Cooee - President Wilson arms American ships

March 14, 2017

Fame: US singer and vaudeville star Arthur Fields with his wife and child, posed in swimwear with hose washing their Stutz automobile.

Campaign contributer: Nizam of Hyderabad offered money to the British anti-submarine campaign.

By this week in 1917, food riots had worsened in Russia.

On International Women’s Day, women textile workers protesting bread shortages joined striking workers from the Putilov factory, the largest in St Petersburg.

The strike soon spread to other factories.

By today, 100 years ago, 200000 striking workers jammed the streets of St Petersburg.

In America, pro-German and neutralist congressmen managed to defeat a bill in Congress to order American merchantmen armed against German attack.

Newly re-elected with the slogan ‘‘The man to keep America out of the War’’, President Wilson then issued an Executive Order to arm American ships anyway.

This week, the US also suspended all wireless and telegraph communications between America and Germany.

In France, losses suffered, especially at Verdun, meant that conscripts for 1918 were required to enlist this week, a year early.

A report was tabled in the French Senate recommended that all civilians of both sexes between the ages of 18 and 60 be called up for work in a vast war mobilisation.

This was designed to overcome war weariness and widespread strikes that were hampering the French war effort.

Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the remaining independent princes in India, offered the British government 100000 pounds towards its anti-submarine campaign.

The British government accepted. This gift was a valuable contribution to the war.

It also weakened the finances of this fabulously wealthy prince, if only slightly. However, he would remain independent until the Indian Army invaded and annexed Hyderabad in 1948.

In the Middle East, two British infantry divisions moved up to attack Gaza, the doorway to Palestine.

These divisions were screened from Ottoman attack by the Anzac Mounted Division, a British Mounted Division and the Imperial Camel Corps.

On the Western Front, Australian Divisions had been undertaking raiding and advanced training in preparation for the attacks of 1917.

They had also been in the line, first at Ypres and on the Somme.

Meanwhile in Benalla, Mr. W. Lawford forwarded another cheque for $42 to the Wangaratta District Hospital.

During the past seven years, Lawford had donated a total of $316.50 to the hospital.

Benalla’s Inspector of Nuisances served a notice on the Department of Education six months ago regarding defective drainage and an offensive urinal at Benalla East School. Nothing had been done.

As there had been more diphtheria cases at this school than any other in the district in the past four years, the matter was now referred to the Minister of Education.

A mixed swimming carnival of 51 events was held today in the Broken River.

A crowd of 1000 people watched the races and Mr Kurtzmann’s boat conveyed starters to their places.

Thirty-six dollars was raised from programs and afternoon tea for the Red Cross.

— John Barry, Anzac Commemorative Working Party Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes

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