End of the First World War – 11 a.m. on 11.11

Today is the 93d anniversary marking the end of the First World War.  Precisely at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011, it will be honoured across the globe with a two-minute silence.

Photograph of S.M. Berlin and the crew

Commemorate this event also by checking our newest collection of private memorabilia and stories from the times of the Great War.  The collection is made available through a crowdsourcing project “Europeana 1914-1918“.

The collection provides access to 20,856 images, 6,124 texts and 1 sound. One of its highlights is a diary of Rudolf Kämmerer, a seaman from the German auxiliary cruiser S.M. Berlin.

Map drawn by Rudolf Kämmerer in the diary he kept during the First World War

Frank Drauschke from the project shares:

Rudolf Kämmerer took part in only one military action during World War I. Afterwards he had plenty of time to write an extensive report about it with detailed coloured maps. Kämmerer’s diary tells the enthralling story of how the ship was interned and the whole crew were detained in Hommelsvik near Trondheim, in neutral Norway, from November 1914 till the end of the war.

Rudolf Kämmerer's war diary

‘S.M. Berlin’ was a passenger ship converted into a minelayer. On 17 October 1914, the cruiser left Wilhelmshaven loaded with 200 sea mines. Undetected, it passed all British sea barriers, circumnavigated Scotland and reached the Irish Sea. There, in the exit route of Glasgow, the sea mines were sunk. Still unnoticed, the cruiser continued its trip to the polar sea until the coal supply was spent. The ship had to call at the neutral harbour of Trondheim on 16 November 1914 and was detained there. For a long time, the Royal Navy was wondering where the mines in their home waters had come from – to which, among others, ‘HMS Audacious’ fell victim on 27 November 1914.

Drawing by Rudolf Kämmerer in his war diary

Do you also have an interesting object or story going back to the Great War? Please share!

4 thoughts on “End of the First World War – 11 a.m. on 11.11

  1. My grandfather was a private in the Ottoman Army during the First World War. He fought the British in Palestine and was taken prisoner of war after the Battle of Gaza. As the prisoners were taken by train towards Alexandria he and some other POWs were able to jump the waggons (or did the British let them?) and escape. According to family history he then had to walk all the way home to Istanbul through an Ottoman Empire in disintegration.

  2. My great Aunt Dora, who I remember for her cucumber sandwiches with no crusts and for calling everyone ‘Ducks’ lost her fiancee in WW1 as well as her older brother Bert, a week before the end. She never married because as she was wont to say ‘Well Ducks, all the good ones were done for’.

  3. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort
    to generate a really good article… but what can I say…
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