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 – MONDAY JULY 22, 1918
There are partly cloudy skies over the city today as the oppressive heat continues with temperatures into the 90°s. The humidity, which is measured at 68%, is making the conditions feel even hotter. Yesterday’s high reached 94° and today it is expected to reach 95° with a low of only 72°. Ice cream parlors and soft drink emporiums are doing a fantastic business. Parks are crowed with people looking for a cool space under a tree to enjoy. Last evening many decided to sleep outside on porches or on cots on the sidewalks. Hammocks and swings were also in use in some neighborhoods.
Parents, relatives and friends will be glad to know that the 315th and 316th Infantry Regiments, “Philadelphia’s Own” have arrived safely in France. The Regiments left for Europe on July 6 and word was received today that the 5200 men comprising both regiments have landed and are now preparing to take part in the great offensive to drive the Germans out of France.
Also, the United States Marines are in the final hours of their recruitment drive in this city. The goal of the marines is to enlist 1000 Philadelphia men and turn them into “devil dogs”. The main recruiting station is at 1409 Arch Street but men can also sign up at the Navy Yard.
Philadelphia has lost seven more of her sons in France. Listed as killed in action are Private Samuel Chanin, U.S.A., 20 years old of 434 Lombard Street, Corporal Charles A. Shick, U.S.A., of 2627 N. Marshall Street and Reverend Walter Murray, Y.M.C.A. worker and formerly pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Holmesburg at Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street. Rev. Murray was killed by a shell near Chateau-Thierry while ministering to the troops. Corporal Shick was only 17 years old. His grieving mother said today he had lied about his age to join the army. Also listed as killed in action are Private Morris Kersonsky of 240 Lombard Street and Private George Vallance of 2556 North 33rd Street. Reported as dying of wounds received in battle is Private Dominick Blotto of 328 Rittenhouse Street, Germantown. Reported as dying of disease is Private Albert S. Rex, U.S.A., of 1824 Manatawna Street, Germantown.
Those reported as severely wounded are Private George Aloysius Brown, U.S.A., of 2313 Locust Street, Private John B. Freeth of 2520 North Lawrence Street, John J. Johnson, U.S.M.C., of 2414 Hamilton Street and J.A. Cantwell of Bryn Mawr. Private John F. Dehaven, U.S.M.C., of Conshohocken is listed as missing in action.
Heavy cannonading was heard this morning off the coast of the town of Orleans on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Although no confirmation has been received it is believed that there was a battle between American naval vessels and German submarines. There has been an increased in patrols in the area after yesterday’s sinking of a tug boat and its four barges. A submarine is thought responsible for the sinking. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Indeed this was a submarine attack off America’s Atlantic Coast. The SM U-156 was sent to wreak havoc off the coast and incite terror and anti-war feelings among the people of New England. In fact due to the poor marksmanship of the Germans a few shells landed on Nauset Beach scattering curious onlookers. After getting over the initial shock the curious returned with beach chairs to watch the action. Rather than incite anti-war feelings the attack galvanized the people of New England into an even more pro-war fervor. And the town of Orleans earned the distinction in 1918 of being the first American town to be attacked since the War of 1812 and the only American town attacked during World War I.]
The Republic of Honduras has declared war on Germany. On the western front, six American divisions comprising over 200,000 troops are attacking the Germans all along the Aisne-Marne front. At present the focus of the Franco-American attack is the Soissons-Chateau-Thierry railroad. This railroad line is the main source of supplies for the Germans in the region. American and French forces have now taken 18,800 German prisoners. American troops have crossed the Marne River between Carteves and Gland, east of Chateau-Thierry and captured Barbillon Wood. On the British front between Albert and Arras the Tommies have advanced within 2 miles of Hebuterne. The British have also advanced in Flanders along the Lys salient.
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