On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1918
The rains will continue throughout the day today but the skies will clear tomorrow. Today’s high will reach 63° with the low near 42°. West Philadelphia is to get its first unit of the new National Guard. The unit will be known as Company F of the First Infantry, Pennsylvania Reserve Militia. It will be mustered into service tomorrow evening at the armory, 41st & Mantua Avenue.
City Councils are debating a resolution presented by Councilman William Lewis of the 32nd Ward to allow the Liberty Bell to be used in the coming 3rd Liberty Loan Campaign. The resolution is a result of a meeting Councilman Lewis had with Treasury Secretary McAdoo who expressed interest in sending the Bell around the country as part of the campaign to generate funds.
And Mr. & Mrs. Robert Mitchell of 4779 Richmond Street in Bridesburg are most certainly a 100% patriotic American family. The couple has given their 4 sons to the service of their country. All the boys have joined the Naval Reserve. Robert Jr. was a city fireman who is now stationed at Cape May. He’s been joined by baby brother Elwood, 18 years old. Brother George was in the automobile business but is now serving on a patrol boat. Brother James was employed at the Frankford Arsenal and is now on guard with the Navy.
Philadelphians are being asked to donate 400 tons of clothing to be sent to the people of France and Belgium. Mr. Herbert Hoover, Director of the United States Food Administration, has stated that the situation in Belgium is very dire. He said babies in Belgium are being wrapped in old newspapers because there is nothing else available. Mr. Hoover is requesting that Americans donate a total of 5000 tons of clothing and shoes for the unfortunate civilians suffering in Europe. Any donations here can be brought to the Red Cross receiving station at 224 South 3rd Street.
On the western front, at dawn today German artillery opened a horrific barrage on British positions between the Scarpe River and St. Quentin. This area covers 75 miles of the British front. That cannonade was followed by an artillery bombardment of the French positions in the Rheims and Champagne sectors. It is also reported that the Germans are firing gas shells at the area around Armentieres. Many military commentators believe this is the spring offensive proposed by General Ludendorff to break the British and French armies before the full arrival and deployment of American troops. [Editor’s Note: This offensive is the beginning of what will become known as the second battle of the Somme. The battle would last until April 5.]
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