Today’s observance of the World War I Armistice centenary makes me think of my paternal great-uncle, John Loe.

Uncle John served on transport troop ships during World War I. On November 11, 1918, he was serving on the USS Louisville. At the moment the Armistice was signed, he took the photograph (featured above) from the mainmast of the USS Louisville. His caption on the back of the photo reads “Laying in at Brest[,] Signing of the Peace Treaty.”

World War I Armistice

351st Field Artillery troops on the deck of the Louisville, 17 Feb 1919 (courtesy NARA)

Originally the private passenger liner St. Louis, the ship was delivered to New York to be operated by the Navy as a troop transport. She was renamed USS Louisville (SP-1644), as a cruiser named St. Louis was already in service in the Navy. Louisville was commissioned on 24 April 1918. Her maiden voyage as a troop ship began 12 October, bound for England. From her return on 7 January 1919 to 19 August, USS Louisville made six voyages from New York to Liverpool or to Brest, France, to return American soldiers home from the Great War.

Thanks, Uncle John, for your photo of the World War I Armistice at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”