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PEACE DAY IN LONDON., Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14800, 2 January 1919
PEACE DAY IN LONDON.
♦ CITY WILD WITH JOY. GAY SCENES IN STREETS. KING CHEERED TO ECHO. : ; "AULD LANG SYNE' AT PALACE. LONDON; Nov. 12, Sunday was full of strange voices. Every aeroplane that crossed overhead far up m the blue sky seemed to be carrying, news of the signing of the armistice. Every motor cycle and motor car that throbbed past — these things are not numerous nowadays — semed to have some special message for those who could read omens, Yet there was no impatience. The steady reports of disorder m Germany were a good sedative — something to go on with. Just a few suburban dwellers anticipated the lightning relaxations which we were promised when -peace -was signed, and had their" suppers with blinds raised. ' Monday was .a typical early winter day. When I went into the city tlie only flag flying was the banner of Australia, on the fine new buildings m Aldwych. It was just one day out of hundreds the same— cold, drab, and inhospitable. Some hours earljer ; the armistice had been signed, and m a hundred messes from end to end of the country the eagles of the Royal Air Force-.' now at the end of their long and gallant campaign, celebrated the fact m the chilly dawn. But the general public knew nothing. At 10.20 o'clock the Press Bureau p.ave out this:. "The Prime Minister makes the following announcement : The armistice was signed at five o'clpck this morning,' and hostilities are. to cease on all .fronts at 11-a.m. to-day^'' This.gqt abroad m the streets about ten minutes later, and "from that moment the whole- face of the city began to change. The streets were crowded ■■with people rushing to and fro and' scrambling tqr flags. .. ;• ■ At ten minutes' to .eleven -Mr. Lloyd George appeared , on the ..balcony at •10 Downing street, where a dense crowd was clamoring for hull, and said a few words m his characteristic manner. He said that the war would be over m 10 minutes. It ■ w-as a great victory, - and they had earned a shout. He then re- j tired ■within the window. Meanwhile London was seething. Every window was thrown open, and every clerk, shop-assistant, and typist and warehouseman m the metropolis rushed to the street. The footpaths became m a few moments hopelessly jambed. Tho news that the fighting would cease at eleven got into the. farthest cranny of the great city, and everyone was* at attention when the moment came. PANDEMONIUM BREAKS LOOSE. Excitement Mas intense. On the tick of eleven, bang 'went the maroons from the .police-stations throughout the metropolis. It is said that there were people m "some of the suburbs who thought it was another air-raid, and ran white-faced to their doors to scan the sky for the destroyers. But m London itself there was not a soul who did not know that this was the moment for which they had waited for four long years. When the first explosions went off. some stood still m the streets, and many raised their hats. By the time the second and third reports sounded, their was nothing but wild cheering from street to street — a pandemonium of yells and shouts: It was useless to think of checking the outburst ; and who would wish to ? ; From that moment London belonged to the. pent-up emotions of a -people ■ that had neither laughed nor wept for four long years. At.no time had it been on the crest of elation; at no time m tiie depth of despair, and it. had every right to let itself go now and commit such follies as it listed. ...'.' " . - ' "You avo. well entitled to rejoice," isuid the- Prime- Minister, as lie emerged again from the, window, and, with, his wife on". one .side and Mi 1 . Bonar Law atid Mr. .."Winston Churchill Wit oilier, waited for silence to address the tumult below him. It was a seething mass now, with a canopy of wildlywaving flags of all colors. "The people of this Empire, with their Allies, have won a great victory. It is the sons and daughters of the people who have done it. Let us thank God." MR CHURCHILL CAUGHT. Then he retired to the thousand toils of tho day, before him,, and the: crowd poured out of Downing street intcVVhitehall, and from Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. It cheered itseM hoarse before the old Admiralty buildings and the War Office: ' In Trafalgar Square Mr Churchill was mobbed as he: tried to get through m his motor, and had to make a speech. But few, if any, heard him, and he was borne, away Avhen the .mass surged along waving his hat above his head. . It is a. marvel where the people came from. A few minutes later 1 walked along the Strand, and, -had' the greatest difficulty getting along! _By this .time Everybody Was' everybody's; friend: : Girls had poured out of their offices without hats and climbed on to any and every motor or taxi, or 'bus £hat was going slowly •enough. For awhile the 'bus conductresses did their duty nobly .m a struggling and cheering mass of people. ; The tops of the 'buses became the best possible points of vantage, and every seat was soon taken by people who. remained there all the morning, and well on into the- afternoon, travelling; ,from end to,end of the route, and cheering "every vehicle that passed. ' Half -a-dozen men stood on the canopy over the driver and generally halt a \dozen on the steps. Army' waggons were loaded down with girls from, bonnet to tailboard. Even horse-vans were stormed by the crowds, and the drivers without any goqds oh board at all, merely kept their ' horse's moving' along with the traffic and looked fatalists. : Coalcarts that had dropped theiiyrloads bore ' solid masses 'of i men' and- soldiers and 1 girls, and children} standing shoulder to shoulder. • . ■ ALL RULES GO' BY TEfE BOARD. Private motors were stormed m the sanie. way, generally by bevies- o.f office girls or canteen, and proceed: ed on their., way or on somebody elsejs, with loads four times m "excess of'.theiii ia,m}A f ". , Pqlitjempn on .point duty' smiled and waved their arms copiously to show that all regulations .^ere suspended; and all 'rights of proper^;' were 'null and void. , Every vehicle m London 1 belonged to' whoever likfed to' climb into it. ,-..- ' On -foot crowds artd regiments and battalions .of. the ■ unlisted legions tramped along, soldiers arm m arm, with grrl clerks,' officers arm m, arm with privates before the <day ,>vaa .much farther advanced. By half -past, eleven o'clock eVeryone was intoxicated with excitement. . First soldiers and then Commissioned 'officers began to exchange hats with the girls 'on .their arms. What looked .funny, at" 11.15 was a single.Austral iai> poldier wearing somebody's hard' hat instead of his own. .By half -past eleven 'it - wiis , almost; funny "to ■ see = soldiers, wearing their own fiats. Dress regulations went.' by tho board. Tommies shook hands with officers-^, both smiling .genuinely. Every .'bus and taxi and motor that came along -now. had people clinging also to the. springs and tlie running board, and rowsof them sitting- -oil" the hoods, the girls' wearing, the soldiers' hats, and, officers and- meft .both wearing fomalo head-dress. TJV, that time tilings had gone so far that;!' found the first New Zealander de%ing the dress regulations. ,He was. o|; the artillery, and had permitted hifc girl tp take his, hat. Australia had gone, much farther and • fas^i 1 ' m the goheral demoralisation'of discipline. , . -.'- -'■-■• . . V No season m London ever experienced sticha multitude of traffic. Through' the : whole triumphal way by Oxford stree|,i T?egent street, Strand, fflce^-
PEACE DAY IN LONDON., Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLVI, Issue 14800, 2 January 1919
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