VE Day

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on 8 May 1945. In 2020, the plan was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day with events across the country, moving the May Day Bank Holiday from its usual first Monday in May to Friday, 8 May to facilitate the celebrations.  Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to all such plans. 

Upon the defeat of Germany, celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in Great Britain and North America. More than one million people celebrated in the streets of Great Britain to mark the end of the European part of the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Below are some pictures of street parties in Wollaston.
 
Despite the celebrations, Churchill  pointed out that the war against Japan had not yet been won. In his radio broadcast at 15:00 on the 8th, Churchill told the British people that: "We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing as Japan remains unsubdued".

Wollaston Celebrates

Like communities all over the country, Wollaston staged street parties to celebrate the end of the War in Europe.

The Potsdam Conference

The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm in Potsdam, Germany, from 17 July to 2 August 1945. The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, represented respectively by General Secretary of the Communist Party Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee and President Harry S. Truman.  Churchill, Truman and Stalin are pictured in the header to this page.  Truman and Churchill are pictured right.

Stalin, Churchill, and Truman gathered to decide how to administer Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier on 8 May (Victory in Europe Day). The goals of the conference also included the establishment of postwar order, peace treaty issues, and countering the effects of the war.

Victory Parade Berlin 1945

Jack Boddington

Wollaston lad Jack Boddington was stationed with the RAF in Germany as the war ended.  Here are some pictures he took at that time.

Jack lived at 137 London Road until his marriage to Lisette in 1949.  They lived at the Land Army Hostel in York Road (see white building at the back of picture, right) until the 1960's, when they moved to 38 Hookhams Path.  Jack and Lisette met while he was stationed in Belgium and had two marriage ceremonies, a British one and one under Belgian law.
Pictures from Geraldine Northway (nee Ross), age 4 on VE Day

Memories of VE Day

I was six when the war ended. I remember the Duck End celebration consisted of an enormous bonfire with an effigy of Hitler on a pole sticking out of the top. In 1945 Duck End finished where it does a sharp turn and becomes Little Lane. There was a gate across the end that led into Palmers Field, so called because Mr Alf Palmer, who lived on the corner of Duck End and Little Lane, owned the field. It was a big one which which went all the way up to York Road and across to the A509. He farmed Vicarage Farm which is on the left hand side of the A509 on the way to Wellingborough. The bonfire was some way into this field.

Incidentally Duck End was the main route into the village from the West until The Rev Edmund Cobbe caused what is now Cobbes Lane to be upgraded from a footpath to a lane in the 1660s or 70s.

The Palmers had no children of their own but they took on an evacuee at the beginning of the war who to all intents and purposes became their son. At the war's end the boys mother said she did not want him back so the Palmers formally adopted him.
Kerry Woodrow
My home was in Swindon, Wiltshire

One day after the evacuation of Dunkirk soldiers of all nations were arriving in the area.  Outside in the street, in front of our house, some of these men were sat on the pavement with their feet in the gutter absolutely exhausted, waiting to be fed in one of the Church Rooms made available.

My father, who always met his comrades from the first War for a drink on Saturday nights, returned home with two French soldiers for supper.  It was just cheese and pickled onions.  They did not speak English and we did not speak French, but they were so grateful that words didn't matter.
Ruth Turner, Hinwick Road
I spent VE Day in the North Atlantic, on the aircraft carrier HMS Trumpeter.  I remember the Captain giving us the news and saying that we could have the day off and an extra ration of Rum.  I spent most of the day in my hammock.
Pete Woodhams 

Previous VE Days

2020 is not the first time Wollaston has celebrated VE Day

VE Day in the village 2020

Despite the Coronavirus lockdown, Wollaston did its best to celebrate.