VE Day 1945 in Geddington

VE Day 1945 in Geddington

In 1985, the 40th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, Geddington’s quarterly magazine, The Newsletter, contained a report on the VE Day Celebrations in the village.  As Friday 8th of May 2015 is now the 70th Anniversary, it’s worth seeing, and in some cases, remembering, how the village took the news of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

“Just as there has recently been hesitation in high places about ‘celebrating’ the 40th Anniversary of Victory Europe Day, so there were mixed feelings on the day itself. In 1945, many people had little to celebrate – many of our men had been killed or maimed (see Archive/WWII for names and details), some were still missing and others were prisoners of war. Moreover, the war with Japan was still going on and plenty of our servicemen were in the Far East zones.

Amongst all the stresses and fears, V.E. Day was probably more of an excuse for a bit of jollification rather than an actual celebration and many people have no clear recollection of events. We are told the legs which can just be seen disappearing under the flag strung across Wood Street in the picture below, are those of a mother of a soldier still serving in the Far East, who was walking away (closely followed by faithful dog ‘Toby’), having no stomach for such a party.

Flags - 2

In the few days around the announcement of the cessation of hostilities in Europe on 8th May 1945, there were several street parties in the village, many of them boosted by the generosity of the American airmen at Grafton Underwood who were good at producing the odd luxury like ice cream and fruit at the critical moment. West Street held their party in the upstairs room of the Working Men’s Club and there was a dance in the Village Hall, American airmen probably making up for the lack of our own young males, so many of whom were in the Forces. Sports were also held in the old ‘Rec’. We are told of one not-so-young grandfather who, carried away by the thought of the yard per year handicap that was being given, over-estimated his capacity to keep upright and ended up – still smiling broadly – in Kettering General Hospital with a broken collar bone! Some say there was a bonfire, too, in Smith’s Farm.”

The picture below shows the street party in Wood Street.VE Day 1945

The names of many of the people in the picture are as follows, but as the editors of the magazine said at the time of publishing it, ‘we don’t guarantee accuracy, but the following may be among those that were there.’

John Abrahams; the late Mrs Banwell, Mrs Bateman & Mrs Berridge; Barbara & Sheila Bishop; June, Frieda & Michael Blanchard; Anne Brooks; the late Mrs Brown; John Bumpus (reputed to be the last evacuee in Northamptonshire to return home); Mrs E Chamberlain, Loris, Susan and Brenis, and the late Olive Chamberlain; Mrs E Chamberlain; Mrs E Chapman; the late Mrs Clipstone, Mavis & Jean Clipstone; R Coleman; Mrs Daisy Coles and Sylvia (now Proctor); Michael Coombs (evacuee); the late Mrs Cooper, David (Chick) & June (now Flecknor); Mrs L Crick, Barbara & Iris; Jill Dart; the Late Mrs Freeman; Mrs B Howes & Betty (now Toseland); Mrs Daisy Hyde & Colin; the late Mrs Johnson & Chris Johnson; Mrs E Julyans; Terry & Vincent Kirkman (evacuees); the late Tommy Lane; David Marlow; Mrs Iris Masterton & Rachel; Mrs Doll Moreton & Donald (evacuees); Mrs Perkins; Mrs Nancy Rowney & Peter (in high chair); Margaret Rich (now Pearson); the late Bill Sharp (of The Royal George) & Janet; Mrs Slough and the late Malcolm (Dick) Slough; Millie Staines (now Ferguson) & Rodney; A Thompson; Pauline Tracy & the late Ivan Tracey; the late Mrs Ada Toseland, Jayne & Bernard; Mr & Mrs Fred Ward; Mrs Rene Weekley & Anne; Joannie Wilding (evacuee); and Bill Wood junior.

3 comments on “VE Day 1945 in Geddington

  • Fr Rob Parker-McGee says:

    Hi Pam,
    Just to let you know that there is a commemoration in Church on Sunday at 5.30pm to celebrate peace returning to Europe where those from Geddington who gave their lives in WW2 will be remembered. All are most welcome.
    If you would like, I could send you the poster via email.

    Fr Rob

  • Hi Pam – I’m from the BBC. Trying to track down any relatives of the people in this picture you might live on the Wood Street still. Are you aware of any? We’d love to try and speak to them and other residents living there now about their plans this year – even thought they’ll be socially distant.

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