Lowell in World War One: January 28, 1918 to February 2, 1918

This is the 42nd weekly installment of my Lowell in World War One series which commemorates the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War One. Here are the headlines from one hundred years ago this week:

January 28, 1918 – Monday – US aviators in raid over Germany. Four American aviators attached to a French squadron participated in a daylight bombing raid over Germany. All returned safely. Raw weather on second heatless Monday. It was pretty quiet in downtown Lowell this morning as the city observed its second heatless Monday made worse by weather that could only be described as raw. Severe snow storm coming. Weather bureau officials said a severe snowstorm could develop in New England tonight or tomorrow.

January 29, 1918 – Tuesday – Italian forces launch great attack on northern mountain front. 47 killed, 169 injured in German air raid on London. Food Administrator Herbert Hoover advocates control of the distribution, manufacture, and preservation of foodstuffs.  Lowell School Committee Chair Dr John Lambert resigned his position last night after being commissioned as an Army captain and expecting to soon be sent “over there.” Committee member Richard Brabrook Walsh was elected to succeed him.

January 30, 1918 – Wednesday – Victories for Italian forces admitted by both Berlin and Vienna war offices. Capture and hold two important peaks. Second air raid of year on London. Lowell coal situation is now serious. Members of the local fuel committee say that the people of Lowell must do their utmost to conserve coal in order to get through the next month. Lowell people with no coal should notify the patrolman on their beat. He will issue a “priority card” so they can receive an immediate delivery. Today was “tag your shovel day.” School children were given tags to tie to coal shovels they see at houses in their neighborhoods. The tags contain energy saving ideas such as “cover your furnace and pipes with asbestos and stuff cracks in your windows with cotton.” Lowell Textile School may close its doors. At a hearing before the state legislature, Lowell Textile president Cumnock said the school will be forced to close its doors in October unless the state takes over the property, buildings and equipment of the institution.

January 31, 1918 – Thursday – Two Americans killed and four wounded in battle on French front. German raid preceded by violent artillery barrage. American cannon and guns reply to enemies. Strikes spreading throughout Germany. 700,000 idle. Soldiers and strikers clash. Federal government to rush coal to Boston. With the temperature at 10 degrees with a cold wind blowing, people went to work today in inadequately heated buildings while local fuel administrators made desperate calls to railroad officials about how soon deliveries of coal can be expected.

February 1, 1918 – Friday – Martial law proclaimed in Hamburg and Berlin. Police and strikers clash. Bolsheviki capture Kiev from Ukrainians. Peace Negotiations Reopened. Second attempt to kill Lenin. A young man in a student’s uniform entered the Bolsheviki headquarters and fired a shot at the premier, without hitting him. Peace rumors cause big movement in stocks. McAdoo is confident of no further shutdown. Clearing weather, needed to insure coal movement sufficient to avert another shortage in the east was in sight today and Director General McAdoo expressed confidence that the country would pass through the crisis without further need for shutdowns. Fire hazard in local schools. Unless the city makes the necessary safety measures at the Green, Franklin and Cabot street schools, the attorney general will file an action in superior court to compel the city to act.

February 2, 1918 – Saturday – German papers outline alleged Anglo-American plot to spread dissension in Central Powers. American troops sixty feet from German line. Major General Payton March is to become chief of staff of the army if General Pershing can spare him from his current duties as chief of artillery. This means that current chief of staff, Major General Bliss, will remain in London as the American representative to the supreme war council. Coal shortage closes mills in Lawrence. The Wood, Ayer and Washington mills, which employ 18,000 operatives, were all closed today due to a shortage of coal. Today was the coldest day of the winter with the temperature at the boulevard pumping station dropping to 29 degrees below zero. Military funeral for Lowell Boy. The funeral of Private Ralph Tewksbury, who died at Fort Sam Houston, Texas of pneumonia, were held at the home of his parents at 841 Varnum Ave. Burial was in the Woodbine cemetery.

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