Posted in Letters, Military, World War 1

“I taken the flu…have been in the hospital every since…”

U. S. Army Camp Hospital No. 45, Aix-les-Bains, France. Influenza ward No. 1. Picture courtesy of the History of Medicine (NLM).
U. S. Army Camp Hospital No. 45, Aix-les-Bains, France. Influenza ward No. 1.
Picture courtesy of the History of Medicine (NLM).

[This is 13th in a series of letters written by Private A.L. Gooch to his family in Duncan Arizona, while a part of the American Occupation Forces in Germany after WWI.  This letter was written 27 Dec 1918, and it appears Pvt. Gooch has fallen victim to the great flu pandemic of 1918-1919.  This pandemic is estimated to have killed an estimated 50 million people—a fifth of the world’s population.  To put this further in perspective, WWI had 37.5 million casualties, including 8.5 million deaths, which is an incredible number, but 6 times as many people died of the flu in 1918-1919.  It is said that the virus struck so fast and so violently a person could be stricken and die within hours.

Original letters are in possession of Dayna Gooch Jacobs, King City, California. Envelope missing. Transcribed by Dayna Jacobs. Slashes in the transcription indicate line breaks.  Links to other letters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  10 11 12]

American Red Cross

On active service with the American Expeditionary Force

Name:  1st cl Pvt A.L. Gooch, 89th M.P. C., Treves, Germany

Dec. 27, 1918

Dear Mother,

Will try and write/ you a few lines, and am/ proud I am able to write./ I taken the Influenza the/ 10th of Dec. have been in/ the hospital every since and/ have had quite a time./  But am feeling better/ now.  Think I will be up/ in afew day and go back/ to my Co. where there must/ be lots of mail awaiting/ me and sure am anxious/ to get it.  havent had a/

[p2]  letter in some time./  Well I supose you all / had a wounderfull time/ xmas.  you know how/ well I would like to have/ been with you.  But my/ Xmas wasnt so bad at that,/ if I did lay in bed all day/ and wish.  We had a very/ nice Turkey dinner.  and/ that night the nurse gave/ us all a sock full of / choclets, candy and nuts, so you see it wasnt bad.  I think I would have died/ had it not been for the/ nurses.  they sure treat you/ fine bring me milk, and hot choclelete most every day.  I dont know if I can get/

[p3]  well or not for this isnt/ a bad place to stay.  All I hate I am afraid I wont/ get fat again before I/ go home.  ha, ha.

Well this is quite a town/ heare.  I can hear the street-/ cars and the trains every/ day.  it seams almost real/ again.  Will send you a card or two.

Well, there is not much news/ We’ll be home some time sure.

With Lot of Love to All

1st class

Pvt, AL. Gooch

89th Military Police Co. American E.F.


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

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