Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 40° Clear
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Lumberjack’s request granted, and he will fight for British in Mesopotamia

John Cohen, 34, a Jewish lumberjack, went to the British military recruiting office in Spokane and asked to serve in the British army, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 12, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
John Cohen, 34, a Jewish lumberjack, went to the British military recruiting office in Spokane and asked to serve in the British army, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 12, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

John Cohen, 34, a Jewish lumberjack, went to the British military recruiting office in Spokane and asked to serve in the British army.

“Send me direct to the kaiser’s palace and give me a gun,” declared Cohen, who was born in England, but came to America as an infant. “I don’t care where you put me. I’ll start tonight, and I only wish I could be in England tomorrow. I’m a little off in sight, but I can fight all right yet.”

He said he was inspired to sign up when he read that the British had captured Jerusalem.

The British recruiters were happy to grant his wish. They declared him fit for service and were sending him to Montreal and, ultimately, Mesopotamia.

Cohen suggested that he be put into the medical corps, because he had “spent eight years in the hospitals, recovering from injuries and illness and then I worked as an orderly until I was able to go out and get smashed up again.”

He had a “flattened nose,” where a falling tree struck him, and a dent in his jaw, the result of another accident.

From the food beat: Spokane’s ice-cream manufacturers agreed to a ban on sherbets and “water-ices,” as part of a wartime food conservation drive.

The manufacture of sherbets, “requires three times as much sugar as does ice cream.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.