On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent.

It brought an end to four years of war which crippled Europe, leaving 17 million dead including 888,246 British or Colonial servicemen.

As we approach the centenary of the Armistice on November 11, the Imperial War Museum has released a recording of the moment the war ended, patched together using archive material from their collections.

The artillery activity it illustrates was recorded on the American front near the River Moselle, one minute before and one minute after the war ended.

Strangely, audio couldn’t be recorded at the time so the Allies created them using ‘sound ranging, which recorded the intensity of noise to photographic film (a seismograph for earthquakes is a good comparison).

This visual record allowed the Imperial War Museum to turn the moment back into audio to give an impression of what the moment was like.

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After listening to the piece, Tom Davidson said: ‘This soundpiece took me completely by surprise. So moving. I never realised the big guns were firing right up to the hour.

‘I can only wonder at what the silence of the ceasefire meant to those in the trenches. This, then silence, then then The Last Post. Imagine.’

Another woman wrote on Twitter: ‘I spent 15 minutes listening to this over and over, feeling it rattle my bones and thinking about how those involved would have felt upon hearing the silence.’

The audio exhibit was created by sound designers Coda to Coda using a bone conductor, which converts sounds into vibrations.

It makes up part of the Imperial War Museum’s exhibition for the centenary of the Armistice, Making a New World.

Read more here.

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