Friday, 8 May 2015

VE Day Celebrations in Orkney and the UK

Notice from The Scotsman newspaper, dated 8th May 1945
(OA Ref: D23/30/7)

Photographs from The Scotsman newspaper, dated 9th May 1945 
(OA Ref: D23/30/7)

On the island of Eday:
 "The day was observed by many as a holiday. Flags were flown. On both afternoons, 8th & 9th, it poured incessantly with rain and, except where necessary, most people kept indoors. A service of thanksgiving was held in the Church of Scotland at 6pm on the evening of the 8th. Many people were kept from attending by the inclemency of the weather.
(The Orkney Herald newspaper, 15th May 1945)

In Kirkwall: 
"The VE Day thanksgiving service, in which the three Church of Scotland congregations in the town and the Congregational Church united, planned to be held in St Magnus Cathedral was changed at the last minute to the Paterson Church owing to the breakdown of the cathedral organ. Upwards of a thousand people attended the service
(The Orkney Herald newspaper, 15th May 1945)

Photograph of Edinburgh from The Scotsman newspaper, dated 9th May 1945 
(OA Ref: D23/30/7)
In Stromness:
"Stromness was a town of flags and down-pouring rain on the official VE Day, the eighth of May, and the combination was not at all harmonious. What promised to be a day of delirious joy and excitement went off like a damp squib. True, there was the excitement of the Prime Minister's radio speech in the afternoon, and the ringing of the church bells expressed the deep thankfulness in all our hearts. In the evening the heavy rain took off and allowed the people to go to the united service in the North Church, but even then a shroud of dampness hung over Stromness and there was no sunshine or fragment of blue sky to gladden this first day in the new era of peace. In spite of atrocious weather there were many celebrations in the evening. At most of the military camps, and in the Town Hall, dancing and merry-making went on all night, and NAAFI beer flowed in profusion. On the following day the weather was almost similar, except in the evening which was fine and sunny. The flags still flew and the beer still flowed and the rain continued to fall
(The Orkney Herald newspaper, 15th May 1945)

The last few days of the war from an unknown newspaper. (OA Ref: D23/30/7)

In Longhope: 
"On Tuesday of last week flags were flying all around the district, and at 3pm the vessels in the bay all began blowing their whistles and hoisting their bunting, which made a pretty sight. The flags were kept up all day on Wednesday, two days holiday being observed by all workpeople. A service was held on Tuesday evening in the Parish Church.
(The Orkney Herald newspaper, 15th May 1945)

Last All Clear 
"Mr Churchill's broadcast on VE Day was brief - disappointingly short for those who had waited for it. The finish of the Premier's broadcast was heralded by the sounding of ship's whistles at Kirkwall Harbour and the prolonged 'All Clear' shrilling of one of the privately operated Burgh air raid sirens
(The Orcadian newspaper, May 1945)

In Evie:
Victory in Europe was celebrated here with quiet enthusiasm. Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Tuesday that the war in Europe was over the church bells were rung, and flags appeared everywhere. On Wednesday a thanksgiving service was held in the Central Church at noon: it was largely attended and most impressive. Dr Campbell occupied the pulpit and gave an excellent address.
(Orkney Herald newspaper, 15 May 1945)

Click on the label "Orkney at War" below to see more wartime blog posts.

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