This J. D. Newsom story appeared in the 21 December 1926 issue of Adventure. It’s another tale featuring Newsom’s duo of unreformed Legionnaires Mike Curialo and Albert (Berty) Withers. The setting is World War I and several Legionnaires are billeted in Madame Loppard’s farmyard a couple of kilometers from the front-line trenches. Jennings, an American ambulance driver working in the same sector, has an odd infatuation with the Foreign Legion and insists that his two new friends regale him with tales of fighting and life in Africa. Jennings spends freely but this is not enough to win the veteran soldiers over and they try their best to avoid him and at one point “forcefully” remind him his company is not welcome. When word comes down that the Legion will be moving up to the front, Jennings demands they take him with and show him what things are like. Their adamant refusal does not deter the young American and he convinces the Legion commander to order Curialo and Withers to give him a tour of the trenches. So begins Jennings’ tour of hell on earth.
Although there are humorous parts to this story its actually pretty grim. I think Newsom may have been trying to make a point that those who think war is all tales of gallantry and heroism should get a chance to see first hand what goes on in the meat grinder of trench warfare. I also found it exceptionally well written–I was instantly transported to the farmyard in the first page and Newsom’s account of the trenches was also very descriptive. I think this is only the second story featuring Curialo and Withers posted on this blog–the other being “Mumps” which was published in the first issue of 1926. NOTE: The graphic came from elsewhere and not from this story.