Carleton Place on Armistice Day, 1918

Armistice Day in Carleton Place Was Great Event Back in 1918

The Carleton Place Canadian, 11 November, 1954

By Howard M. Brown


From a letter to one of our boys who did not come back…..


There certainly was a great day here last Monday.  We went to bed Sunday night expecting the word of the signing of the armistice to be put off by the Germans until the last minute, but it looks as if they could not give in quickly enough.  Now they are whining and crying like they always do when caught.

The first word came to Ottawa at 3 a.m.  The general fire alarm sounded here at 4 a.m.  Findlays’ whistle was the first to give it but we did not waken until we heard the fire alarm.  We got our flags out and_________fired off his gun.

The streets were soon crowded with cheering, shouting, singing men, women and children.  There was great hand shaking, some even hugging and kissing – some cried for joy.  Before half an hour there was an immense bonfire on the market square.  Cars were decorated and flying everywhere, horns blowing.

Crowds of young people paraded the streets with banners and flags, blowing horns and making a noise with everything they could from a tin pan up.  I went in the car for Bessie who was nursing between Franktown and Smiths Falls and just got back in time for the parade about 9:30.

There was a long procession, mostly of decorated cars but there were also a lot of decorated cars but there were also a lot of buggies, wagons and drays decorated and fixed up.  One had a war canoe with all the boys in it with paddles as if going into the water.  Scores walked.  The Town Council, the Board of Education, the Firemen, the fire fighting apparatus were there.

One of the funniest things was Curly Thompson, the painter, with a moustache painted to imitate the Kaiser, and Mr. Dack alongside to represent the Crown Prince, in a little old two-wheeled pony cart drawn by men and boys.  All the bells and whistles were kept going, and at night there was another big bonfire.  It was midnight before the noise died out.

There will never be anything to approach it of the same nature again, at least it is hard to see how there ever can be, and to think that all over the civilized world there will be great rejoicing but at the same time, I suppose even in enemy countries.  It will not be long now until the soldiers will be starting to come home generally.  There will be great rejoicing but the war has lasted so long and there are so many who will never come back that the joy will be saddened.  Well it is a good job it is over, and how quickly all the Central Powers went to pieces once the start was made.

It is hard for us here to see the necessity of keeping up a large army after peace terms are signed, and that is practically assured by the inability of the Central Powers to fight any longer.