Still looking at today’s theme of Remembrance. As 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 WW2. Blantyre immediately erupted into celebrations and ceasing of work activity. Hardly a street was without a bonfire, music, dancing, and a sing-song.
The horror of how it had ended, through the dropping of the first atomic weapons a week or so earlier was somewhat misunderstood and downplayed by many people……all they cared largely was that War had finally ended!
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 on Stonefield Road, 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, setting them off knowing they were no longer needed.
Throughout Wednesday the children re-gathered materials for more celebration bonfires.
Not content knowing Hitler was dead, in parts of High Blantyre, people were observed marching with an effigy of the Japanese Emperor before them, chanting “We want Togo.”
On Wednesday evening four public halls were opened for dancing. At most the dancers persevered until daylight on the Thursday morning. There was generally no work the next day.
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, a symbol of victory and coming home.
We remember today all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW2. May they rest in peace.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Jessie Caldow I remember as a girl in our street in Burnbank and others close by, that there was bunting at the windows and street parties with music, dancing and food and a welcome home for several prisoners of war, including an uncle of mine, Angus King who was in a German camp.Also one of the streets had an effigy of Hitler which was set alight with much cheering!