The Great War – Some Where – 7 April 1918

Wartime Wednesday

By Don Taylor

Lady Drogheda New York Times – April 7, 1918
New York Times – April 7, 1918

One of the interesting images from the New York Times of 7 April 1918 is an image of Lady Drogheda. Her 1918 flight over London, dropping leaflets urged people to buy British War Bonds, is reminiscent of Donna flying over Revere Beach three years earlier dropping banners and tickets for the movie she was in. (See Donna Montran Biplane Flights – 1915 for details). Apparently, this mode of advertising was quite the thing in the day. Of course, I can’t imagine anyone doing it today as it would be viewed upon as littering. Times have changed so much over the past 100 years.

Another fascinating image of the period is one showing English Girls, playing baseball at a Y.M.C.A. Hut, in England. American Sailors are looking on to help and British Soldiers are watching from the background. I wonder if the women had ever seen a Baseball game before. Although baseball was introduced in England in 1890, it fell into low attendance during subsequent years and then dissolved altogether in 1898. American baseball wouldn’t return to England until in the 1930s.

English Girls playing Baseball during WW I
(Western Newspaper Union.)
New York Times – April 7, 1918

When the Great War began, the Y.M.C.A. launches a program of morale and welfare services that served 90% of the American military forces in Europe. It was an amazing organization and aided the servicemen of the Great War so much.

I too remember the Armed Forces Y.M.C.A. being an important part of my military life. When I was stationed at Treasure Island, in San Francisco, I would take the bus into The City. From the bus station, I would walk down to the Armed Forces YMCA, which was only a few blocks away.  There, I played table tennis and met the girls at the occasional dance. It was a great place to hang out and a pleasant respite for the homesick sailors. Thank you to all of the volunteers at Y.M.C.A. facilities that have brought joy, happiness, and play into the lives of so many soldiers, sailors, and marines. Well done.When the Great War began, the Y.M.C.A. launches a program of morale and welfare services that served 90% of the American military forces in Europe. It was an amazing organization and aided the servicemen of the Great War so much.

This week, I continue with images from the New York Times. This time, they are not from “over here” nor from “over there,” but rather, they are from “somewhere” else — in this case from England. An image of the entire page in context is available from The New York Times pages on Newspapers.com.  My images for this date are here.

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The Great War – Over There – 7 April 1918

By Don Taylor

Wartime Wednesday
This week, I continue with images from the New York Times this time from “over there.”

A BRITISH TANK GOING INTO ACTION
IN THE MESSINES SECTOR.
(© Underwood & Underwood.)New York Times – 7 April 1918

This first image is one of the most iconic images I know of regarding the Great War.  The desolation of the landscape, the smoke of the diesel engines of the tank, the trench fortifications, all add together to provide an image of war.

Next, American Troops in the Aisne Sector, believed now to
be among those fighting side by side with the French and
British against the German Drive halting on a
hillside for “chow.”
New York Times – 7 April 1918

I found the photo of the American troops eating “chow” on a hillside very interesting.  It doesn’t appear that any of the people are interacting. No smiles, just serious eating or personal contemplation gazing off in the distance.

These soldiers didn’t know that a few weeks later, on May 27th, the Germans would have a major attack along the Aisne River and overrun the French and British positions along a forty-mile front.

The French, owing to the scarcity of horses, making
increasing use of dog teams.  Here is an American husky
hitched tandem fashion to one of the new French rubber-tired
 ammunition carts in use on the Front.
New York Times – 7 April 1918

Finally, I am reminded that “necessity breeds invention.” According to Wikipedia, the first practical pheumatic tire went into production in 1888, Thirty years later they found use in ammunition carts and, as we can see, gained further use as the basis for dog drawn transportation. For some reason, this image brings a smile to my face. I can visualize myself riding in a cart like this. It would be fun today, but, I’m sure, wasn’t fun in 1918 France.

An image of the entire page in context is available from The New York Timespages on Newspapers.com.  My images for this date are here.

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The Great War – Over Here – 7 April 1918

By Don Taylor

Wartime Wednesday

Recently actually an old shipmate of mine, John Travers, from the USS Kitty Hawk (1972), came across issues from the New York Times showing photos of the Great War. He didn’t know what to do with them and asked me if I would like to see them.


I immediately thought of my Grandmother Madonna (Donna) and her efforts with the Preparedness Bazaar. Also, The Great War is interesting to me in general, so I said “sure,” and he sent me a box of newspaper pages. Wow. Amazing materials. I looked at the photos and decided to group the images into three categories.

Over Here – Images of the Great War from here in the United States.
Over There – Images of the Great War from the battlefields of Europe.
Somewhere – Images of the Great War from somewhere else, typically Great Britain.

This week, I’ll write about my thoughts about the Great War, Over Here.

 The Great War – Over Here – 7 April 1918

RECRUITS TO THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
FROM CHICAGO, JUST ARRIVED, AND MANY
WITHOUT UNIFORMS DRILLING IN BATTERY PARK.
A Vista of Lower Broadway shows in the background.
(Times Photo Service)
New York Times – 7 April 1918

The first photo reminds me that it was commonplace to see large numbers of men drilling all across the country. Rather than having the men drill exclusively on military bases, it was common to see them drill at parks all across the nation. I think, in many ways, this helped Americans stay committed to the Great War and accept the hardships that the war made people endure.

ANN PENNINGTON, IN THE
“MIDNIGHT FROLIC,” ATOP THE
NEW AMSTERDAM THEATRE
(“Abbe.”)New York Times – 7 April 1918

Ann Pennington was an actress who was known as a “shake and quiver dancer.” During the “Midnight Frolic” she performed a “syncopated frolic.” That style reminds me of the many dances that grandmother Donna did during her shows. She starred on broadway in Ziegfeld Follies in 1913. 1914, 1915, 1916, and again in 1918 immediately following her time with “Midnight Frolic.”
Ann, unlike my grandmother, went on to achieve fame in both silent and sound motion picture. Even though the war was going on, it was important to show home beauties. Being only 10 months younger my Donna, Ann was a contemporary show business personality who also moved from coast to coast – New York to California – in pursuit of a show business career. I am certain my grandmother either knew or knew about.

GIRLS OF THE NATIONAL HONOR GUARD
OF NEW YORK
Leaving for Base Hospital No. 1, Williams-
bridge, Bronx. Bearing Fruit and Flowers for the
Soldiers Recuperating There. They Are, Left to
Right: Missus Theodora Booth, National
President of the Guard; Vera Royer, and Augusta
Davis. (Press Illustrating Service, Inc.)
New York Times – 7 April 1918

Like all wars, the Great War, injured and crippled so many of our young Americans. While in the hospital, usually far from home and family, it is always such a blessing to be visited by a friendly face. The men and women who provide cheer to our military men and women while in the hospital are a special group whose selfless actions are often forgotten. I thank the many who volunteer to bring joy and hope to our military and veterans hospitals for their service.

Thank you again, shipmate, for forwarding these images to me.

Note: These images are reduced in size for the web. I also have the same images at much higher resolution. For example, the Girls of the National Honor Guard is on the web at a resolution of 764×778, but I also have it at 2143×2183.  I am looking for a permanent home for these images. If you know of a site that would provide permanent access to the higher resolution images, I would love to hear from them. Just use the contact section below.

These images are also available from The New York Times pages on Newspapers.com.

See my images for this date here.

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