World War I in Lawrence: KU students do their part

A mix of war-related University of Kansas news occupied the front page in early March, 1918. On March 8, the Journal-World announced that Roy Stockwell, former secretary of the University of Kansas Y.M.C.A. and a 1911 KU graduate, had been “decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French government for bravery in carrying wounded soldiers through gas and over heavily bombarded roads.” Stockwell was the first KU graduate to win this honor.

Students in KU’s School of Fine Arts were “devoting all their time to the patriotic service of designing posters boosting the sale of War Savings Stamps [as] part of a national campaign to design posters which will tend to increase the sale of thrift stamps.”

The university was also manufacturing training equipment for military students: “Twenty-four bayonets are being made at Fowler Shops at the University for the use of the classes in military science at K. U. This is the first bayonet equipment that has been made available for Kansas students taking military work. The bayonets are being riveted to the barrels of the wooden guns made in the same shops. They cannot be detached and are made of spring steel.”

An article on March 13 revealed that “work of making compresses in the surgical dressings classes at the University [had] been delayed because of irregularity of attendance.” The goal for the KU women had been set at 8,000 surgical dressings, but the article warned that “at present the women are doing only about one-seventh of what they should be able to do.” Female students were reportedly performing better at a different war task: “Although there are fewer girls enrolled in the Red Cross classes this semester than there were last, many girls are still knitting enthusiastically. Thirty sweaters have been turned in up to date and enough yarn has been checked out for sixty more.”