Lowell in World War One: March 25, 1918 to April 5, 1918

This is the 50th 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 for the past two weeks:

March 25, 1918 – Monday –  Berlin reports 45,000 captured. French join British in great conflict. Gigantic battle raging with unexampled intensity on the Western Front. Berlin says Bapaume captured by Germans. US gunners shell foes front trenches. Paris is again bombarded.

March 26, 1918 – Tuesday – Allies prepare counter blow. British and French forces firmly resist desperate attacks by German masses. Germany paying heavily for every foot of ground wrested from Allied armies.     Government to occupy mill buildings here. The quartermaster’s department of the regular army has chosen Lowell as a sub-depot for the storage of military textiles manufactured in this city, Lawrence, and Holyoke. Two buildings belonging to the Massachusetts Mills have been taken over for that purpose. The city council voted to borrow $50,000 for street paving and approved a list of streets to be paved during the coming year. High School boys hear farm work director. Stephen Dow, director of farm works for boys in this state, addressed the boys of Lowell High this morning, inviting them to enroll in the United States Boys’ Working Reserve for farm work during the coming summer.

March 27, 1918 – Wednesday – Germans lose 400,000 in futile attempt to break the allied line. Enemy advance held up all along battle front. Lowell’s first increment in the new draft will leave the city Friday morning for Camp Devens. Between 60 and 70 men are scheduled to enter national service at that time.

March 28, 1918 – Thursday – Germans drive deep wedge in Allied line. Enemy striking with unexampled fury against British and French forces. French forced to give up Montdidier after desperate hand to hand battle. Kaiser’s forces 19 miles southeast of Amiens. Prominent speakers coming to Lowell. David I Walsh, former governor of Massachusetts; Professor Albert Bushnell Hart of Harvard; and Professor McElroy of Princeton will speak in Lowell on April 9 to try to offset some of the propaganda that has been spread throughout the country.

March 29, 1918 – Friday – French hold gains in spite of Hun counterattack. Pershing offers entire US force for Allied drive. Germans make slight gains in push towards Amiens. Great battle raging over 70 mile front. Big guns again attack Paris. Lowell’s first contingent in the second draft went to Camp Devens today. Today’s send off was in marked contrast to earlier departures. There were no formations at city hall and no music to accompany the men on their way to the station. But families and friends were all present at the station to give them a final word of comfort and encouragement.

April 1, 1918 – Monday – Germany’s great drive at a standstill. Huns hurled back ten miles from Amiens. 100,000 Americans rush to battle line. Powerful thrusts of enemy broken up by French. British repulse two attacks north of Somme. Anglo-French-American forces begin offensive movements. Back from trenches: Lowell boy wounded while taking part in raid on German trench returns home. Private Charles Jellison of Company M, 101st regiment, arrived in Lowell yesterday. A wounded left him isn’t going to get better soon, a shattered ear drum and a general state of nervousness and excitement are a few of the evidences which Lowell’s first veteran of the great war has to show for his overseas adventures. New time confused mill operatives. A number of operatives of the Boott mills, mostly foreigners, got a little confused by the new daylight saving law this morning and reported for work at 5 o’clock rather than six. Lowell Day exercises in the schools. The public schools observed “Lowell day” in a fitting manner today with special programs which included at every school the awarding of a medal from the board of trade to the author of the winning essay on “Lowell’s Part in the Present War.”

April 2, 1918 – Tuesday – Hun attempt to push on to Amiens checked. 77 German divisions await big guns before making another gigantic attempt to reach Amiens. General Foch plans big allied counter blow. Yanks side by side with French and British. American units to be brigaded with British and French armies for big drive. Interesting war talks at state armory. Last night at the “Lowell night” dinner held by the Board of Trade at the state armory, Congressman John Jacob Rogers said that “the beginning of the end is in sight” of the war, based on facts and figures he shared with the audience. Investigate signatures on charter petition. Mayor Thompson reported to the council on the results of the police department investigation into the signatures on the petition advocating a change to Plan E form of government. The investigation found that at least half of the signatures were illegally placed on the petition. The police also found that half of the signatures examined on the Plan B petition were not placed there by the person whose name appeared.

April 3, 1918 – Wednesday – Allies plan next great efforts after victorious defense against big enemy drive. Powerful allied reserve still intact. British retake Ayette near Arras and drive off German assault. To call 800,000 in new draft at once. To meet the emergency in France, the next 800,000 men eligible for the draft will be called into the service more rapidly than was expected. Calls President Wilson a “superman, a master.” The Democratic national convention opened in Portland, Maine with the chairman of the Democratic party strongly advocating the renomination of President Wilson. Plan Americanization of millions of aliens. Secretary Lane opened a conference of business, education and government leaders in Washington by unveiling plans for a federal legislative program that will speed the Americanization of many millions of foreign born residents. Calling it a war measure, Sec Lane said this program would counter-act the anti-American propaganda so prevalent in many alien groups.

April 4, 1918 – Thursday – British improve positions north of Somme. Amiens free from danger. Americans attacked. Third week of Germany’s “peace drive” finds front virtually unchanged since Monday. Back from the front. Private Herve Barrette, the son of Mrs. J.E.T. Barrette of 71 Ford Street and a member of the 20th Canadian Overseas battalion who served in the trenches of Belgium for the past three years, has returned to Lowell on account of the injuries he received after being wounded for the third time. Private Barrette is a cripple for life and may never be able to use his left arm again. He has suffered terribly from injuries, hunger and exposure to the weather while at the front.  School cobbling shop has war order. Do your shoes need fixing? If so, get in touch with Lowell’s first juvenile cobbling class at the Varnum grammar school. They can do patching, mending and all the other skilled work of cobblers. They have also received an order from the Red Cross for shoes that will be sent to Belgium for the benefit of refugees there.

April 5, 1918 – Friday – French defeat German attempt to break through below Amiens. Huns fail in most desperate effort yet to break in and cut off important Allied base. British beat off enemy forces east of base. Germans suffer heavy losses in desperate attempt to reach Amiens and separate Anglo-French armies. German hanged to tree. Prager lynched by mob for alleged disloyal utterances at Collinsville, Illinois. Liberty Day programs in the schools. The grammar schools today observed “Liberty day” which comes tomorrow to mark the anniversary of the United States’ declaration of war on Germany. The principal feature of the school program was an essay contest along with the singing of patriotic songs. Advertisement: Men Wanted for day and night work: U.S. Cartridge Co., employment department, Lawrence St.

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