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World War I Armistice Signed: November 11, 1918 – 100th Anniversary

On the chilly morning of November 11, 1918, German and Allied leaders gathered in a railway car in a forest near Compiegne, France. Germany had suffered stinging defeats in the Allied hundred days offensive, and the German economy was in shambles. After three days of negotiations led by France’s Ferdinand Foch, the time had come to admit defeat. Germany signed the Armistice agreement in Foch’s personal railroad carriage. The Armistice would bring an end to fighting in World War I. The Great War resulted in more than 37 million military casualties worldwide!

The Armistice would take effect six hours later, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, in the 11th month. The delay allowed time for the news to travel along the Western Front.

Terms of the Armistice included: Germany’s surrender of military weapons and hardware; the release of POWs; immediate evacuation of occupied lands in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Alsace-Lorraine and other occupied territories; and Allies would occupy land in Germany creating a neutral zone along the Rhine River.

The Armistice was a short-term agreement intended to end fighting. After it was signed, Allies gathered in Paris to draft the more comprehensive Treaty of Versailles. That treaty required Germany to accept responsibility as the aggressor and for loss and damage suffered. It was signed the following year.

America and its Allies tallied the dead and wounded. The war to end all wars was over, but in the process, a generation of common young men distinguished themselves with uncommon heroism and valor. Soldiers like Pfc. Walter A. Shaminski who entered a cellar to set up a telephone but encountered 11 enemy soldiers. He single-handedly killed two and took nine prisoners. He was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Or cook Harry C. Ricket, who fed exhausted soldiers even though his kitchen was under intense bombardment. He collected water for cooking from a spring that everyone else refused to approach because of heavy shelling.

Alvey C. Martz engaged in heavy fighting after Germany launched its last drive to Paris before the Armistice. His unit was overrun and he found himself surrounded behind enemy lines – his only weapon a pistol. Despite the odds against him, he killed a large number of the enemy and made his way back to his regiment. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

The Armistice brought joy, relief and mourning. Pershing’s Expeditionary Force suffered 323,000 casualties and nearly 117,000 deaths. Germany’s humiliating defeat would contribute to the rise in Nazism just 20 years later. But for now, the boys were finally coming home. To learn more about WWI, search our archives on!



  1. Patty Donohoe says:

    You didn’t mention Sergeant Alvin C York whose bravery likely eclipsed the deeds of those you mentioned.

    • Jacki says:

      It is highly likely that they didn’t omit him, but mentioned that there were others, less famous, but just as significant as Sergeant York. I has a great grandfather who fought during this war and I don’t know that his efforts are any less honorable just because he is not known as well as York. All of our men were brave, and the ones who didn’t make it back are especially honored. Thanks to All Veterans of this great country of ours.

    • Joanne says:

      I agree… !

    • Kevin Walton says:

      What right have you got to suggest one act of bravery ‘likely’ eclipses another from so long ago. Save your arrogance for your own cozy slippers brigade!!

  2. SA. James Tuberosa says:

    Why no mention of Alvin York?????

  3. R. A. Purdee says:

    My dad, William Benjamin Purdee, U.S. Army, PFC, was a cook in WW 1. Some how, a photo of him doing his “job”, was lost. I remember looking at this photo when I was about nine or ten years of age.

  4. Theron Snell says:

    Thousands died during the negotiations.
    .and several thousand were killed or wounded in the six hours between the signing and when it went into effect. Allied generals continued to order attacks even though they knew the armistice had been agreed to.

  5. HELENE COTE says:

    My grand-father has been gassed at Ypres, second battle, on 20-22 april 1915, and wounded by shrapnells. Passed the following four years in different hospitals. Never found a proper work after. Wrote letters to his father. No pension.
    My great-grand father has been severely wounded, abandonned as dead and captured during the same battle, passed the rest of the war as POW, in prisoner camps, on farms, in mines and other places. Moved constantly. Wrote numerous letters to his wife and children. Made many sketches and paintings, now in the War Museum, at Ottawa.
    No pension.
    They were both members of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Forces, from 1914-1919.
    They didn’t care about the Armistice.

    • (Jessica) Leigh B says:

      What a cruel struggle for those two men. Seems a terrible crime for brave soldiers to suffer even more post war. How countries can be so heartless is beyond comprehension.

    • Bonnie Combs says:

      Helene Cote- I had Uncles in the war from Ontario Canada. Last name BOLT and PLANT. What was your families last names and from what Provence?

    • Martin Hall says:

      For a possible picture of some of what your great grand father may have went thru as a POW, look on amazon for my great uncle’s book “The Kaiser’s Guest”. It tells of his year as a POW in the Aguste Victoria coal mines, and his 3 escape attempts, the last being successful. Its a good read.

    • David Wilson says:

      Hi Helene,

      My grandfather, Sgt. Frederick Wells, First Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Forces was also gassed during the Second Battle of Ypres. He was hit by machine gun fire and lost his left arm and pretended to be dead as the Germans were bayoneting the wounded according to an article by him. However, a German
      soldier took him to a field hospital where they removed his arm. He was in a POW camp and was exchanged later in the war. I have his scrapbook with photos and
      newspaper articles. He was from Vancouver, B.C.

    • HELENE COTE says:

      I will answer to some of your questions.

      (Jessica) Leigh B. – Canada was a British colony, and a colony under pressure : submitted to Great-Britain, Canada created the COEF, he gave his fleet to them and the inhabitants suffered many alimentary restrictions, etc, known as ‘The
      War Effort’, and was on the verge of civil-war-like. He just couldn’t sustain this war. So, after the war…

      Bonnie Combs – The names are Arthur Nantel, J.E.N. Côté and Ernest Hamel (my other grandfather, injured during his training and declared ‘Unfit for service’ after one month. Never walked right ahead after his fracture). They lived in the province of Quebec and were French-Canadians. My father fought in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) jointly with the RAF, during WWII. I’m French speaker, so, sorry for my strange english.

      Martin Hall – If you are interested by life in a prisonner camp, or coal mines, just put the name of ‘Arthur Nantel, painter’, in Google. You’ll see thousand sites about him, and many, many paintings and sketches.

      Be cautious : he was censured, and forced to represent only funny scenes (like a Chrismas party in the barack, one ‘At the soup!’), beautiful sceneries of Giessen, the village near the Canadien camp in Bavaria. His life depended on the positive image he gave from the life in a camp. They put there together Catholics, french speakers, Canadiens, Frenches, Belgians, Swiss, but also a Scottish battalion. Bavaria was catholic.

      I don’t know if you could see on Internet his real paintings, work in mines, feast, thirst, vermines, and this long column of wounded prisoners walking to Bavaria he painted AFTER his return at home. All the letters were ‘caviardées’. By the way, those who were too tired or too wounded to walk from Ypres to Southern Bavaria were shooted in the ditches. That’s a painting.

      So, I wish to thank each one of you personnaly for your comments, your observations and your sympathy. It’s good to think those simple soldiers, not heroique, not dead, but severely handicaped for the rest of their life, are simply remembered as good people, who did their duty volunteerely, because someone must do it.

      Once again, thank you.

    • Maggie says:

      Very sad isn’t it? My grand father was 17 or 18 and at the 2nd battle of Ypres, was running a message from the front to the back and took shrapnel in his back. One of the lucky ones, they sent him back and he and my grandmother left for America is 1918. No pension.

  6. Mary Ann Derr says:

    My father was in the last navy battle in the Atlantic. One ship in the convoy was sunk by a German Sub. The sub was so close to the ship that the guns shot over the top of the sub.
    Many lives were lost and some men were picked up by a passenger ship that came close to the site.
    The armistice was signed while the convoy was at sea and made it to the Canary Islands then returned to New York.

  7. Howard Conwell Mayberry, Jr. says:

    My dad was there also. Company commander, infantry. Gassed, shot and finally very severely wounded by a German wallywaffle landing in front of him. Remainder of the war spent in a Brest hospital, with the encouragement of a pretty lass, one Marie Biblette. After five or six surgeries he was half way as good as new.

  8. James Horn says:

    The hostilities continued during the negotiations because they were not guaranteed to be productive and the enemy could establish strong defenses if the pressure was not kept up and the talks failed. And as the article notes, when the agreement was signed, they had to include a buffer of time to allow for the word of the agreement to reach every unit.
    After the fact, soldiers may have seen that the truce was signed before they received attack orders. That does not mean that the orders were given after the commanders received notification. This was in a period when radio communication was both insecure and not all that common, and when telephones were effective only when a unit had been in place for long enough for the lines to be run (and then they were often cut by traffic or shell fire). The allies were actually on the move, so phones were not reliable and runners had to be used to get the word to the foremost units.

  9. Kathleen Smith says:

    My Grandfather, Philip Glenn Smith, was WWI Cavalryman In WWI. He was gassed in the trenches, like so many others. When he got home, he was sent with a friend to recouperste from their war injuries at a resort in MN. It was there that my grandmother and her sister were working for the summer, and there that they met and fell in love in the summer of 1919. They had 4 boys, three of whom served in WWII, and the baby served in Korea. Their ancestors and decendants have fought in every armed conflict this Land has known from the French and Indian Wars through Vietnam. November 11, 2018, will be a special day in my home.

  10. Jill Chambers says:

    My great uncle Alba Wilson, born near Tipton, IN, was wounded November 10, 1918 and died soon after. The war ended too late for him. His letters home still exist. He was homesick and had never been far off the farm before. His family never stopped mourning him.

    • (Jessica) Leigh B says:

      Unimaginable heartbreak. You wonder how families continue after such a loss. My great Uncle Guy A. Blalock, Sgt. was killed in France 1918. His body was escorted home, which may have been a small compensation to the family. He was also a farm boy– from Oklahoma. What a waste.

  11. My father, Pvt. Charles William Betz, was asleep and was awaken with sun shining in is face when a fellow soldier shook him to tell him that the war was over, He and his group were sent to Bordeaux, given their rifles and sent home. I often heard him speak about Sargent York.

  12. Susan Kane says:

    My grandfather fought in the St. Miheil , the Argonne with Pershing. He was a sharp shooter, went behind enemy lines. Grandpa Cardiff was gassed, which affected his lungs all his life. He rec’d a $25/month pension for this injury. Why, I do not know, since others did not.

    He didn’t talk about any of this until the last year of his life. I overheard the stories told to my 18 yr. old brother.

  13. Jim W. says:

    My mom’s first cousin was in a machine gun company in the”Lost Battalion” when they were surrounded by the Germans for 5 days. During their entrapment they ran out of food and had to eat bugs, plants, & wax candles until they were relieved. He received 5 wounds and spent about 5-6 months in a hospital in Paris. The spring of 1919 he came home on the newly commissioned battleship, the USS Arizona. My brother had the foresight to videotape an interview with him in 1986. It is quite fascinating to watch.

    • Joanne says:

      Jim W – WOW – an interview!!!!

    • Donald C. says:

      Jim W.,

      Have you, or would you consider posting your 1st cousin, once removed’s video interview on YouTube or some other platform? I would be interested in watching it.

  14. Daryl E. Ratterree says:

    One of my most prized possessions is a Winchester Model 1917. It has a five digit serial number. A matching Bayonet, an original U.S. Army Carrying case, an original Ammo web belt with 50 rounds of ammo. All in Immaculate condition. All from World War One. Shame is I bought it from a individual who really did not give a shit. Did not care of the history behind it. He told me that it was his Grandfathers Sniper Rifle from WWI. Just goes to show you that the almighty dollar trumps Family Heirlooms for today’s generation.

  15. Elmer L. Terry Jr. says:

    Sgt. Elmer L. Terry Co. B 29th Engrs Thiacourt France

    24 Sept 1918 Had a three ton Garford truck skid and go over a ten foot embankment turning upside down with me underneath. Never received a scratch myself, but one of the fellows received a broken leg, another broke his collar bone and still another broke his shoulder.

    At the bottom of the page:

    In dad’s narrative to me over the years he always said that he had met Merv Boylan, a friend from home, on the 23rd and asked if he had heard anything of brother Herb. Merv told him that he had, that herb’s outfit was across the valley nearer to St. MiHeil. They made arrangements to go over together on the 25th to see if they could find him and did. They found Herb’s Co. Hdqs. and asked the lst. Sgt. of Sgt. Terry. lst. Sgt. replied they needed to see the Captain. The Captain informed that Sgt. Terry had been killed the day before the 24th.

    25 Sept. 1918 While standing not ten yards in front of my dugout this Selfane truck was hit by a 210 and completely demolished it. At the same time a Kelley-Springfield truck and two motorcycles standing nearby. were put out of commission.

    10 Nov. 1918 Heard of the signing of the armistice at 10;00 P.M. rolled over and went to sleep.

    11 Nov. 1918 After keeping up continuous fire for 24 hrs. the guns ceased fire about 8 seconds before 11:00 A.M.

    Sergt. 311 Inf. 78 Div.
    New Jersey Sept. 24 1918

  16. Joanne says:

    Elmer L Terry, Jr that was a very sad but beautiful tribute for both men – your Dad and uncle. Thanks for sharing. My Dad was in WW II but he never talked to us about it. There were 9 of us and I asked one of my brothers if Dad had ever talked to him about it. He said that as he was leaving for service during the Vietnam War Dad told him “…Just do what you have to do so you come home”.

  17. Theron P. Snell says:

    Tomorrow, 11 November, is Remembrance Day in the UK. Having just come back from Canada, I was again struck by how important this day is for the major European combatants.

    We all should pause at 11:00am and join them (and I am sure all or Europe) in a minute of silence.

    Personally, I had one uncle enlist in the French Trucking unit, The Reserve Mallet which then became a US unit still serving with the French and a second uncle who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the detachment on board the U.S.S. UTAH.

  18. Paul Frost says:

    Both of my grandfathers were born in Davenport, Iowa and served in the US Army during World War I but both were stationed in the US. My maternal grandfather, Arthur Kurth, was a son of German immigrants and had visited family in Berlin with his father in 1910. When he left for the army in 1918, his father told him that if he made it to France and saw one of his cousins in German uniform, shoot him, because if you don’t he will surely shoot you. My paternal grandfather, John D. Frost, was a son of Danish immigrants who lived in what was then Germany. In 1913 J.D. and his mother visited relatives in her birthplace, Løgumkloster (now in Denmark). While there, J.D. met his 1st cousins, brothers Johan and Chresten Jeppesen. I have a photograph of the 3 taken at Løgumkloster -Johan had already joined the German army and was wearing a German uniform. Johan was wounded at Vimy in 1916, missing in action but later found alive and spent the rest of the war in hospital in Berlin-Spandau. Chresten served as a hospital orderly in a German army hospital at Agersburg, East Prussia.

  19. Craig says:

    As many of you have commented about family in WW1 my grand father Charles Larason was also part of the allied force. He was gassed in France and came home a broken man. The result was a failed marriage, an ex-wife’s suicide attempt and a young daughters’ life in an orphanage. I’m confident their situation wasn’t unique but sad none the less. I pray our society will remember these heroes as men who stood their ground for the sake of freedom. God bless our veterans and all all those serving today.

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      At the least, they did what they thought they should do. A very different time in a world long gone, mostly because of that war and its continuation as WWII.

  20. Joe Hartman says:

    My grandfather served with Battery F 50th coastal artillery in France.The guns they used were taken from naval ships and mounted on railroad cars.I have several photos of him including a 10 inch wide by 36 in long panoramic photo upon his unit’s return to the country.He was stationed at Camp Grant in Illinois which was in use through WW II most likely as a prison of war camp.The pictures i have of him are on ancestry does any know i can share them to the fold3 page?

    • Chris Spangler says:

      My grandfather, Theodore Petter, was a German immigrant who went to Camp Grant in Rockford, Ill., with the Fort Atkinson, Wis., company. He was not even a naturalized citizen yet. He was training in the medical corp (I have one of those long photos of the unit and the mule-pulled ambulances) and weeks from being sent overseas when the armistice was signed. He ended up being sent to, I believe, Fort Knox, where he guarded German prisoners of war.

    • frank gillis says:

      Mr Snell WWII wasn’t a continuation of WWI My god the difference is vast. The Nazi pigs needed to be defeated. The murder of Jews and anti-Nazis was a bit different from the stupidity of WWI. War stinks. Unfortunately the lessons of WWII seem lost today. The soldiers and sailors in war fight for each other mostly and that makes them heroic.

  21. Martin Kane says:

    In 1917 at age 22, my great uncle, William Kane, enlisted in the Army (Company A of the 116th Ammunition Train of the 41st Division) and served his country in France. He was exposed to mustard gas in the Argonne Forest and returned home to Thomaston, CT in 1919, victorious and yet chronically ill. He died at age 35 just one month before my dad was born in 1930, living much of his short adult life in a hospital. He was my grandfather’s only brother and my grandfather named my dad after his recently deceased younger brother. William is truly one of the lost souls who served this country in WWI but never had a chance to have his own family and left no legacy of his own. Every Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, I think fondly of him and wonder what his life might have been like had he not given it for his country. It was the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedom.

    • Col Robin L. Davitt, USAF (ret) says:

      Another great uncle died on 11/11/1918. My great uncle, Father William Francis Davitt, was killed in action just minutes before the Armistice went into effect. He was reportedly the last American officer killed during WW I. He was a 32 year old Catholic priest from Holyoke, Massachusetts. Humble and brave. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Silver Star Citation. I miss him although I never knew him. He’s my hero and inspiration.

    • Cheryl says:

      Thank you for your uncle’s service. My Grandfather served in WWI in France for the US Army.

      Your remembering him keeps his memory alive.

  22. Martin Kane says:

    My grandfather, James Paul Kane, served aboard the USS Cleveland patrolling for German vessels along the Atlantic seaboard from New York to Brazil. I pulled his set his service records from WWI and amidst his various demerits for bad behavior, there was a record of him receiving $1,000 as a pension in the 1940’s.

  23. Martin says:

    You are his legacy.
    You will keep his memory alive as long as you live and I hope that you pass that honor on to your children and grandchildren.
    All of the people who fought for the Allies during “The War to End All Wars” were heroes.
    Their sacrifice should be burned into our collective memories.
    God Bless Them All!

  24. JAMES BARTH says:

    Canadians….. we were there from the beginning
    Americans 1917…. thanks for the help though

    • Suzie says:

      Shame on you James and Brian. How petty and small of you both to thump your chests because your countries entered the war before America did, disregarding the sacrifice of American soldiers, who also fought and died. When a country joined did not matter, the fact that they did mattered.

    • Martin Wade says:


      The Canucks and Aussies are part of the British Empire, the one we left 242 years ago.
      They would have been there from the beginning as part of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, not because they necessarily wanted to be participating in that horrendous conflict.
      Also remember, the Japanese and Italians (we fought them a short time later) were also our Allies at the time.

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      True enough, but I was talking about the period between the knowledge of the armistice and Nov. 11th. No excuses.

  25. Brian Hearn says:

    Agree with you James. We Aussie where there in the begining as well. A number of great uncles served also. My Grandfather . A Pom served with the Devon Regiment in France from late 1914 . And served with the Australian Volunteer Defense Corps in WWll

  26. J Graeme Weir says:

    It was a great sacrifice made by all these young men who lost their lives in the Great War. The war to end all wars. However, lessons of the past have not been learnt and we see a world full of conflict to this very day. Let us hope that the commemorations held today will be heeded by all, especially our politicians, who seem hell bent at times to once again get us into conflict with our fellow man.
    Let us learn from our past and let us be more forgiving of our fellow man in order that we can live in peace and harmony. ” Lest we forget……

  27. Kay Cyr says:

    I want to honor my uncle, John Henry “Hank” Reinwand who served in WW I with the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Born 4 Nov 1894, Superior, WI, he became estranged from the family. After a stint as a lumberjack and then exploring the Dakota Territory, he went north and enlisted in the Dragoons and the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He served in France throughout the war, along with his huge warhorse, “Pat.” Together they charged into many machine gun emplacements, Hank becoming wounded numerous times. He was always sent to a hospital in Hastings, England, for recuperation but always returned to the Front. He was gassed and after the war developed TB, from which he died in Ventura, CA, July 6,1941, at age 45. No one attended his funeral and his mother and father never forgave him for his apparently wild teenage behavior. I have all his letters home from France but never met him. His siblings remembered him as adventurous and mischievous. I’ve always felt badly about his mom and dad refusing to answer his pleading letters and for not going to his funeral. Wish I could have talked to him about his life and all the battles he fought in. I think of him often and have made sure he’s in my Ancestry Family Tree.

  28. Martin Wade says:

    OK Folks, not to forget the ladies who also served.
    My Grandmother, Alice Knight, served as a Nurse at Chateau Thierry. The hospital was bombed by a German plane and the soldier on guard was apparently court-martialed for shooting it down.
    As I said before in another post, we are the legacy of those who served. It is up to us to keep their memories alive and passed on to our children and grandchildren.

    • Robin L. Davitt says:

      Well said, Martin. Thank you for remember the women who served. There is beautiful American World War I monument à Château Thierry.

  29. My cousin, Baron Arthur Groedel, served on the other side during WW1 and was killed in Turkey in 1917. He was a Hungarian consulate to Canada serving in British Columbia before he joined the Austro-Hungarian army. Arthur was the second eldest of his 7 siblings and had already shown great promise in managing the family lumber business. I can’t imagine the grief the family went through after learning of his death.

    In addition, his younger brother, Baron Richard Groedel, was wounded twice but made it back home safely. In 1944 in Budapest, Richard was tortured by the Hungarians and Nazis for his family being Jewish. He survived that as well and wrote about it to a cousin, Franz Groedel, in the US. His letter was published in a lumber trade magazine in 1945.

    Doesn’t matter which side you’re on. It’s family and hurts just the same

    • Martin Wade says:

      I am certain that with the exception of the US-Indian Wars on the Western Frontier, I may have had ancestors on both sides being of Anglo-European descent. I know that I have relatives of some kind in Germany as well as here in the United States.
      I have served in the US Military and would not mind if we were able bring all of our troops home from around the world and never fight in a war anywhere in the world again.
      Unfortunately, I also know that this wish will never be fulfilled.

  30. John Hogg says:

    My wifes Father enlisted in June 1916 for the Pancho Villa Expedition then in 1917 was sent to France till mid 1919. Field Artillery.

    Two of my great uncles also served. One was gassed but survived. The other was killed in action in one of those ‘over the top’ advances against German machine Guns Got a picture of his grave from the American Battle Monuments commission and a copy of the burial case file from the archives which had a lot of family info and correspondence about the gold star mothers program.

    • My husband’s father also was in the army in time to chase Pancho Villa before being sent to France; He survived the Spanish flu, had a French girlfriend, lost the tip of a pinkie finger in the trenches. One of four other brothers who joined together was killed in action.

    • Had to stop because it was bed time; I never met my husband’s father because my husband and I did not know each other until we were in our early 70s. However, the father survived the war, reenlisted at a higher rank and served in Russia afterward. My husband was an adult working on an advanced degree in history before his father told him much of anything about his war experiences. All wars were/are tragedies but WWI was the most so.
      In another life, in 1997, I was on a tour which included the French cemetery at Verdun. It is in a quiet countryside, near a forest. There are rows and rows of white cross markers with names and countries of origin and miniature rose bushes beside. Here is my poetic reaction written 19 September 1997;

      A field of crosses
      Plain and stark
      Alleviated by tiny roses
      Harsh reminder
      Treatment of humanity
      Hand-to-hand war
      Man, Son, Brother
      Father, Uncle, Nephew
      “Died for France”
      For Germany
      For other nations;
      Remain silent—
      What price
      Present peace

      The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri commemorates WWI heroes and heroines. It also points out how the battles evolved from older conflicts and how those “won” in this great war to end all wars were revived in WWII; I see them as continued in Korea, Viet Nam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan… In 2002, I heard on TV, a British WWII veteran named Wally Parr say,”No body wins wars; there’s losers on all sides.”
      so tragically true!

    • Martin Wade says:


  31. Gene Moser says:

    According to family history, I had an uncle, or actually was a great uncle who entered the war as a Hauptman of Uhlans (for those who don’t know, a captain commanding a company of lance cavalry in the German army. In the beginning of the war they charged French machine guns and were all but wiped out. He was wounded and spent some time in the hospital and was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class. From there he went to the trenches. During an attack he was captured and spent some time in a POW camp but managed to escape back to Germany where he received the Iron Cross, First Class – and sent back to the trenches just as Germany surrendered.
    Some time in the 1930s somebody overheard him complaining about certain Austrian corporals, which got him arrested and sent to a concentration camp. He managed to survive – probably sent to the special one for holders of the Iron Cross, First Class. Legend says he died the following year from over eating.

  32. Beverly Hector-Smith says:

    This past week I had a reply from the Centennial Commission regarding an answer to a question I have had for several years. I came across an ancestor’s gravestone which stated that he was a Pvt in a regiment that was awarded a Croix de Guerre many years ago. No one in the family ever heard that he served in WW1 let alone
    awarded a French medal. Apparently, this country does not keep a record of foreign awards, I discovered. Thankfully this commission knew. I will pass this along to my descendants

  33. radio rich says:

    My Grandfather was a ww1 vet

  34. Steve says:

    My Grandfather was veteran of WW1. He was in the 28th or 29th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the Black Lions now part of the 1st Infantry Division. He was gassed at the 2nd battle of the Argonne Forrest in 1918. He was sent to Camp Robinson near Little Rock, Ark to recover where he met my Grandmother who was working there. Committed suicide later after suffering from his wounds for years.

  35. Samuel says:

    No mention of the over 2000 lives lost the last day of the war when the armistice date and time had already been agreed upon. There was no territory to be gained. American senior officers were guilty of this. Congress investigated and found this to be true. Their report was covered up and never released. Shame on those military leaders, from Pershing on down.

  36. Michelle Edwards says:

    I found signal flags from my deceased father they were from WW1 with a lot of signature and such very Ike and fragile. One say N.Maidment and T.B. Patchen

    • Col Robin L Davitt, USAF (ret) says:

      I was just informed today by my Congressman’s Veterans’ Liaison that my great uncle, Father William Francis Davitt, a Catholic Chaplain (First Lieutenant) who was killed in action just before the armistice went into effect at 1100 hours on 11 November 1918, was finally awarded The Purple Heart. Amen.

  37. Donald s says:

    Had 2 great uncles to serve, Fred Lee Barnett, Lewis Barnett, both AA/Creek citizens, who served in the transportation. Fred Lee was also gassed and never fully recovered. While his brother lived to be 99.

  38. Chief Gary Villwock (Ret.) says:

    I know that WWI was a very important , but let us remember those that served during all the other wars. i had my dad, five of his brothers and one of his sisters who served during WWII, My aunt Loni served in the Navy, along with my uncles. the rest served in the Army. I talk to many of them about their time they served. My uncle all told me about one my uncle Jack, he was one of two that was responsible for bringing the badly damage ship he was on into a repair port under its own power. My dad was a baker in the Army. I had some uncles that serve during Korea. I retired as a Chief Storekeeper in the Navy. I had many other relatives that served and are still serving in the military. So let’s not forget them.

    • Martin Wade says:

      Thank you for your service.
      No one has forgotten those who served in our wars before, or after, World War I. It’s just that 11 11 18 was the close of a “war to end all wars”.
      There were quite a few lessons learned from our Civil War (trench warfare, better communications, machine guns and massed artillery) used in that war and, it appears the the Germans learned much better than most other nations, because 21 years later they introduced us to the ‘blitzkrieg” and tank warfare.
      As most Americans today, I too have had family members who have served in all of our wars.
      Thank again for your service.
      Welcome Home!

  39. jay paris says:

    2 of my uncles joined up in Canada, to help out early. They returned at the end as Morphine addicts because of their wounds; and were scorned and whispered about, even by their own family, instead of “thanks for your service.” The irony and cruelty of ignorance…………jtp

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      Keep their memories. They were casualties no less than the men who disappeared in the maelstrom.

  40. Karen Pauli says:

    Joseph Edward McEwan, my maternal grandfather, was born in Superior, WI on July 22, 1890. The family moved to Chicago shortly after. He was the youngest of eight kids born (six survived), He seemed to have some wanderlust. He joined the Navy in 1910; the posters were saying “Join the Navy and see the world! He did, and Boy, did he! He caught the end of Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet World Tour. I have a wonderful collection of letters home that his mother saved, regaling the family with his adventures. He served on the battleship USS Kansas for most of his hitch. He “got done out of” the position as ship’s bugler, so he decided to go for radioman, which he felt “would be of more use later in civilian life”. His ship was later sent down to the gulf of Mexico to support the Army who was chasing Pancho Villa. Not much for the ship to do but sit at anchor and relay radio messages. He wrote home that after a while, they were no longer allowed to relay messages for English, French, and German ships because The USA was officially neutral and wasn’t getting involved in their war. He finished his hitch and was discharged in 1914. When the US finally got involved in WWI, he re-upped with his old rank of Radioman 2nd Class. After touring the world on a battleship, the pride of the fleet, he now found himself on a coaling and supply ship, the USS Mars. He kept a personal log, which have, and many of the entries read basically, “Went back to Norfolk. Took on another load of coal, then went down the coast supplying other ships. Then back to Norfolk for more coal.” It was probably the filthiest and most back breaking job in the Navy outside of Stoker. I gather that they had to shovel the coal out of the bunkers into huge canvas sacks, which were transferred over to the other ship on a cable strung between them. Joe was also an avid photographer, and I have a picture he took of “Ships band after coaling”. The men are standing at attention with their instruments, in their work clothes (white pants and t-shirts) and they are covered in coal dust head to toe. He never left the US coast, was not in any battles. was not doing anything “glorious:. But for every fighting man in a war, there are numerous others behind the lines keeping supplies flowing and things organized. The battleships and cruisers couldn’t leave their posts guarding our coast line, and I’m sure they burned a LOT of coal. His personal log entry for 11/11/18 reads, “Was awakened and told to get someone up in the radio shack. Went myself. Lots of bells ringing and horns blowing.” He served the rest of his hitch in the Naval Reserve out of Great Lakes Naval Station, and left the service with the rank of Chief Electrician – Radio. He took up ham radio as a hobby between the wars. When we got into WWII, he answered an ad for telegraphers to replace young men so they could enlist. The applicants were tested and the merely good ones were hired by Western Union. The great ones (including my grandfather) were sent to the government. Which is how he spent WWII as a civilian contractor with the OSS teaching radio code to their agents, and later manning a listening post in the CBI theater.

  41. Michael J Smith says:

    My grandfather was a twin, who served in the navy in the Great Lakes for the war, but his twin enlisted in the Army and was wounded in France. I have been trying to find evidence of his service on Ancestry and Fold3 with minimal success. I did note that he was not discharged until 1920, so I assume he was in Hospital, and he was listed as 15% disabled. could anyone tell me were to look for information on his hospitalization and injuries? I do understand that he never really worked the rest of his life.

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      Have you tried working directly through The National Archives and records Administration (NARA)? You can see what they offer on-line…and can contact them directly using their on-line forms.

      If you contact them directly, you will have to wait a bit, but the archivists try to help as much as possible.

      You might also want to check via (part of Ancestry) by his name. (This is a paid service)

    • Michael Smith says:

      Thank you! this is exactly what I needed!

  42. George Napuda says:

    There were countless individuals that performed above & beyond their “duty”. All were heroes. As always some of them performed at exceptionally high levels above & beyond their compatriots. Most but not all were ID’d & recognized sooner or later. Sgt York WWI & Audie Murphey WWII were 2 examples such. Reading the official documentation of the exploits by Murphey justifiably bring utter awe at his actions. We do know some such military actions do get lost or overlooked & may have occurred with Murphey. Ditto with respect to emergency personnel, firefighters, police, all military of course, & similar others. From an even up trade of savior’s life for that of victim to former’s life for a multitude of latter ones.

    • George Napuda says:

      Anyone. Have ~3 yr old top of line HP laptop & standard Win10. On this FB venue. Find it close to impossible to effect editing after leaving Message block. This even before posting..Bona Fide solutions/suggestions welcome. Spare me snotty quips & such other types of garbage. .

  43. David Hamblin says:

    My Great-Uncle, Edward J. Buckby with the 4th C.M.R. Battalion, died on October 1, 1916, near the area of the Battle of The Somme, at the age of 19. His body was never recovered for burial. His name is engraved on the Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Not much is know of his time overseas but I honour him and all the others who paid the price. All did their part.

  44. Jim Spirek says:

    My grandfather, John Spreitzer, from Chicago, served in a signal corps unit during WWI. He arrived in France just as the war ended. We have a picture of his unit in a truck with all of them smiling in Fance. I assume in relief knowing the war was over. He afterwards became a Chicago policeman.

  45. Maureen Doman says:

    Do you accept photo memorabilia from WW1 ? Photos were printed in 1930’s of WW 1. I hope they could be preserved by someone.

    • Martin Wade says:


      There are several photo/video preservation services that will take your old photos and preserve them on a thumb drive or disk depending on what you want.
      I think it is called “Photobox”.
      Not being political at all but I have heard the ad on Hannity and Levin.


    • Theron P. Snell says:

      If of local interest, (taken by or showing a local person) try your county historial society..or even your State historical society.

  46. Kevin Cassella says:

    My great uncle, William Borgen was gassed and passed away during battle in the Argonne forest during WWI — he and all the other service people should be recognized for their contributions equally on this day. It took ALL the branches of the US military and THEIR allies to end what was thought to be the “war of wars.”
    If families want to pay special tribute to their particular family, that was their prerogative. This isn’t to be bittering about whose relative contributed to the was effort.

  47. Robert Carey says:

    In Australia we used to call it Armistice Day, but now celebrate as Remembrance Day as we remember and respect all who served in all wars as well as those now serving. Lest we forget.

  48. Dianne Kelly says:

    My grandfather, Harold Bower and great uncles, Ronald, Leonard, and
    “Dux” Hewat all fought at the Somme. They were South Africans who were among the thousands of me who suffered terrible losses on those horrible and useless battlefields. They were from a small town in South Africa and had no idea what sacrifices they would be making by enlisting and moving thousands of miles away from their homes. My grandfather was gassed at Ypres and spent time in and out of hospitals for what was then known as “shell shock.” Today they would call it PTSD. Of my 3 uncles, the youngest, Dux,(who were also sent to hospitals and back to the front lines again,) was killed in May 2018 at an unwinnable battle at Marrieres Woods. I have letters her brothers wrote to my grandmother, and they are heartbreaking.

  49. I wrote a rondeau in honor of John Mc Crae’s “In Flanders Fields” on 11/11/

    The Torch
    “We throw the torch” wrote John McCrae
    One hundred years ago today.
    From failing hands in Flanders Fields
    Where row, on row the poppies wield
    And what we owe I could not weigh.

    Now deep in clay our duties lay.
    No longer must our bodies flay,
    For as we drop our fire and shield
    We throw the torch.

    Be brave young lads and don’t ally
    This duty that men can’t repay.
    Remember where the cannons pealed?
    For those of us who had to yield
    The honor’s past. To you who stay
    We throw the torch.

    SDH (11/11 @ 11am)

    • Martin Wade says:

      To Stephen Hagerman,

      Very good poem honoring John McCrae’s Poem, ‘In Flanders Field’.

      To Joff Bates and Theron P Snell,

      We have learned and yet, we have not. We have not learned the lessons of either World Wars I or II. We have, however, learned how to make, and use, more effective killing machines.
      I fear that we shall once again be using those machines in the not too distant future because the disUnited Nations is an absolute farce as an organization for any kind of World Peace.

  50. Joff Bates says:

    I have just returned from Mons in Belgium as a veteran of the British “Artists Rifles” which had fought as a Regiment in the Royal Naval Division in WW1. Apart from commemoration services at many cemeteries, we visited two spots on the outskirts of Mons: one where the first shots of WW1 were fired by British cavalry in August 1914; and the other, the furthest point reached by the Canadians on 11 Nov 1918. Despite the fact that they occurred just over four years apart, they are only 250m from each other. Nearby, a Canadian was killed by a German sniper at 1058hrs on 11 November.

    The Belgians are rightfully extremely grateful for the contribution the Canadians made to the Great War demonstrating elan, courage and tactical skills and, in particular, their liberation of Mons city itself.

    As an ex British Regular and Reservist officer of the Cold War, I take great pride in the fact that, over the 10th and 11th November, we all joined in the commemorations last week in the presence of the Governor General of Canada, the Crown Prince of Belgium, servicemen and Ambassadors of all nations which participated in WW1 alongside many marching units and representatives of several nations, including a contingent of the current German Army, without any sense of triumphalism. We were remembering with respect the dead, wounded and displaced servicemen and civilians of the Great War.

    It was also wholly appropriate that, during these commemorations, SHAPE was represented by the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (a 4-star General) who, on the Friday, had headed a briefing meeting for us “Artists Rifles” on the threat posed by Russia with its insidious strategy of disruption through industrial espionage, territorial land-grabs, military posturing against the Baltic States etc., etc. Yet, the West reduces its military budgets year on year and openly demonstrates its lack of military and civilian preparedness to counter the threat to the West posed by the Russian Bear. Have we learnt nothing?

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      Apparently not. We continue arms build-ups similar to 1914; we continue alliances similar to 1914; we continue to seek hegemony similar to 1914; we continue to militarize similar to 1914; and we continue to ignore the plight of millions caught up in State and non-State violence.

  51. Karen Obrien says:

    Thank you for posting this little bit of history. We should never forget!

  52. LaVern Gotreau Reynolds says:

    I really appreciate this article because it causes me to remember & be thankful. It blessed me.

    My mother Leona was born in 1912. When WWI ended, she was 6 1/2 years old. Her mother had her run with the news and tell the neighbors. She ran to a widow to tell her that the war was over and her son was coming home–what a wonderful childhood memory!

  53. Christopher Henson says:

    These commemorations have a way of developing into what look more like elaborate celebrations as layer on layer of officials, retired brass and whatever spare royals happen to be hanging around get added, like the proverbial cherry on top, to the cake. As a veteran of the 11th ACR, Xuan Loc, 1967-68, I believe the appropriate way to commemorate the dead is to honour and help the family members they left behind. Widows and orphans though have never been high on the invitation list to these events. Until the message that comes with the poppies is ‘don’t ever do this again’. they are just another floral arrangement.

    • Theron P. Snell says:

      True enough….and your final sentence illustrates the conundrum about Remembrance Day/Armistice Day or the disingenuous ‘veteran’s day in the USA.

      That is: some people DO see the poppy as a “never again’ statement and remember the Somme while others see it as a call to arms. In the USA, some still cling to the remembrance of the ‘war to end all wars’ while others wave the flag and try to out-patriot each other. (flying the American flag has become imbued with militarism, and ‘support our troops’ has become a slogan glossing over why they are being deployed)

      Now what?

  54. My grandfather was a WWI veteran and was in the Argonne offensive and the Ypres offensive as well. He was in several skirmishes Bacarrat, Nancy, Avocourt. He fought with the 37th Division “Buckeyes”. As a civilian he was a peaceful man and kind and a loving grandfather. You would never know he saw the horrors of war. He was glad to be an American. He never talked about the war. He was wounded twice. He never bragged. He always smiled and loved his family, especially his grandchildren. He loved life. I believe he was glad he survived a terrible event in history. He was a deeply humble man. I wish more people could be like him.

  55. Mark A. E. Nixon says:

    My Father fought in the First World War. He served in the Royal Artillery and was on the Somme. He had several narrow escapes and witnessed colleagues killed around him. I often wonder if he suffered PTSD, as he suffered a ‘nervous breakdown’ and was a victim of depressive illness for his whole life.

    My Mother’s elder brother also was enlisted and unfortunately was killed at the tender age of 18. His name was Alfred and that is one of my middle names.

    Such a terrible waste of all those hundreds of thousands of young lives! And the sad part is that we didn’t learn from it in time to prevent the next war.