By Antonia Fernandes and Zoe Farace (special collections volunteers)
Victory in Europe Day, also known as VE Day was celebrated 8th May 1945 to mark the end of World War Two and the success of the Allies in Europe. The war continued in other parts of the world such as the Pacific, and so therefore the day was specifically celebrated as a European victory.
VE Day naturally prompted much excitement throughout Europe, and celebrations had begun the night before, with a wireless announcement from Churchill that victory was to be celebrated the following day and that
“Everyone, man or woman, has done their best”http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/timeline/factfiles/nonflash/a1057448.shtml
Celebrations included street parties, Churchill gave a speech to the crowds from 10 Downing Street and the Royal Family waved to the British public from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, and called to
“remember the men in all the services, and the women in all the services, who have laid down their lives”.https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-you-need-to-know-about-ve-day
In her memoirs, which are archived as part of the Burnett Archive of Working-Class Autobiographies, Ellyse Finnie remembers VE Day as a joyous occasion. She describes how the nation was on edge days before the announcement, knowing that peace was soon to be declared as
“radios were kept switched on”BURN 4 Finnie p. 99
“there had been more than usual amount of free time for the men stationed at Park Hall Military Camp”.BURN 4 Finnie p. 99
It was a momentous day of joy and good deeds, and created an even stronger sense of unity within the country. Finnie recounts how the day
“was something so special that Susanne was allowed to stay up for it”,BURN 4 Finnie p. 99
and the military boys helped out in the local community. There was also however a sense of an ending, in that for many stationed away from home in various parts of the country VE Day
“might be the last time we should be together but we were full of hope for the future”.BURN 4 Finnie p. 99
VE Day was long awaited. You can find more of our archival resources relating to the Second World War in our topic guide.