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Remembrance Day

On 10 November 1918, thousands of Australians, men of the First and Fourth Divisions, First Australian Imperial Force, were plodding wearily along the roads near Le Cateau, France. They were to relieve the British 32nd and 66th Divisions in the front line. Two months previously, these same Australians had fought their way across the Somme in some of the most fierce battles of the war. They did not, however, go into action again.

At 11.00 am on 11 November 1918 the guns fell silent as hostilities ceased on the Western Front, ending four years of death and destruction. Earlier that day, at 5.00 am, the Germans signed an armistice in a railway carriage at Compiègne. In the following year the Treaty of Versailles made the cease-fire permanent.
People celebrated across the world. Others reflected with great sadness the extraordinary losses and suffering from many nations. More than 60,000 Australians had been killed. More than 45,000 died on the Western Front in France and Belgium and over 8,000 on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. Over 416,000 Australians volunteered for service in World War I, of which 324,000 served overseas.
In Australia and in those countries with whom Australia was allied between 1914 and 1918, 11 November subsequently became known as Armistice Day. It was a day on which to remember those who died in the Great War.

After the end of World War II, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.
In October 1997, the Governor-General issued a proclamation declaring 11 November as Remembrance Day and urging Australians to observe one minute`s silence at 11.00 am on Remembrance Day each year to remember the sacrifice of those who died or otherwise suffered in Australia’s cause in wars and war-like conflicts.

The proclamation reinforced the importance the Government places on Remembrance Day and encouraged all Australians to renew their observation of the event.

Remembrance Day - Australian War Memorial


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