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Letters Home

By Austin Dewitt Boyd

Edited by his grandson, Mark K. Boyd

The recruit, Private Boyd
This web site provides transcriptions of letters written by Austin Dewitt Boyd during 1917 and 1918 during his service in the United States Army in World War I.

These letters were written to his parents and teach us a bit about the man and the army, the war, and the country in which he served. Below is a photo of his letter from March 15, 1918. I've used some image enhancement to make it a little more readable as a computer image. The writing isn't actually as clear as it appears here. You can see the notation on the lower left hand corner of the envelope which was done by a censor. The back of the letter has a similar notation. You can see the transcription of this letter here.

I have attempted to make the transcription as close to his original writing as possible. There were some places where the actual writing wasn't completely clear, but these instances only affected the spelling and grammar, not the meaning of what was being written.

Background information is provided in highlighted paragraphs. This information is taken nearly verbatim from "Ohio In The Rainbow : official story of the 166th infantry, 42nd division, in the World War" by . Raymond Minshall Cheseldine.

This photo was in my Grandfather's effects. There are no markings on it to indicate who the men are or when it was taken. It looks to be a company of men, so I can only assume that it is Company D, of the 166th Inf., 42d, the unit my Grandfather served in. I am guessing that he is in the fifth row back, third from the right..

There was also in his effects, a photo of a group of German soldiers, again unmarked (can be seen on the Information page). I can only assume that my grandfather was given this other photo some time after completing his service, probably at a reunion. It was with the a photo from the 1938 reunion. If you have any ideas on either photo, please contact me.

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Sources for related materials can be found on the Information Page