"Unpopularity is the least of my worries": Captain R.W. Bates and Lieutenant E.M. Hemingway.
BEFORE BEING WOUNDED AND HOSPITALIZED IN ITALY, Ernest Hemingway served under Captain Robert W. Bates, Field Inspector of Ambulances for the American Red Cross. A 1923 letter demonstrates some ill will ,towards Bates on Hemingway's part. Writing to his friend William Home, Hemingway reminisced about their arrival at Section 4 of the ambulance service in 1918: "Remember when we were going out to the Section and we didn't know what it would be like except that they had a place to swim and all drove Fiats? and Doc Johnson and some other guys met us at Vicenza and what a shit Capt. Bates was and other things and the way the water flowed under this bridge outside the Factory and the baseball field across the way" (SL 85).
Bates held onto a trove of material, including diaries, correspondence, photographs, and official records from his Red Cross service in France and Italy. Hemingway scholar Steven Florczyk has provided a valuable overview of the Bates papers, but a good deal of additional correspondence exists, plus unpublished fiction and the recollections of Bates's son. These sources provide one of the fullest accounts of day-to-day life in the ambulance corps in Italy, where, Ken Panda writes, Hemingway's "earliest successes in literature were grounded" (73). They also illuminate Captain Bates's own character and traits, including those that may have provoked Hemingway's aversion.
Robert Wentworth Bates was born in 1888 in Santa Barbara, California, to British parents. In his youth, Bates traveled to Europe and enjoyed upper-middle-class comfort. He attended Andover and Harvard, graduating from the latter in 1911, and joined his uncle in a piano business on Boylston Street in Boston (R.W. Bates Jr.).
"The Lusitania was torpedoed yesterday by a German submarine with a loss of over 1,300 by latest reports; 130 out of the 140 Americans on board going down.... It is a terrible thing and makes my blood boil" Bates wrote in his diary on 8 May 1915. In spring 1916, he applied to the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps (Diary 8 April 1916). Founded by Richard Norton, a monocle-wearing archeologist whose father had taught art history at Harvard, the ambulance service had begun as an independent entity in 1914, then had affiliated with the Red-Cross in late 1915 (Hansen 21; Fenton 328-329). On 13 April, Bates got word that he had been accepted into Norton's service. "I can hardly believe my good fortune," he wrote in his diary.
Most ambulance volunteers were well-educated and well-off, "upper-class gentry," in George Plimpton's words (v). Indeed, the ambulance service was something of an Ivy League mafia: counting alumni and current undergraduates, the largest groups of volunteers as of late 1917 came from Harvard, 348; Yale, 202; Princeton, 187; and Cornell, 122. Those four schools alone account for nearly a quarter of the 3,500 Americans who served in the ambulance service (Hansen xiv, xvii). Many undergraduates volunteered for service and then returned to school, the era's counterpart of today's semester-abroad programs. The patrician classes dominated partly because they could spare the time and the money, and partly because they had near-monopolies on the ability to speak French and the ability to drive (Fenton 336-337, 328). (1) The men had a variety of motivations for volunteering. Fenton stresses patriotism and humanitarianism; Malcolm Cowley, a hunger for spectacle and risk; Arlen Hansen, a desire to "protect the established sociopolitical systems of Republican France and Imperial England" (xv).
Bates's own mixed motives are perhaps summed up by an untitled short story he drafted after the war. When young Tom Paxon announces plans to drive an ambulance in France, his father asks about Tom's college education. The conversation proceeds as follows:
"I know how you feel about it, Dad, but there's my conscience and it tells me to go."
The father responds with disgust, "Your love of adventure, you mean."
Less than two weeks after his acceptance in the Norton corps, Bates boarded the Chicago for England--the same ship on which Hemingway later crossed the Atlantic (Diary 25 April 1916, 22 June 1919; Baker 39). The security precautions struck Bates as excessive:
Had my baggage minutely examined for bombs; the inspector was particularly interested in small boxes, packages, etc., and after he had opened a package of toothpaste, my soap box and my field-glasses, and carefully inserted his finger between the glasses and the inside of the case, I asked him what I could possibly conceal in such a small space. "Enough to set the ship on fire[,]" he said, in a low, mysterious voice. (Diary z5 April 1916)
Only later did Bates learn that the ship was carrying $4 million in munitions (Diary 3 May 1916).
In Paris, he and another man registered with the Norton service. "We are gentleman volunteers!" Bates wrote in his diary, adding with trepidation, "I begin to feel like a child who is playing with a buzz saw" (8 May 1916).
The next day Bates saw a bit of propaganda in the making. A Ford ambulance was being readied for shipment to New York, where it would be exhibited, presumably to raise funds. "It was a machine which had seen much service," he recounted in his diary, "and to add to the effect they were doing some realistic shrapnel work on the radiator with a sledge hammer!" (9 May 1916).
A month later, Bates was driving an ambulance at Verdun, where he wrote of witnessing "horrors unmentionable" (Diary 14 June 1916; Florczyk 63). One night he carried six injured men, one of whom had been blinded and "clung to me." The infirmary was in a cellar. Bates described the scene in his diary:
[I]t was crowded to overflowing; there were so many stretchers on the floor that it was almost impossible to enter the room, and the atmosphere was fetid. We had to lay our poor fellows outside in the rain. The doctors wanted us to keep them in the machine until they could take them but we could not: we had to go back for more.... I led the blind man, still dinging to me, to a spot where he would not be stumbled over, and left him there alone in the rain and the dark. (14 June 1916)
Bates did not adopt the arid cynicism of Hemingway's Frederic Henry, but neither did he extol the heroics of soldiers and doctors, as Richard Norton and many others did. At times he found himself growing habituated to suffering and death. The same night he transported the blinded soldier, he chatted between trips with a couple of doctors. Two volunteers passed carrying a man on a stretcher, bound for an ambulance.
Something about his face made one of the doctors who was standing on the sidewalk talking to me, stop the stretcher bearers as they were about to put him in the machine. He felt his pulse, pulled the blanket up over his face, waved his hand in the direction of the morgue.... A soldier of France had at that moment, before our very eyes, given his life for his country, and we went on talking and laughing just' as if nothing had happened. And the worst of it was that it made no more impression on us than if nothing had happened! I should have felt worse if I had seen a dog run over: that would have been a sight less common. (2) (Diary 14 June 1916).
The ambulance drivers knew that every night could be their last. "We say goodnight and goodbye, jokingly enough but there is a bit of seriousness behind it" (Diary 16 June 1916). Yet the risk stirred some drivers--the war "created in young men a thirst for abstract danger," in Cowley's words (41)--including, at times, Bates. "We are on for another night, and I am almost glad of it.... The excitement of this game is getting into my blood. I am nervously sick, and yet, ashamed as I am to own it, it fascinates me" (Diary 19 June 1916).
On one occasion, he and a doctor sped through "a perfect rain of fire;' with shells exploding on all sides. When they reached their headquarters, they found that the ambulance had been virtually totaled: "There was no rear right tire: it had simply disappeared, the front right one was half twisted off. The bar supporting the roof which juts out over the front seat was shot away & the roof sagged there were holes as big as your fist thru the mudguards, walls, roof, & floors, & all the water had run out of the radiator thru numerous holes so that it was a cloud of steam...." (Diary 14 June 1916). The Boston Traveler published a photo captioned, "Robert Wentworth Bates, of Boston, Harvard 1911, Sitting on the Car in Which He Rode With Dr. F. Gray Blum When the Machine Was Shot Up by the Germans at Verdun."
When his term of duty ended, Bates opted against re-enlisting. He had felt ill for weeks, and ended up having an appendectomy at the American Hospital in Paris (R.W. Bates Jr.). Bates worked for a time for Wells Fargo Bank in Paris, and then returned to the ambulance service in June 1917, no longer a driver but the chief of Section 63 (Diary addendum 1976; Mead 69). When the U.S. Army took over the ambulance corps in August, Richard Norton resigned in protest (Hansen 164-65). "[W]hen he quit, I quit, turning down a commission in the U.S. Ambulance Service out of loyalty to him," wrote Bates (Diary addendum 1976), who elsewhere remarked that "we all loved him" (Diary 22 August 1918).
Bates tried to join the U.S. Army and the French Foreign Legion, but both turned him down on account of poor eyesight (R.W. Bates Jr.). In December 1917, he encountered a Red Cross officer who complimented his work with Section 63--"You took out a raw bunch and you licked them into wonderful shape"--and asked him to serve in Italy. Bates said he would consider it. In the hallway, the officer's aide collared Bates and told him he was "a damned efficient man and a live wire and just the fellow they needed for their Italian service" (Letter to Harold Mitchell, 20 December 1917).
Bates agreed to take charge of the Red Cross ambulance service in Italy. "If the job proves big and I am satisfied that I am rendering so much greater a service there than I could at the front, I will stick. Otherwise I can quit in 6 mos. by which time there may be opportunities to train with my own army" (Letter to Harold Mitchell, 20 December 1917).
Bates arrived in Italy in January 1918, some five months before Hemingway. On first impression, the country bore little resemblance to France. "[O]ne would hardly know there was war except for the absence of tourists and for one or two unimportant regulations as regards foods" (Letter to Katharine Bates). In France, he had once slept on a bed of stretched chicken-wire; in Italy, by contrast, "the Sections are quartered magnificently, each volunteer being considered as an officer by the Italian government .... The cuisine is excellent and there are table cloths and even clean plates for each course!" (Diary 17 May 1916; 29 January 1918).
Bates reported to the Red Cross's Director of General Military Affairs, Major Guy Lowell (Diary 28 January 1918). A cousin of Harvard president A. Lawrence Lowell, Guy Lowell was a renowned architect. His works included the Beaux-Arts-style Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which opened in 1909. (3) He was also the author of Smaller Italian Villas and Farmhouses (1916). Bates learned that his quartermaster general would be George d'Utassy, a publishing executive who had served under him in Section 63 the year before. Like Bates, Lowell and d'Utassy were Harvard graduates (Diary 25 January 1918; "Guy Lowell Dies"; "Architectural History";"Lowell, Guy"; "Geo. d'Utassy"). (4)
Bates's job was as much to reassure as to aid. According to Henry P. Davison, "German propaganda had been extremely active in Italy; one of its endeavors had been to discredit America's sincerity by the assertion that the United States was growing rich out of the war, that she was willing to prolong it by supplying the Allies with money and munitions but that she would never send her men" (208-209). The United States had declared war on Austria, the power occupying Italy, on 7 December 1917, just a few weeks before Bates reached Rome, but no American troops were yet in the country. To reinforce the message of national commitment, Bates assigned his men to paint American flags on the ambulances. "We recognize the importance of the propaganda element in our work and wish to leave nothing undone to mark us as Americans," he wrote (Letter to Gay). (5)
When d'Utassy went on a recruiting trip to the United States, Bates handled the quartermaster job as well as the ambulances, plus a newly developed "rolling kitchen" program to bring food to the front (Diary 22 August 1918). "Am busy as hell," he wrote (Letter to Edward Bates 6 March 1918). In a May 13 letter to another Red Cross officer, Major Lowell wrote that Bates "has been working much harder than any white man should."
Though he felt overworked, Bates did have diversions. He bought a battledore and shuttlecock set--a variant of badminton--and played a vigorous game with Major Lowell and ambulance drivers (Letter to Edward Bates, 28 April 1918). He. also exchanged letters with Madeleine, a 20-year-old woman he had met in the Tuileries in Paris and talked with for about an hour. She had never encountered an American. "[W] e are shooting letters back and forth like one of those automatic bundle carriers in a department store; I write a page and get back six" he recounted. Madeleine was studying English. She signed off her letters with such phrases as "In all sympathy" and "I close in sending you my best friendships, Your little Godmother" (Letter to Family, 8 September 1918)..
In his diaries and letters home, Bates told of the day-to-day minutiae of the ambulance service and his work in it. On the Fourth of July, a group of British officers came "to wish us joy, and as one of them put it, to tell us how glad they all were that George Washington had licked George the IIIrd!" (Letter to Family, 8 July 1918). The American Poets' Committee had 'donated some fifty ambulances, each labeled as such (Villard and Nagel 208). A captured Austrian officer "looked in amazement," Bates wrote, and an Italian captain told him, "[Y]ou see, you have the entire world against you, even the American poets!" (Letter to Family, 8 July 1918).
As with his service at Verdun, though, many of Bates's anecdotes were grim. In one ambulance, the war continued: a wounded Italian soldier killed a wounded Austrian soldier (Diary 22 August 1918). During the mid-June Austrian offensive,
the Austrians had been driven back ... and we went out to the advance post which had been in enemy hands since the beginning of the attack. They were cleaning out dead Austrians from the rooms of our little farm house and sprinkling lime. The Austrians lay by the windows, little piles of empty cartridges beside them.... It was an ugly sight; many of them had been dead for days. Major Lowell who was with me said that he came very near to being sick; it didn't affect me at all, strange to say. (Letter to Family, 27 June 1918),
What did affect Bates, positively, was green-eyeshade work. Whereas "in France it was not my business to think, but only to do as I was told," Italy offered the sort of job that
I've dreamed of all my life: absolutely unlimited money to carry out my ideas, and so far every idea I have suggested accepted without a question. And better yet the handling of big sums of money and the fun and satisfaction of handling it right, cutting out extras and overhead charges, lambasting fellows who hand in big expense accounts; turning pale and working the blue pencil when I find a glass of whiskey charged up on a hotel bill, etc! (Diary 22 August 1918; Letter to?, 11 April 1918).
One of his cost-cutting measures proved incendiary. The volunteers in France had needed their entire allowance to pay expenses. In Italy, though, the men lived in "beautiful villas" and paid only about 150 lire a month for board, yet they received monthly allowances of 500 lire. That meant the Red Cross was "putting 300 to 350 lira [sic] monthly into their pockets," contrary to its rule that volunteers receive living expenses only. Bates proposed to reduce the allowance at the end of the men's term of duty, when they would decide whether to re-enlist. "There was great opposition--in fact everyone, Utassy included, was against it, with the exception of Lowell whom I won over and who was the deciding factor." The volunteers were enraged. One of the few men who remained close to Bates was Lieutenant Edward M. McKey, a New York City painter who operated one of the "rolling kitchens" that served soldiers at the front (Diary 22 August 1918).
Many men announced that they would not re-enlist. Bates asked them to stay for a few days beyond their terms until the d'Utassy recruits arrived, a group of around 120, including 34 Harvard undergraduates. Most agreed, but the men of Section 2, including the lieutenant in charge, protested the cut in allowances by refusing to continue working. The possibility of losing a section put the service in "a precarious situation," wrote Bates. He considered it a "strike," intended to make him restore the allowances (Diary 22 August 1918). But in late May, 37 new men arrived from the United States (Panda 80), "in the nick of time." Bates welcomed them in Milan (Letter to Family, 2 June 1918). About them and Other new volunteers, he remarked that "a finer body of men never served in an ambulance unit" (Diary 22 August 1918).
Among them was Ernest Hemingway. He reached his assigned unit, Section 4 in Schio, around 6 June, for what proved to be his sole month of active duty in World War I (Lynn 77). A fellow ambulance driver, John Miller, later said, "When we reached Italy the bulk of our ambulance work was transporting soldiers stricken with malaria and quite a few with self-inflicted wounds" (Brian 17). This was not what Hemingway had expected. "There's nothing here but scenery and too damn much of that" he told Theodore Brumback, a friend and fellow driver; after a week. "I'm going to get out of this ambulance section and see if I can't find out where the war is" (Baker 42).
Around the same time, 15 June, the Austrians launched their offensive (Page 347). On the second day of fighting, Lieutenant McKey was killed by an Austrian shell (Panda 85). "I found his body with some difficulty and we buried him," Bates wrote. "He was about the best friend I have made down here...." (Diary 22 August 1918).
In the ambulance service, Sections 1, 2, and 3 were kept busy. "There were many instances of individual bravery on the part of the men and many narrow escapes from death;' wrote Bates (Ambulance Report No. 8). But because of its location, Section 4 had little to do (Panda 78-79). Bates "lent about 18 men to do canteen work in emergency stations on the Piave" (Diary 22 August 1918). Hemingway, restless, volunteered. He would distribute chocolate and cigarettes to Italian soldiers in their trenches, under the command of Captain James Gamble, Field Inspector of Canteens (Baker 43). Hemingway was posted to Canteen 14, at Fossalta di Piave (Panda 84; Villard and Nagel 216). (6) At around midnight on 8 July, Hemingway was felled by an Austrian trench mortar and machine gun bullets (Villard and Nagel 216-217).
Hemingway wired his parents with the news. "I hope that the cable didn't worry you very much" he wrote in a follow-up letter, "but Capt. Bates thought it was best that you hear from me first rather than the newspapers. You see I'm the first American wounded in Italy and I suppose the papers say something about it" (SL 12). Hemingway, of course, was not the first American wounded, in Italy. In January, a pair of Americans volunteering with a British ambulance unit had been killed ("Two Americans"), followed by Lieutenant McKey of the Red Cross on 16 June (Panda 85).
In an 11 July letter, Bates told Hemingway that" I have learned with regret of your accident, and am very much relieved at the report which Captain Gamble has brought in. He assures me that your "wounds are not serious and that you will soon recover.... You will receive good care in Milano, and I trust that before long you will be back again at the front" (qtd. in Florczyk 68).
On July 25, Bates filed a report on Hemingway's injuries:
E.M. Hemingway of Section 4 was wounded by the explosion of a shell which landed about three feet from him, killing a soldier who stood between him and the point of explosion, and wounding others. Due to the soldier who lost his life and who protected Hemingway somewhat from the explosion, and due also to the fact that the eclats had not yet obtained their full , range, Hemingway was only wounded in the legs. He sustained ten fairly serious wounds and two hundred and twenty-seven punctures. He is now in the American Hospital at Milan and has yet to undergo an operation to remove shrapnell [sic] from his knee. (7) (Ambulance Report No. 9)
About a month into his six-month enlistment, Hemingway's front-line service was over. (8)
Enemy fire Was not the only peril at hand. Bates wrote, "The men are suffering from an epidemic which is running its course throughout the Italian Army, and which the Italians call 'the three days' fever.'.... The French tell me that they are suffering from the same epidemic and that they have hundreds of patients in their hospitals. They call it 'influenza'" (Ambulance Report No. 7). In October Bates wrote to his family,
I never have had such a feeling about anything before; just let yourself begin to snuffle a bit, and you picture yourself in your grave this time next week. So it goes; I am telling you nothing that you have not already seen in the papers, and in order not to do so will make no mention of the numbers involved. I feel as if I had been going to funerals for a long time and as if it were a natural part of my life. (10 October 1918)
The following month, November, Bates wrote home about his Paris correspondent, Madeleine:
Her sister wrote me two weeks ago that she had the Spanish flu, and asked me to continue writing to her until she was well enough to answer. Then she wrote me that she was worse. I sent her a little bow-knot of the American colors as a "porte-bonheur" [good-luck charm[ and they wrote to me that they had pinned it to her bed. Then a friend of hers wrote me of her death; she said that they had pinned the little ribbon on her coffin. (5 November 1918)
By the time of Madeleine's death, Bates's work was done. The Italian counteroffensive against the Austrians had succeeded, the fighting had subsided, and in August, U.S. Army ambulances had arrived. With more personnel than he needed for front-line ambulance posts, Bates had sent the 34 Harvard men home in time for fall semester (Ambulance Report No. 10). In November, he left the ambulance service (Mead 69).
During his ten months in Italy, Captain Bates earned not only Hemingway's enmity but also that of another future novelist, according to biographer Townsend Ludington. In spring, Bates intercepted a letter from ambulance driver John Dos Passos to a Spanish friend. The war, Dos Passos wrote, "is boredom, slavery to all the military stupidities.... I assure you there is nothing beautiful about modern war.... It is nothing but an enormous, tragic digression in the lives of these people." Bates told Major Lowell, "My own strong opinion is that the writer should be dishonorably discharged. He belonged in the Section to a group of Pacifists. In spite of my repeated warnings ... this man has still endangered the cordial relations existing between us and the Italians. I have no sympathy for him" (qtd. in Dos Passos, 152). Major Lowell chose to expel Dos Passos from the ambulance service without a dishonorable discharge (Ludington 160). In a letter to a Red Cross friend later that year, Dos Passos imagined" [d]irges where dismal will rhyme with abysmal, and howl with Lowell and hates with Bates and fetter with letter" (Fourteenth Chronicle 196).
Dos Passos's hostility is no puzzler, but what lay behind Hemingway's? Bates--"turning pale and working the blue pencil when I find a glass of whiskey charged up on a hotel bill"--was a stickler for discipline, and he could be harsh with those who fell short of his standards. Hemingway, like others, may well have bristled. On one occasion, Bates told a recalcitrant lieutenant that" I held him in too great a contempt to be really angry with him, as such an unmitigated ass and damn fool could not be expected to show any degree of intelligence" (Letter to Family, 5 November 1918). He sent volleys of memos about gas masks, secrecy, safe driving, saluting, cleanliness, drunkenness, and venereal disease. He harbored no illusions about his underlings' sentiments toward him. After he cut the men's living allowances, "I was almost afraid to go to the Sections unarmed!" (Diary 22 August 1918).
To be fair, he worked with some difficult people. "I have just fired a man who calmly said he wouldn't drive a Ford because he wanted to drive a Fiat.
I can sympathize with him but I cannot forgive!" Bates told his family. He joked about writing a book after the war: Uneasy Rests the Head That Bosses a Volunteer Organization (10 October 1918). And his responsibilities were, literally, life and death. In October, he wrote that one of his ambulance drivers had been killed by a shell: I had only put the poor fellow over into that section about a week earlier, and much against his will. I had told him that it didn't matter whether he wanted to go or not, that he had to. He was a quiet chap and said all right; my, it makes me feel bad, but I had seen him since and he said that he was satisfied. Of course I ought not to blame myself; I did what I thought was best for the service, but I can't help feeling bad. He wouldn't let the men who picked him up, tie off his wound. He said that it was nothing and he really died of loss of blood. He was quiet and smiling to the last. He was only twenty years old. Poor boy! (Letter to Family, 3 October 1918)
During Bates's final weeks with the Red Cross, Colonel Robert P. Perkins approached him. Perkins was the Commissioner in charge of all Red Cross work in Italy, which comprised Military Affairs (headed by Major Lowell), Medical Affairs, Civil Affairs, Tuberculosis, and Administration (Bakewell 37). In Bates's account, Perkins said he wanted to have a "man-to-man" talk.
"You have done an excellent piece of work" Perkins said. "You may have been unpopular, you see I am speaking perfectly frankly, but you have peculiar disciplinary qualities that have been very valuable." Laughing, Bates replied, "As for my unpopularity, that is the least of my worries." Perkins asked Bates to consider staying on With the Red Cross. Bates declined (Letter to Family, 14 October 1918).
Earlier, Bates had decided that when he returned to the States, he would farm in California, state of his birth. "It certainly has the East beaten for climate," he had told an uncle in Boston, where he had lived before the war, "and although we talk a good deal about the civilization of the East and the lack of it in the West, how much good does it do you and me personally. You go out practically never, and I am the same" (Letter to Harold Mitchell, 15 February 1918).
Like Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms, Bates fell in love with his nurse--Juliette Marchand, a young French woman who had cared for him after his appendectomy. They married in Paris on 31 December 1918, and set sail on the Chicago, the ship on which Bates had arrived in the spring of 1915, three and a half years earlier. (9) "God, it was good to be home again!" he wrote in his diary (22 June 1919). Bates and his wife lived near Santa Barbara and had three daughters and a son (R.W. Bates Jr.).
As Florczyk notes (62), Carlos Baker's Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story inflamed Bates. The biography says that the injured Hemingway "sat or lay in his bed like a king on a throne, holding court and greeting all comers. Red Cross captains came to sit at his feet and listen to his monologues: Meade Detweiler, the Milan Representative; Bob Bates, the Inspector of Ambulances; and Jim Gamble, the Inspector-of Rolling Canteens" (48). (10) Bates took a 1918 document that refers to Hemingway's injury and appended a note to it:
[M]y stock with John Evans [a grandson] rose l00% when he read in Hemingway's memoirs [sic] that Bob Bates had come to see him in the hospital and sat at his feet in admiration, which except for the visit, was a complete lie, since I not only did not admire him but knew him to be an incomparable braggart and liar! (And one of the first to write dirty books which I did not like either!) (Ambulance Report No. 9)
Bates, who was neither the first nor the last to label Hemingway a braggart and liar, presumably did not know of the "what a shit" letter. It appears in the Baker collection published in 1981, three years after Bates's death. But the feeling seems to have been mutual.
"Architectural History." Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. http://www.mfa.org/about/sub.asp?key =61&subkey=674&topkey=61.7 May 2009.
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--. Letter to? In April 1918. Unpublished. Private Collection.
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"Robert Wentworth Bates, of Boston, Harvard 1911, Sitting on the Car in Which He Rode With Dr. F. Gray Blum When the Machine Was Shot Up by the Germans at Verdun." Boston Traveler. 17 January 1917. Private Collection.
"Two Americans Killed in Bomb Raid in Italy:' Chicago Daily Tribune (ProQuest database). 31 January 1918.
Villard, Henry Serrano, and James Nagel. Hemingway in Love and War: The Lost Diary of Agnes von Kurowsky, Her Letters, and Correspondence of Ernest Hemingway. Boston, MA: Northeastern UP, 1989.
Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
(1.) Hemingway, though no patrician or Ivy Leaguer, was the son of a physician and a member of Oak Park's upper middle class (Baker 1-2).
(2.) "[T]he sooner an ambulance driver becomes inured to horror, the better he is able to carry out his duties," wrote Henry Villard (Villard and Nagel 25).
(3.) Frederic Henry in A farewell to Arms is an architecture student.
(4.) Some contemporaneous documents, including Bates's writings and the Report of the Department of Military Affairs (Panda 80), render the quartermaster's name as Utassy.
(5.) Guy Lowell similarly writes in Report of the Department of Military Affairs that "[w]e ... take great pains in all our work to make it clear to the soldiers that what was being done by the American Red Cross ... was actually being done by their allies, the American people, who intend to render all possible aid with men and with materials" (Panda 76).
(6.) Gamble had been promoted from lieutenant and placed in charge of the canteen service in May ' (Panda 83). Previously, Bates had supervised it (Ambulance Report No. 7). The Report of the Department of Military Affairs lists Hemingway as a canteen lieutenant rather than an ambulance one (Panda 84). Hemingway's friends William Home and Theodore Brumback volunteered for emergency canteen duty at the same time, but they appear in the report as "ambulance men who have served the canteens for varying periods" (Panda 84). Distinguishing them from Hemingway in this fashion seems erroneous. Bakewell lists Hemingway with ambulance Section 4 (224).
(7.) Florczyk also quotes this document (68-69).
(8.) Six months was the standard enlistment period (Hansen 83; Diary 22 August 1918).
(9.) "By 1920 about a dozen Field Service veterans had married French or Belgian girls" (Fenton 341).
(10.) Nagel (Villard and Nagel 222) also describes Bates and Hemingway as friends, citing Baker. Carlene Fredericka Brennen (157) writes that Hemingway had a kitten named Bates. "The kitten may have been named after Bob Bates, the Red Cross captain and inspector of ambulances who was Ernest's close friend in Italy." The kitten died of distemper.
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|Publication:||The Hemingway Review|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2009|
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