VE Day

In May 1945, the German High Command authorised the signing of an unconditional surrender on all fronts. The war in Europe was over. The surrender was to take effect at midnight on 8th –9th May 1945. The following day was declared VE (Victory in Europe) Day. Meanwhile, in Australia, celebration was tempered with the knowledge that the war in the Pacific was still to be won.

It was a warm sunny day and I was walking with Mam and Tommy from Hymers Street to Gran and Grandad’s house, a few streets away in Harrison Street.

VE Day bunting

All the street walls were emblazoned with red, white and blue Vs painted on the brick walls. Flags were strung across the street in colourful lines. Long rows of trestle tables were being prepared for the street victory party.

On the way home a deafening roar made us look skywards. A huge RAF bomber (probably a Lancaster) made a low pass overhead. I remember seeing the open bomb doors displaying an empty bomb bay. Dad told me it was to signify peace. The plane was so low we could clearly see the pilot waving.

This was not the only celebration; our sister Coral was born on 17th June.

Vera Lynn – ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ 1945
There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow
When the world is free

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