Leighton Buzzard’s First War Memorial, 11 November 1919 [Z50/72/131]
Monday 11th November 1918: The War is over! After premature reports of victory last week people seemed afraid to believe the news that the Armistice had been signed, and there is a sense not just of celebration but also of bewilderment that this day is one of such momentous importance. The crowds who have turned out to celebrate in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade have been quite modest. The War has taken a heavy toll on both towns, with many dead and many more still serving overseas. Among those left at home the munition workers “mafficked”, Morgan’s Band played in between bouts of rain, and the Church Lads’ Brigade Bugle Band has been out in the streets. Union Jacks are flying, although a surprising number of people seem unaware of the correct way to fly the flag, with many hanging upside down. At All Saints Church in Leighton Buzzard and in all the villages around bells are ringing out the good news, although many of the ringers are novices with rather more enthusiasm than skill.
The chief feeling in the towns has been of relief and thankfulness. Services of thanksgiving have been attended by large numbers, many of them not regular churchgoers. At All Saints Church a packed congregation was present at a shortened version of Evensong which ended with the hymn ‘Now thank we all our God’, a verse of God Save the King, and the Marseillaise. The Vicar, Reverend G. F. Hills gave a short address based on the words from 2 Kings, 9:17, “Is it peace?”, ending with the hope that the returning men would find a different and better world. At St. Barnabas Church in Linslade a spontaneous service of thanksgiving was attended by the special constables, the Church Lads Brigade, and people of all religious persuasions. Services have also been held at Hockliffe Street Baptist Chapel and the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 19th November 1918