Lowell in World War One: April 8, 1918 to April 19, 1918

This is the 51st 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:

April 8, 1918 – Monday – Germans massed for another drive on wide battle front in France. British and French lines in Northern France attacked. Intensive German fire south of Somme and north of Scarpe. British and Japanese troops at Vladivostok. Landing of forces promises to cause the state department much concern. Buy Liberty Bonds and back up the army. Subscriptions to the third Liberty bond campaign are coming in at a gratifying rate. On the whole the first day was a success and about one-sixth of the city’s entire quota was raised in the first 24 hours. Frank Siamao held on murder charge. Alleged that he killed Adao Defreitus Bremo in knife fight on South Common. An argument that started in a liquor saloon Saturday night, was followed by a pre-arranged battle of fists and subsequently knives on the South common, and resulted in the death of one man and the imprisonment of another. Bremo, aged 26, lived at 513 Gorham street while Siamao, a 39 year old laborer, lived at 318 Central street.

April 9, 1918 – Tuesday – Fate of Europe and of Liberty depends on success against the drive, says Lloyd George. British Premier speaking in Parliament declares Cambrai battle a very trivial event when compared with recent battle. German guns are roaring in thunderous tones along 100 mile fron in France. 20,000,000 subscribers to new Liberty loan. Secretary McAdoo calls for that number of purchases. Would mean loan of 4 or 5 billions. Lowell’s liberty loan total mounts fast: more than one–third of the city’s original quota has already been subscribed. Lowell men arrested for failing to register. Vrasidas Koronakos, Kazimeras Majlockas, Jargis Balzonis and another were arrested by United States officer Andrew Cardwell and members of the local police this morning on warrants alleging that they had failed to register for the draft. Officer Caldwell has been investigation conditions in Lowell, especially among the foreign residents, and has gathered information that may lead to more arrests.

April 10, 1918 – Wednesday – Germans attacking on 130 mile front. American reinforcements in battle. Leaders oppose conscription in Ireland. Big patriotic meeting at State Armory. Speakers electrify audience. Rally under the auspices of National Security League. The speakers were David I. Walsh, Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart, and Prof E. D. Adams. Liberty bond drive in full swing here. The city’s total contributions in this third drive has reached nearly two million dollars. Elect Chief Marshal for Memorial Day. Dr. Charles B. Sanders was elected chief marshal of the Memorial Day parade at a Memorial Day Committee meeting which included representatives from GAR Posts 42, 120, and 185.

April 11, 1918 – Thursday – British evacuate Armentieres. Fierce counter attacks by British in attempt to halt Hun advance. Germans push on towards key point in British line in Flanders. Huns hurled back in disorder by Yankees. Heaviest German effort yet made against Americans. More restrictions on mail to soldiers. In order to mail anything to a soldier, the soldier must first ask for the item you are sending and receive his commanding officer’s consent. Then you may take that written request to the post office along with the item to be shipped and it will be accepted. The purpose of this new rule is to limit items mailed overseas to essentials.

April 12, 1918 – Friday – Germans pushing wedge deeper into British lines near Bethune. British handing on to great bulk of Messines Ridge. Plan for agreement on Irish question. Sir Horace Plunkett says convention laid foundation. Expected immediate legislation.

April 15, 1918 – Monday – Germans take Neuve Eglise after terrific drives against British lines on Lys front. British withdraw after beating off attack after attack. Haig’s men hold out at all other points and improve positions by counter attacks. High school teacher joins Naval Reserve. From teacher of Greek to seaman in the naval reserve is the novel change which Joseph G. Pyne of the high school faculty will soon make. Pyne as taught since 1912 and is one of the most popular teachers at the high school. For the past few seasons he has also coached the football team. Dr. T G Waller received several interesting souvenirs from his son, First Lieutenant Schuyler Waller of the 101st engineer train in France. A German helmet, a portion of a 17-inch German shell, and a piece of a German airplane were among the war tokens which arrived.

April 16, 1918 – Tuesday – Germans capture Bailleul. British forced back by fresh Hun troops. Heavy enemy attack repulsed by British. Secretary Baker home after visit to war zone. Good news for parents of Lowell soldiers. The Corporal John McDermott who was reported killed in France was not a Lowell man as had been feared. He has been identified as a member of the 102nd Infantry and his home was in Connecticut. Four courts in session in Gorham Street. The local court house in Gorham street was the scene of much legal activity today, there being four courts in session, namely, supreme judicial, superior civil with jury, uncontested probate, and contested probate courts.

April 17, 1918 – Wednesday – British withdraw from Ypres. Forward positions given up and new line to the west occupied. Lowell soldier injured. Private Joseph Gagnon of Battery F, son of Mr and Mrs Hercule Gagnon of 503 Fletcher street, is home on a ten day furlough after spending several months in France. The young man is suffering from fractures of both ankles and his condition is much impaired. During training, Gagnon was riding an untrained horse bareback when the horse was startled and threw him which is when he broke his ankles. Mayor Perry Thompson appointed a committee on physical instruction for Lowell today. The goal is to get every man, woman and child in Lowell to engage in daily physical exercise. The reason for this is that many believe the country will not reach its full war potential unless everyone is in tiptop shape.

April 18, 1918 – Thursday – British halt German advance. Huns fail to gain despite heavy attacks on the Lys Front. Navy League official comes to Lowell. Former Lowell boy looks over yard situation and conducts wool investigation. John C Percival supervises the purchase of all woolen yarn for the Navy league, a 13 year old organization that promotes the health and welfare of members of the Navy which includes providing them with woolen comfort garments. Liberty Loan entreaty from the trenches. E. A. Kennedy, a former Lowell boy, but now in the trenches as a sapper with the Telephone Signal Corps of the Royal Engineers, has sent an open letter to the people of Lowell asking them to support the men on the firing line by buying Liberty bonds. Patriots Day programs in the schools. Exercises in observance of the third Liberty loan formed the principal feature of the Patriots day exercises in the schools of the city today.

April 19, 1918 – Friday – Huns completely checked. Tide turns and British front is now more secure than it has been in days. Mail for soldier boys: At the urging of the Lowell Trades & Labor Council, Senator Weeks has made inquiry into restrictions on the amount of mail that may be sent to soldiers in France. Major General March, acting chief of staff, responded that a critical shortage of shipping requires that items most necessary to fighting be given priority. Enemy owned magneto plant seized. The government has taken over the big plants of the Bosch Magneto Co at Springfield, Mass, and at Plainfield NJ and directors will be named by Alien Property Custodian Palmer. Private Arthur Lyons of Co E, 39th Engineers, son of Mr and Mrs Richard Lyons of 48 Prospect street, has been wounded in France. Annual reunion of the Old Sixth Regiment was held today in Memorial Hall and of the 55 surviving members of the organization, 22 were present.  Morey Grammar School wins athletic meet. Big crowd witnesses annual grammar school meet on the South Common.