logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Victory in World War Two
on the home front: VJ Day

YOU ARE HERE: home > war

WW2 peace celebrations in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace

Peace celebrations, screen shots: Left: in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace. Right: street dancing.

I was five years old at the end of World War Two and although I remember much of the war itself - see the menu on the left - I have no recollections at all of the euphoria that greeted its end. (Peace parties, which I do remember, came later.) Fortunately others have clearer recollections of the two specific days:

• VE Day marked Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945, after which Britain itself was no longer in danger - see the VE Day celebrations

• VJ Day marked Victory in Japan on 15 August 1945, the end of all hostilities.

to top of page

V J Day  in London

WW2 peace celebrations: street dancing

Peace celebrations, screen shots: Left: in the Mall outside Buckingham Palace. Right: street dancing.

I went to Buckingham Palace with my uncle, Jack Sharpe, to see the crowds of peoples dancing and singing in the streets, thanking God that our prayers had at last been answered.

We walked across the park to Wellington Barracks to see the Guards Chapel, out of respect for our uncle Alan who was killed in action in Italy. The chapel had been hit by a V2 rocket on a Sunday morning when it was full of people. Now it was just a pile of rubble.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

We had lived in hope and fear, although not a religious family, when the bombs and doodlebugs were falling we held each other and said a silent prayer. Now it was all over, life was going it get better. We did not know at that time that Food Rationing would go on for another eight years or more.

Peter Johnson

V J DAY, 15 August 1945

We arrived at Southend later that day.
For once, people's faces were bright and gay.
Merriment showed and laughter abounded.
Out in the Thames victory sirens sounded.

Street lights came on for the first time in years.
As the need for blackout disappears.
That night we strolled along the prom.
The whole town turned out, a happy throng.

They danced in the streets to a lively band.
Some linking arms, others hand in hand.
Soldiers, sailors and airmen all joined in.
On everyone's face was a merry grin.

Relieved of the anguish of six years of war.
Two final blows put Japan on the floor.

Celebrations now over, though quite an affair.
There's work to be done, change is in the air.

extracted with permission from
an unpublished poem by Mike Swift

to top of page

facebook icon twitter icon

This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.