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'We used up the month's rations to make goodies for outdoor parties'

VE Day Scalesceugh Hall & Villas

Shirley Markham, Scalesceugh Villas homeowner, remembers the day Victory in Europe was celebrated 75 years ago...

8 May, 1945: To begin with it was not VE Day, just victory or V-day. There were many reminders that soldiers and thousands of British civilians were still fighting, or in captivity in the Far East.

Eventually the E for Europe was added and VE Day it became.

I remember it came as no surprise, we knew it would be sometime soon but we had to wait for all the legal papers to be signed - a formality but it meant we had several days to prepare.

To get out the flags and bunting. To decorate streets and homes. To recklessly use up the month's rations to make goodies for the outdoor parties.

I was nearly 16 and into my second job. Having started in the Co-op I was now in a posh shop in Darlington CB and worked very long hours, so I was delighted to have two full days holiday! 

I think it rained in the north, but I can’t remember much detail about the day itself. My mother was so relieved my brother had survived and would be demobbed. 

We went to the cinema two or three times a week in those days and that is where we saw all the celebrations going on - in London - but I think in my Yorkshire village we were less demonstrative!  

I do remember listening to Churchill and the King on a crackly old radio.

We have become so used to seeing everything as it happens from all over the world that it is hard to remember how little we were told then.

When the first images of concentration camps were shown at the cinema, audiences gasped in horror.

It was not until the fall of Japan that the world began a rather shaky period of peace.

VE Day
Shirley Markham today, at Scalesceugh Hall & Villas


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