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Letter from Henry Galle, Morton Enterprise, 12-27-1918

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Henry Galle
May 14, 1893 – August 10, 1971

Morton Boy Sees Big Celebration in London

London, Eng., Nov 15, 1918

My Dear Mother,

Received you dear letters a few days ago. It was the first I had received for almost a month. Sure glad to hear from you. I am sure you had some rejoicing in the States when the armistice was signed. We certainly did here and it has been going all week since Monday morning. I was signed at five o’clock a. m. and we got the news three hours later. Whistles blew, bells rang and the people just went mad with joy. Everybody forgot all care from that time on. About fifty of us from the hospital went on a parade Monday night, headed by an American flag and went down thru the streets having a big time. Before we got very far there was a crowd about three blocks long following the Yanks, as they called us. Am sending you a clipping taken from a London paper.

The weather is getting a little better over here, not so much rain. Had a little frost.

We will not know very much of what’s going to be doing until after peace is signed. May be some time yet. I don’t suppose we will be home for six months after the peace treaty has been signed. We’re going to have a grand old time, ma, when we get back home again. Will write real often as soon as censorship regulations are taken off. Write often, with love.

Your son, Henry

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“Joy” Night Scenes in London:
London is still “keeping up” the German surrender.

For the third night in succession huge cheering crowds perambulated the West End and indulged in all kinds of horseplay.

The King and Queen, who were accompanied by Princess Mary, came in for another great reception yesterday when they paid a visit to the East End.

To-day their Majesties will motor through South London. Leaving Buckingham Palace at 2:30, the route will be:

Birdcage-walk, Westminster Bridge-road, St. George’s road, New Kent-road, New Cross-road, Queen’s-road, High-street, Peckham, Peckham-road, Church street, Camberwell New-road, Kennington Oval, Vauxhall Bridge-road. Victoria-street, Buckingham Palace-road.

Surging Masses
The West End of London last night presented a wonderful sight.
Soon after seven o’clock huge crowds began to assemble in Whitehall, the Strand, Trafalgar-square, Piccadilly and other West End streets.
Scores of thousands of people formed a surging mass, and they wandered aimlessly about, indulging in all sorts of minor horseplay.
The streets became impassable. Soldiers, munition girls and frenzied youths pushed their way through the crowd making a deafening din, making weird noises on still weirder instruments. Bells were rung, trumpets and bugles blown, and there was much banging of tins.

Hawkers’ Harvest
Hawkers did a great trade in ”ticklers”, squirters and all the other paraphernalia of horseplay.
The people were quite good-humoured if in a madly excited condition, but at times there were some ugly rushes through the haphazard discharge of fireworks.

Tube Stations Guarded
Tens of thousands of people strolled about Trafalgar-square in the brilliant light, and there was another great concourse of people at Piccadilly-circus.
Huge motor-lorries filled with frenzied young men and women added to the indescribable confusion.
Precautions had to be taken to have the Tube stations guarded by the police.

Fireworks Queues
There were such big crowds outside shops where fireworks are sold that the police had to interfere and establish orderly queues.

Thoughtless Folly
The masonry of the Nelson Column in Trafalgar-square was damaged by two huge bonfires which were lighted at its base by a vast crowd of “peace” rejoicers on Tuesday night.
This act of vandalism, which is characterized by everyone as outrageous anti inexcusable, even in the circumstances now prevailing, is heartily condemned as “thoughtless folly.”

How Fire Started
“The fire started”, said an eye-witness, “with the advertisement canvas and the scaffolding of the big War Bond posters on the column.
“This blazed up pretty well, and the prime movers looked round for more fuel. They seized the heavy wood and iron seats in the square and piled them on to the flames.

Hun Gun for Bonfire
“There was a contractor’s hut on wheels, wheelbarrows and a pitch-tank standing near. The mob pushed the hut over and threw it on to the bonfire.
“Wheelbarrows, poles and trestles were all utilized. Then the soldiers filled barrels with wooden blocks and shot the lot on to the fire. The blazing pitch ran everywhere and the heat was terrific. In addition, blocks were torn up out of the road and made a lurid flame.
“Then someone thought of the German guns in the Mall and the crowd ran there and returned, pushing a huge gun, which they wheeled on to one of the bonfires. The police were powerless, and when the fire brigade arrived soldiers prevented them getting to work.”

Hose Turned on Firemen
The firemen proceed to keep the crowd back by turning the hose on them, but Australian soldiers wrestled the pipe away and others slashed it with knives, causing the water to swerve high into the air.

The King in East End
Huge crowds cheered the King and Queen as they drove yesterday to the East End of London.
On arriving at the Mansion House their Majesties were received by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. His Majesty alighted and after a few minutes chat re-entered the carriage and the royal party continued their progress.
On Tower-hill a deputation composed of working men and girls had arrived with a huge Union Jack on a gigantic pole, which required the combined strength of four men to hoist.
A scene of splendid loyalty was witnessed as their Majesties drove past.

Channel Lights
For the first time since the outbreak of war the Channel lights were visible last night.