BRUNSWICK — We all learn that World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It’s not that simple, but I didn’t know it until my siblings and I discovered two diaries that our father had kept when he served in France and Germany.

Here are a few excerpts relevant to the centennial of the first Armistice Day:

Week beginning November 4, 1918:

It sure is Hell around here all this week. We went over the top on the 6th about 5:30 in the morning. And the Dam Huns (German soldiers) went pretty fast. I must say we were pretty green, but still we did not fear death. I must thank God for He has been good to me so far. A few of our boys got knocked off. But it was not much of a fight. But it is enough for me. I do not like the way they do it here.

 Monday, November 11:

I heard today that Peace was signed for 25 days and take it from me we are sure glad.


The actual term of the armistice was 30 days.

 Thursday, November 21:

We are still at it on the hike. But I find things a little better. We are going through some fine Bergs. The people are French and German. I hope the Lord I keep this job as runner it is pretty soft. I am thinking it won’t be long until we are going home. With God’s help.

His company continued into Germany as part of the occupation.

 Sunday, December 15:

Rhine at last. My company has got as far on the German side as we can go. We are in a little berg about 12 kilos (kilometers) from Coblenz. The Captain said we would be here for 6 months but I hope not.


 Wednesday, May 14, 1919:

Well I must say we sure did have a good bit of fun since Sunday. We had a call to arms Monday night. And believe me some of us thought for sure the Huns were coming over the line. We were in Bed. We heard about twenty shots, then the old horn began to blow. Well it’s like this. We are having so (much) Bull lately that we would all be glad to start war once again, for that is the only way we will get back and have a rest.

The armistice was extended three times while the Germans resisted the harsh terms presented by the Allies.

 Wednesday, May 21:

Today is the day for peace to be signed and I hope it is for oh Lady we are having a great time here now. We are all ready to go over the top. You would think the war was just going to start the way they got us, loaded down with man killers.

It was not signed. There were no hostilities.


Thursday, June 19:

The dope we got is if the Huns don’t sign peace Monday we will go on to Berlin. Boy it sure would be great to get to that Berg. But still I ain’t a bit worried for I am sure the Huns will sign up.

Not yet.

 Friday, July 4:

We are back in Weroth again and they say the War is over.

Germany and the Allies signed the Treaty of Versailles on July 28, 1919. Dad learned about the treaty 235 anxious days after Armistice Day.

He marched in the victory parade in New York and was discharged on Friday, Sept. 26. The next day he finally realized his dream and returned to Scranton, Pennsylvania – “home sweet home.”


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