World War I, called the Great War, lasted from 1914 to 1918.  On one side were the allied forces, mainly France, Great Britain, Russia and, later, the United States.  On the other were the central powers: Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Turkey. Over the four years, 65,000,000 men served in armies.  It is estimated that 10,000,000 soldiers were killed and twice that number wounded.  World War I witnessed the awful wearing away of life through trench warfare and a new weapon, the horror of poisoned gas.

The original World War I
monument and the 1903
school on the corner of
Smithtown Avenue and
Church Street

Almost 3,000,000 Americans were drafted, 23 of them from Bohemia. Although none were killed in action, several bore lasting scars from the fighting.

Anton Thuma served overseas from                        
April 1918 to August, 1919. He was                        
in seven battles and the army of oc-                                Winnie Benedict, brother of George
cupation in Germany

On the home front, Liberty Loan drives raised money to finance the war. In 1918, Bohemia and Holbrook together sold a combined total of $13,700 of such bonds, while the total for Oakdale was $32,950 and for Sayville, $234,950. However, the Suffolk County News reported that "Bohemia led all the villages in proportion of subscribers to number of registered voters, which shows that although they had no very large subscriptions, their patriotism is exceeded by none"

On the home front, women were organizing also.  The following are the minutes of the first meeting to organize a unit of the American Red Cross.
"A meeting of the members of the American Red Cross was called in the C.S.P.S. Hall, Bohemia on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10, 1918 for the purpose of organizing an auxiliary to be known as the Bohemia Auxiliary of the Sayville Branch.
There was a delegation of six ladies from Sayville present.  Mrs. Blayney was chosen Chairman of the meeting.  Miss Aldrich acted as Secretary.  Officers of the Auxiliary were then elected as follows:
Chairman - Miss Anna Joscht
Vice Chairman - Mrs. Emma Thuma
Secretary - Miss Albina Kovarik
Treasurer - Mrs. Amelia Bartik.
Miss Blayney, Chairman of the Membership Committee of the Sayville Branch reported that the Auxiliary will start with a membership of fifty-two.
Following the election of officers, Mr. Lederer made a few remarks concerning the loyalty of the people of Bohemia to the Red Cross and to our country.
Motion was made and carried that the meeting be adjourned."

The meeting the following Sunday reported that the ladies had provided:
12 dozen long bed boots
24 dozen short bed boots
1 dozen surgical shirts
3 dozen night shirts
1 dozen pajamas.


    l. Charles Kovarik, r. George Benedict

George Benedict, was called into service on May 1, 1918 and was overseas for six months.  He was shot in the left hand and through the left lung on Oct. 11, 1918 in the Argonne Offensive.  At the time of the publication of The War Record of the Town of Islip in 1921, he had still not recovered.

War Bond Rally in front of the firehouse

1918 On the home front, J Ruzicka, A. Kovarik