In 1918 the western front had moved back and forth, first, the Germans Spring Offensive had gained them territory though with exhausted supplies and reinforcements the Allies had great success in the '100 Days' campaign.
For four years the Germans had experienced hardship at home and with the Allies success, social unrest and revolutions caused the Kaiser to abdicate. In their weak position, the Germans had to sign the Armistice. The terms were mainly written by the Allied Supreme Commander Marshal Ferdinared Foch, on who's railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne the signing took place, included the withdrawal of German forces to behind the Rhine and occupation of the Rhineland by the Allies.
The cost of the war had been huge. It is estimated that the total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was about 40 million: estimates range from 15 to 19 million deaths and about 23 million wounded military personnel, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
Last year we remembered the battle of Passchendaele, where it is possible that our builder James Pegrum's ancestor, Wilfred Pegrum, suffered fatal injuries. We took Wilfred's story and used it to explore the chain of evacuation, which took wounded soldiers from the front line to be treated in relative safety. During research, James came across the death of another relative, Thomas Pegrum, who died at the Battle of Jutland 31 May – 1 June 1916. James was struck by the youth of Thomas, who when he died was around the same age as his nephew, also named Thomas, both younger than 20 years. While neither James or his family ever knew Wilfred or Thomas, they remembered them today at their local memorial in Newton Abbot.
Wilfred and Thomas are unknown beyond there names and place on a family tree, they will be remembered this Sunday.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.
For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon