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Plenty Of Red, White And Blue As Guildford Commemorates 75th Anniversary Of VE Day

Published on: 9 May, 2020
Updated on: 10 May, 2020

by David Rose

The 75th anniversary of VE Day was commemorated on Friday (May 8) by people as best they could during the coronavirus lockdown.

When the Allies defeated Nazi Germany thus ending the Second World War in Europe in 1945, flags and banners were hung out the length of Britain to celebrate. And in 2020 there were homes across Guildford borough that did the same, with some social-distancing celebrations!

A montage of pictures from Charlotteville with flags and bunting hung out to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Images courtesy of the Charlotteville War Memorial website.

Residents in Charlotteville hung bunting and flags to remember friends, relatives and those that once lived in these houses who were finally released from Wartime restrictions.

These pictures and more historic details can be found on the Charlotteville War Memorial website.

Guildford Cathedral lit up in red, white and blue. Pictures by Ray Slack.

Perhaps the highlight of VE Day 75 was Guildford Cathedral lit in red, white and blue. However, it is likely that nowhere near as many people saw it as they would have during normal times.

With little publicity of it happening, unlike the cathedral currently being lit in blue every Thursday evening to honour NHS staff, a few people and keen photographers did venture to Stag Hill to get a close-up look.

Ray Slack took these pictures and kindly emailed them to The Guildford Dragon NEWS, saying he feels it’s important to capture these for posterity and the record.

Guildford Cathedral had also been lit up – in green, for Surrey Day on Saturday, May 2. The firm behind these illuminations is Peachy Productions, a business that hires sound, lighting, staging and equipment and now based in Aldershot.

VE Day 75 carpet bedding in the Castle Grounds. Picture by Ray Slack.

VE Day 75 marked out on the grass at Stoke Park. Picture by Ray Slack.

Ray has also been busy with his camera taking photos of the VE Day 75 carpet bedding in the Castle Grounds and the VE Day 75 marking on the grass in Stoke Park.

The old red phone box in Compton suitable decorated for VE Day 75 and honouring the NHS.

He also took this picture of the redundant telephone box in Compton, that has a regular change of theme usually by local resident Chris Sharples.

From Effingham, Chris Dick reports

Wreaths laid in memory of those who died in war at St Lawrence Church, Effingham.

A military celebration had been planned to take place at the King George V recreation grounds in Effingham along with the release of 500 pigeons that would have raced back to Wales. But this was not to be.

Instead two wreathes were quietly laid at the grave of Sir Barnes Wallis at St Lawrence Church.

Sir Barnes is best remembered as the inventor of the Second World War ‘Bouncing Bomb’, but locally he is perhaps better remembered for his time as chairman of the village parish council and strong supporter of St Lawrence Church.

The Revd Mandy MacVean held a brief service after observing the two-minute silence at 11am.

Veteran Fred Wilson of the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment, laid two wreathes and saluted those who had fallen; gone but not forgotten.

Six people attended including Barbara Dienn the event organiser. Barbara said afterwards: “It was meant to be a big regimental event on the King George V fields as well as the release of 500 pigeons.

“The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR) who are usually called the Tigers are our local regiment for London and the South East and were meant to be here. But they are assisting the NHS so they could not come.”

Barbara added: “The Queen keeps between 150 and 200 pigeons at Sandringham. Peter Farrow, the Queen Elizabeth Loft Keeper, was meant to lay a wreath here today but could not come because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

“He was also due to give a talk here later this month about the Queen’s pigeons at Sandringham. His talk would have covered the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) and the use of carrier pigeons in both world wars.

“It was King George V who started the royal interest in racing pigeons, hence the connection with the King George V recreation grounds.

“As so many of our troops are at the frontline with the NHS, with permission from the PWRR, HQ Colonel John Powell decided, with the ok from the Revd Mandy MacVean, to lay the two wreathes at Sir Barnes Wallis’ grave. This will be the only laying of wreathes from PWRR and RPRA on this day because of the lockdown. And this laying of the two wreathes will be very special to our troops.”

Leewood Way Effingham celebrated VE Day with barbecues and music.

Many in Effingham celebrated the VE Day 75 with barbecues in their front gardens. In Leewood Way, Winston Churchill’s VE Day speech could be heard as well as old-time songs.

There was a lovely atmosphere as neighbours walked passed neighbours exchanging friendly words, socially distanced of course.

One garden even featured two classic cars and some period pieces including a saucy Second World War advertisement for laxatives.

And finally, back to Guildford….

Broomfield Close, Rydes Hill resident Shirley West has emailed these photos and said: “We ended the day with all having fish and chips in paper!”

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Responses to Plenty Of Red, White And Blue As Guildford Commemorates 75th Anniversary Of VE Day

  1. Colin Checkley Reply

    May 10, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Brilliant. Well done to all these people.

    It is things like this that makes me so proud to be English.

  2. Sally Parrott Reply

    May 11, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    It’s excellent to remember the sacrifices of the World War 2 generation.

    It seems very sad that in contrast, the UK’s treatment of that generation now seems to include sending old people with known Covid-19 to care homes, where other residents, and staff, become infected, partly due to the lack of protective clothing.

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