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'On This Day in History'

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When local community events were being planned for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, no-one could have foreseen COVID-19.

Regrettably too, the bells of St Alban's Church will remain silent within the village since there is insufficient space for our bell-ringers to socially distance and because most of our bell-ringers are now over 70 years of age and remain in lock-down.

So, what happened in May 1945?

The document of complete surrender of all German Forces in both the West and East (signed on behalf of Germany by General Alfred Jodl) and accepted by Allied Commander General Eisenhower, came into effect on 8 May 1945. This brought WWII to an end in Europe. For us, the war had lasted from 3 September 1939 until 8 May 1945 (the latter having been declared a public holiday by Winston Churchill, the then Prime Minister).

This Day has subsequently become known as VE Day i.e. Victory in Europe.

In Tattenhall, the provincial press reported the following:

'Peace when it came on 8 May 1945, was celebrated with flags, festoons and bunting and the Church bells were rung at intervals throughout the day. Combined thanksgiving services took place and it is recorded that the Church was 'crowded to overflowing'. Collections for the 'Welcome Home Fund' took place and for the 'Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen's Family Association Fund'. A children's tea party was arranged by the residents of Keysbrook and served in the Square and sports were held in the afternoon. Sunday School outings took place (to Rhyl and to New Brighton) for the first time in 6 years'. Cheshire Observer, May 1945.

VJ Day stands for Victory over Japan and is the name given to 15 August 1945, the day Japan publicly announced its surrender. The formal surrender ceremony took place on 2 September, officially bringing the Second World War in the Pacific to an end.

Our thanks to Tattenhall Local History for creating this piece today. Their new local history book 'Tattenhall — A Community United by War' was to have been launched today — we will keep you posted as to the new launch date as soon as possible.

Click on each image to enlarge — celebratory scenes from 8 May 1945 in London.

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