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Florence Cole as a child

The World War One
armistice, 1918

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A half day holiday for school children

I was at school the day that peace was declared, and we children were sent home for a half day's holiday.

I understand that there was impromptu dancing in the evening in main streets, but I was too young to see it.

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Joy and sadness

The end of the First World War was a time of joy in many ways, but not for all the many the families whose menfolk would not come home. As I write, I think of Harry Lauder, who was a well-known Scottish comedian. He started as a coal miner, but his gift of song and humour attracted attention, particularly in London, and around 1920 he was knighted. He too had a son who did not come home after WW1, and it was said that King George V admired him for the song he sang afterwards:

Getting on with life after the war

My mother's brother was killed on the Somme, but this was never really spoken of in the family. They felt that it was time to move on, to forget the nightmare and get on with life.

Nevertheless the joy prevailed, and people began to organise celebrations.

Peter Johnson

"Keep right on to the end of the road."

Harry Lauder was well-known, but ordinary people who were unknown suffered the same loss and knew the same heartache. My grandmother lost her son, Arthur Ewens, and my aunt lost her fiance.

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