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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Life after Armistice A century ago the First World War came to an end, but this war has cast a long shadow over history and over the lives of every one of our families. Keith Gregson reports on what he has learned from his own First World War researches

AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR

photograph taken following the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 in the forest at Compeigne between Germany and the Allies

11 November 1918

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 remains firmly embedded in the minds of most people. It is the time that the First World War – or the Great War as it was known until the 1940s – came to an end. However, when the minute hand ticked over to 11.01 the war was still to have considerable meaning (and in many cases involvement) for many of our ancestors.

A remarkable number of those who had volunteered or were conscripted remained in service for some time after 11 November. This became apparent in my recent researches into more than 250 amateur sportsmen in north-east England who had served in the conflict.

Demobilisation – all in due course

One, an officer, spoke good French and had been in railway management in England before the war. He was stationed in France until April 1919 because of his specific skills. He then returned to civilian life and work in the railway offices in Leeds. Another, noted in his military records as possessing ‘a wide experience in engineering’, was appointed a temporary captain in March 1919 and major in May. He was not demobbed until September 1919. A third served on the Western Front from 1915 but was allowed to return to north-east England late on in the war to carry out military duties. This was due to his father’s illness and so that he could keep an eye on the family business from time to time. However, he too was not demobbed until the spring of 1919. All three were in the Army.

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About Family Tree

Soon the Last Post will sound as we commemorate the Armistice of 1918, a century ago. If you'd like to find out, or discover more, about your ancestor's time during the First World War - look no further. Our November issue is a First World War centenary commemorative issue, packed with information and advice about the records and the medals of First World War people. Have a read, do some research, and then, this year on Remembrance Sunday you'll be able to say that you truly have remembered them.