On November 11, 1918 the guns on the western front fell silent after four years of bloody fighting.
This year, Armistice Day will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle.
In Spring 1918, a German offensive broke through allied lines on the Somme.
An Australian counter-attack at Villers-Betronneux began a series of reverses for the Germans, the Australian War Memorial reported.
By July, much ground had been regained.
On 8 August, the long-awaited allied offensive began and the Australians played a major role in the drive to the Hindenburg line.
Germany agreed to an armistice and the war ended on November 11, 1918.
In Palestine, the Turks had signed an armistice nearly two weeks before, following the capture of Damascus by allied forces.
The war ended with a generation of young men who did not return home. Instead they were left to disappear in mud, sea and dust, said Crookwell RSL secretary, Bev Hatch.
Over 410,000 men enlisted to join WWI.
It was to be Australia’s costliest conflict.
Australia's casualty rate in proportion to the number of troops engaged was higher than for any other country in the British Empire, and it left an indelible scar on the nation, wrote Matthew Higgins.
Australia alone lost 62,000, many in unmarked graves, and over 100,000 more were wounded, both physically and psychologically.
All this from a country of no more than five million.
It must have been a huge relief for the country, that had lost 60,000, dead, actually left in the ground in France and the Middle East, and the others that came back to this country with injuries or psychological problems. They didn’t talk about PTSD then, they called it shell shock, said Dave Findlay.
The Goulburn Evening Penny Post reported on November 12, 1918 that the children were given a holiday, and church and school bells rang to herald the news.
The businesses closed from noon and the band turned out.
The people rejoiced.
100th anniversary services will be held in both Crookwell and Gunning, on Sunday, November 11.
The Crookwell RSL sub-branch has the names of 1135 men and women who served our country.
A total 126 of those paid the ultimate sacrifice. The memorial grave in Gunning bears the names of 46 who were killed in action in WWI.
“As said on war memorials around the Commonwealth: ‘Their Names Liveth for Evermore’,” Mr Hatch said.
Behind each of those names there are the untold stories of grief and sadness, and the pride of the family members, he said.
Although, November 11 is the 100th anniversary of ceasefire it was followed by the Versailles treaty that came into force in 1919.
“The League of Nations was formed and to say it was the war to end all wars,” Mr Findlay said.
The Australian Roll of Honour showed over 100,000 Australian’s have lost their lives to service.
The commemorative service will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Crookwell’s Memorial Park at 10:30am on Sunday, November 11.
At the precise moment the guns were silenced, the bells of St Mary’s Church will ring in commemoration, and at the same time in the park the Last Post will play. This will be followed by one minute’s silence, and end with the playing of Rouse.
A commemorative bench will be dedicated to the memory of Betty (nee Cady) and Bill Rabone. Mr Rabone was gunner with the 2/1 Field Regiment in PMG during WWII.
The Crookwell Country Women’s Association (CWA) will serve morning tea at the CWA rooms, on Spring Street.
The proceeds will go to Soldier On, to support their work as they work side by side with the men and women who serve and protect Australia.
Anyone wishing to lay a wreath or flowers at the service, is asked to contact Mr Hatch on 0474 812 807, or by email CrookwellSB@rslnsw.org.au
“If you are unable to attend the service at the Memorial Park, could you stop, wherever you are, and pause for that one minute silence for those who have gone before?” Mr Hatch asked.
The service will begin with a wreath laying ceremony at 10:50am at the Cenotaph in Gunning, followed by a procession to memorial grave, in Gunning Park.
The commemorative service for Armistice Day will be conducted by Reverend Haydn Swinbourn.
This service precedes the dedication of two plaques.
One commemorates the centenary of the Armistice and the other is a plaque to commemorate the Kangaroo March that passed through Gunning in 1915.
The services will be followed by morning tea and guest speaker in the Shire Hall.
Guest speaker, Nigel Catchlove from the Yass RSL Sub-Branch, served on several UN sanctioned Peacekeeping operations, including Namibia in 1989.
After the Armistice in 1918, it was quite a long time before the Australian defence forces were involved in their first peace keeping operation, Mr Findlay said.
“The first Australian involvement in peace keeping was in 1947, following the conflict between Indonesia and the Dutch who formally had West New Guinea as a conflict,” he added.
Australia alone lost 62,000, and over 100,000 were wounded, and this from a country of no more than four and a half million.