End of WW2 – Blantyre Style


iconicAs you can imagine the announcement that World War II had ended, caused some speculation until it was officially announced on the radio. Blantyre was no different. Neither the time of the announcement, nor the speculations and false alarms which preceded it, seemed to affect the celebrations spontaneously arranged throughout Blantyre and indeed the Nation, just a few minutes after Mr Attlee’s midnight broadcast on Tuesday 14th August 1945.

The date, which is often confused with 15th August due to different time zones signified not just Victory over Japan, but ended the entire war. Blantyre immediately erupted into celebrations and ceasing of work activity. Hardly a street was without a bonfire, music, dancing, and a sing-song.

At Larkfield, hundreds of people listened with rapt attention to a brief but most impressive thanksgiving address from the Rev. James Sibbald, M.A. of Anderson Church, who was called upon to speak after he was noticed mingling with the great crowd that had amassed. In Morris Crescent revellers used with great relish, the fireworks formerly employed in A.R.P. exercises.

Throughout Wednesday the children regathered materials for more bonfires. In parts of High Blantyre they were observed marching with an effigy of the Japanese Emperor before them, chanting “We want Togo.” On Wednesday evening the four public halls were opened for dancing. At most the dancers persevered until daylight on the Thursday morning.

Thanks to Wilma Bolton for providing the newspaper report.

On that very day, meantime over at Times Square, NY, America, this iconic photo was taken of a sailor kissing a girl in the street.

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