hen the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918, millions of British Empire soldiers hoped they would soon be back home.
But the task of demobilising so many troops was huge. The government’s efforts to quickly integrate returning soldiers back into society had mixed results. There was also much debate about how best to mark the Allied victory and commemorate the fallen. of civilians flocked to the capital for the festivities. Nearly 15,000 British Em ire servicemen Douglas Haig and Marshal Ferdinand Foch. honour the dead - for the marching troops to salute as they passed along Whitehall. His simple and nondenominational monument was represented on the day of the Vict a temporary structure of wood and plaster. The permanent stone memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day 1920. It is now the scene of the annual National Service of Remembrance. The parade made a great pression on the thounds who witnessed it. ‘The orning Post’ reported that: ear the memorial there re moments of silence en the dead seemed very ar, when one almost heard e passage of countless ngs - were not the fallen thering in their hosts to ceive their comrades’ sate and take their share in e triumph they had died win?’
lebrations and memol services took place all er the country. But there s some criticism that this s too extravagant when many ex-servicemen re now unemployed. In anchester, demobilised ldiers marched with gans like ‘Honour the ad - remember the living’, d to demand ‘work not arity’. Some argued that e money would be better ent supporting returning rvicemen who had sufred physical and mental uries. After the Armistice, steps were taken to demobilise millions of soldiers and repatriate prisoners of war. The Secretary of State for War, Lord Derby, originally proposed that the first men to be released should be those who held essential jobs in industry. However, as these men were invariably those who had been called up in the latter part of the war, this meant that men with the longest service were the last to be demobilised.
At a time when revolutionary ideas were sweeping across Europe, Lord Derby’s scheme was very unpopular. On December 9, 1918, men of the Royal Artillery stationed at Le Havre burnt down several depots in a riot. On January 3, 1919, frustrated soldiers mutinied at Folkestone when they heard they were being sent back to France. Later that month, a mutiny at Calais involving around 20,000 men witnessed the temporary formation of soldiers’ councils.
In response, the new Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, introduced a new scheme in January 1919. Based on age, length of