As we stop to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war, we share the following account of the first ever Armistice Day in Grimsby, 1919, as told through resources in Grimsby Local History Library.
The marking of this Armistice Day took place at the temporary wooden cenotaph in People’s Park, photographed [Grimsby News] two months prior, during the welcome home of the troops on 6th September 1919.
Account taken from Grimsby News, 1919.
The Two Minutes Silence in Grimsby
Grimsby loyally observed the King’s expressed wish that at eleven o’clock on Tuesday – the anniversary of the signing of the armistice – work should be suspended for two minutes. With the sounding of the fire alarms at the borough fire station and on the docks came a complete cessation of activity, and a period of absolute quiet. Tramears came to a standstill, carters reined in their horses and motorists shut off their engines. Everywhere one saw street pedestrians standing in silent tribute to the fallen.
On the docks and the fish pontoon the scene was a striking one. When the alarm was sounded the bustle and activity, the shouts of the workers, the clatter of many feet, the rumble of the fish barrows gave way to an intense silence. It was an eloquent tribute.
Very few witnessed a touching ceremony performed in the People’s Park, where the Mayor (Councillor J. W. Hobbs) accompanied by the Town Clerk, placed a wreath on the cenotaph in memory of Grimsby’s sons who fell in the war. The wreath was from the members of the Corporation.
Holy communion was celebrated at the Parish Church, the service being attended by St. James’ school boys and the students at the Girls’ High School.
At 11 o’clock the congregation knelt in silent prayer for two minutes and the choir afterwards sang the hymns “Peace, perfect peace” and “Ten thousand times ten thousand.”
In the evening the bells of the Parish Church rang out merrily – as they did twelve months ago when the joyful news of the signing of the armistice arrived.
At the Grimsby County Police Court, after the magistrates had taken their places, they rose in obedience to the royal suggestion to pay a tribute to the fallen. Their example was followed by everybody in court.
Lincs Inspire manages North East Lincolnshire Archives located within Grimsby Town Hall, as well as Grimsby Local History Library at Grimsby Central Library. For more information see our Archives & Heritage pages.