The ceremonies mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the moment when guns fell silent in 1918, ending the hostilities of World War I.
The sombre ceremonies were commemorated with a minute's silence at 11:00am (local time).
In Canberra, thousands of people gathered at the Australian War Memorial for the national ceremony where Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce joined others in laying wreaths.
Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.
First World War, 1914-18
1 October 1918 - Australian Light Horsemen take Damascus
The Light Horse advances into Damascus, the Syrian capital, at the end of the long and victorious advance that ended the First World War in the Middle East
30 October 1918 - Armistice with Turkey
Armistice signed with Turkey, ending Turkish involvement in the First World War. Australian troops had taken the most prominent part in the war against the Ottoman empire, especially on Gallipoli and in Sinai-Palestine.
31 October 1917 - Beersheba, Palestine
At Beersheba the 4th Light Horse Brigade's bold charge against Turkish positions at Beersheba, seized a critical wells that enabled British empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and advance into Palestine.
See -Australian & German Battle At
Australians on the Western Front 1914–1918
An Australian journey across the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium
World War I, 1914–1918
World War I, 1914-1918, was the 'Great War', the 'war to end all wars'. In that conflict, the most important battleground was the 'Western Front' in France and Belgium where great battles were fought with names that were once household words in Australia - Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passcshendaele, Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux. Of the more than 290,000 Australians who served in this theatre of war in the AIF, the Australian Imperial Force, 46,000 were either killed in action or died of their wounds. Dotted across the landscape of France and Belgium are hundreds of war cemeteries and memorials where these soldiers lie buried or where their names are listed among those thousands who have 'no known grave, the 'missing'. This website is dedicated to their memory and to those who served with them and returned to Australia, many of them wounded in body and spirit.
The Hindenburg Line- the last and strongest of the German army's defence - consisted of three well-defended trench systems, established in 1917. Throughout September 1918, Australian forces had helped the British army to secure positions from which an attack on the Hindenburg Line could be launched. Planning began for a major attack at the end of the month. It was hoped that this attack would finally break the power of the German army.
The Hindenburg Line: Breaking the Hindenburg Line
On 18 September 1918, Australia's preliminary attack was launched when Lieutenant General Sir John Monash's troops reached the first part of the Hindenburg Line. At 5.20 am, Monash's troops, supported by huge artillery barrages, attacked the heavily fortified German defences and machine-gun posts. Using only eight tanks (as well as dummy tanks to distract the Germans), they broke through German positions and took 4,300 prisoners. Although there were 1,000 dead or wounded, this cost was fairly slim compared to the losses of the German forces.
The Second Attack
On 29 September, the line was finally broken. Australian troops spearheaded this battle, given the task of breaking defences in the centre. They attacked a strongly defended sector at Bellicourt with tanks, artillery, and aircraft working in concert. Advances were made, but it was a struggle between the two forces. The fighting lasted four days and resulted in heavy losses.
Gunner J.R. Armitage wrote:
As we went over the ridge we found ourselves in the midst of the most wonderful and impressive battle field scene imaginable. It was a scene never to be forgotten with infantry, tanks, guns, everything in action in a sort of inferno of smoke and shell bursts.
Eventually, the Allies broke through the third and final stage of the Hindenburg Line, and the Germans were forced to fall back. Private Albert Golding wrote after the battle that he and some fellow diggers slept that night in an abandoned German trench and ate a hearty breakfast from hastily abandoned German supplies!
In this attack, troops captured the entrance to the St Quentin canal tunnel. Inside was a kitchen where German bodies were found – one of them in a cooking cauldron. There were wild claims that the enemy was boiling down the dead, and this was exploited by the allies’ propaganda system. Anti-German sentiment was so strong that it was widely believed. An investigation soon proved that, during the fighting, a shell had exploded in an improvised kitchen, killing the unfortunate Germans and throwing one into a pot.
An attack on 5 October The Australian last brigade fought and took Montbrehain village, and with that, the Hindenburg Line was completely broken.
On the 11 November 1918 Germany signs an armistice ending the fighting on the Western Front. The First World War ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
By this time, most Australian troops had been fighting for six months without a break, 11 out of 60 battalions were disbanded because there were so few men left in them, and 27,000 men had been killed or wounded since the Battle of Amiens. The troops were worn and war weary.
When the Australian Army came to France, the French people expected a great deal of you … We knew that you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the beginning you would astonish the whole continent … I shall go back tomorrow and say to my countrymen: ‘I have seen the Australians. I have looked into their faces. I know that these men … will fight alongside us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and our children. - French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, 1918