10th_Europe_Report (31 images) -- Wed. Oct. 8, 2012 - Auto trip up the River Élorn east of Brest.
Our plan for this day was to follow the footsteps POSSIBLY made by our ancestor, Harry StClare Wheeler as he might have toured the countryside up the Élorn River from his US Naval Air Station in Brest.  Monique had cleverly uncovered a military newsletter, The Pontanezen Duckboard, which, in 1919, advertised "free YMCA trips to Beautiful Spots in Brittany".  One itinerary (Friday, July 4th) was clear, enticing and all of the places were still extant.  Did StClare actually go on this trip?  We do not know for sure.  We do know that he utilized the YMCA stationary for writing home, and he spoke to future wife Doris about his trips out in the the beautiful country thereabouts.  It is also known that during the latter part of his WWI Naval service he was sometimes a driver of Navy vehicles.  He mentioned in a 1919 letter that he drove officers about the environs in a light "White" passenger bus.  Perhaps he even drove on one of these YMCA jaunts.  See some excerpts from H.S. Wheeler's letters at the bottom of this page (below thumbnails).

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Sept. 7, 1918
   I guess I will go out on liberty this afternoon to a beach where the Y.M.C.A. has a hotel and come back Sunday night.
… There is some fine scenery out in the country. When you go on these small trips you see lots of interesting things. I wish you could see some of the scenery I've seen since I've been over here. … The sun is shining now and you couldn't want better weather.


Oct 1, 1918
… I think I'll dress up and go out on a little walk through the country with my chum. Wish you was here to go with me.


Jan 26, 1919
   I have got off of the trucks now and I'm driving a light "White" passenger bus. I make trips all over the country hauling officers & Liberty parties. ... I took a trip the other day to a town quite a little distance from Brest. … I had to go through some large gates for most all of the towns over here are walled in with moats around them. … there is sure some sights to see, old castles, large arches that have been up for centuries, for this part of the country is one of the oldest places in France. I wish you were here to see some of the scenery for it is entirely different from the scenery in the States. Everything is built out of stone, streets, houses, walls, even their electric & telephone poles are stone or concrete.


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