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The Durham Light Infantry on Armistice Day 1918

Where the battalions were when they received the news

Most of the DLI battalions on active service on 11 November 1918 were on the French/Belgian border in the vicinity of Mons when they received news of the Armistice. The 1st/8th Battalion was at Rouen near the French coast.

2nd Battalion was in France at BUSIGNY, south-east of Cambrai
War diary entry (from WO 95/1617)
11 Nov 1918
News that the Armistice was signed and would commence at 11:00 hours was received. Battalion carried out training. Lieutenant Colonel TURNER returned and assumed command of the Battalion.

2nd/6th Battalion was in Belgium, at RUMEZ, north-west of Tournai
War diary entry (from WO 95/3032)
11 Nov 1918
11:00 Notice received that the enemy had been granted an ARMISTICE by GENERAL FOCH on terms which were practically “unconditional surrender”. The Battalion band played both the English, French, and Belgian national anthems at 11:00 hours, and at 12:00 a Thanksgiving Service was held.

1st/7th Battalion was in Belgium, at BERNISSART, between Mons and Tournai
War diary entries (from WO 95/1702):
10 Nov 1918
Battalion marched BERNISSART (Belgium). Troops informed that hostilities would cease at 11 00 hours.
11 Nov 1918
Battalion marched to HARCHIES, heavy march owing to rainy weather.
From Sergeant George Thompson’s memoir:
“Then came ‘that’ which we were all waiting for. And that was the end of the greatest war in history, November 11th. Yes, on that glorious day we were just entering a large town called Tournai when we heard that great news. Oh, it was right enough, our Captain said. Just then a French captain posted it up on a board. See all the French people jumping with joy and not forgetting ourselves. I don’t think that anybody slept that night, both in France or England. Boy, we did shake hands with each other that day. We did say we were going to get to see old England again. I shall not forget that day, November 11th.”

1st/8th Battalion was in France, at ROUEN, near the French coast
War diary entry (from WO 95/2842)
11 Nov 1918
Ordnance Stores, and Tentage returned to Depot.

1st/9th Battalion was in France, at SOUS-LE-BOIS, Maubeuge, south of Mons
War diary entry (from WO 95/3077)
11 Nov 1918
A, B, and C Companies working on craters. Hostilities ceased at 11:00 hours. Battalion presented with a bouquet and address from civilians.

11th Battalion was in France at FEIGNIES, north-west of Maubeuge
War diary entry (from WO 95/2108)
11 Nov 1918
Battalion marched to FEIGNIES arriving at 17:00 hours. Lieutenant Cooper rejoined from course. At 8am wire received ordering cessation of hostilities and troops to stand fast on line reached at 11:00am.

13th Battalion was in France at MAROILLES, south-west of Maubeuge
War diary entry (from WO 95/2247)
11 Nov 1918
Battalion spent the day in clearing the roads in the area of refuse. Specialist classes for Lewis gunners, and signallers were held. Armistice from 11:00 hours was notified.

15th Battalion was in France at BERLAIMONT, then LIMONT-FONTAINE, south-west of Maubeuge
War diary entry (from WO 95/2161)
11 Nov 1918
Armistice signed, and hostilities ceased from 11:00 hours. The battalion left BERLAIMONT and marched to billets in LIMONT FONTAINE.

18th Battalion was in Belgium at SWEVEGHEM, north of Tournai
War diary entries (from WO 95/2361)
8 Nov 1918
News came this morning of German delegates coming to arrange terms of ARMISTICE. Battalion moved to MARCKE, left RONCQ at 8AM, arrived MARCKE 10:45AM.
9 Nov 1918
Battalion moved to SWEVEGHEM to go into line. Armistice terms agreed upon and delegates departed to BERLIN. Enemy still retiring and Battalion moved on across SCHELDT about 7pm. Transport remained on our side of Scheldt.
11 Nov 1918
Moved to QUESNEAU, north-west of Mons.

19th Battalion was in Belgium at GRAMMONT, north of Mons
War diary entry (from WO 95/2484)
11 Nov 1918
Brigade ordered to move forward to the River DENDRE and secure the bridgeheads at GRAMMONT [north of Mons]. Just before gaining touch with the enemy, however, a message was received that an armistice had been concluded between the Allied Forces and Germany and hostilities ceased at 11:00 hours. The battalion then marched to billets at EVERBECQ.

20th Battalion was in Belgium at NEDERBRAKEL, north of Mons
War diary entry (from WO 95/2643)
11 Nov 1918
Weather fine during morning, showery remainder of day. Battalion continuing in pursuit of the enemy passed through 123rd Brigade and formed an advance guard to the 124th Brigade. Message received about 10am that an Armistice was signed and that hostilities would cease at 11am; as a consequence, the battalion occupied billets in the vicinity of NEDERBRAKEL. An outpost line was formed east of Nederbrakel. One other rank accidentally wounded whilst on outpost duty.

29th Battalion was in Belgium at HERSEAUX, east of Tourcoing/north west of Tournai
War diary entry (from WO 95/1895)
11 Nov 1918
A message was received early morning stating that an Armistice had been officially signed with Germany (message from Brigade HQ). The companies carried out two hours training during the morning and one hour’s recreational training in the afternoon. Deficiencies were made up as far as possible. Weather fine, dull. A further message was received from Brigade HQ during the day to the effect that hostilities cease at 11:00 today.

Contributed by Durham County Record Office

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