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 – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 7, 1918
The brutal heat continues today. The Weather Bureau is forecasting a high temperature of 106° with a low of only 82°. If that temperature is reached this will be the hottest day in Philadelphia history. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The temperature did reach 106° and August 7, 1918 remains the hottest day in Philadelphia history.] Four persons are known to have died today from heat stroke. Workers at the shipyards of Pusey & Jones in Gloucester and New York Shipbuilding in Camden left work at Noon today due to the unbearable heat. Fully 6000 workers left their jobs.
Philadelphians are doing everything they can to escape the heat. Many are patronizing the free city pools while others are diving into the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers or the various lakes and streams around the area. Of course the heat wave is not only effecting Philadelphia but is spanning the Atlantic Coast from Georgia to New York and as far westward as eastern Kansas and Nebraska.
On the sports scene, at Shibe Park last night there was plenty of action in the boxing ring and also at the gates. Officers of the local draft board were stationed at each entrance checking the draft registration cards of every man who entered. Those that did not have the proper “credentials” were taken to the left field bullpen for further investigation. The government agents were good enough chaps to keep the men at the Park so they could at least watch the fights. When the fights were over and the questioning done 22 slackers were sent off to Moyamensing Prison while their cases are reviewed.
In the matches themselves the big surprise came when Harry Greb defeated Battling Levinsky in a 6 round contest. Greb won the first two rounds then Levinsky fought back in rounds 3 and 4. But Greb out pointed him in rounds 5 and 6 for the win. This loss could hurt Levinsky’s chance for the match he’s been wanting with Jack Dempsey of New York. In the other fights Sam Langford beat Jack Thompson. “Irish” Patsy Cline was scheduled to fight Willie Jackson but Jackson dropped out due to illness. Harry Pearce was brought in as a replacement and put up a fine fight but was out of shape and in the last rounds Cline delivered enough blows to win the contest. Jack Britton met Soldier Barfield in the windup and put on quite the show. Britton looked very good and had Barfield for the entire contest. He even knocked him down twice in the final round. But Barfield got up and fought on till the end, giving a game performance. Britton was awarded the match on points. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Britton would become a 3 time world welterweight champion and some believe the inspiration for the protagonist in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Fifty Grand”.]
In baseball today the Phillies lost again to the visiting Pirates 4 to 2. Former Phillies pitcher Erskine Mayer got the victory for Pittsburgh. The Phillies are now in 5th place and 20 games out of first place. The Athletics are out in St. Louis where they dropped both games of a doubleheader to the Browns. The A’s are in last place, 20 ½ games back.
Allied artillery is striking German positions west of Rheims and east of Soissons along the Vesle River. American infantry is attacking German positions notwithstanding a steady rain. Also around Fismes American engineers and infantry soldiers are being harassed by intense German sniper fire. Both the Army and Marine Corps casualty reports list 871 names in total. Of those 114 are listed as killed in action, 9 are listed as died of wounds, 371 are listed as wounded severely, 269 are listed as wounded to some degree, 105 are listed as missing in action and 3 are listed as dying of disease or accident. The report contains the names of 6 Philadelphians killed in battle, 6 wounded and 27 listed as missing in action.
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