This month sees the annual commemoration to the dead of two world wars and subsequent conflicts. Times Group historians PERCY REBOUL and JOHN HEATHFIELD look at what became of people when the First World War ended

As is well known, the First World War ended at 11am, on November 11, 1918 and much has been recorded about that historical event.

The end of the hostilities, however, marked another event. There was no need to continue making guns, tanks, munitions and all the paraphernalia of war. The transition to peace was now one of the problems and, perhaps the greatest of these, was what was to become of the thousands who had been employed in the war effort, many of them women, some widows of the 750,000 men killed in the conflict.

The local newspapers of the time, a main source of local information, provide testimony to some of the problems in our own area. On November 19, 1918, an article headed After-War Problems' said: "After a week of unrestrained rejoicing, the nation will have to settle down to deal with great problems - the demobilisation of the army and munitions workers and the settling of them into civilian life.

"Where places have been kept open, the men returning from the front must have every consideration. Nevertheless, the munitions workers from the De Doin works at Finchley will need special consideration as most of them are women and many are war widows. Special unemployment pensions have been announced by the government: 24 shillings a week for men; ten shillings for women; with six shillings for the first child and three shillings for the next; 12 shillings for boys aged 15 to 18, and ten shillings for girls. Not more than 13 weeks will be paid."

The De Doin workers were not happy. A number of them demonstrated at the offices of the Board of Works, requesting equal treatment as that granted to other war workers. Six to seven hundred of them took a tram journey to Whitehall, singing We don't want charity', and were apparently listened to because it was decided to keep the factory open until January to ensure Christmas wages. A few years later De Doin became makers of very good back axles for vehicles.

As ever in such situations, there were some people who did well. The McCurd lorry factory in Finchley, which had been making army lorries, was closed. Shortly afterwards, H.A. Saunders bought the old chapel in Totteridge Lane, and from it sold surplus army lorries and spares. He started with one employee and did well enough to become the Austin main agent for the district and opened a large garage near to where Sainsbury's supermarket in Finchley now stands. McCurd eventually became Carrymore Six Wheelers and then a police garage.

Another tragic legacy of the war was the large number of people who had been wounded, gassed or lost a limb. Although awarded a modest state pension it was soon recognised that not enough was being done to meet their needs, so the British Legion was formed. The first Poppy Day was on November 11, 1921. The poppies were made by disabled servicemen.

Public organisations also provided work for the disabled and many older readers will remember them employed as life attendants, meter readers, receptionists, watchmen and railway ticket collectors.