On Remembrance Sunday the Nation commemorates the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women who served in the two World Wars and later conflicts. It marks Armistice Day, and the Centenary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m.
The end of the First World War is also being commemorated by the Government’s First World War Centenary programme, as well by the 14-18 Now programme. On this day, up to 10,000 people will march past the Cenotaph in Whitehall, a ‘People’s Procession’ to offer a nations thanks to those who served and fell in the conflict. As part of the day’s commemorations, Britain and Germany are joining in a call for bells of all kinds to be rung globally to replicate the outpouring of relief when the guns fell silent.
There won’t be any veterans of the Great War as the last survivor of the trenches of the Great War was Henry John “Harry” Patch, who lived to the lofty age of 111 and passed on 25th July 2009.
Now we celebrate and commemorate their memory and trace their achievements though records, medals, family history and photographs. So, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month as the guns fell silent at last, 100 years ago, I hope that wherever you are, you’ll join Forces War Records in spending two minutes in silent remembrance.
These commemorations should remind us that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all servicemen and women who have served and, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We should remember this debt and support them in every possible way and not just on specific days of the year, on specific years, but always. The conflicts may become history lessons but the real people involved certainly aren’t, and we must make sure that continues.
The Armistice was signed at 5am in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne, France, on November 11 1918. Six hours later, at 11am, the war officially ended, and for the first time since 1914, London’s Big Ben chimed and ecstatic crowds flooded the streets. “You are well entitled to rejoice”, said Prime Minister David Lloyd-George. “The people of this country and our allies, the people of the Dominions and of India, have won a great victory for humanity.” But the war didn’t officially end in Britain until June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, and so Remembrance Day as we recognise it today actually fell in November 1919. Sadly, this would not be ‘the War to End all Wars’ as was the contemporary thought at the time. Indeed, Marshal Ferdinand Foch called the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919 “An armistice for 20 years”; how right he was.
20 years and 65 days later, Germany invaded Poland.
To commemorate those lives lost, we want to hear from you.
Do you have relatives who fought? Forces War Records is honoured to join with the Royal British Legion to say Thank You in the Centenary year. You can get involved by posting an image of your WWI ancestor’s, including a short dedication on the Forces War Records ‘Dedication Wall’.
Send us a picture of yourself holding up a photo of your relative who fought, and tell us about him. You can take the picture at home, at a Commemorative event you may be attending, or simply in a place that is significant to you. Your picture and story will be uploaded to the wall.
Join the 1000's of people who've already posted their lasting dedication, here's all you need to do:
- Visit the Dedication Wall HERE
- Upload a photograph (image of your ancestor, or suitable image of Remembrance)
- Write a short dedication
- Share via social pages and use the hashtag #ThankYou100
- Search the site for relevant records
Remembrance Day is a time of reflection, respect and gratitude as we remember all those who have fought and died in war. This is a time to pause our own busy lives to remember all those who have given their lives for our freedom. People across the nation will pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by the brave service men and women who have fought for our country, selflessly and courageously.
Discover the military hero in your family with Forces War Records
The following are a few pictures from 11th November, 1918.