VE Day – 75 year anniversary events in Surrey

Friday 8 May 2020 marks 75 years since VE Day, the moment the nation celebrated the allied victory in Europe.

Tony Samuels, Chairman of Surrey County Council has paid tribute to the enormous sacrifices that were made by the second world war generation on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Watch his special message for residents below.

The current pandemic means that many original plans have had to be postponed or cancelled, but there are still plenty of ways mark this historic day.

Share your V for Victory salute

Take a picture of yourself or your family members doing the V for Victory salute made famous by Winston Churchill and share via social media.

This great campaign, initiated by Spelthorne Borough Council, is being supported across the county. Please remember to use #VE75 #SurreyRememembers and #(yourlocalarea)remembers.

Display a poster or bunting

We have created a poster for children to enjoy colouring, giving an opportunity for them to learn more about VE Day. Included is the rainbow image of hope to extend thanks and thoughts to those who are still battling on our behalf today.

Guildford Cathedral Service of Remembrance

Guildford Cathedral will be streaming a Service of Remembrance on Sunday 10 May 2020, 9.45am -10.30am. You can watch via the Guildford Cathedral YouTube Channel.

Guildford Cathedral will be lit up in red white and blue for the duration of the weekend.

Wartime recipe challenge

Take time to look into some of the creative ways those who lived through the war fed their families when food was rationed. Why not attempt to re-create a recipe - we'd love to see the results!

Royal British Legion events

On Friday 8 May 2020 you can also be part of the following events from your home:

  • 11.00am - Two minutes silence will be observed by the nation.
  • 11.15am - Join the Royal British Legion VE Day live stream
  • 3pm - The Nations' Toast - raise your glass to say thank you to all the heroes of WW2.
  • 9pm - Watch BBC One and join in the UK-wide rendition of Dame Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again'. Full details, including the words to the song can be found on the Royal British Legion website.

Discover the stories of those who were there

Behind this enormous moment in history were individual stories. We are humbled and grateful that Surrey based veterans and those who lived through WW2 have taken time to share their memories.

Watch the stories of Royal Navy Veteran Lt Cmdr Alan Tyler and Dame Elizabeth Anson.

William Melly recounts his memories of VE Day:

"I was ten years old when the war started. Our family lived in Liverpool. By VE day I was three weeks short of sixteen. I had joined the Britannia Royal Naval College in 1943 which should have been in Dartmouth but which had been recently bombed and had been moved to Eaton Hall the Duke of Westminster's estate outside Chester and much more convenient for the journey from Liverpool. It just happened I was on leave in early May 1945 prior to my last term at Eaton Hall.

Liverpool had suffered a hard war with a great deal of bombing aimed at the docks running along the banks of the Mersey. As expected this was not always accurate, perhaps on purpose, and there were many civilian targets and casualties. The Royal Navy had its Western Approaches Headquarters there which controlled the Battle of the Atlantic.

Prior to the war, there had been much poverty and hardship with not very good standards of health and too much unemployment. In some ways, the war helped to improve some of these but did not compensate for the loss of life both civilian and armed services.

When peace came, It was like a huge sigh of relief but a realisation of the task that lay ahead but it certainly merited a celebration and when the Scouse of this world want to celebrate they put their hearts and souls into it.

I decided to go and join in. I put my cadets uniform on which I was not sure was the correct thing to do, and caught a tram to the centre of town. There are in fact many centres. The shopping main streets of Church Street and Lord Street leading past the Victoria Memorial to the Pierhead which is now a place for sight seeing called the Albert Dock. St Georges Hall and the row of museum, art gallery and central library and so on.

There were crowds everywhere. Servicemen in uniform both men and women and from other nations plus Liverpool citizens galore stretched across the street arms across shoulders in a solid mass with others watching. We sang and we cheered. I can't remember what we sang but I suspect Vera Lynn was responsible for some of it. Where there was space, we danced.

The atmosphere was one of joy that peace had arrived, relief that the danger to our homes had gone. There was however still one threat but that was a long way away.

It didn't matter who you were, where you were from You were welcome. I joined in but left at dusk and went home exhausted but so glad I had been there.

This was all a long time ago and is as accurate as I can remember but I cannot guarantee it. Liverpool now is a clean and beautiful city. I have made two visits to show it to my grandchildren and felt pride in doing so."

The Surrey History Centre VE Day webpage is also a great place to find out how Surrey residents felt at the end of the war and how they celebrated 75 years ago.

Further resources

Poster/bunting template

Learning resources

Recipes


Files available to download