How many Armistices?

11 November 2014

When we were considering the blog post for today, we had a kind of ‘determination’ not to blog about Remembrance Day as we guessed – probably correctly – that the entire world and his wife would be writing about that topic. And rightly so! Lest we forget.

However, instead of driving ourselves in the opposite direction, we thought we could take a different stance. Remembrance Day is also known as Armistice Day and in the USA, as Veterans Day, in honour of all who have served in the armed forces. From 1919 to 1939, it was a day of remembrance for those who died in World War 1, marked by a two minute silence and cessation of activity at the moment when the guns of war were finally silent.

Sometimes November 11 is called Poppy Day from the custom of wearing red paper replicas of this flower on 11 November and the preceding days. The adoption of the poppy as the emblem of remembrance was inspired by a poem by a Canadian serviceman, John McCrae (1872-1918), three days before his own death in France.

Did you know? There were 11 children born in December quarter 1918 with the first name Armistice. From Chesterfield and Knaresborough RD to Holsworthy and Bridgend, families remembered the war dead by naming their offspring Armistice and we would imagine that they were born on or very close to 11 November 1918. Two died in infancy and one at aged 9 (in 1928) but eight survived. The next ten years (to 1928) saw a further seventeen births with Armistice as a first name and all fall within the December or March quarters of the year.

The GRO death indexes shows a better picture with 144 people named Armistice dying in the period 1916-2007, many with the name as a middle name, not first name of course. The latest birth within these death records is 1934.

Were children in other countries across the world given this name? Or did it just occur in England and Wales?

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