‘At 11 o’clock this morning the war will be over.’ Lloyd George repeated the words again and again to the ecstatic crowd. Later, after lunch at No 10, he was carried shoulder high from Downing Street to the House of Commons. There he announced the terms of the Armistice to an equally delighted chamber of MPs.
After he had announced the terms, Lloyd George proposed that both Houses of Parliament should adjourn for the rest of the day:
‘This is no time for words. Our hearts are too full of a gratitude to which no tongue can give adequate expression. I will therefore move “That this House do immediately adjourn until this time tomorrow, and that we proceed, as a House of Commons, to St Margaret’s, to give humble and reverent thanks for the deliverance of the world from its great peril.”‘
Henry Asquith, the previous Prime Minister, seconded the motion. Watched by an enthusiastic crowd, both Houses of Parliament duly trooped across the road to St Margaret’s, the little church beside Westminster Abbey, to attend a thanksgiving service for the cessation of hostilities.
The Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service. The congregation sang ‘O God our help in ages past’ before getting down on their knees and praying that nothing like the past four years would ever happen again.
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 132. Smaller and more intimate than Westminster Abbey, St Margaret’s is often used by Parliament for church services. In 1618, the headless body of a famous Englishman was buried here after his execution nearby in Old Palace Yard. Who was he?