom must have been forty-five.
  • In the middle of the long khaki lines came the color squad and the Stars and Stripes, which the French officers saluted, as it passed, with the dust-covered lines passing through the gate, bound for camp.
  • After a concert of some half an hour, the games commenced. Now we discovered the use of the narrow-gauge railway. It was to serve as a tilting course in a game which, with obvious modifications, has survived since the Middle Ages.
  • Shortly afterwards a baseball game began, which must have seemed as bizarre to the Arabs as their dances were to us.
  • After that, there was another game, which involved being blindfolded and swinging with a baseball bat at concealed flower-pots.
  • A wonderful salad was served up in a dishpan and eaten off dirty tin plates. The meats were roast capon and a filet with mushrooms; the only bread was the hard dry pain d'armée. Pinard --- a euphemism for the cheapest, sourest wine existing --- alternated with old Muscat and Moët et Chandon. Then, all the time, there was boisterous jesting, and dogs that stood around the tables ready to snap up any spare morsels,


2 ¼ x 3 ⅜

(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photos for sale)