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Memories of Victory

May 8, 2020
 

It is May 8, 2020. Seventy five years since the war in Europe ended. We have seen the old news reels, heard the old speeches and heard Vera Lynn sing “We’ll Meet Again” again, for those of my generation, we also have our own memories of those momentous days when the war came to an end. My home was in the London suburbs, not a particularly popular target for the Luftwaffe, but still subject to bombing by planes that were lost or avoiding the greater flak risk of central London. Like most of the hoses in our neighbourhood we had received significant damage
for the bombing and the V1s and V2s, and by May 1945 there were already builders and decorators at work repairing the damage, paid I presume by the Government. In our house all the interior ceilings were cracked and need to be replaced. This meant that plasterboard replaced the plaster and lath construction that had previously been there. This in turn meant that there was a large amount of discarded wood around, not only from our house, but others on the street. It was decided to have a neighbourhood bonfire to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. Using a hand cart a mass of combustibles was collected and take to a vacant site just down the road. A scarecrow type reproduction of Hitler was hung from a telegraph pole outside our house, with a message on a sheet of paper pinned to his chest, it read “mit me 7:30, watch me burn 7:45″. At 7:30 we duly processed down the road with the neighbours and a magnificent blaze ensued. I have no doubt that the adults carried on a more alcoholic celebration later that night but it would have been after my bedtime.
VJ day came 3 months later, I remember that I was playing with a Meccano set in the living room with the radio on when the announcement came through. I remember going into the kitchen and asking my mother if now that the war was ended would my father still have to go to work! I was a little naive back then.

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5 Comments
  1. Thanks

    Love stories like today’s

    Provides much needed perspective

    Duncan

  2. Really nice – and important – for us all to read these kinds of remembrances and learn. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Robin permalink

    What a great story dad. I’m sure you’ve told it to me before but wonderful to hear some of the details. Also easier to relate to something like this now.

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