Monday, November 10, 2014

Thames (NZ): Armistice 11 November 1918

Tomorrow is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day as it is more commonly called in other Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. Source: Wikipedia

The Thames Star featured a special Armistice Edition on Tuesday 12 November 1918.
The news came to Thames and New Zealand amidst the grips of the influenza epidemic. The day the paper celebrated the Armistice, there were five death notices in the paper. They were for: Donald McKenzie aged 39yr; Margaret Riddell Read aged 33yr; Lily Maude Keoghan aged 47yr; Edith Lavinia Brien aged 41yr; and Henry Simmonds Peters aged 47.
The Mayor of Thames announced that the town should celebrate in some way this great news. The Health Authorities over-rode the decision, and decided the town should not have mass peace demonstrations due to the epidemic. They asked that any celebrations be held over until the health of the district improved.

So it was not until page three that the people of Thames learnt more about the Armistice.
The reader was reminded that as a result of the war, they were living in a Cleaner and Saner World. The world is to-day cleaner and sweeter for the blood that has been shed in defence of all that man or woman hold dear. We rejoice with "joy unspeakable and full of joy," but in doing so we are not unmindful of the sacrifices that have been incurred, the remembrance of which will make our gains all the more precious to us. The joyful news now to hand sounds the knell of old world conditions of evil, and ushers in a new era of an abiding peace, free from the menace of the mailed fist of the Prussian military terror. page 3, 12 November 1918 Thames Star

The following year the town observed Armistice Day. On 11 November 1919 a 11am, A & G Price's whistle and the fire bell were rung in the town. Everyone came to a standstill (whether on foot or in a car) and stood for two minutes to remember Armistice and World War One.

This year, on Tuesday 11 November 2014 the town of Thames will again remember the men and women who served in World War One. All returned and ex-service personnel are asked to gather at 10.45am outside the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre for a parade and remembrance at 11am. Members of the public are invited to attend. Maybe you can make it for this parade? If not, when the siren sounds, stand and remember, just like our fellow Thamesites did back in 1919.
The King at the Front. A popular series if postcards during WWI
Source: The A T Brokenshire Collection at The Treasury
Further Reading:
WWI Files & Research at The Treasury - check the index

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