Fly­ing the flag for the day peace was de­clared

Yorkshire Post - - ARMISTICE 100 -

MADGE HOWDILL never for­got the day she joined the ju­bi­lant crowds throng­ing Leeds as the city cel­e­brated news of the Armistice.

Madge, like so many oth­ers, ex­cit­edly car­ried a colour­ful hand­made flag to show her joy at the end of the Great War.

The 15-year-old’s re­lief was un­der­stand­able, with two of her broth­ers lucky enough to sur­vive the fight­ing.

The flag – which is on dis­play at Leeds City Mu­seum – has been care­fully kept by Dun­can McCargo, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Leeds, af­ter dis­cov­er­ing it in the at­tic of the Howdills’ old fam­ily home in Hanover Square, which he moved into in 1993. A neigh­bour put him in touch with Madge, who died in 1999.

Prof McCargo re­called: “She didn’t tell me ex­actly what she wanted me to do with it, but I came away know­ing that she’d kept it for a rea­son and with the dis­tinct im­pres­sion that I’d been given a mis­sion from Madge to do some­thing sig­nif­i­cant with it.”

An­other touch­ing story is at­tached to a pair of worn leather boots kept in the Uni­ver­sity of Leeds’s Lid­dle Col­lec­tion.

They were worn in 1918 by the then 21-year-old 2nd Lieu­tenant Wil­liam Mac­don­ald. Nearly a quar­ter of his sixth form class failed to make it home.

Ev­ery Arm­stice Day for al­most 70 years, Mr Mac­don­ald, who moved to Leeds in 1925 to work as a GP, donned the same boots to com­mem­o­rate the war and the lives lost.

Mean­while 100 peo­ple, aged one to 100, gath­ered at the De Grey Rooms, York, to com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War, joined by spe­cial guest Mick Calpin, 68, from Thirsk, whose grand­fa­ther, Ernest Calpin, was one of 10 broth­ers from York who served in the war. The Calpin broth­ers are thought to be the big­gest band of broth­ers to have fought in the con­flict. Mirac­u­lously nine came home alive.

And yes­ter­day chil­dren from Wib­sey pri­mary school, Brad­ford, laid a wreath at a spe­cially made 5ft 8in Ceno­taph, as part of a spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive Assem­bly.

I had the im­pres­sion that I’d been given a mis­sion from Madge. Dun­can McCargo, pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Leeds.

PIC­TURES: GUZELIAN

THROUGH THE AGES: Clock­wise from top, Leeds City Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Lucy Moore with a 100-year-old flag that Madge Howdill flew to cel­e­brate Armistice Day; chil­dren at Wib­sey Pri­mary School in Brad­ford carry a poppy wreath; 100 peo­ple, aged one to 100, gath­ered at the De Grey Rooms in York; one-year-old Bail­lie Dou­glas hands over a draw­ing to 100-year-old Wilf Den­ham; boots worn by war hero Wil­liam Mac­don­ald.

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