How news spread of the end to hos­til­i­ties in 1918

Stockport Express - - Armistice Centenary Special -

AS we mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, the Stock­port Ex­press takes a look back at what was hap­pen­ing and how we re­ported the armistice a cen­tury ago.

There were re­ports of ju­bi­la­tion in the streets, flags flown from ev­ery house, work­ers down­ing their tools to join in, and even trams com­ing to a halt for the af­ter­noon.

The mayor Thomas Row­botham wrote a let­ter to one of our two news­pa­pers of the time, the Stock­port Ad­ver­tiser, ask­ing ‘ev­ery work­ing man and woman in Stock­port to give a sil­ver thanks of­fer­ing’ to help ‘dis­abled sol­diers to a new start in life.’

Sol­diers who had lost their lives were hon­oured in the Ad­ver­tiser and our other pa­per, the Stock­port County Bor­ough Ex­press, in­clud­ing Cor­po­ral Der­rick Pear­son, who died in ac­tion af­ter three years’ ser­vice. Stock­port Lads’ Club of­fered ‘hearty greet­ings, con­grat­u­la­tions and thanks to all mem­bers who have so worthily up­held the hon­our of Old Eng­land’ and a reader even wrote in with a poem cel­e­brat­ing the end of the ‘Great War.’

Peace on Earth by Wal­ter Burgess, of Bramhall Lane, Stock­port, in­cluded the words: “It is over! All is over! Home may troop each tired rover.”

●●HOW we re­ported the end of the war in 1918

THE STOCK­PORT AD­VER­TISER (Echo) Fri­day, Novem­ber 15

A spe­cial edi­tion of the Echo an­nounc­ing the great news of Ger­man sur­ren­der was on the streets at the very mo­ment that hos­til­i­ties ceased.

As the boys marched up the streets, the pa­pers were snatched from them by ea­ger pur­chasers, and as soon as it was read that the armistice had been signed and thus peace had ar­rived at last loud cheers were raised.

The streets rapidly filled with joy­ous and ex­cited crowds, shop­keep­ers and house­hold­ers put out their flags, and over the mills and work­shops, Union Jacks flut­tered in the breeze, sig­nalling the great tri­umph for our na­tion.

At the same time an aero­plane bear­ing a large flag flew over the town.

Ev­ery­where the mighty event was dis­cussed with an­i­ma­tion and peo­ple kept re­peat­ing ‘is it true? is it true?,’ as though fear­ing it might be an­other trick by the Ger­mans to de­lude their en­e­mies.

Even when it was shown that the an­nounce­ment of the sign­ing of the armistice had been made by the Prime Min­is­ter, there were still un­be­liev­ers who asked ‘is it of­fi­cial?.’

How­ever, the great ma­jor­ity were ready to ac­cept the news as au­then­tic, and as it spread through the medium of the Echo among the work­ers of the town, work was im­me­di­ately stopped, and lively and an­i­mated scenes of joy and en­thu­si­asm were wit­nessed, the mu­ni­tion girls es­pe­cially demon­strat­ing their feel­ings in no un­cer­tain man­ner.

In prac­ti­cally ev­ery work­shop the work peo­ple at once downed tools, in the mills the ma­chin­ery was stopped, and for some time there were scenes of ju­bi­la­tion.

The em­ploy­ers and man­agers well know­ing there would be no more work for the day, quickly de­cided to close, and soon the work peo­ple were stream­ing on to the streets and join­ing in the happy throng.

Sol­diers who were met with were cheered and warmly shaken by the hand, and the wounded men in blue es­pe­cially came in for con­grat­u­la­tion.

In ev­ery lit­tle street, bunting was dis­played, and there was scarcely a house without a flag show­ing from the win­dow.

The chil­dren had been wait­ing with great ex­pec­ta­tion the news, and crowds of them with their lit­tle flags and ban­ners pro­ces­sioned along the streets, singing and cheer­ing and mak­ing them­selves very happy and very noisy.

Later in the day, the streets be­came more crowded and an­i­mated, singing groups and pro­ces­sions were met with ev­ery­where, and one was re­minded very much of the Mafek­ing night, although there was no sugges­tion of dis­or­der or un­ruly con­duct in any part of the town.

The scenes were sim­ply an or­derly ex­pres­sion of the joy­ful feel­ings of the peo­ple who had had the weight of over four years of aw­ful tragedy lifted from them.

Con­certi­nas and other mu­si­cal in­stru­ments were heard on ev­ery hand.

The peace re­joic­ings were kept up un­til a late hour on Mon­day night in Stock­port.

The streets were crowded with peo­ple and sounds of rev­elry were to be heard in ev­ery quar­ter of the town.

The tramway em­ploy­ees stopped work in the af­ter­noon and con­se­quently the tram ser­vice was sus­pended, and this caused a con­sid­er­able amount of in­con­ve­nience, but un­der the cir­cum­stances peo­ple took it all in good part and walked con­sid­er­able dis­tances without com­plaint.

At many of the places of wor­ship in the town, thanks­giv­ing ser­vices were held on Mon­day night.

As ev­i­dence of the or­derly man­ner in which the peace was cel­e­brated in Stock­port, there were n o ‘drunks’ to be dealt with at the po­lice court on Tues­day morn­ing.

The mayor of Stock­port, in com­mon with the rest of his fel­low towns­men, read the news of peace in the spe­cial edi­tion of the Echo with feel­ings of the deep­est joy and sat­is­fac­tion.

Mr Row­botham im­me­di­ately or­dered the hoist­ing of all flags on mu­nic­i­pal build­ings, and on his own re­spon­si­bil­ity, pre­vi­ous to the ar­rival if the no­tice of with­drawal of re­stric­tions, gave or­ders also that the bells of St Mary’s Parish Church should be rung dur­ing the af­ter­noon in cel­e­bra­tion of the happy day.

In­ter­viewed by a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ad­ver­tiser who asked if he would care to make a state­ment to the towns­peo­ple, Mr Row­botham said: “I am of course more than de­lighted with the news, as we all are, and it does seem to me, look­ing back over the past four years, that a very real Prov­i­dence has been watch­ing over us.

“I think the pre­vail­ing note of our re­joic­ing should be one of grat­i­tude to the Almighty God for this great na­tional and Euro­pean de­liv­er­ance.

“The very fact that so many of our homes are dark­ened by be­reave­ment will, I am sure, save us from any fool­ish ‘maf­fick­ing’ and that we shall cel­e­brate the great tid­ings rather in a spirit of rev­er­en­tial thank­ful­ness. ROLL of Hon­our

Corp D. Pear­son, of Stock­port (killed in ac­tion). Mr and Mrs James A. B. Pear­son, Heath­bank, Daven­port Park, has re­ceived the dis­tress­ing news that their younger son, Corp. Der­rick Pear­son, has fallen in ac­tion af­ter three years’ ser­vice, hav­ing served both in France and Italy.

He joined when 19 the Earl of Ch­ester’s Im­pe­rial Yeo­manry, af­ter­wards at­tached to the 20th Manch­esters.

●●Armistice Day in Stock­port in 1924

●●Un­veil­ing the tem­po­rary war me­mo­rial in 1921

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