Recollections of a Buck Private
"Somewhere in France"

The War Memoir of Clarence L. Richmond

The observations of a young U.S. Marine in France in 1918, during the final months of World War I and the first few months of the Armistice.

Private Richmond served with the 43rd Company, part of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and kept a diary during the war. He was a member of the American Expeditionary Force that joined the war in the summer of 1918, and helped to bring it to a conclusion that fall. He was promoted to corporal and stationed in Germany for a portion of the occupation. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the French Croix De Guerre for his heroism on October 3, 1918, in the assault on Blanc Mont Ridge during the Battle of Somme-Py, described in episodes 14, 15, and 15. (See also this photo tour of the Blanc Mont battlefield and this description of the battle.) After the war, he returned home to Cleveland, Tennessee, where he compiled his memoir, raised a family, and lived until 1981. His original memoir, uniform, and other memorabilia are on display at the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, Tennessee.

(Note that these 22 "episodes" are not defined in the war diary itself; they simply represent how the memoir was serialized when first published in the Cleveland Daily Banner in 1979, with Clarence Richmond's cooperation.)

Table of Contents
 1. University of Tennessee Student Joins MarinesJanuary - June
 2. To the FrontEarly June
 3. Face to Face with the GermansMid June
 4. German Artillery Fire BeginsLate June
 5. Fourth Of July In ParisJuly 2-11
 6. Long, Tiring March BeginsJuly 12-18
 7. Reunited With 43rd, Under German FireJuly 19-21
 8. Villages in Ruins, March ContinuesJuly 23-25
 9. Soldiers are Homesick; First Paycheck ArrivesJuly 26 - August 4th
10. Troops March Toward LinesAugust 5-7
11. Night Watch Duty; Planes Soar OverheadAugust 8-16
12. Marines Anticipate Front Line Action; Troops MarchAugust 16 - September 11
13. Enemy Firing Lights Up Skies on BattlefrontSeptember 11-18
14. Hiking And Firing ContinuesSeptember 18 - October 1
15. In the Midst of a Fierce Battle, at Blanc Mont RidgeOctober 1-6
16. Blanc Mont after the BattleOctober 6-12
17. Troops March into Argonne ForestOctober 13-30
18. Fighting Continues: German Shells Fly OverheadOctober 30 - November 3
19. Moving the Front ForwardNovember 3-7
20. The Last Battle of the War - Crossing the Meuse in the FogNovember 7-10
21. The Shooting StopsNovember 11-16
22. The Watch on the Rhine November 17 - June 1919

Note: I have begun a Google Map that follows the war diary from the time he landed in France through the "Watch on the Rhine". There are lots of holes in the middle, especially in July through September, when he moved around the front without being specific about location, and in mid-November through mid-December, during a long march from the Meuse to the Rhine. I don't (yet) have links to it from within the diary; just here.

The War Diary of Clarence Richmond
Updated January 23, 2014 by Robin Richmond (his grandson)