When did the First World War End?

War Memorial Burwood Park


Have you ever looked at the date on the War Memorial in Burwood Park?

It’s worth looking at carefully because it reveals an interesting fact . . the dates of the First World War are given as 1914-1919.

This is in contrast to most modern sources which give the dates as 1914-1918.

On researching the evidence, I find the question of whether the war finished in 1918 or 1919 is a matter of debate.

The facts are these: On 11 November 1918 an armistice was signed by the Allies with Germany in a railway carriage at Compeigne in France and an immediate ceasefire came into effect “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”.

However, the actual official ending of hostilities came with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

So, what is correct – 1918 or 1919?

Obviously those who erected the War Memorial in 1923 were much closer to that fateful period in history and thus chose the date which signified to them that the “war to end all wars” was finally over.

(This article, by Chris Schofield, is reprinted, in part, from “Bunk”, the Hunters Hill Historical Society newsletter of June 2016, with permission.)

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