The “Eleventh Hour” (11th Hour)




“Eleventh Hour” (11th Hour)

Musings of a Veteran By VIKRAM KARVE




Dear Reader — you must have heard the idiom — “at the eleventh hour” — which means — “at the last possible moment”.

When you do something at the eleventh hour — you do it just in time — at the last possible moment — at the last minute — at the latest possible time.

Do you know the genesis of the term “eleventh hour” …?

How did this expression originate…?

Well — here is one explanation.

104 years ago — at 11 AM on 11 November 1918 — The First World War (WW1) ended — with the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WW1 — which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 — in accordance with the armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in First World War (WW1) between the Allies and their opponent Germany.

On 11 November 2018 — the Armistice was signed at around by 5:00 AM early in the morning but it would not come into force until 11:00 AM on that day (11 AM on 11 November 2018)

The ceasefire would come into effect at 11:00 AM.

The saying “at the eleventh hour” refers to the passing of the eleventh hour — or 11:00 AM — when — just before the ceasefire at 11:00 AM — the opposing armies tried to make “last minute” gains by fighting till the “eleventh hour”.




The last soldier killed in action in the First World War (WW1) died in the last minute before the Armistice — at the “eleventh hour”.

On the morning of the 11th of November 1918 — as the clocks were about to strike 11 — Sergeant Henry Gunther of the US Army made his mark in history by being killed at 10.59 — in the last minute before the ceasefire — at the “eleventh hour” — so to speak.

With bayonet fixed — he made a “heroic” charge against a German Machine Gun Nest and was shot in a short burst of automatic fire and killed instantly.

General John Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, ordered that Gunther be named the last American to die on the battlefield. Sergeant Henry Gunther was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Five years later — in 1923 — Gunther’s remains were returned to the United States after being exhumed from a military cemetery in France and buried at his hometown Baltimore with full military honours.






So — Dear Reader — when you hear the words “eleventh hour” — or — you do something “at the eleventh hour” — now you know how the expression “eleventh hour” originated.



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1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

2. This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

3. E&OE

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A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger

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Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger