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When Ipswich Celebrated like it's 1919 to mark the end of the Great War

PUBLISHED: 11:36 20 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 20 July 2019

Civic dignitaries at Peace Day celebrations in Ipswich. PICTURE: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL

Civic dignitaries at Peace Day celebrations in Ipswich. PICTURE: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL

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A century ago this weekend the country marked the return of peace. The Armistice which ended the First World War may have been signed on November 11 1918, but it was not until July the following year that peace formally returned.

Crowds gathered to mark Peace Day in Ipswich, Picture; ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIALCrowds gathered to mark Peace Day in Ipswich, Picture; ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL

July 19, 1919 was recognised across the country as "World Peace Day" following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended hostilities the previous month.

The Paris Peace Conference - which sorted out the final details at the end of the conflict - was finally completed in 1920.

The Peace Day celebrations included and aqua demonstration in the Round Pond at Christchurch Park. Picture: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIALThe Peace Day celebrations included and aqua demonstration in the Round Pond at Christchurch Park. Picture: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL

Across Britain, villages, towns and cities marked World Peace Day with celebrations and sombre reflection to mark the end of a conflict that had cost millions of lives and disrupted civilisation.

In Ipswich the day started with a church service at 8am before the Borough Council held a special meeting to offer a Loyal Address to the King and Queen.

The oak planted to mark Peace Day is still thriving in Christchurch Park. Picture: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIALThe oak planted to mark Peace Day is still thriving in Christchurch Park. Picture: ANDREW BEAL/IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL

Lunchtime was marked by a Royal Salute of six field guns at the northern end of the park which marked the end of the formal events and the start of the fun in the park.

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In the afternoon there were sports in Christchurch Park where the emphasis was more on having a good time than showing off athletic prowess - including an aquatic display in the Round Pond next to the mansion itself.

The day finished with a firework display in a similar position to that still used for the town's main Bonfire Night celebrations in November.

Andrew Beal, who runs the Ipswich Memorial web page and has tracked down the stories of many of the Ipswich service personnel who fell in the war, said the event clearly attracted huge crowds who were keen to celebrate the return of peace.

He has tracked down photographs and news reports from the Evening Star which recorded the event - and outlined plans for further peace celebrations in August.

The July 19 celebrations were held on a Saturday which was declared a national holiday - showing that day was normally regarded as a normal working day for most people.

Across the country thousands of oak trees were planted to mark the return of peace - in Ipswich one was planted by the mayor Edward Ransome and the other by the mayoress Florence Ransome.

Both are thriving in the park today with plaques marking the occasion of their planting.

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