Remembering VE Day: 75th Anniversary

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The 8th-10th May 2020 will be a time to commemorate the enormous sacrifices that were made both home and abroad during the Second World War as we mark 75 years since the end of the war in Europe.

After years of food rationing and bombing raids, whole communities in Britain came together to mark a new era of peace with street parties, bunting, singing and dancing.

Across the East Riding, the newspapers reported on local events and tell of joyous scenes involving entertainments, food and a sense of togetherness.

“…joyous scenes at Hornsea last evening when a crowd of about 600 people, military and civilian, gathered in the Market-place about 11pm singing and dancing”

“Flags are flying in all parts of Hedon, and many children’s parties have been arranged for the various streets”

extracts from Hull Daily Mail, Tuesday 8 May 1945

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VE Day celebrations at Brook Street, Driffield, 1945. Image reproduced with the kind permission of Andrew Jennison.

“Driffield celebrated the third V.E. holiday last Friday…Even a drizzly rain during the morning could not dampen the ardour of the organisers or the children…There was a great crowd to see the Punch and Judy Show…followed by a fancy dress parade…a brass band…the children received tickets which entitled them to four free rides on Corrigan’s roundabouts and…a baby show was organised”

extracts from Driffield Times, Saturday 1 September 1945

Do you have any VE Day material?
If you have any East Riding VE Day-related items at home, such as photographs, please consider depositing these in the East Riding Archives. The records will be preserved for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

Due to Government advice, the Archives service are currently closed, but please keep your documents safe and keep an eye on our social media channels for when we reopen. If you would like to deposit some material or have any enquiries contact the archives service on archives.service@eastriding.gov.uk. We would be very pleased to hear from you!

Celebrating VE Day at home

With parties moving from the street to online, here are a selection of activities to keep the community spirit going during our stay-at-home VE Day!

Research your WW2 ancestors
If you have an East Riding Libraries membership why not research what life was like for your family during the Second World War on Ancestry Library or Findmypast.*

From the comfort of your own home, there are many records that you can access which may provide a fascinating insight into your military ancestor, or life on the home front, including:

  • Newspaper articles
  • The 1939 Register
  • UK Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls
  • UK British Prisoners of War 1939-1945
  • UK D-Day war diaries and photographs
  • Civilian gallantry records

Other useful websites include the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the York Army Museum, and the Imperial War Museums.

Sounds of the era
Oral histories- ‘Listen to the personal stories and first-hand accounts of VE Day from the Imperial War Museum’s sound archive in ‘Voices of War‘.

To accompany your celebrations, why not have some music playing in the background:

  • From Doris Day to Glenn Miller, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) have created a playlist of hits as a ‘VE Day Celebration
  • English Heritage have created a ‘Dance for VE Day‘ playlist
  • A series of classic wartime songs from Bletchley Park.

VE Day on Film
Watch some footage of VE Day ‘They Sang and Danced all Night‘ hosted by the Yorkshire Film Archive.

For younger viewers, children can learn about the events that led to the end of the war in the BBC’s VE Day video (suitable for home schooling at Key Stage 2 level).

#VEDay75
And finally, please join us virtually on social media this weekend using the hashtag #VEDay75 to commemorate and celebrate from our homes. Whether you’re getting crafty with homemade bunting, Lindy Hop dancing, baking retro treats, holding a street party via videoconference, or simply just relaxing don’t forget to share your activities with us by tagging @ERidingLMA as we would love to know how you plan on spending your day!

Hannah Stamp, Archivist

*please note: without an East Riding Library membership the Findmypast and Ancestry websites may require a paid subscription

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