75th Anniversary of VE Day - 8 May 2020

Like so many others, Aldermaston Village had great plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Sadly, these had to be drastically curtailed, due to Covid-19.  Nonetheless, Aldermaston Village did its best to match previous celebrations!

On VE Day itself in 1945, at the exact time of cessation of hostilities, Villagers gathered on the Loosey and two group photos have survived – the first two images below.  After the first is the handwritten caption on the reverse of the photograph, which hangs in Aldermaston’s Parish Hall.

50 years later, on 8th May 1996, Villagers again gathered on the Loosey for a group photograph to match the original one. This photo appears next.

For the 75th anniversary, one intention of course was to replicate these historic images with another group photo taken on the same ancient piece of grassland. This was impossible and a safely spaced out arrangement had to be recorded instead.

The fourth photo- the first in colour- is the same view of the “Loosey”  on 8th. May 2020.  Festooned with bunting but devoid of people because Social Distancing regulations (a legal minimum of two metres between  unrelated people) made this impossible.

Following these are images taken before and after the two minutes’ silence at 11 am, showing the sense of community spirit.

A separate post, entitled Press Coverage- Second World War , presents newspaper cuttings which vividly convey the atmosphere of hope and dread in 1939- and of enormous relief six years later.

 

 

 

Villagers Celebrate V-E Day, May 1945, grouped together on the "Loosey". See the first colour photo below for the same view 75 years later.
……………………………………. Reverse of V E Day Picture- " taken at 11 o'clock on 8th May 1945"...…………………………………………………….
Above is another photo after the Vicar, Rev. Newham, started to conduct the thanksgiving service.
-and on the 50th anniversary of VE Day in 1996, people again gathered on the Loosey for another group photo.
..................….In 2020, Clive Vare festooned The Loosey with bunting, but people could not gather there as in 1945.
Photo courtesy of Clive Vare
.....................................................................Villagers festooned their porches with bunting
Peter Oldridge
..........................................One porch had a magnificent wreath made specially for the occasion.
Jean Chapman
The main party had to be cancelled, so, Villagers organised their own family parties. We'll see the Jeep again below!
Jean Chapman
......................................Jean and Chris celebrate the Day in splendid isolation!
Jean Chapman
..........................................................At this party, VE-Day memorabilia were on display. The newspaper can be seen by clicking on "Press coverage- Second World War" above.
Jean Chapman
........................................................................................Others hoisted magnificent Union Jacks
Peter Oldridge
......................................................................And children could help themselves to flags to wave
Peter Oldridge
...............................................................................Bunting danced in the wind...
Peter Oldridge
.......................................................................................And memorial flags billowed proudly
Peter Oldridge
.........................................................................................Windows were reverently decorated
Tony Girling
..........................................................................Schools contributed too, even though they were closed.
Peter Oldridge
A villager, Duncan Crawford, brought his original 1943 Willis MB Jeep to the event together with his son and daughter- all dressed in authentic uniforms. As bullet holes and shrapnel damage testify. the jeep certainly saw action somewhere!
Peter Oldridge
.......................................….Villagers gathered, spaced in family groups, along the sunny side of The Street
Peter Oldridge
...After the Two Minutes silence, Tricia Goodchild gave a heartfelt rendering of "We'll meet again" setting the tone of the event.
Peter Oldridge
After the song, another view- this time up The Street People stayed for quite some time, still carefully distanced in family groups, but enjoying some long-overdue "catching up"!
Peter Oldridge
The Jeep's crew, Duncan, his son Aiden and daughter Chloe, clearly enjoyed helping make the day memorable!
Peter Brown

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