VE Day reflections from Abbeyfield, Wendover
- ‘Thank God, that’s over. Now perhaps we’ll get some bloody equipment,’ bellowed our Colonel (in the Far East) when the armistice was signed. Of course we didn’t. It took ages for plant and ordinance to be mustered from Europe and then shipped out to us in India and Burma by sea. By that time, of course, the big bombs had been dropped and our war ended in August. So, on V.E. day we were still fighting and had mates being killed.
- I was a Girl Guide and there was an arrangement with the Civil Defence people that we, Guides, would take it in turns to press the bell that sounded the ‘All Clear‘. It was a great responsibility and we took it very seriously. I remember pressing that bell and thinking …Thank Goodness, it would be for the last time.
- As a child in the country had known that war was serious but it was just normal to me. Dad made Lancaster bombers during the day time and was in the A.R.P.at night. Mum baked the best apple pies when she could get lard, and worked on the allotment as often as she could. On V.E. Day all the farmers’ families along the lane contributed some ingredients and Mum made piles of potted meat sandwiches, cakes, scones and jellies. We sat at rickety trestle tables in the orchard and had a wonderful party. I remember squelching jelly through my teeth and being scolded for being rude. Then we kids had a riotous time with games and races whilst the adults reminisced and slowly got tipsier on assorted home-made wines that Mr So- and-So or Mrs Somebody-Else had been saving for such a special celebration. We rounded off the day with the Hokey Cokey.
- As a W.A.F. in London had been very involved in the war. I had worked from time to time in the Cabinet War Office typing pool and knew of the more serious dilemmas facing Mr Churchill and General Ismay. I was very worried about my husband in Bomber Command in the Far East whilst being pleased and relieved the armistice had been signed in Europe. On V.E. day had many mixed feelings . However, another W.A.F room-mate and I decided we would go out and join the celebrations in Trafalgar Square. We shared a tiny flat just off The Strand and when we went out the crowd was so thick and so boisterous that we could hardly move. We were jostled back to our lodgings and had a quiet evening in instead.
- We didn’t have a Street Party, we had a big bonfire. During the war we weren’t allowed to have bonfires especially in the evenings because of the Blackout. On V.E. Day we had the biggest fire we could and everyone had loads of rubbish and partied around that. We kept it going well into the night.
- I was so relieved and thankful that I wouldn’t have to face that dreadful evacuation again nor step over people’s legs any more as they slept in the underground and I wouldn’t have to grieve over any more of our shop’s customers who were killed. We had a barracks near to us and always had loads of soldiers in the shop, sometimes Americans and Norwegians. I particularly remember on one occasion looking at my brother chatting up a very nice young lady and thinking it would be fortuitous if it led to further friendship, only to learn that she had been killed in a bombing raid the next day. Life was so very fragile and transient.regal ia, marchi ng all the way down our long f arm track to the main road. I didn’t dance along with him. I was shy and embarrassed so I hid.
- We lived right in the middle of London and had a fantastic street party on E. Day. We all had paper hats and flags. With music and dancing too. Later in the day we were invited to another party, thrown by an American squadron in the area. I was terrified. Their hands were all over us and I was only 10years old. A trauma I’ve never forgotten.
- My Dad played the pipes in a pipe band and I did Highland Dancing in a competitive troupe who danced all over Queensferry and Edinburgh. On V.E. day my Dad played the pipes on his own, in his full band regalia marching all the way down our long farm track to the main road. I didn’t dance along with him. I was shy and embarrassed so I hid.
- We had a terrific V.E. Day dance at the Kodak Hall in Wealdstone. It’s a fantastic sprung floor and we could really let rip. My twin sister was a beautiful dancer and won medals in competitions, so we danced together most of the time but then her boyfriend turned up, so that left me free to mingle. My favourite dance was the foxtrot and still is. I had a great time.
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