History

How We Celebrated VE Day

Garden Parties

Rosemarie Hunt, Branston U3A

I am fortunate to have my daughter and son in law plus my 2 grand-daughters living with me. So we had a VE Day party in my back garden at lunch time.

There were sandwiches including cucumber which the little one loves, and a selection of cakes. We even managed to have 40’s music playing thanks to google.

My grand-daughters loved it and we explained what VE day is for and about what their great grandparents were fighting for so a good history lesson for them.

Hanna and Kevin, Chester U3A

We hung the bunting and put pictures up of our parents in the window, either in the RAF or occupied in Holland so we remembered both sides.

Music

Helen Nattrass, Canterbury U3A

I live in Canterbury in a street like ‘Coronation St’ windows straight onto the pavement. We all have small gardens at the back. At 6pm I am going to open my French doors and give a short harpsichord recital for the neighbours. There will be J S Bach, François Couperin and some wild 16th century Venetian dance music.  After that we will drink the bottles of champagne which I have hoarded for a year or two. 

Art

Hazel Williams, Norton Radstock U3A

I did this pastel of a poppy to put in my window for VEDay in memory of my Father who served in the Far East for 4 years during WW2.
I sent it to other members of Norton Radstock U3A so that they could print it out and put it in their windows too.

Frances Coombs, Leigh Estuary U3A

I painted these two pictures, the first a typical view of a bunting-hung street in Leigh on Sea enjoying a distanced celebration. Second, memories of 1945 when I was two living in Hampstead (the pub is the Old White Bear off New End).

Website Pages

Beverley Crofts, Bolsover District Chair

Bolsover District U3A produced a webpage dedicated to members experiences of VE Day 1945, and subsequent anniversary celebrations.  We received some phenomenal personal stories and photographs of street parties, medals and service men and women as well as sharing recipes that might have been eaten on the day.

To view go here.

Memories

Derek Marcus, Palmers Green & Southgate U3A

I was in Trafalgar Square that day – as a 12-year old schoolboy, along with my cousin one year older. At that time parents thought nothing of two little boys going on the train from Leytonstone in East London into the centre of town.  I can’t remember much else apart from turning my head round to find a police horse’s nose in my face.  No chance of spotting me in those old films of the day!

Alan Crunden, who lives in the Midlands

As a trainee pilot with the Fleet Air Arm, I had a long week-end off in London.  So VE Day found my three Aunties and me heading towards Trafalgar Square.  It was marvellous.  Every pub was giving free drinks (including whisky) to all in uniform.  We sang, we danced, we hugged, we kissed.  We pushed into Trafalgar Square, and separated.  I headed into the Mall, then into Hyde  Park, sat down for a bit, then headed towards Buckingham Palace.  Huge crowd shouting for King and Queen to appear on balcony.  I did my bit.  I am now with two girls, (of course), shouting away, and every time they appeared on balcony I am admiring the flower borders and getting sick.  Then back to shouting again.  Etc.  How I got home in South London I don`t know, but I did.  I still look at the pictures of the crowds looking for a photo of me but no good.

Hazel Bell, Welwyn Hatfield U3A

I was nine years old on VE Day, at a boarding school that had been evacuated to Woolacombe in Devon. All I really recall is that the girls were all given lengths of red, white and blue ribbon. I still have mine
– in the war, we were taught not to throw things away!

Frank Farmer, Palmers Green and Southgate U3A

 It was marked with a street party outside my Dad’s greengrocer’s shop in Clapton E5. The pub opposite our shop was the only building left standing on the other side of our street, so a string of Union Jacks was stretched from my Mum and Dad’s bedroom window (above the shop) to the upstairs windows of the pub. A man brought round his removals van and a wind-up gramophone was in the back and dance music was played.

All the neighbours turned out and danced in the road, while the older people sat on their kitchen chairs brought out of their terraced houses. What a night!   I was 11 (coming on 12) and all the kids had a wonderful time. I had been evacuated three times, and we had been buried under the wreckage of our place for four hours after a ‘Doodlebug’ fell up the road killing 17 people on July 1944! What memories.