VE Day Photos: Street parties and parades: how Winchester was celebrated in 1945

VE Day Photos: Street parties and parades: how Winchester was celebrated in 1945
VE Day Photos: Street parties and parades: how Winchester was celebrated in 1945

Yes, it is finished. Perhaps with Covid-19 today, many feared that it would continue forever.

But on 8 May 1945, the Nazi regime surrendered unconditionally. Hitler was dead, many of his gang of criminals would be hanged in Nuremberg next year. Germany lies in ruins, the Red Army from the east and the British and American, Canadian and French to the west.

The city, Winchester, may have survived mildly with just one major raid in 1943, but thousands of its citizens served military or served the family. For them, 8 May was the day they finally knew that their loved ones would return home. Thousands were still serving in the Far East against the Japanese, and on the day of victory they would have to wait another three months for the release of atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The festival took many forms during the following week. There were official events, such as the honor of the Hampshire Regiment, which had not yet named "Royal" in its name and gave it the city's independence. Lieutenant General Manton Eddy, the American commander of the 9th Division of the United States, was also so honored in the pre-invasion of 1943–44. It was a tribute to the fact that Britain could never win a war without the help of the Americans (and the Soviet Union).

Others burnt the bonfire and ignited the roar, surviving the National Guard who had retired months earlier. People were happy to get rid of the black curtain after about six years.

And of course there were street parties. Tables and chairs were moved along the way and people did their best with food rations to make it an unforgettable day.

Thousands of gatherings were held around the country and we are fortunate to have people taking photos of events in Winchester, including Hyde, Fulfled and Winnall.

We thank the Hampshire Cultural Trust for providing these photos to us.

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