Friday, 11 November 2016

Remembrance Day - November 11th

Remembrance Day.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the Great War, later known as World War 1, ended after 4 years and 97 days, and at a cost of nearly 18 million lives.

This day is remembered around the world.

In the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Nations, which include Canada and Australia, it is called Remembrance Day.

In New Zealand, France, Belgium and Serbia, it is called Armistice Day.

In the United States of America, it is called Veterans Day.

No matter the name, no matter where you are, no matter who you are, it is a day to remember those who have fallen in battles. Not just The Great War, or World War 2, but all conflicts, everywhere.

On November 11th, 1918, the fighting continued all the way up to 11:00am.

There were almost 11,000 casualties on November 11th, and 2,738 men died on the last day of fighting of World War 1.

The last British soldier to die in the war was George Edwin Ellison of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers. He was killed at 9:30am in Belgium whilst out scouting.

The last Frenchman to die was Augustin Trebuchon, who died at 10:50am, ten minutes before the signing of the Armistice. He was shot and killed whilst on his way to tell his fellow soldiers that hot soup would be served after the ceasefire.

The last Canadian soldier killed was Private George Lawrence Price. He was shot and killed by a sniper as he was advancing into the town of Vill-sur-Haine. He died at 10:58am, two minutes before the Armistice.

The last soldier to die was an American, Henry Gunther. He was killed charging astonished German troops who knew about the Armistice and tried to frantically wave him off. Gunther kept going, and was shot and killed. He died 60 seconds before the Armistice at 10:59am.

Today is often called Poppy Day, as the Poppy has become the emblem of Remembrance Day because of the poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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