Foch (center, with cane) and Wemyss (to the immediate left) pictured outside the train car in which the armistice was signed.
November 11 1918, Compiègne–The German armistice delegation at Compiègne had attempted to secure better terms, but had failed at doing so, apart from a slight extension of the two-week timeframe to evacuate Belgium, France, and Alsace-Lorraine. On November 10, they received notification that the Kaiser had abdicated, and received instruction from the new Chancellor, Ebert, that they were to sign the armistice as they were. Shortly after 5AM local time (GMT) on the 11th, Erzberger, the other Germans, Foch, and Wemyss signed the armistice. The armistice was slated to go into effect six hours after the signing (backdated to 5AM), at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Fighting continued until 11AM across the front, though dampened by rain that day. Gunner B.O. Stokes, with the New Zealand Field Artillery, recalled:
We heard the announcement of the Armistice when we were still in the Forest de Mormal on a cheerless, dismal, cold, misty day. There was no cheering or demonstration. We were all tired in body and mind, fresh from the tragic fields of battle, and this momentous announcement was too vast in its consequences to be appreciated or accepted with wild excitement. We trekked out of the wood on this dreary day in silence.
In some sectors, six hours was not enough time to convey news of the armistice to troops in the thick of fighting. Parts of 89th Division, which had attacked at 4AM that morning, did not stop fighting until noon. There are no known reports of any shooting continuing beyond 12:30 in the afternoon.
I leave you with a recollection from American Private Frank W. Groves:
At the front our days and nights were filled with the sounds and smells of the bombardment. Never were we free of it and we had learned to live with it. On November 11 at 11:00 am those sounds and vibrations abruptly stopped. The quietness that followed was awesome; you could feel it – almost smell and taste it. There was no singing, no shouting, no laughter; we just stood around and looked and listened.