At Last the End of Hostilities.

As we mark the 90th anniversary of the armistice, we can confirm that Harry has made it to the end of the war.

A link to a short BBC TV report on this milestone, may be of interest. As would the broadcast on "The World" in the USA.

I've been asked to insert a warning that some of the broadcasts do look into the future. The secret that will remain with me, however, is Harry's story between the end of the war, and arriving home. To find out that part of his story, readers will have to "follow the blog".

While we celebrate Harry's good fortune, we should, of course, remember the many, of all nationalities, who didn't make it through that dreadful conflict.

In Italy, the last week may well have been quite stressful for the troops. They would, I would think, be quite fearful that they would be trained back to Flanders to support the fighting there. By now, however, they would have heard that the War was over on all fronts and that they could really look forward to going home to resume their lives.

I can confirm that Harry's story will continue on the blog until he actually reaches home. The letters continued and will be published, in the same way, exactly 90 years to the day after he wrote them.

The book is progressing well and will be published next April. BL

41 comments:

Debbie said...

I'm so very glad Harry made it through, but so sad - still - for those who didn't. Thank you for embarking on and continuing this saga. You have really made history come alive, even for someone with an active imagination who has always seen history through the active lens of today. I'm sure your grandfather is proud of you!

Kittybriton said...

Time here is 07.45 zulu. Once again, I would like to express my thanks to Harry as a very visible defender of freedom, and a representative of so many ordinary young men.
At 11.00 zulu I will be offering another thankful prayer for the risks those men and women took on my behalf, and for the comfort of the families who lost someone special doing something they believed worthwhile.
And thank you, Bill, for letting us share the view that Harry's family had of his adventures on our behalf.

I will always hope that someday we will learn the lesson of the "War to end all wars".

Robert said...

Truly fantastic work. I'm so glad to see that Harry made it. I was worried that he might have been one of the many truly unfortunate souls to lose their life within sight of the Armistice.

Anonymous said...

So thankful that Harry is alive and well. What a great reminder of what today really is all about in the U.S.
Thank you for sharing your grandfather's story.

Anonymous said...

I am so Happy Harry made it, have been reading your story for about a year now along with my 2 young daughters & I look forward to hearing the rest of Harrys story.

The Dotterel said...

Wonderful news! (And yes, let's not forgot the many that didn't make it.)

Samantha said...

I am so glad he made it. This has been fascinating and we should never forget those who died and continue to die defending their countries.

C Crino said...

My eyes filled up with tears when I realized the date and saw your post.

All I could think of was the huge relief in so many homes. And the enormous sorrow in others.

And to think it was not just this one war, but so many others.

gaz said...

i am over the moon that harry reached the end alive. this has been a fantastic journey and i am grateful to you for sharing it with us.
i look forward to the next letter.
all the best.

Doctor Pion said...

When I was a kid, the vets always sold red paper poppies at what by then was called the Veteran's Day parade in the US. It was much later before I learned about the war from my Grandfather, and came to appreciate its scope and impact on Europe, and the somber nature of the celebration of this day.

Harry's letters fill in some of the gaps in the stories I heard, so I offer one of my Grandfather's stories (converted into the form of a letter) about the last day of the Great War to fill in some gaps in his story. You can read it on my blog. Although modified somewhat to work as a letter, much of it is verbatim from a tape recording of his story.

Thanks again for sharing your family's letters.

Eva said...

As a result of following Harry's story, I read the book "All quiet on the western front" and just finished it yesterday on the airplane. While I was in tears to realize Harry made it through the war, I'm nervous about his adjusting to life after the war. How did these great men do it?? I wonder if our generation has the emotional reserves of strength the past ones have had. Harry's letters had not a hint of the whining and complaining we typically hear today when people are inconvenienced. I'm determined to use this experience as an example for me personally. Thank you so much!

Eva

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I have been completely pulled in, and am glad to see Harry has lived to see the end of the War. I hope to hear soon about his life after the war and hope it was happy and long.
Suzanne
Kansas, USA

Anonymous said...

I've just given a big cheer after reading that Harry has made it through.

Anonymous said...

What a relief! I am so happy for Harry and his family.


Jackie

Anonymous said...

What a relief! I am so happy for Harry and his family.


Jackie

Pamela said...

Yeh! for Harry. I'm so pleased to hear the news.

Nanny (Shirley) said...

I am so glad Harry has made it, but sad for the many who didn't. On this day especially we always thinks of those who have served their countries in all wars, let us hope that someday there will be no more wars.

For those of you interested - Harry's stamps are wonderful - I encourage all to buy them.

Bill - please let us know when the book will be available.

I'll be following Harry until he arrives home safely - Shirley

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to log on today and read your post and see how fortunate Harry was. I'll keep reading the story and like others have said, look forward to the book. Today honours so many people who unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice for all our freedom

Tom Belardes said...

While on the side lines with my wife, daughter and grandson, I watched my son march in the Veteran's Day Parade. I wonder if he really understands what today is all about? I have spoke to him about war and history, but I really don't think he understands the scope of humanity lost in just WW1 and WW2. I picture myself on a cold winter night with my grandson on my lap by a fire, reading your book to the family. Good show Harry! Three cheers!

Anonymous said...

So glad that Harry's made it, all the marching in the Battalion's War Diary over the last few days was starting to make me nervous.....

Ninety years ago in my own family: my great-grandfather was an infantry sgt. in the Kaiser's Army; he served through the whole war, 1914-1918, and made it home in one piece, only to lose his wife to the Spanish influenza in 1919.

And then there was his son, my grandfather: eight years old when his father left for the war, he remembered some terrible times later in the war as a kid in Lorch, Germany, a lot of near-starvation. But my favorite story: on his thirteenth birthday, he first thought that they were ringing all the church bells in town for him --- his birthday? November 11!

Viola said...

I have been reading your blog for over a year now and was so happy this morning to find Harry had made it. I look forward to hear more news on him. As we all cheer for Harry's return, we must never forget the ones who weren't as fortunate.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a year now and was so happy this morning to find Harry had made it. I look forward to read future news on him. As we all cheer for Harry's good fortune to have survived the war, we must never forget those who died for our freedom !!

Sgt Sam Avery said...

Hello Harry:
So glad to hear that you have made it through. As for me, I have a year to go and will be fighting until the very last moment...

Best Regards,
Sam

Shoalanda Speaks said...

Today in my blog I honored the last living U.S. doughboy Frank Buckles. This era has almost completely passed, and I sincerely thank you for bringing us Harry's letters over the past months. I look forward to reading your book as soon as it's published.

S.S. - Florence, Alabama, USA

Janell said...

Oh, Happy Day! Harry will return to his family, as we have hoped since he left for the war. Now the question is: "HOW IS HARRY?" Have his mind and spirit survived, too? I will continue to think of him every day, until I know the outcome of his life. Then, I will remember him, until the end of mine.
Janell

lom said...

I am so pleased that Harry will soon be home with his family and friends, There have been times I have shed tears and worried about Harry as I have read this blog. My thoughts go out to his family and the families of those that didn’t return

Steve said...

Last night I saw a BBC program and it said over 9,000,000 letters were sent a week from the front.
The startling thing was they were a lot like Harrys, no one mentioned the actual war.
No one discussed death or the gloom this all to prevent the people at home worrying.
How magnificent for these young men to think of others when their plight was so grave.

Vicki said...

I am so glad to log on and see that Harry has made it. I really feel quite weepy. It is an end of an era. Thank you so much for sharing harry;s story with us, it really has brought home the effect of war on ordinary people in a real way. It also has been a valuable lesson with all the extra information on just how many men sacrificed their lives in this conflict and how hard they suffered whilst there, even those that survived. I would imagine that the Harry that returns home is a very different man to the one that left in 1914.....

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad he made it.

Seeing the three WW1 survivors lay their wreaths yesterday moved me to tears. When Harry was writing home, they were young men, also no doubt writing home.

God bless them all.

Scott said...

Thank you for posting this wonderful and truly amazing insight into the life in the trenches during WW1. I am glad that Harry has survived the terrible devastation of the war and will soon be home with his family. We should NEVER forget ALL those who gave thier lives in the war no matter which side they were on. God Bless the families of those lost as well as those who made it home.

mrchristian said...

"...he served through the whole war, 1914-1918, and made it home in one piece, only to lose his wife to the Spanish influenza in 1919."

I was just thinking that to myself - I hope he survives the flu !

Jain said...

:-(

Can we have a spoiler alert if links to outside reports (e.g. "The World") give away more detail than what is already published?

I'll continue to be a devoted reader, but only of your, sorry, Harry's, own material from now on ... just in case!

Anonymous said...

So please he made it through.
Such a touching story.
Well done for such an effort.
Thank You
Paul B

George said...

Each year at Armistice Day, memories flood back to a visit I made to the Western Front some 20 years ago. The most vivid are an entry in the visitors book at Tynecot, written by two English ladies, giving the name of a soldier who was buried there and the comment, "To a father and a grandfather never known, but never forgotten."

Relatives of the fallen could place an inscription on the stone of the soldier. I remember one which said, "He said 'twas his duty" and one below the Victoria Cross on a soldier's stone which simply said, "My son, my son, no reward can be too great"

Such sorrow for so many people.

GLL-Norman, Oklahoma

Janell said...

I am concerned that Harry has not sent a letter since November 4th. I hope he hasn't gotten sick with the flu, the 1918 epidemic that in some histories of WWI, the attrition from which, is described as a major contributor to the end of the conflict. We know from Bill's recent radio broadcast that Harry did not get home for Christmas which must have been very disappointing for him and his family. Illness might explain that, or perhaps, his battalion was just engaged in post-war activities that prolonged his stay in Italy, though that would not necessarily explain the worrisome lack of correspondence, during this otherwise peaceful time.
Janell

Doctor Pion said...

My grandfather was in France for quite a long time after the war ended. Part of it he spent touring parts of the country, but many of his later letters show the frustration of being given random duties once the war was over rather than returning home so he could go back to college.

Marco said...

I want to thank you for your work on your family history.
Every one of us had a grand father or grand grand father fighting in WWI and in many of our houses are laying letters or diaries of that times, but no one of us had an outspreading idea like yours.
Thank you for having honoured your grand father and our grand fathers too by publishing this letters and making us living the pain of waiting for the next letter.
This was a non rethoric way of talking of the WWI while all the celebration cannot avoid rethoric even after 90 years the end of that cruent war, that was called "The great War" until we was obliged to count them out.

Marco said...

I read this wonderful blog from Italy. I want to tell you all readers that still nowadays in any city,town, or village in my country there is a stone or a monument with the names of the soldiers died in WWI and they are still honoured on nov 4th the day of italian armistice (la Vittoria as we call it). When you'll came in Italy as tourists look out for them and have a poppy think of memory for all the young boys that did not come back home as pte Harry did. love from Italy.
p.s. I didn't know that english army helped us to win the war. thank you Harry.

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather served with "D"COY, 9th Battalion, Yorks & Lancs from September 1914 to the end of hostilities so it is very interesting to read Harry's Blog and the War Diaries.

battlecry said...

Very interesting article.Cheers.good luck.

warhammer gold said...

Good article!
Good luck!