This Veterans’ Day, on November 11 at 11:00 A.M., marks the 100th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in World War 1, and the Allied forces’ victory over Germany in 1918.
My family has a direct connection with this historic moment: my father Philip Foisie (1896-1996) had left Harvard in his junior year to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1918. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, he was sent to fight with the 19th Field Artillery in the Champagne region of France, near Rheims, where the Foisie family ancestors have been traced since 1671. He saw action in the Battles of Saint-Dieu, Saint-Mihel, and Meuse-Argonne, under horrendous troop conditions of trench warfare and poison gas attacks. Finally on November 11, he received the following orders:
Headquarters 5th Field Artillery Brigade
American Expeditionary Forces, France
11th November 1918
GENERAL ORDERS: “ARMISTICE SIGNED EFFECTIVE 11 HOURS 11 NOVEMBER 1918, ALL HOSTILITIES AND ADVANCE MUST CEASE. HOLD AND ACCURATELY REPORT LINE REACHED AT THAT HOUR. NO COMMUNICATION WILL BE HAD WITH THE ENEMY.
Thoroughly explain that an armistice is not a peace, and that our status is that of a unit in line of battle in war; all laws and rules of war apply. No change in Brigade orders as to personnel. Improve condition of men and horses; clean equipment. Keep ready and alert.” By command of Brigadier General Rivers.
Years later my father returned to active duty; during World War II, he and other surgeons from Boston set up Army hospitals in England to operate on the wounded from battlefields in France.
By Annette Foisie