“In the twinkling of an eye the entire aspect of the city changed. The incubus of four years’ war fell from the shoulders of the capital like a discarded cloak.”
Those were the words Forbes digger Corporal Herbert George Goddard used to describe the moment when news of the signing of the armistice that would end World War I hostilities reached the streets of Paris.
Corporal Goddard’s letter back to his home town’s local paper has been handed down to his grandson Nick, who shared it with the Advocate as the 100th anniversary of that day falls this Sunday, November 11.
Jubilation also reigned in the local streets when word reached Forbes about 9.30pm, the Advocate reported the following day.
Forbes and District Historical Society’s World War I exhibition records that 494 young men, from a shire of about 5000, had volunteered to serve in the war effort.
Sixty eight were killed.
It’s likely others from Forbes and with connections to the community enlisted in other towns.
Everyone would have been affected.
This Sunday, 100 years on from that day, community members are encouraged to remember those who gave their lives, and acknowledge the impact of the Great War.
Community members are invited to gather at the cenotaph at 10.30am for the Remembrance Day service. It will conclude with a silence at 11am, and the sounding of the Last Post.
On that night in 1918, when word was received that the conflict that had claimed and changed so many young lives was ending, Forbes’ fire bell and church bells rang out.
“People began to pour out of their houses,” the Advocate reported.
“In less time than it takes to tell, almost, the streets were filled with people, bands played, and there were several other special celebrations.”
Children formed their own “tin can band” and joined the celebrations.
“The streets were filled with people, bands played, and there were several other special celebrations,” the Advocate reported.
“One young ‘cock-sparrow’ with a tin dish and a stick, created a terrific din near the monument,” the Advocate reported.
“This was a signal for other youngsters to do likewise, and in a short space of time every tin dish in the town appeared to have been commandeered and the ‘tin can musicians’ started off after the band …”
It’s these scenes the Museum committee would love to recreate this Sunday afternoon, they’re inviting families to come down to the museum.
You’re encouraged to bring tins, pots, pans and sticks so the children can make a noise and try to capture the sounds that would have rung through the streets that night.
The museum’s special World War I exhibition will be open to the public from 2.30 to 4pm, a gold donation to the museum is appreciated.
Opened just before the centenary anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, the exhibition shows the battles and events of this tumultuous time in our history,” Margaret Adams from the Museum explains.
There are numerous artefacts and stories of our local brave men and women still on display telling the personal stories of their war experiences.
During the next few months the exhibition will be condensed to allow the display of other articles which show other fascinating aspects of the rich history of Forbes.
The Advocate’s coverage of that night continues:
“At the monument a special demonstration took place. Speeches were delivered, and the speakers were heartily cheered ...
“Captain Boddy on to the monument and hoisted the flap. This was a signal for a great outburst of cheering.
“It is great news,” said the Captain. “Everyone can have a holiday to-morrow. The man that goes to work ought to be pulled out. If anyone in this town got ten hours sleep tonight, I hope he is covered with centipedes in the morning.”' (Cheers)
READ MORE: Women in war, the story of Rania MacPhillamy