Lowell in World War One: March 4, 1918 to March 8, 1918

This is the 47th 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:

March 4, 1918 – Monday – Bolsheviki signs peace treaty and German invasion into Russia ends. Germans active in West, conducting raiding operations in the American sector. When French premier Clemenceau visited the American sector on Sunday, he awarded “war crosses” to American soldiers who were wounded in the German attack northwest of Toul last week. Gunner Thomas Quirk of Co G, 104th Infantry, son of Thomas and Catherine Quirk of 10 Butler avenue, has died in France of pneumonia. Quirk was only 17 years old. Private Charles Jellison, son of Charles and Catherine Jellison of 56 Kinsman street, has been gassed and wounded by the Germans, and has been returned to Fort McHenry hospital in Baltimore to convalesce. Sending packages to the boys “over there.” Postmaster John Meehan reminds everyone sending packages to soldiers in France that the packages must weigh no more than seven pounds and may not contain any matches or explosives.

March 5, 1918 – Tuesday – No agreement between United States and Japan on Siberia. Victory for American forces on Lorraine front. Many German prisoners taken. It was announced today that President Wilson intends to take over the Hoboken, New Jersey wharves of the Hamburg-American and North German steamship companies. William Nimke of Torrington, Connecticut, a sergeant in Co F, 301st Engineers at Camp Devens, was given a 30-year sentence today for unpatriotic utterances after a general court martial. Ultimatum to telephone company. Representatives of the telephone operators’ union today served notice on the New England Telephone and Telegraph company that a strike of operators in 19 New England cities will begin Thursday unless wage increase demands are granted.  New charter petition filed today. Cornelius Desmond of 195 Stackpole Street filed a petition for the city to adopt a new charter under Plan B which would involve a mayor and 15 city councilors, with six elected at-large and the rest elected by ward.

March 6, 1918 – Wednesday – The British armed cruiser Calgarian was struck by four torpedoes and sunk. 48 perish. Evacuation of Petrograd has begun. Bolshevik government moves to Moscow. Irish leader John Redmond dies after operation. Baneful ban is banished. Lowell enjoyed its first day without fuel restrictions today. The warm weather helped, but the first indication that the restrictions had been lifted was when the saloons all opened at 6 o’clock.

March 7, 1918 – Thursday – Another enemy raid repulsed. New US force defeats enemy after a sharp battle in new sector. To sell enemy property. A. Mitchell Palmer, Alien Property Custodian, asks Congress for power to act. Discussion of the farm labor problem. The Middlesex North Agricultural society held a farmers’ institute at the Paige Street Baptist church today. Speakers said that with the shortage of male laborers next summer, the only workforce available would by high school boys. However, most farmers look at high school boys as good for little more than stealing apples.

March 8, 1918 – Friday – 11 killed and 46 injured in big German air raid on London. Bombs cause heavy damage. Interesting war talk by Mary Boyle O’Reilly. She spoke in Lowell’s Colonial hall last evening, She stressed that the war will last at least three years and that people in the United States should adopt many of the habits of those in other countries already at war. Express derailed at Lowell Junction. Seven coaches of the Boston-bound Portland express were derailed at the Lowell Junction station this afternoon. No one was hurt, but traffic was hindered considerably.

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