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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Desertion after Armistice Day


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While working on medal rolls in the past few months I couldn't help notice a number of men who, having served over four years in the ranks, decided to desert shortly after Armistice Day. Most of the enlistments in 1914-Feb 1916 were "3 years or the duration". I can only assume some felt that Armistice Day marked the end of the war and they wanted to go home. I understand that the 'Official' end of the war was not rubber-stamped until much later, but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on the legality of holding onto men after Armistice Day. I believe Armistice Day is not (legally speaking) the end of the Great War. 


Deserters, when caught would have their prior service erased and would start again in the ranks. SO a New Army 1914 recruit who deserted in 1918 and was caught, would have to do another 3 years at least. It seems as if the risk/reward is heavily against desertion yet some still managed to make the leap....





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For the UK the war ended on 31st August, 1921, as fixed in the Termination of the Present War Act of 1918. 

This is the official date on which the British Government declared the war to be at an end (and is the final date for CWGC commemoration).






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