World War I - Peace returns

It’s over !

The first anyone knew that something unusual was about to happen was when they saw troops in army lorries driving around the town carrying flags. 

At 12.30 on Monday, 11th November 1918 the Armistice Proclamation was posted at the Post Office. It was only then that residents started to believe that the hostilities were over. They began to waive flags and hoist them outside buildings. 

That night, at the Council meeting, the Councillors passed a resolution of thankfulness.

Tuesday, 12th November saw a number of services at the Parish Church including an evening service of thanksgiving. A service also took place at the Congregational Church, Kneesworth Street for members of the United Free Churches. At dusk some hundreds of residents met at the Cross where the lights were unscreened for the first time in years. 


A further gathering took place in Market Hill on Thursday, 14th November at the request of the Council. It was attended by the Councillors, John Phillips as chair of the magistrates, children from the schools, men from the soldiers' hospital with Dame Maud Bevan and the staff. The resolution of thankfulness from Monday evening was expressed again. The National Anthem was sung followed by the Marseillaise sung by the children.

Time to celebrate

With the Armistice taking effect in November 1918 and with so many of the menfolk of the town still on the Continent and further afield in places like Egypt and India, it was not until the summer of 1919 that Royston really started to celebrate the coming of peace.

There were many entries in the Royston Crow for Friday, 18th July 1919 including this piece -

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Announcements in The Crow

The same edition of the paper also carried a number of announcements encouraging participation in various events -

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The "Peace Parade"


The parade and other celebrations were commemorated in this postcard.


One of the more prominent competitors was this Royston Crow

(surely Mr G.S Wilkinson, Mr. J.B. Bishop or Mr. J. Course - its difficult to tell. See the list of prizes below)

Sports events

Other notices invited entrants for various races which were to be organised on the day.

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And the celebrations went on

A few days later a fancy dress fancy was organised. Here is the advertisement.

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Royston Crow, 25th July 1919

The Crow ran a huge series of articles the following week describing the parade and other events which had taken place. It gave details the organising committee, the decorations in the town, the procession, sports events, entertainments, teas and the dinner at the Town Hall.

Some of the procession prizes

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Some of the sports prizes

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