Today, Friday 8th May 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day).
Like communities all over Britain, spontaneous parties and celebrations broke out in Blantyre. Our community took its appropriate part. For those who had not lost loved ones, it was time to celebrate that a terrible long war in Europe had finally ended.
Street parties took place and flags and bunting hung from windows, as seen in this previously unseen full photo of High Blantyre Main Street.
Actually, it was known in the media the day before that VE may be proclaimed. Sporting matches had to make adjustments, promoting rescheduling.
In the weeks that followed, Blantyre recorded with great satisfaction the return of all local prisoners of war from German and Japanese prison camps. Deaths on battlefields throughout the world, unhappily, had also to be recorded, and Blantyre homes gave quite a number of sons. Malcolm Dow was a prisoner of war on the Burma railway. Interestingly, he brought a seed or a plant back with him and planted it and that very same monkey puzzle tree can still be seen to this day, 75 years later in a garden at the Crescents.
The outstanding achievements of the local committees of the Red Cross, W.V.S. and Nursing Association were noticed, as were many of the activities of the churches, Co-operative and Community Centre Women’s Guilds.
VE Day in Europe brought about American resolve to end War in the Pacific as quickly as possible and just a few months later, the whole war ended with VJ Day, but only after the horrific dropping of the world’s first nuclear weapons on Japan.
Whilst we remember all those brave lives lost (god rest their souls), VE Day was a celebration of renewed hope. Hope for a new, different future…..something we could all do with right about now.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
Higgins Martin Never knew that about the monkey puzzle tree….. amazing!
Anne Cook Aunt Minnie’s building !x
Betty McLean I remember the celebrations
Betty McLean Wonder if anyone knows of a Mr Semple who lived in that little shed beside the building. He attended the Salvation Army.
Joseph Allan tree is a land mark for me no it well
Scott Moore A lot of people forgot about the war in the Far East which lasted another 4 months after VE Day. My grampa was a Japanese POW for 3 1/2 years and never got back to Blantyre until November 45. He always loved the good people of Blantyre who had a street party for him when he finally made it back.
Irene Dickman The monkey puzzle tree is on the corner of Small crescent and Victoria street. Born and brought up in the crescents and was always amazed by this wonderful tree.
Isabel McGranaghan I lived in the crescents for years and my sisters friend Sandra lived in that house for years and I never new the story about the tree , thanks …every time I look at that tree now it will remember of all that fought so we could be free.
Helen Lawson Taylor I used to walk past the house with the tree going to Calder Street Secondary School and loved looking at it
Orlando Ancilotti My great uncle, Walter Clelland, had a monkey puzzle tree in his front garden in Croft Park Crescent, in Springwell.
Una Mason Hynds High Blantyre Main Street the Chines take away is in there now xx