Felix Rooney, my great-grandfather, served in the first world war. He saw many of the most gruelling battles of that war. ANZAC Day, today, commemorates New Zealand and Australian soldiers, particularly those who served in and never returned from the Great War.
Felix kept detailed war diaries, which I have been privileged to read (and want to read again). Although I don’t have copies, I do have with me a monograph on a Cantabrian Victoria Cross winner which quotes Felix’s diaries extensively. So, from that source, the part of Felix’s war diaries that most bears repeating:
Monday 11th: It was a great civic reception [French President] Poincare got yesterday. It was fine weather and aeroplanes overhead dropped messages into the Square. Today, just before marching out we had the news read out to us that hostilities would cease at 11 A.M. today. We left at 11 A.M. and marched 19 kilos to Quievy with full packs. Everyone is smiling now the war is over.