Dale Street Methodist Church

Leamington Spa

VE Day 75 Anniversary

Memories from some of our members:

VE Day 1945 by Elisabeth 

 No Street Party for me! I was 7 years and had gone into hospital in Truro a days before to have my tonsils out, an operation which was not uncommon for children at the time. I remember that my mother had taken me to a book shop and bought me 'Anne of the Island' - the latest in the series of Anne books I read so avidly. It cost 5 shillings, quite expensive. 

 I had had my operation and on May 8th, VE Day, the Mayor of Truro came to the ward to present all the children with a rather solid china mug on which was written TRURO CITY WORLD WAR 1939 - 45 VICTORY CUP. But best of all, each mug held a banana, a great treat because none of us knew what a banana tasted like. 

So you can imagine my dismay when the Sister on the ward came to me and said "You are going home today, so we will keep your banana and cut it up to put in a jelly for the children who are still in hospital." I was so disappointed, especially as I still felt poorly with a sore throat and could really only eat something soft like jelly and banana. 

 75 years later, I still have the mug, and still feel cross about that banana!

Hi Young People  - V E Day 2020 

 I was born at home in Bristol on 8th December 1940 after mum had finished her Sunday dinner which was her favourite meal. Dad worked in a factory making aeroplanes, and when I was born, he sold his car because during the war you could not insure cars, and bought me a new pram. As Bristol made aeroplanes, Germany sent bombers every day to try and bomb the factories, but we had put up barrage balloons all around and in the city to stop their aeroplanes getting too close - making it difficult for them to judge their targets. 

 While all the fighting went on, I was put to bed in a wicker ottoman basket (blanket box) under the stairs which is the safest and strongest place in a house if it collapsed. As we did not have a proper shelter mum and dad used to turn the settee over and sleep underneath during the raids. Mum told the Air Raid Wardens and the whole of the street where I was in case the house was bombed. But we were lucky. 

 As I was young, I do not remember too much of the war, but I was told that one day when I was about 3 years old, I was playing in the garden when a German fighter plane flew very low over the garden, I waved, and the pilot waved back, then mum saw the swastikas on the underside of the wings, she screamed and brought me back into the house. The pilot, because he was below the balloons, could not rise above them to escape and was eventually shot down by our fighter planes. 

 Soon after the Germans flew more and more planes with more bombs, so the factory was moved to Corsham in Wiltshire. My family was housed in a prefab house and Dad worked in a huge underground factory, but at least I saw him every day. My brother Peter was born in Corsham and was 3 years younger than me, but it was nice to have a brother to play with. 

We stayed there until the war was almost finished and then moved back to Bristol. It was good to be back in Bristol where my grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends lived, and on VE Day we had a huge street party with lots of lovely things, jelly, ice cream, cakes and dancing to celebrate the end of the war. Now that I was nearly 5, I started going to primary school where I made lots of new friends and learned lots of things. I hope that you will learn lots of new and exciting things when you go back to your schools. 

 John Bowen


 My Dad was in the army. He had only been called up in the last wave (he was nearly too old!) in 1942, so was never involved in much that was really dangerous. I think he was in Belgium by then, but obviously he had been away a long time. 

We lived in Chippenham in Wiltshire. Probably because my Dad was in the war, I was very much aware that things were coming to an end with announcements on the radio + patriotic music most of the time. On VE Day itself there was much rejoicing on the radio to listen to, but the highlight was being taken up to the town square by a family - a dad, and his son who was at the same school as me. My Mother had to stay home with my baby brother who was just one. It was very exciting to be out at night. I don't think I had ever seen so many people all together, cheering and making lots of noise, and there were a few fireworks! It was amazing to see lights I could only remember blackout! 

A couple of days after that there was a party for all the local children at the fire station up the road from us. All the fire engines etc. had been cleared out, leaving a big area for tables. I guess we had sandwiches and cakes, and who knows, perhaps even jelly!