Friday, 8 May 2015

Seventy years ago today...

Tuesday 8th May 1945.

VE Celebrations at Avenue House, Finchley.
 Picture from Barnet At War by Percy Reboul and John Heathfield.
"I wonder whether any two of the millions of people in London will think the same thoughts today about the date when the change in their lives from War to Peace commenced." Herbert Brush, Our Hidden Lives

"The great day - so long awaited - arrived at last and, very soberly and with a great inward pride in the men and women of our nation particularly, we rejoiced at our deliverance." Clara Milburn, Mrs Milburn's Diaries

"It was very sultry then and the sky was dark. I had only just got back when the rain began to fall, and then there was a terrific thunderstorm...the weather report, which we haven't heard on the wireless for over five and a half years, was given out again today. It may be much the same weather tomorrow."  Clara Millburn.

"There was the stillness of a Sunday when we awoke, and this continued all morning. I spent the morning doing some useful work in the garden, and then, as it started to rain, stayed in during the afternoon....After tea we went for a short walk and found quite a few flags displayed by the houses, although there was nothing elaborate....We still cannot realise that the war in Europe is indeed at an end. It is true that I have removed some more of the blackout today, as  I promised myself on Peace Day, but somehow I still have a sneaking feeling that it may be wanted again any time." George Taylor, Our Hidden Lives.

"...when we came to bed fireworks began banging off - as if there hadn't been enough bangs in this War. Useless things like salvoes of guns." Clara Milburn.

"In January 1941 we purchased some tinned chicken, and as we have never been called upon to use it, we promised ourselves a treat on Peace Day, and we did open it today. As with many things, it proved somewhat of a disappointment, for although it is genuine is spoilt by aspic jelly. Another long cherished tin, of sausages purchased in November 1941, proved much more acceptable for lunch." George Taylor.

"I was working on Father's farm - he had managed to get me released from my job in a reserved occupation - so where we were there wasn't much going on at all! But there were church bells ringing everywhere." Kathleen Bamfield - my mother.

"This morning's weather seemed symbolic. It was as if in the thunder one heard Nature's roll of drums for the fallen, then one loud salvo of salute over our heads and the tears of the rain pouring for the sorrow and suffering of the War. And then the sun came out and shed its brightness and warmth on the earth." Clara Milburn.

For more information on my sources see:
Mrs Milburn's Diaries  
Our Hidden Lives
Barnet at War        


Guernsey Girl said...

I really do love reading people's memories of the day war finally came to an end. How understated they seem compared to today's excessive excitement over material things like the very latest mobile phone or a luxury holiday abroad. On VE day peace was the luxury many thought they'd never have again. Thanks for a really interesting post.

Patsy said...

Can't imagine what the end of the war was like - and I'm very thankful for that.