On 8th May 1945 – VE Day – the people of Britain rejoiced in the news that the war in Europe was finally over. As in cities, towns and villages throughout the country, the people of Kidlington came together to celebrate with street parties, dancing and music. Here are some photographs and recollections of the day from people who lived through the wartime years in Kidlington.
“On VE night there was much excitement and a big bonfire was lit near Mr Wilsdon’s farm and RAF chaps and WAAFs came along altogether and danced around it.” (Joyce Franklin [Robbins])
“I remember part of Green Road was laid out with flags and tables of food. Goodness only knows how the mothers found the food for this with the rationing, but they did!” (John Cooper)
VE party at Green Road (Credit: Sylvia Hall)
“Green Road ‘top field’ was a popular venue for outdoor parties when everyone clubbed together to produce food and drink to give children some fun … Most memorable were, of course, the VE and VJ parties. It was good to be able to say ‘thank you’ to some of the wounded soldiers and airmen from St Hugh’s that came as guests – some were terribly injured and it made us more aware what war really meant.” (Jane Holliday [McIntyre])
Soldiers from St Hugh’s College at Green Road Party (Credit: Kidlington & District Historical Society)
“… my family and friends attended [a street party] held at the top of Green Road. The new houses had not yet been built and there was a rough field between the end of the road and the start of Dog Lane. We had the usual picnic, games, races and a fancy dress competition. Barbara (Wright) and I dressed up as ‘Gert and Daisy’, two female comedians of the day … We won 1st prize. I still have a photograph of us in our outfits. What a sight we looked in our aprons and untidy stockings. We were the original ‘Dora Batty!’” (Jessica Broadbent [Bridge])
Barbara and Jessica as Gert and Daisy (Credit: Jessica Broadbent [Bridge])
“In 1945 we held victory parties. We had one for the children of The Moors in our garden. It was attended by the Vicar, the Rev’d Claude Chavasse. Afterwards we had sports in Mr Savins’ field.” (Janet Trinder)
VE Party 1945 at 93 The Moors, Rev’d Claude Chavasse, Vicar of Kidlington, in attendance (Credit: Janet Trinder)
“The parties we had for VE Day and VJ Day will stay in my memory always. Unless you lived through those terrible years of war you can’t imagine the joy we felt when it was all over. My dad came home safe and sound and felt like a stranger for a while.” (Rosemary Burns [Dickens])
Blenheim Road street party (Credit: Kidlington & District Historical Society)
The recollections above are extracts from John Amor’s book Sorry, No Bananas: Childhood Memories of World War II, published by Kidlington & District Historical Society.
If you remember VE Day in Kidlington we’d love to hear from you. Please send your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org