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KBGS Old Boys' Forum

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V.E. Day 1945

I wonder if any of the old boys remember the celebrations that went on that night in 1945 in the Town Hall Square in Keighley . My brother and I went down to the town to see the place lit up at last after the years of black-out. There was dancing around the war memorial and loud speakers blasted out the old songs.
Were any of you there too to enjoy the night , it was a very special day for us boys , the future looked a lot brighter at last . Is Keighley going to have any special events to mark the 70th anniversary?

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43-46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: V.E. Day 1945

I was five at the time, Mike, but I remember it well. They had a bonfire at the bottom of our street, and dancing and singing, but I could only watch it all from afar, over the gate, because I was recovering from chicken-pox! For me, a great non-event!

Doug

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1951-58

Current location (optional) Keswick, Cumbria

Re: V.E. Day 1945

The event of VE Day in Bradford Street was a bonfire on what was known as “ ‘t’top ‘oller” and it was perhaps my earliest memory.

I was aged 3 and I recall walking up Bfd St with my hands in the air – ie hand in hand with my parents. I could sense the anticipation. I can remember there was excitement and people around in the fading light.

As we got closer to t’oller, I became aware of a bright glow which, partially concealed by houses , was becoming brighter the nearer we got to Pond St. Then a huge shout went up and I saw 2 men rush from one of the houses on the Prinnie’s (now Asda ) side, carrying a dummy whch they threw onto the fire to the vocal approval of the crowd. End of recollection.

In later years of my childhood, I remembered and ruminated over this incident. It didn’t make sense for it to be November 5th – and as I learnt about VE Day celebrations I checked with my Mother the memories I had – and she confirmed that the dummy was in fact meant to represent the Fuhrer and that the event took place on VE Day.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: V.E. Day 1945

Never made the connection before : my Dad (exKBGS) had the initials "V E".
If he himself ever made the connection, he never commented. His war service was building cranes for use in the armament industry.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Nirvana

Re: V.E. Day 1945

My dad was on HMS INDEFATIGABLE in the Pacific Ocean at the time. I guess they celebrated VE day but VJ was still some way off.

Re: V.E. Day 1945

Here is a wee excerpt from my Family History Memoirs of my recollections of VE Day. gee we must be old! Cheers.

It was about this time that victory in Europe was achieved and, the day it was announced, we happened to be in Liverpool where we had gone for a few days to stay with "Auntie Janey". I am pretty sure that she was not family, but I think she was Nanny Hampton's girl friend from her school days in Liverpool. I can't remember the address except that it was a typical long street in Edgehill. There were brick air raid shelters at intervals down the street. On VE day there were street parties and bonfires were lit on top of some of the shelters. It was a pretty rough area and if you weren't a local, then you were an enemy. The local kids were told that I was one of them, but unfortunately one day I wandered a bit further from home territory and was grabbed by some big lads a few doors further away. One of them held me while the other burned the back of my wrist with a cigarette. They tried to repeat that on the back of my neck but with the hurt and anger I was raving mad and kicked myself free and "ran for my life" back to Auntie Janey's. It was many years before that small scar disappeared from my wrist. That is obviously a strong memory of Liverpool, but other recollections of that time are the barrage balloons moored all over the place to deter low flying aircraft. Other memories of a later era are the Bronte bus trips to New Brighton and the thrilling journey through the Mersey Tunnel, surely one of the great tunnels in the world at that time.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1947-51

Current location (optional) Orewa, NZ

Re: V.E. Day 1945

Chris Firth
My dad was on HMS INDEFATIGABLE in the Pacific Ocean at the time. I guess they celebrated VE day but VJ was still some way off.


Chris. Here is another wee bit from my Family History. I was in the Sea Cadets and heading for a weeks course at HMS Osprey when I saw the HMS Indefatigable. Just a couple of years ago we moved house and our neighbour at the front is a delightful old Yorkshireman from Scarborough, aged about 90. He told me that he flew Corsairs off HMS Illustrious in the war.


The next day we caught a train to take us across the south coast from Portsmouth to Weymouth in Dorset. There we caught a bus to Portland Bill and we had to walk the rest of the way to HMS Osprey, a submarine land base where we were to undergo a general seamanship training course. I remember us walking up a pathway above a cliff and looking down at the bay where we saw a magnificent sight. There were several warships at anchor including the aircraft carriers Illustrious, Indefatigable and I think the Indomitable. This was a once in a lifetime experience. Cheers.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1947-51

Current location (optional) Orewa, NZ

Re: V.E. Day 1945

Mike, On May 8th 1945(VE Day), I was 10 years old and in another month's time I would be 11 and ready to go to KBGS in a few months time, We had our bonfire "ont'oller" as Terry described and, as all bonfires had been banned during the war years, this was something new for a lot of young lads like myself. Great fun, lots of noise with people taking the opportunity of getting rid of all sorts of old furniture, mattresses, etc
Some 3 months later(August 15th), we were celebrating VJ Day and another load of prog had to be found and more old mattresses got rid of. Great fun once again. In another 3 months November the 5th was upon us and Guy Fawkes Night had returned with further demands on prog ensuing. Fireworks were more readily available(rip-raps, bangers and Catherine wheels to the fore). So, in that particular year we had 3 bonfire nights, that's if my memory serves me right. Does anyone else remember this euphoric period? David

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1945-50

Current location (optional) Keighley

Re: V.E. Day 1945

I wasn't alive then, but in the days when we were so poor we had to eat gravel, why were folk burning furniture and mattresses?

Re: V.E. Day 1945

I was an 18 year old student at King's College London at the time, living in lodgings at Balham. One of the other lodgers heard the BBC news that the war was over and came to tell my room-mate and me that the following day May 8 would be a public holiday to be known as VE-Day.

We decided to spend VE-Day in central London. We walked the 5 or 6 miles each way because I suspect that public transport was suspended for the day. We were a couple of relatively quiet sober young men, and all we did was to join the crowds outside Buckingham Palace and wait for the King and Queen and Winston Churchill to appear on the balcony. We definitely didn't join in the dancing and I doubt whether we joined in the cheering. We eventually walked back via Piccadilly Circus to Balham. As far as I can remember there were no street parties in the area where we were lodging and we saw no bonfires.

VJ Day was different. I was in Bexleyheath, Kent doing vacation work and was invited to a street party where I was lodging at the time. I think people must have had longer to organise events on that occasion.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1937-1944

Current location (optional) Huntingdon