Although the background of Hemingway's World War I friend, Captain James Gamble, has been subject to debate -- some painting him as a homosexual from Cincinnati and others maintaining he was, in fact, a heterosexual from Pennsylvania -- 'Chief', as Ernest called him, obviously left an impression on the young writer.
Kenneth Schuyler Lynn cites a letter that Hemingway penned to the older Red Cross captain following the latter's invitation to join him in Italy as his secretary and companion. In it Ernest declared: 'Every minute of every day I kick myself for not being in Taormina with you. It makes me so damned homesick for Italy and whenever I think I might be there and with you.' (Hemingway, p. 90). It was Jim Gamble who cared for Hemingway when he returned to Milan from the Monte Grappa front suffering from jaundice.