Julian Allen (bottom left) with other SSU 4 volunteers. Julian wrote home about the wartime conditions they experienced, noting "My hands are disgusting. There is no water to be had. Gasoline is more cleansing. I spent the other night in the depths of an abri [dugout] that smelt of all the disgusting things one could imagine."
Julian Allen (bottom left) with other SSU 4 volunteers. Julian wrote home about the wartime conditions they experienced, noting “My hands are disgusting. There is no water to be had. Gasoline is more cleansing. I spent the other night in the depths of an abri [dugout] that smelt of all the disgusting things one could imagine.” Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives.) This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. While this day commemorates a military decision, it’s also serves as an important reminder that the war created a significant need for humanitarian organizations to provide some urgently-needed relief in response to the devastation. One of these organizations was the American Field Service (AFS), organized in April 1915 as a volunteer American ambulance corps working in Belgium, France, and the Balkans. The AFS volunteers would go on to save more than 400,000 wounded from both sides of the war.

One of the 2,500 AFS volunteers was Julian B.L. Allen, who lied about his age on his AFS application when he applied in 1915. At only fifteen years old, Allen found himself overseas, engaged in a bloody war that horrified much older men. He was nicknamed “The Kid Chauffeur” by his fellow AFS volunteers, given his young age, and became known for embarking on exceptionally daring work in the face of danger. You can read more about Allen and AFS unit SSU 4 in the cover story of the Fall 2016 issue of the AFS Janus magazine here!

View All Items of the Month

iframe#qgiv-embed-43114 { max-height: none; } @media only screen and (min-width: 550px) { iframe#qgiv-embed-43114 { min-height: 1900px; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 550px) { iframe#qgiv-embed-43114 { min-height: 2400px; } }