IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.


Partial diary of Sidney Thor Koontz
written during his overseas duty in England and Ireland, WWI




Pvt. Sidney Thor Koontz No. 1182731
British Troop ship Anselm, Boothe Line, 67 trips, 3 trips with Soldiers, 1200 men & Officers on board, 19 Stewards, 9 Engineers, 16 One Stack, two masks, One 6 inch gun on rear, 2 depth bombs Guns one on starboard side, one on port side. Flying the American Flag on front and the British on rear.

Leaving N. Y. July 30, 1918
Packing up and getting ready to leave this place. Guess will leave for Hoboken
This old 329 Aero Sqdn is some outfit "All Rearing to go" Am in the 10 Sqd. rear rank.Train just leaving 10:30 a.m. leaving Hempsted for Boston, On Troop train "All Aboard for Boston" just pulling in to the docks at Boston Harbor and door closed.

They lined us all up and Red Cross gave us coffee & buns A bunch of Coast Artillery just pulled in and they sure a snappy bunch. It has been raining and they sure was a wet outfit. It is dark and we are getting aboard boat they make us go on in single file and check us off the list as we go aboard. It is the British ship Anselm, "Booth Line" 9:30 p.m. All aboard, and ready to go.

July 31, 1918
Just getting morning and pulling out of docks. Had to wait for a bunch of convoyes. 10:30 a.m. pulling out of the Harbor at Boston and some sight to see can see the Forts along the Harbor or can tell where they are by the flags. Thing[s] are going fine and just sighted a bunch of porpoise they look like subs the way they was going.

Aug. 1, 1918
Heading north and am not feeling any to good am getting "Seasick" and some feeling it is too. We are pulling in to a seaport of England or Canada. Hallifax And can see the two light houses. It sure looks good to see land again. We all climbed upon the mask and doricks where we could see all over.

August 2, 1918
Am at the port now and getting over my sea sickness waiting for more convoyes.
They come out with candy from Halifax and oranges so it makes us feel good if you happen to be lucky and get any.

Aug. 3, 1918
Still here at port feeling good again. Raining now so must have our overcoats on.
The coast artillery is on deck taking there excersise It is Batery B.
Boats was over from shore and sold candy again today but didn't get any but got some yesterday they cost us ten cent each for 5 cent stuff. HaHa
This is a English boat and all sailor[s] are English merchant marines. They say this boat has made 67 trips across and has carried 3 loads of Amer. troops. We are on the second deck and the Old Edison is going and cant go on deck yet. Am feeling good again but was sure sick the other day. "Nuff Said"
From where we are located in the Harbor can see the grand old shore and when this bird puts foot on land again sure won't take it off. This is a fine harbor and can see some of the town of Halifax but not much guess most was blown away by the explosion which happened when thos[e] two ships ran together saw what was left of one. It would be great to come here hunting.

Aug. 4, 1918
Still in the harbor and all feeling fine. Some of the boy[s] are just going on guard but have escaped so far. Have just bought two boxes of candy for the trip l.25 per box. They sold candy yesterday for 2.45  24 bars of 5 cent candy. 2:00 p.m. Just pulling out of harbor for England, we can see all kinds of ship as we go by, Red Cross Ship, War Ship, Troop ship & Sub Chases & Subs. The sea is sure fine all the houses around the harbor are blowed down & burnt, guess that explosion did lots of damage. Weather fine and glad to be going again as was getting tired of laying around on deck all day.

Aug. 5, 1918
We are at Sea and is very calm and fine day am on deck writing my diary setting on a mask about l0 feet from deck there is a ring of Iron about 10 feet from deck on which I am setting so don't think I am kidding when I say mask. Just passed a bunch of porpose. Have two boxes of candy and one orange so am prepared for seasickness. All lounging on deck because after the sun go[es] down no one is allowed on deck and all ports closed lights out. Our hammocks are so close together that no one can hardly step or even get into them. I have mine strung under the tabel [table]. Some of our guys are on the lookout looking for German boats & subs "All well at the lookout"

Aug 6, 1918
Still going and feeling good was on guard this morning from 810 a.m. and 34 this afternoon. Sea is rough today and is raining a little. I am located in the 4 section in the back of boat on second deck. Have changed our life boats now am in the 9 lifeboat on the Starboard side and on the deck by the Sub Gun and [I'm] the 41 man or last one in the boat. Is raining hard and all have to go below.
Slep[t] on the floor with some other boys tonight under talel.
King is my buddie now he is pretty hard broiled and from Kentucky.

Aug. 7, 1918
Weather fine today was in gulf stream yesterday and it was warm but is colder today just passed over where the Titantic was sank or close to it. Have been on deck most of the time. We have on our fatigue cloths[es] so can lay most any place. All we do is go round and look out over the great sea and wondering where and when we will land.

Aug. 8, 1918
Well the old ship began to roll last evening and sure made thing[s] hum for a while pails rolled around mess kits went off the tabel and the boys began to get sick. I thought every minut[e] we would go over. The boat was firs[t] on one end then on the other then she would lean over on her sid[e] and thought every minut[e] the end had come I could here some of the boy[s] heaving it up in the Latrine and I can imagine how they feel as went through the same thing back a few days. HaHa
It is still rough today and some of the goys who was on guard last evening said waves rolled over the boat. I didn't eat anything but am not sick
The slum sure gets my goat. Hard tack, cheese & Slum is our bill every meal, sometime Rice & pickels. The ship back of us fired 5 times yesterday for practice could see the splash of the shots. All rushed on deck to see what had hap[p]ened.

Aug. 9, 1918
The day is fine only the waves are rolling high today. One of the engineers said we would be half way today at noon. Hope so then we will be getting closer to land inste[a]d of farther away. Three boy[s] go after meal and eat one tabels below deck where we sleep. They are 12 at my tabel. Feeling good. One ship is not making very good time and this morning she isn't in sight, have lost her for good.

August 10, 1918
I didn't eat breakfast this morning as they didn't have anything I could eat. It rained a little but now is fine and, the sun is shining and are getting close to Old England shore and when I hit land they will be only one more trip like this one. That will be "Home".

Aug. 11, 1918
Still on the Grand Old Ocean and one grand morning. Sun shining brightly and sea as calm as a June day in the old state of Iowa. That['s] not very calm you know, but good enough. But rolls a little. Just finished the Sky Pilot and it makes me think of home when I yousto sit by the stove reading, no more until the war is finished.
I hope none of the people at home will get sick while I'm over here.
We are in the sub zone now and they keep a good lookout at all times.
10:45 p.m. I am going on Guard duty now main Guard and waves rolling around the ship makes one think of home and friend. Just wait until this war is over.

Aug. 12, 1918
Was on guard all last night. The Engineer gave me a cup of tea and a meat sandwich. Sure tasted good, the best have had since getting aboard boat. Was guard at engineer room lower deck. Candy sells for 15 cents per bar on board.

Aug. 13, 1918
Just met our destroyers today they are American boats.
Packed our pack for inspection getting ready to leave as soon as can.
King got a couple of chicken sandwiches last evening and a pease of cake cost us 50 cents each. A pigeon lit on our boat today also have had two birds all the way across.

Aug. 14, 1918
Still on board boat but some say we are in the channel now and will land today. We are having our rations give[n] out. Here [are] mine can of beef, 3 spoons of sugar, two spoons salt, two coffee pretty good. 9:00 a.m. we have had our watches turned ahead 1 hour and 15 minuts today. Also 23 minuts every day. We are in the danger zone now and in the Irish sea just passed through the channel of St. George and saw land for the first time since sailing. Also saw a English sub which came out to meet us. Pirce of stuff on board
Buns 25 cent
small pise [pies?] 100
cake 125
appeles 25
and can't get them at that price unless you are lucky

Aug. 15, 1918
We can see land one one side of us and guess will land today. Also saw a dirigable patrolling the coast this morning. Fine weather. can see Liverpool now. Have taken on a pilot, came out in a tug. 10:45 a.m. on the l5th of Aug. In the Merce[y] river now at Liverpool still on board waiting for tide to come in watching Sea Gulls,and waiting to land setting on a derricks just waiting. 3:30 p.m. Landing just pulled into docks have our packs on our backs and landing. "Squal. Right" We are marched out of the docks out through Liverpool The people gave us a great welcome. Cigretts & Green Apples and tea when we stopped . Marched to what is known a[s] Knoutty Ash rest camp and there we stayed that evening. The boys sang songs as we had a crowd around most of the time but wasant alowed out of the camp had a stone wall around and all had to stay ten feet back from it.

Aug. 16, 1918
Leaving Liverpool at 5:10 p.m. and on board train just leaving rest camp. Town. Gradley Junction 6:45 p.m. Scheffeled 7:55 p.m.
Ariving at Winchester and marching throu the town. Everything was dark as no light are allowed in England marched all the way from Winchester to the camp which is called Flour Down ariving there at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and put into tents 7 in my tent.

Aug. 17, 1918
In the tent camp waiting to be sent to the Flying field. Lots of boy[s] here some have just come from Flying Fields and are ready to go over to France for service.

Aug. 18, 1918
Had inspection at this camp today. It is call Flour Down. Hope will leave here soon. Had pack inspection and just got our barracks bag today.

Aug. 1918
Just came back from a trade examination. Getting ready to leave here. Some of the boys are on guard now am in a tent with 4 good guys now.
Our boy[s] are on guard so guess will go to town.
P.S. didn't try it today as was busy down at canteen drinking the real old ale & stout.
Aug 19 Well guess will beat the guard tonight as I did today. Corp. Fritz and I beat it throu the guards and went to a town named Crowley a small town but a rather old one. It was 2 1/2 miles from camp and made a good hike there and back. Seeing the first farmerets I ever saw--

Aug 20
We are going to have a hike today. Was to Winchester last evening went throu the guards, we all said King ou[gh]t to be along as he was alway[s] hitting the trail. We dodged the M.P. and coming down one street who should we see but King. Couldn't keep him Home. HaHa We all got back all OK. Was down today and went through the Winchester Catheredel the whole Sqdn marching down & back. Also drill a little this afternoon. The hike was a korker but the people used us good. There was four officers with us. Winchester use to be the capital of England.

Aug. 21, 1918
Still here and they tell me my new address will be
35 Eaton place
London S.W.l England
A.E.F.
Was on fatigue today.
They say I am signed up as a Instrument Repairman. Good Luck

Aug 22
We on a hike today went out the road and drilled this afternoon and Regimental Review this evening. All feeling good and saw Blum today he is bound for France.

Aug 23
Fine day everthing good here in camp but out to ou[gh]t be as is called a rest camp. HaHa Mostly camp no rest.

Aug 24
Just the same here in camp. Saw Blum today. Also beat the guards to it we went through them again last evening and today heard they had picked up 28 of the boys they are in the Guard house.

Aug. 25, 1918
They six of our boys from this Sqdn, made them carry pack all yesterday afternoon and drill. They have the Flight all closed AB, C.K. I am in C and was to have gone to Saulsberry plains and D to Ireland. Now C, goes to Ireland now and I'm in C. Me for Ireland. The other Flight[s] have all gone Our Capt never said good by or even said Hope to see you boy[s] again. He gone and I dam glad, we have a better officer than he ever dared to be even tho he is a Second Leut. We are leaving here. It is 9:00 a.m. All ready to start going to Ireland, Off. Band came a little way with us pretty good of the Major. The boy was to report at 9:00 for pack drill for getting caut. by the guard but now guess they should[n't] worry. We are off for Ireland. Boarding train a[t] Winchester London We are in the great city of London Leut. Hubbard gave us permission to go around and see the city. We went across the city in truck by parlement building to the Northern Railroad and was there for a long time.
Bound for Holy Head. Left there 2:30 p.m. on ship Munster. Irish mail boat. Saw lots of A. Soldiers on passes.

[End of notebook]

~contributed by Sidney "Keith" Koontz, son of Sidney Thor Koontz. (note: Sidney "Keith" Koontz passed away November 17, 2008)

Photo of Sidney Thor Koontz, his 3 brothers & father

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