VE-Day Celebrations

Tuesday, 8 May 1945 was Victory in Europe Day (VE).  The President of the US and the British Prime Minister Mr Winston Churchill simultaneously announced so at 15.00 British double summer-time (special war time arrangements   to maximise useful daylight hours).  SHAFE’s (Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe) communique announced that hostilities would cease on all fronts at 23.01 on that day.

The American Forces Newspaper “Stars and Stripes” carried a two-word headline that covered half its layout, “GERMANY QUITS”.   Warrington had its celebration, the streets were hung with bunting; the Town Hall displayed  the Allied flags above  its  wrought  iron gateway; Union Jacks, many made  of paper, were  hung —  many upside down —  at nearly every house; the pubs were filled with soldiers and civilians and a few bonfires were lit. However, on the day before Warrington had celebrated the expectation of peace as Germanys’ surrender had been long awaited. Around midnight in a swirl of mild and bitter celebrations took place at the towns’  centre roundabout, where  American soldiers, English soldiers and sailors and a number of Warring- ton girls formed impromptu formations and marched around the streets singing songs such as “You are  my Sunshine” and  “I’ve  Got Sixpence” while  Military Police, the Warrington  Police, civilians and soldiers stood about,  looking on.

The schedule of work at Burtonwood on Wednesday was a Sunday schedule, nearly all men being off duty. That night a Victory dance was held in Hangar 220 on Mary Ann Site. Two bands, Eddie Kistler’s  “Swing Tips” and Roger’s  “Airmen” played. Three hundred women from the various branches of the British services were guests of the enlisted men. At the beginning of the month beer was exhausted at the Post Exchange, and throughout the month remained in short supply but summer was on the way and the weather remained good.

See Gallery for photos ….

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