What is happening in Suffolk to mark the Centenary of the Armistice?
PUBLISHED: 07:29 19 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:06 06 November 2018
The centenary of the end of the First World War is now just three weeks away with ceremonies to mark the Armistice happening across the world as well as here at home in East Anglia.
This year the exact date of the Armistice, November 11, falls on a Sunday bringing an added poignancy to the Remembrance Services that will be happening around the world.
In 1918 the actual Armistice Day was a Monday.
The Armistice was actually signed at 5.40am in Marshall Foch’s railway carriage in the Forest of Compeigne north of Paris – but the time designated for the ceasefire was 11am to allow the news to get to the front lines.
Ironically people in Paris and London were told about the ceasefire by telegraph before the soldiers in the field knew the war was over.
Although this is now universally acknowledged as the end of the First World War, the conflict only officially came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28 1919 – which is why some memorials describe it as the 1914-1919 war.
Some events have already started – including silhouettes marking fallen soldiers around Christchurch Park and the Old Cemetery in Ipswich.
There is also an exhibition telling the story of local soldiers who went to war in the village church at Alderton near Woodbridge.
Over the next few weeks there are significant events near home to mark the end of the war:
Saturday October 27: Official launch of this year’s Royal British Legion poppy campaign around the UK. In Ipswich this will be marked by the visit of a gun carriage to the town centre and the opening of a temporary shop in the Sailmakers shopping centre.
This will enable people to buy a poppy – or any of the other commemorative items that are being produced to mark the momentous centenary.
The event starts in Ipswich with the planting of an oak tree to mark the centenary in Christchurch Park at 11am and moves to Sailmakers at noon.
On the same day in Trimley, 2,500 poppies will be placed around St Martin’s church from 10.30am.
Sunday November 4: Crimson Glory at St Edmundsbury Cathedral will feature a full orchestra, the cathedral choir and organ along with local children to tell the story of a young Suffolk soldier in the First World War.
An exhibition about the war and its impact on Suffolk produced by local schools is also open in the cathedral cloisters.
Tuesday November 6: A new art installation will be unveiled at Ipswich School featuring 850 ceramic doves created by the school’s art department.
It will be unveiled at a ceremony between 10.30 and 11am in the presence of the Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley and the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Rt Rev Martin Seeley.
Wednesday November 7: Eve of Peace service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral – a multi-faith service which marks the centenary of the start of the peace talks which led to the armistice. The German officers arrived in Compeigne on the evening of November 7 1918.
Thursday November 8: Major commemoration events all over Suffolk as schoolchildren lay poppies on all 1,332 war graves in 248 cemeteries across the county.
More than 10,000 people from Suffolk died in the First World War. Most of those who fell while fighting on the Western Front are buried in Commonwealth War Graves near where they died – but their names are recorded on War Memorials in their home town or village.
The Suffolk War Graves Project has been organised by the Legion and a small team set up by the county’s Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston.
Saturday November 10: To mark the approach of peace, there will be a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem by the Woodbridge Choral Society and local musicians – this event has already sold out.
Sunday November 11: Remembrance Sunday events in towns and villages across the county will focus on the centenary of the guns falling silent. The largest events will take place in the largest towns – at Ipswich Cenotaph in Christchurch Park, on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds and at Royal Plain in Lowestoft.
The Ipswich service will start with a parade through the town and it will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant. After the ceremony Ipswich School will be open to show an exhibition of the school during the First World War.
There will also be services at towns and villages across the county – and organisers are expecting even more people than usual to attend to mark the special anniversary.