This month (May 2020) we are remembering that 75 years ago our towns and villages were celebrating Victory in Europe, now known as VE Day. It meant an end to nearly six years of war that had cost millions of lives, destroyed homes and cities and brought suffering to the populations of many countries across Europe. It was another three months before the war ended in the east when Japan surrendered on 15 August and WWII finally ended. Local residents remembered that celebrations organised for VJ Day were more subdued than the VE day parties held earlier in the year.
7 May 1945 the BBC stopped its scheduled programming to announce Germany’s surrender and that a national holiday, known as Victory in Europe Day, would be held the following day. The celebrations, of course, started immediately. VE Day saw millions rejoicing in the streets across the UK. In London, the Royal Family greeted crowds amassed around Buckingham Palace. In Amersham, thanksgiving services were held in the churches, and bells tolled throughout the day in jubilation. An open-air dance was quickly organised in the Broadway, and someone mounted the Union Flag in a fir tree.
In the following weeks, a VE Day party was held for the children in tennis courts in The Meadows, Amersham-on-the-Hill. On 12 May, Councillor Alfred Woodley gave thanks to the Civil Defence on behalf of the people of Amersham. On 25 May, another children’s party was held in the British Legion Hall, Whielden Street.
The coronavirus crisis has meant that this year commemorative events have had to be abandoned across the country. Likewise, at Amersham Museum we have cancelled our VE Day Garden Party and our Amersham in 1945 Exhibition. However, volunteers have been making and decorating bunting which is hanging in the lobby of the museum. We are also using our website to highlight some of the incredible migration stories of people who had moved to Amersham because of the war.
Find out about some of the incredible migration stories of people who had moved to Amersham because of the war by clicking on the images below;