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Mentone Girls' Grammar School | Kerferd Library

Library News

Remembrance Day, 11 November

by Simon Black on 2020-11-11T08:00:00+11:00 in History | Comments

The significance of Silence:

By observing one minute's silence we pay tribute to the men and women who have served and are still serving in our defence forces and remember those who have died or suffered in conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations. Silence for one or two minutes is included in ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies as a sign of respect and a time for reflection. The idea for the two minute silence is said to have originated with Edward George Honey, a Melbourne journalist and First World War veteran who was living in London in 1919. He wrote a letter to the London Evening News in which he appealed for five minutes silence, to honour the sacrifice of those who had died during the war. In October 1919, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a South African, suggested a period of silence on Armistice Day (now commonly known as Remembrance Day) in all the countries of the empire. Throughout the war, whenever South African troops suffered heavy losses on the Western Front, a period of silence had been observed at noon in Cape Town. 

Fitzpatrick's suggestion was presented to King George V, who readily agreed to the proposal. But after a trial with the Grenadier guards at Buckingham Palace, at which both Honey and Fitzpatrick were present, the period of silence was shortened to two minutes. On 6 November 1919, the King sent a special message to the people of the Commonwealth: "I believe that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance, and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it". The King requested that "a complete suspension of all our normal activities "be observed for two minutes at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" so that "in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead"

Two minutes silence was first observed in Australia on the first anniversary of the Armistice and continues to be observed on Remembrance Day, 11 November. Over the years, the two minute silence has also been incorporated into ANZAC Day and other commemorative ceremonies. Australian Army (2020). 

Remembrance Day - Behind the News:

Source: ABC. (Producer). (2017). Remembrance Day. [Online video]. Retrieved from
The Last Post:

Source: Royal Australian Air Force. (Producer). (2012). The last post. [Online video]. Retrieved from

The Kerferd Library's guide to war poetry:

Portraits of Australians at war:

Left - France, 1918. Sister Martha Ann King, Australian army nursing service (AANS). Right - Studio portrait of 3047 Acting Corporal James Joseph Fitzsimons, 10th Reinforcements, 6th Battalion, of Mentone, Vic.

Source: Left image - Unknown. (1918). Sister Martha Ann King. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Right image - Darge Photographic Company. (1915) Portrait of James Joseph Fitzsimons. [Photograph]. Retrieved from
Informal family portrait of four siblings of the Malcolm family of Melbourne, Victoria, all of whom served during the First World War and returned home to Australia. Left to right: Lieutenant Norman Harty Malcolm; Sister Stella Agnes Blythe Malcolm, Australian Army Nursing Service; Lt Eric Hamilton Malcolm, 3rd Divisional Artillery; Staff Nurse Edith Eileen Malcolm, AANS.
Source: Unknown. (1919). Malcolm family of Melbourne. [Photograph]. Retrieved from

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