A mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people

Rector’s Letter

My dear friends

I am sure that you felt, as I did, that when the King called the nation to remembrance of the Glorious Dead on November 11th, the first anniversary of Armistice Day, His Majesty once again, with the sympathy and insight he has so often shown, struck a chord that vibrated in the hearts of his people. It was a beautiful thing thus to bid us pause and think and remember. For the space of two minutes at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month all work ceased on land and sea, and men were solemnized into a great silence, and a mysterious peace fell like the dew from heaven upon the hearts of a waiting people. And countless men and women faced life more bravely for the help vouchsafed in those moments of communion with the Unseen…

George H Williams

Remenham parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P99/28A/5)

Two minutes of perfect silence and stillness

Schools remembered the Armistice one year earlier on the first Remembrance Day.

Bracknell
11th November 1919

Today is the first anniversary of the armistice. All the children and staff assembled around the flagstaff. Just before 11 a.m the Headmaster read the King’s proclamation – the flag was lowered to half mast and two minutes of perfect silence and stillness was observed as a simple service of silence and remembrance. Children sang ‘God save the King’ and special lessons on ‘The League of Nations’ were given in the upper classes.

White Waltham
November 11th 1919

Today Nov 11th is the first anniversary of the Armistice which stayed the world wide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and freedom. The King has sent the following message to the people with a request that his message should be read to the pupils in all schools.

Kings Message:

I believe my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

To afford an opportunity for the universal expression of this feeling it is my desire and hope that at the hour when the armistice came into force, the eleventh our of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, there may be for one brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all normal activities. During that time, except in rare cases where this may be impractical, all work, all sound, and all locomotion should cease, as that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.

No elaborate organisation appears to be necessary. At a given signal, which can easily be arranged the suit the circumstances of each locality. I believe that we shall, all gladly interrupt our business and pleasure, whatever it may be and unite in this simple service of Silence and Remeberance.

George R.I.

Programme:

10.50 All Children assembled in Large Room
10.55 Brief explanation of reason of assembly and the Reading of the King’s Message.
11-11.2 Reverent Remembrance of the Glorious Dead in Silence
11.3 Singing of Hymn “On the Resurrection Morning” to end a most impressive service
11.10 Resumption of work.

Eastbury
11th November 1919

The League of Nations Day Nov. 11th. At eleven o’ clock a pause was made in the ordinary work. The bell tolled thirteen times as that was the number of men at Eastbury who have made the great sacrifice. During that time the names of the dead heroes were written on the blackboard, while all the children stood silent, seeming to realise the act of honour the silence was giving to the glorious dead.

Prayers for the departed were read and the prayer for peace and a hymn was sung. The children seemed much impressed by the lessons that were given. The King’s letter was read. The national anthem concluded the service.

King Street School, Maidenhead
11th November 1919

The Anniversary of Armistice Day was kept in school by a complete change of timetable commencing with a simple musical service of praise & worship & an address to the children on “Give to the world the best you have” as a basis for a League of Nations.

The Silence Time (which is a daily occurrence here) was devoted to the sending of love & affection to the fathers of our children killed in the war & yet still near them. The lessons throughout the day were in relation to this, & bigger children were allowed to take home what they had written about the Great Day.

A widowed mother called in the afternoon & told of the cheer she had received from her little boy’s expression of what has been told him in school today.

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“The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world”

In the end the League of Nations would fail to prevent an even worse conflict, but in 1919 hopes were high.

School News
Christmas Term, 1919
Nov. 11th

We assembled in the School hall at 10.50 am, Sister read us the King’s proclamation, and at 11 am, when the Curch bell rang, we kept the two minutes’ silence, which was being observed throughout the British Empire. Afterwards, Mrs Everett spoke to us about the League of Nations…

We were all acquainted with the ordinary selfish person, yet perhaps we were less familiar with what is known as “family selfishness”, or people who do not mind what happens as long as their family does not suffer. But there is yet a third kind of selfishness, in thinking too much of one’s own country, a selfishness often disguised under the name of patriotism. A true patriot can never do too much for his own country, but in this great League of Nations, we have to include the greater part of the world – not only England, but Germany, Austria, Russia, Japan, and all the other great powers. We have to see that every nation has her fair and proper share, so that the strong shall not oppress the weak, and, moreover, the children of each country may have a chance of growing to healthy manhood and womanhood. The League of Nations is one of the ways in which an attempt is being made to reconstruct the world. The Headquarters will be at Geneva, where all disputes and other affairs will be settled.

Concluding, Mrs Everett said that the older people would do their “bit” as long as they could, but it rested with the younger generation whether the small beginnings would prove a success, and the children of another generation would have reason to look back and bless them.

Clewer: St Stephen’s High School Magazine, 1920 (D/EX1675/6/2/2)

Support the League of Nations on Armistice Day

Internationalism and the new League of Nations were hoped to prevent any future wars.

21st October, 1919

A letter was read from the Chairman of The League of Nations Union, dated 14th October, 1919, suggesting that Nov. 11th, the anniversary of Armistice Day, be celebrated in every city, town and village as League of Nations Day, and that an appeal for funds to support the League of Nations be made in connection with this celebration, and he enclosed an outline of the scheme, including a few suggestions.

On the motion of the Chairman, it was decided to postpone consideration of this matter until the next meeting.

On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr Rasey, the Clerk was instructed to procure copies of the letter and literature and to forward same to the Chairmen of the Parish Councils within this Rural District.

Wokingham Board of Guardians minutes (G/WO1/26)