We have had many reminiscences about WWII. Here is one about the end of it all. The newspaper is dated 1945. At the time I was with my family, on holiday in Filey, Yorks. Picnics and games were organised for us children on some waste ground at the rear of our lodgings.
I was allowed to stay up late and take part. I won a prize for coming in the first 10 in the 100 yards race. It was probably only about 50 yards but seemed far enough to my 8 year old legs. The prize was 2d (tuppence), enough to buy a small ice cream. I did better in the apple-bobbing race and came in first with the apple in my mouth. I got the apple and 5d. There was a Tug of War, a 3 legged race, a sack race run in heats as there were only a few sacks.
Post war depression
Afterwards it was a great disappointment. All my life I had been told that I could not have sweets because there was a war; no cake because there was a war, not enough to eat because there was a war; no toys because there was a war; no sugar on my porridge because… Well then, on the first day of peace, where were the sweets, cakes, food, toys etc? Even when I got to University there were still rations and we were issued with 2 pieces of bread and a pat of butter every day for tea. Some of the well-off guys even had jam.
Victory in Europe
On VE Day I was taken to a bonfire celebration where I discovered that car tyres burned well but with lots of smoke. There were fireworks which I had not seen before. Someone had optimistically stored them for 5 years for this night. We all crowded very closely around them. The rockets were not much fun as they disappeared with a whoosh. The Roman Candles were better as their balls of fire landed among the crowd. Health and Safety? This was very safe compared to what we had lived through. People used white wash to paint ‘V’ on their houses and ‘…-‘ morse code for the letter V for victory and the call sign for BBC messages meant for the resistance movements. Old clothes were cut up for bunting and messages saying ‘Welcome home Stan’ or George or Bill were painted on walls.
The newpaper and the Bofors gun are at Hurst Castle (English Heritage). It is worth your visit.
Saltgrass Ln, Milford on Sea, Hampshire SO41 0TP.
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