Sunday 11 November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that formally ended hostilities in the First World War.
The day will recognise the significance of the end of the war, and the sacrifice made by so many men and women during this period.
Civil servants were among those who made that sacrifice. So, there could hardly be a more fitting moment to reacquaint ourselves with the history of the Civil Service Rifles, those who served in its ranks and the 1,240 who fell during the First World War. This blog, first published in 2015, tells their story. It is one of a number of blog posts we have published focusing on the war, the role of the Civil Service, and government-organised commemorations.
On 11 November at 11am, a small commemoration event will be held at the Civil Service Rifles war memorial at Somerset House. If you are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A ceremony to remember all the civil servants who gave their lives will be held in the Guards' Chapel (Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London) on Wednesday 14 November, from 11.45 to 12.30.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has led the Government's planning and organising of commemorations of the centenary of the First World War over the last four years. A range of events and activities are taking place around the UK to mark the anniversary of the Armistice.
Among the main events of national remembrance on 11 November are bell-ringing and a 10,000-strong People’s Procession past the Cenotaph in Whitehall. This will take place after the conclusion of The Royal British Legion’s Veteran Dispersal and March Past, which itself follows the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.
The People’s Procession, participation in which was decided by public ballot, is an opportunity for those taking part to give thanks to all those who served in the First World War to secure the victory that helped shape the rights and privileges we enjoy today.
You can see a map charting all the planned events on DCMS’s Armistice commemoration website: https://armistice100.org.uk/events/.
Memories and remembrance
The GOV.UK First World War Centenary web site has a range of fascinating information, news and documents curated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, DCMS, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.
Over the last four years, the History of Government Blog on GOV.UK has accumulated a wealth of posts around the First World War, which provide a compelling and often sobering overview of the conflict. Just some of the more recent posts include those on:
- the Battle of Amiens, considered by many historians to be a turning point in the war
- the catastrophic and deadly flu epidemic that hit Europe (and most of the rest of the world) in the closing stages of the war
- the foundation of the RAF in 1918, which was the result of lessons learned during the conflict
- how the Civil Service coped with the task of registering births and deaths, which was among the extra demands the war placed on the organisation
- the life and death, in 1918, of German air ace The Red Baron - an almost mythical figure who nevertheless did exist and whose exploits included a total of 80 victories in engagements with Allied planes
There's also a range of First World War-related content on the Houses of Parliament website. It includes information on Bills and Acts passed, the role of parliamentarians, the political and social impact of the war - particularly on the role and status of women - war-related works of art, the debates on whether we should go to war, and an extensive medal collection.
Follow the commemoration
If your department is planning any activities, please let us know in the comments below or tweet us @UKCivilService.