On Sunday 9th November Commonwealth countries across the world will commemorate the 96th year of the Armistice. Remembrance Sunday honours the lost lives of soldiers, men and women that died during World War One and Two, and is more commonly known as the mark for the end of the First World War.
Remembrance Day was first celebrated in 1919 and initiated by King George V, although at the time it was called Armistice Day. A banquet was held at Buckingham Palace on the evening of 10th November 1919 to honour the lost lives, and this tradition has remained with palace ever since. In 1931 a bill was signed in Parliament to ensure that the day would be renamed Remembrance Day.
The red poppy has also emerged as a traditional marker of Remembrance Day, thanks to Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ in 1915. The flower was noted as the first to bloom on the battlefields of Flanders, and the colour has also become a symbol of the bloodshed during the war.
The occasion hasn’t always been met with reverence and respect. In 1987 the Remembrance Day bombing (also known as the Poppy Day massacre) was performed by the IRA took place in Northern Ireland, killing twelve people.
Over the years there have been some controversial debates surrounding Remembrance Day, but it still remains that at the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month many will be gathering for a moment’s silence. The silence is a tribute to the formal end of the hostilities of 1918, and other conflicts that have occurred since the First World War. Here are some books from our list that we will be reading to commemorate the occasion:
Bloomsbury’s Great War Collection also serves as an excellent catalogue of our best titles for children, academics and the general reader and includes a number of titles exploring social, cultural and military history.