Shops Should Close On Armistice Centenary, Say Former Military Chiefs

Call for all shops to be closed on November 11 to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

All shops should be made to close on November 11 as Britain marks the centenary of the armistice, two former military chiefs have said.

The armistice was signed between the allies and Germany at Compiegne, France, and took effect on the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month".

A letter to the Times, signed by former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt, and former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West among others, read: "Marking as it does the centenary of the end of the First World War, we believe it would be right to mark it by ensuring that, as on Easter Day, all shops are closed that Sunday.

"We urge the Government to bring in the simple legislation necessary to ensure this very special act of remembrance in 2018."


The letter noted the move has been proposed and supported by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers at its annual conference.

Speaking to Forces News on the proposal, General Lord Dannatt said:

"It will give everybody the opportunity to think a little bit more about the 100th year anniversary of the end of the first World War.

"Even if it became a voluntary thing and even if shops said 'well, we won’t open at 10 this Sunday, lets open at 12' so around that 11 o’clock hour, shop workers and people who might be shopping can actually stop and think 'yes, this actually is the moment 100 years ago when the order was given to stop fighting'."

Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday fall on the same date in 2018 which also happens to be 100 years since the cessation of hostilities in the First World War.

The UK will mark 100 years since the end of the First World War with a procession of 10,000 civilians past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, the Culture Secretary announced earlier this month.

The event - titled A Nation's Thank You - The People's Procession - will be followed by bell ringing by churches across the country to echo the actions of British citizens 100 years ago.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture Media and Sport said: "On the centenary of the end of the First World War, it is right that we come together to give thanks to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who returned home to help shape the world we live in today.

"We encourage everyone, whatever their connection to the war, to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice in a way that is meaningful to them."

It is understood that shops and businesses will be free to decide whether to open on November 11 or not.