As Guy Fawkes fades from our memories we are quickly met with one of the most sombre events of the year. Armistice day.
In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent as World War One, otherwise known as The Great War, came to an end. This calamitous conflagration left a generation of Europe’s men decimated. The numbers of dead are obscene, but so were the conditions in which they died. For many, The Great War is the undisputable image of hell and in Britain, we have marked the end of the conflict with solemn remembrance of the dead. The activities of this week are not a celebration of war, but an invitation to reflect on the horror and the ultimate sacrifice so many gave. Today, the services of memorial are for the fallen in all conflicts, but it was started for the boys buried in some foreign field.
Listen to a battlefield tour of the Somme that tells the heartbreaking story of the men who lost their lives in the fruitless attempt to advance the front line in 1916. You can read the accompanying article «Nothing prepares you for the peace«, listen to the podcast or catch it on youtube.
A quick chat
Many words in English have come to us from the trenches of World War One, some of them may surprise you. The word «chat» is just one. Listen to Charly Taylor tell you about the words of World War One in Interesting Etymologies 29.
Remembrance day and the Poppy
The curious red paper poppy that British people wear around this time of year is connected to the remembrance of the war dead. Red poppies grew in the desolate battlegrounds of the first world war, a symbol of life and death in equal measure that came to be the icon of remembrance. Learn more about the story in this article here.
The Unkown Warrior
On the 7th November 1920, four bodies were exhumed from various battlefields in France, one was chosen to be taken with full honours to London and interred in Westminster Abbey.
Read about the story of the Unkown soldier and how he became a representation of the many dead here.
Poems of Remembrance
Laurence Binyon’s poem «For the Fallen»
John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field»
The Big Red Bus
The early model of the famous London bus was used to transport soldiers in France during the war. Find out more about the history of the London Bus in this documentary.