Lowell in World War One: March 18, 1918 to March 22, 1918

This is the 49th 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 18, 1918 – Monday –  Massachusetts troops in action at Chemin des Dames. The identification of the units involved has been prohibited by the censor, but all belong to a division composed exclusively of New England units. Three alarm fire in lumber district. Cady and Sons Box shop on Western Ave gutted. Railroad bridge threatened. It was only through quick work by fireman and others from the Boston & Maine railroad that the railroad bridge over the Western Canal was saved from destruction. Miss Emily Skilton, field secretary of the Florence Crittenton league, is now a member of the police department. She took the oath of office this morning at city hall. Miss Skilton’s duties include visiting the dance halls and moving picture houses in the city and keeping in close touch with the young women who frequent them. Lowell observed St. Patrick’s Day in a quiet yet worthy manner yesterday.

March 19, 1918 – Tuesday – Americans bombard German towns. Yankee gunners also dropped projectiles on German trenches. Mass troops bear brunt of bombardment at Chemin des Dames.  Signs daylight savings bill. The daylight savings bill was signed today by President Wilson. It puts all clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March and turns them back again the last Sunday in October.

March 20, 1918 – Wednesday – Yankees attack enemy with gas shells. Secretary of War Baker under fire in France. German occupation of Petrograd near. Germans drop mustard gas. A German airplane flew over American sector last night and this morning and dropped rubber balls 18 inches in diameter filled with liquified mustard gas. This is the first time that an airplane has been employed to deliver gas in this fashion. The effect of the gas was not serious but American troops were infuriated by what they termed “dirty warfare.” Military cross for Yankees. Pershing approves awarding of new medals to three Americans. The new military crosses were awarded for “extraordinary heroism in connection with operations against an armed enemy.” Lowell High School baseball question. If LHS students do not sell at least 200 season tickets for high school baseball between now and April 5 there will be no baseball this year. That was the ultimatum from principal Herbert Bixby. Owing to the fact that the semi-professional teams in Lowell have been shot to pieces by the war, it is likely that the high school team may attract more fans this year.

March 21, 1918 – Thursday – Over 11 million tons of ships lost in war. Secret British Admiralty figures on the submarine losses made public. Yanks in hand-to-hand battle at Luneville. The American troops conducted a raid into German trenches and penetrated the enemy line for some distance. Screw thread bill reported favorably. The House committee on coinage, weights and measures today ordered a favorable report on the Tilson bill to standardize screw threads and screw tolerance which is a bill of great importance to all manufactures, especially plants that deal with munitions and other metal work.

March 22, 1918 – Friday – British halt big German drive. First stage of great offensive on Western front scored as a German failure. Kaiser directs German attack. British line bends but not broken. Infantry battle still raging. Two priests executed in Brussels after being charged with espionage.  Corporal Alfred Renaud dies in France. Son of Mr and Mrs Olivier Renaud of 15 Howard street, he died of pneumonia while serving with the aviation corps. He was very popular in Lowell, having been one of the founders of the Garde Sacre-Coeur, a semi military organization of Notre Dame de Lourdes parish. He was also prominent in the St Joseph’s college alumni association.