Mons will hold events on November 10-11, remembering the first and the last British and Canadian deaths in actions here. This picture was taken in the Grand-Place during commemorations in August 2014 for the first Battle of Mons (Photo: Centenary News)

Armistice Centenary events update - November 2018

Posted on centenarynews.com on 04 November 2018
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An update on some of the national, international and local commemorations coming up to mark the end of the First World War 100 years ago this month. With so many events planned, this is by no means comprehensive. But in the Centenary News tradition of the past four years, we hope it provides a useful 'snapshot' of what will be happening up to, and including, the Centenary Armistice Day on November 11.

From November 2, America's National World War I Museum & Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, will be bathed in illuminated poppies, commemorating all those who fell in WW1. The Peace and Remembrance display will run for nine consecutive evenings until Armistice Day, November 11, when a multi-national commemorative service will take place.

November 4, the end of the Great War in Italy will be commemorated  in the northern city of Rovereto (Trento).  Events include a ceremony at Casteldante Monumental Shrine, where 20,000 Italian, Austrian, Czech and Hungarian soldiers of the Great War, known and unknown, are remembered. More details here.

Casteldante Monumental Shrine, Rovereto's memorial to the Great War on the Italian Front  (Photo: Centenary News)

In France, New Zealand will hold  commemorations on November 4 marking the centenary of its last major action on the Western Front, the liberation of Le Quesnoy - see WW100 New Zealand for details.

November 4 is also the centenary of the death of the British war poet, Wilfred Owen - killed in action during the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal. He's buried at Ors Communal Cemetery.  For details of commemorations in Ors, see Tourisme Cambrésis. In Britain, a wide-ranging programme of culltural events remembering Wilfred Owen is taking place in Shropshire, the county of his birth, from August-November.  See Wilfred Owen100.  Events are also planned in Birkenhead, where Owen spent much of his youth. See Wilfred Owen Commemoration for more information. 

November 10: In Artois, an illuminated eve-of-Armistice vigil will be held at the main military cemeteries to remember all those who fell in this region of Northern France. Sites include CWGC Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery in Arras. See La Grande Veillée and Arras 14-18 for information. 

 Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery & the Arras Memorial (Photo: Centenary News)

'Flowers for Peace' - remembrance in the Somme. The public are invited to visit one of the 318 military cemeteries of the Somme from November 8-11, and to put a flower on a soldier's grave or a war memorial.  For details, see the Somme Battlefields website.

On November 10 -  the eve of the Armistice Centenary - President Macron and Chancellor Merkel of Germany will take part in a ceremony of reflection at the memorial site  in Compiègne, where the ceasefire was signed.

See also Compiègne - Ville du Centenaire for the programme of First World War commemorative events taking place in Compiègne. Le Musée de l’Armistice 1914-18 at Rethondes has exhibits devoted to both world wars, including a replica of Marshal Foch’s railway carriage. The original was destroyed in Germany in the closing days of the Second World War.

November 10-11: Two days of commemorations are planned in Mons to mark the centenary of the city's liberation by Canadian troops, and the day the guns at last fell silent on the Western Front. Events include a remembrance service at CWGC St Symphorien Military Cemetery - where the first British soldier to die in WW1 rests with the last British and Canadian soldiers killed in action on 11 November 1918. Commemorations were also held here at the start of the 2014-18 Centenary. For more details of the joint Belgian/Canadian programme, see VisitMons and Armistice Centenary Mons.

In Canberra on November 10, the Australian War Memorial will direct a beam of light towards the Australian Parliament House, symbolising the link between political freedoms and the sacrifice of those who’ve fought to defend them. AWM is also displaying 62,000 handcrafted poppies, representing the number of Australian lives lost in WW1.

November 11 - Armistice Day

Numerous commemorative events will be taking place globally on the Centenary Armistice Day, Sunday 11 November 2018.

In France, representatives of more than 100 countries have been invited to Paris by President Macron. Commemorations will also be held in towns and cities across the country, including Strasbourg - returned to France after Germany’s defeat in 1918 - Reims and Meaux.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, laid to rest on Armistice Day 1920, is the focus for French remembrance every year on the November 11 anniversary of the Armistice (Photo: Centenary News)

In Ypres, there will be a special Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate at 11am. 

 

Armistice Centenary in London:  Coinciding with Britain's Remembrance Sunday, the traditional ceremony at the Cenotaph will conclude with an expanded march-past. Members of the public - selected in a ballot - will take part in 'A Nation's Thank you - The People's Procession'. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been invited to become first German leader to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph service. 

As part of the day’s commemorations, Britain and Germany are joining in a call for bells of all kinds to be rung globally (at 12.30hrs GMT/13.30hrs CET/12.30 local time) to replicate the tolling of bells on November 11 as news of the Armistice spread.

Wreaths at the Cenotaph in November 2017 (Photo: Centenary News)  

Scotland will commemorate the Armistice with a service at Glasgow Cathedral at 4pm on November 11 attended by over 1,000 people including HRH The Princess Royal, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The service will have four key themes:

Sadness and Relief – sadness for the loss of life but relief that war was near an end

Joy and Victory – joy of returning home from war and for the sense of victory despite all the odds

Seeds of Change – life could never be the same again

Courage for the Future – in uncertain times hold on to values and to hope

In Washington DC, the US WW1 Centennial Commission is inviting the public to take a look at the plans for the new National World War I Memorial. The exhibition will be open in the 'First Look Pavilion’ at Pershing Park from November 8-12.  On November 11, there will be an Armistice Centennial inter-faith service at Washington National Cathedral. Full details on the US Centennial Commission website.

See also Bells of Peace to be rung across the US. 

Pershing Park in Washington DC, commemorating General John Pershing, Commander of American forces in France 1917-18, is the chosen site for the new US National World War I Memorial (Photo: Patrick Gregory, Centenary News)

Pages of the Sea

More than 30 beaches around the UK will be the setting for a tribute devised by film-maker Danny Boyle. A portrait of an individual from the First World War will emerge from the sand. And then, as the tide rises, it'll be washed away as communities gather to say a collective goodbye. Britain's Poet Laureate,  Carol Ann Duffy, has written a special poem for the centenary event. You can find designated beaches, and also participate online, by visiting Pages of the Seaon the 14-18 NOW website.

Scapa Beach, Orkney - among the venues for Pages of the Sea (Photo: Centenary News) 

Battle’s Over - A Nation's Tribute:  An international commemorative event, starting at 6am with the traditional Scottish pipers’ lament, Battle’s O’er. More than 1,000 Beacons of Light will be lit at 7pm, symbolising an end to the darkness of war. Church bells will then be rung in celebration of peace. Organised by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek, events are planned across Britain - and in, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, France, Belgium, Canada, the United States and Germany. See Battle's Over for more details.

Shrouds of the Somme:  72,396 individual figurines, sewn into shrouds created by artist Rob Heard, will be laid out at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from November 8-18. Each remembers a missing soldier commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Thiepval Memorial in the Somme. See Shrouds of the Somme for full information.

Shrouds of the Somme at Bristol in November 2016 (Photo: Centenary News)

Tower of London Poppies: A reminder that Wave and Weeping Window, the two main installations created for Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014, are on display at the Imperial War Museum's branches in Manchester and London. Wave is at IWM North until November 25 and Weeping Window at IWM London until November 18. Both will then join IWM's permanent collections.

At the Tower itself, there'll be a new installation for the Armistice Centenary. Beyond the Deepening Shadow will fill the moat with thousands of individual flames each evening from November 4-11.

Remember Together: a new integration project for the WW1 Centenary, launched on October 30, remembering all those from different backgrounds who fought for Britain.

Indian soldiers who fell in Flanders commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres (Photo: Centenary News) 

Among the events, schoolchildren from Muslim, Christian and other faiths will come together to make poppies. The wreaths will be laid at war memorials in Bradford and Waltham Forest, east London, during Remembrance Sunday services on November 11. Imams in mosques around Britain will give remembrance-themed services at Friday prayers.

Remember Together is a partnership between integration think tank, British Future, and the Royal British Legion.

British Future Director Sunder Katwala said: "The Centenary of the Armistice makes Remembrance this year even more special. This year, there is more activity than ever before in Mosques and Gurdwaras, as well as Synagogues and Churches, to mark Remembrance. That reflects the growth in public awareness of how those who fought together a century ago were just as diverse as modern Britain - and how a commitment to remembering that shared history together offers a powerful counter to those who seek to divide us today.”

Centenary News has visited the 'Poppy of Honour' at  Wincanton, in Somerset. It bears the names of 1,115,471 members of British and Commonwealth forces killed or missing in action during the First World War. They include 800 women, crewmen of fishing fleets and more than 300 soldiers shot at dawn.

The Poppy of Honour will be displayed at Cale Park, Wincanton, until October 30 before starting a tour of Somerset towns, beginning in Frome on November 1 and culminating in Yeovil on November 19. In 2019, the memorial will travel around the UK and Ireland, and also be taken to Ypres.

Organisations have also been in touch with us about a range of other commemorative projects in October/November. 

‘Light in the Darkest Hour’: 500 lanterns will illuminate Shorncliffe Military Cemetery, near Folkestone in Kent, on November 11 - a commemorative event organised by the Shorncliffe Trust. They’ll will be lit with a flame from Mons, carried to Britain in two specially-commissioned lanterns from St Symphorien Cemetery (see above).  The lanterns have been named ’Tommy’ and ‘Maple’ - the latter recognising Canada’s historical military ties with Shorncliffe Camp. 

'Fields of Mud, Seeds of Hope':  An installation - at Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire-  commemorating the sacrifices of those who returned from WW1 as well as those who did not. Created by the Yorkshire artist, Dan Metcalfe, it combines wet soil from the site of a WW1 military camp and hospital in Ripon with earth from the Flanders battlefields.

Gradually as the soil dries out, cracks will begin to appear revealing five battle weary silhouettes returning from the front, each with their own story, their backs to the past and facing the future. 'The silhouettes are no longer at war, but neither are they yet fully at peace'. 

Millions of poppy seeds - ready to germinate, once planted - are buried in the earth, representing hope and the resilience of life.

Fields of Mud, Seeds of Hope is at Ripon Cathedral until November 14. Viewing 9.30am-6pm daily. Admission is free.

Commemorative events are also taking place at many other cathedrals - see the English Cathedrals website. 

‘War Requiem’: An exhibition of photographs at Leeds Town Hall,  accompanying a forthcoming performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem on November 17. It's been assembled by Richard Wilcocks, a member of the Leeds Festival Chorus and author of a book, published in 2014, about the main war hospital in Leeds. The War Requiem exhibition is at the Broderick Exhibition Space, Leeds Town Hall, until 31 January 2019.

Drama

'Forgotten': A new play by British East Asian playwright and actor Daniel York Loh - inspired by the story of the Chinese Labour Corps. See Yellow Earth Theatre for details. 

Professional London première of 'Brass' - a play telling the story of a group of men from an amateur Leeds-based brass band who enlist to fight as part of the Leeds Pals regiment. Written by composer and film-maker Benjamin Till, Brass will be performed at the Union Theatre, London SE1

'The Muddy Choir', a story of three young soldiers from Sunderland at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 is touring to theatres in Durham, Sunderland, Workington and Cambridge. It will also be at the National Army Museum, London, from November 7-10. Details: Theatre Centre UK.

Remembrance projects

Milborne Port, Somerset:  Exhibitions about the history of the village during the First World War - Milborne Port History & Heritage Group. For contact details, see Milborne Port events, November 4-18. 

Hillingdon Village Remembers Weekend, November 9-11, Hillingdon, West London. Events include screening of Journey’s End,  an exhibition, music, readings, and remembrance of names on the war memorial. Information: St John’s Hillingdon.