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, DECEMBER 10, 1917
Today will be bitterly cold and accompanied by strong winds and at least an inch of snow. The high will only reach 22° with the low tonight about 13°. The shortage of coal for home heating will make the situation especially dangerous for the old and ill. The Weather Bureau forecasts that the temperatures will remain in the low twenties through the rest of this week.
Yesterday after Mass at the Roman Catholic Church of the Visitation, Lehigh Avenue & B Street, a service flag was raised with 272 stars representing the number of men in the service from that parish. The Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania will take up the question of revoking the honorary degree of doctor of laws bestowed upon Kaiser Wilhelm in 1905. The question will be decided at the Board’s January meeting. Many alumni of the University have requested the action be taken. If the degree is revoked it will be the first time such an action has been taken in the history of the school.
In sports news, some teams of the former Eastern Basketball League have decided to form a new league. The teams are Trenton, Reading, Camden and DeNeri which will henceforth be called Philadelphia. The distribution of players from the disbanded teams, Jasper Jewels and Greystock Greys, has yet to be determined.
The British army has captured Jerusalem. The Holy City was formally surrendered by its Mayor, Hussein Salim al-Husseini, at the direction of the Ottoman Governor Izzat Bey. The Turkish army has fled the city in retreat. The Mayor surrendered the city to two British sergeants, James Sedgewick and Frederick Hurcomb, because no senior officers were in the vicinity (shown below, the Turkish Mayor standing in front holding a cigarette). The Egyptian Expeditionary Force led by General Edmund Allenby began its march on Jerusalem on November 17. The EEF is composed of the British XX and XXI Corps and the Desert Mounted Corps. General Allenby will make a formal entrance into the city tomorrow.
When informed of the victory British Prime Minister David Lloyd George described the capture as “a Christmas present for the British people”. Throughout Britain there is rejoicing. Not since 1187 A.D. has Jerusalem been in Christian hands. Now the forces fighting for Christian justice, peace and freedom can bring those ideals to this Holy City. Additionally it was learned today that Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Saviour, has also been liberated by British troops.
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