In 2016, the University of Florida digitized my great-grandfather’s diary of his experience and life as a soldier during World War I in France. One year later, they added additional documents such as photos, and I created a collection in the University of Florida’s Digital Collections.
In the following tabs, you will find the diary (which starts on page 5) as well as the additional documents. The diary is accompanied by a transcription of the text as is, a standardized French version of the text, and an English transcription. For more information, check “The Translation Project” tab.
*Please note that Albert Huet wrote this diary after World War I ended. However, we do not know exactly when he did so, though we suspect it was in the 1950’s. Nobody knew about the diary until my aunt found it in the garage.
*A biography and summary of Albert’s account of the war can now be found on the website of the Collectif de Recherche International et de Débat sur la Guerre de 1914-1918. Thank you Rémy Cazals.
Biography of Albert Huet
Albert Huet was born on December 14, 1897 in a small village in Normandy, France. In 1916, he turned 18 and was drafted into mandatory military service in the French Army. At the time, the First World War had already been raging for two years. After a brief period of training, Albert was deployed to the Ardennes front, a dangerous combat zone (see the Chemin des Dames). He would serve in the trenches until 1918, when he was severely injured in a gas attack. While recovering, the Armistice was declared in November 1918 – but not before most of his regiment was massacred by a German assault.
After the war, Albert married the sister of an army friend and moved to Argenteuil – then a rural suburb of Paris. In Argenteuil, he found work with a railroad company. In 1955, he was diagnosed with larynx cancer: a result of the smoking habit he had picked up during military service. Over the following months, he received an emergency tracheotomy, had his larynx and vocal chords removed, and was treated with radium. Miraculously, he survived both the cancer and his treatment, boasting that if “the Krauts didn’t get me, then cancer won’t either.” He died twenty years later on November 23, 1977.
Because Albert was born in rural France at the turn of the century, his educational opportunities were minimal. As a result, his grammar and spelling are occasionally irregular. The text accompanying his diary therefore contains both a direct transcription of his words as well as a revised transcription in standardized French.