November 11th1918 was the official end of World War I. In a forest near the French city Compiègne, about 80 kilometres north of Paris the cease-fire was achieved.
As of 11am that morning there were no battles fought. The real end of WWI was in 1919 with the Peace-treaty of Versailles.
Negotiations started already a couple of days earlier, but an agreement was reached on November 11that 5am. The cease-fire would start at 11am, so there were still six hours to go.
The news spread very fast over the world and the morning editions on the East coast of the US headlined ‘End of the war”. In Paris the street lanterns were illuminated after years of not using. All over the world people came on the streets to celebrate.
The 26thAmerican division at the Maas-Argonnen front had prepared to attack on that morning at 9.30am. At 9.10am the news reached the division to stop all warfare starting at 11am. The planned attack was cancelled. At 10.30am the order came to have the attack go through any way.
This was no rarity on the morning of Armistice. Until the very last moments of WWI there was fights. The South Africans, located North of Mons would stay under German machinegun fire until exactly 11am. At 11am they saw the German soldier who operated the machinegun stand up, take off his helmet and make a bow in their direction. He then turned around and walked away.
Some officers would cancel attacks due to fog or some other excuse, while many pushed through. Stenay, the last French city would be conquered by American troops, with 300 fatalities in this attack.
The last British soldier, George Ellison, would die that morning at 9.30am. Around 10.50am the French courier Augustin Trebouchon died. He was bringing the message of the cease-fire and that soup would be brought at 11.30am. If you see his grave, you’ll see that he died on November 10th, as for all other French troops who died on that day. This to avoid annoying questions from families.
At 10.58am the Canadian soldier George Price died near Mons. This was also at the location where the first British soldiers died in 1914.
The last Belgian military was probably Marcel Terfve. At 10.42am he was hit in the chest, dying 3 minutes later.
The American soldier Henry Gunther of the 31stInfantry Regiment was with his unit in an attack at Romagne in the Argonnen that morning. According to general William Nicholson they must keep the attack going until exactly 11am. At 10.55am private Gunther leads his platoon. At 10.59am Henry Gunther falls… one minute later, November 11th, 11am all guns stop…