VE Day 75 Commemorations
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on 8 May 1945. It t is now 75 years since that momentous occasion and celebrations were planned across the country, with a special Bank Holiday weekend. We had planned a weekend of events and activities with a street party, singing and entertainment and vintage car parade
The celebrations have been postponed due to the current battle again an unseen enemy in Coronavirus. However this will not stop the people of Britain commemorating this very important day. Town and villages throughout the country are arranging 'Stay at Home' parties. The volunteers of Harleston's Future, the Harleston Kindness Hub and our local Council have worked together to produce a programme of events and activities for Friday 8 May as our virtual VE Day celebrations.
Some people will remember VE Day and the original celebrations with fondness. Brining an end to the misery of war and hope for a brighter future. They have lived through many more ups and downs until reaching the current low point of Coronavirus and isolation. They will however have optimism, borne from experience, that times will get better.
Other people will have heard about the war, rationing and rebuilding directly from people who were there. But most people will only have second hand stories or cinema interpretations for their nostalgic visions.
We bring you a mixture of actual recordings, local memories and recreations to help with our VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations. Whether you are young or old, remember the war first hand, second hand or only through TV, there will be something for you.
Before the Second World War started Britain imported about 55 million tons of food a year from other countries. After war was declared in September 1939, the British government had to cut down on the amount of food it brought in from abroad as German submarines started attacking British supply ships. There was a worry that this would lead to shortages of food supplies in the shops so the British government decided to introduce a system of rationing.
Rationing made sure that people got an equal amount of food every week. The government was worried that as food became scarcer, prices would rise and poorer people might not be able to afford to eat. There was also a danger that some people might hoard food, leaving none for others.
In January, 1940, bacon, butter and sugar were rationed. This was followed by meat, fish, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, milk and canned fruit. Rationing was popular with the people and a Gallup Poll showed over 60 per cent in favour of this system.
However, many small shopkeepers complained about the strategy used by food inspectors of employing people to encourage the breaking of the law. In December 1940, Isabella Tompsett was employed in Stepney to visit butchers' shops and attempt to buy meat without coupons. As a result three butchers in one road were heavily fined for this offence. These undercover officials acting as agents provacateurs, were severely criticised in the press.
We have a beautiful collection of classic cars which can be seen from the comfort of your own home. Thesegeorgeous vehicles are all owned and lovingly maintained by local enthusiasts. Do you know your Austin from your Anglia, your Minx from your Snipe? Take a look at the parade of vintage cars and see how many you recognise.
There will be a virtual parade of military vehicles at 4:00pm on Friday 8 May.