VE Day Recollections – Ken Bridger

 10 June 2020 |

I can remember with clarity VE Day 1945.  The day before I had visited my grandmother who was living in a residential home called Thornhill House where she was looked after by a very lovely lady, a member of the staff.  The lady asked me if I would like to visit London with her and her husband to join thousands of people celebrating VE Day.  I jumped at the invitation, and so next day the three of us set off by train to London and joined the vast crowds gathered at Victoria, on to Buckingham Palace .  We joined in the singing of well-known war songs waiting for the King and Queen to appear on the Palace balcony, later joined by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.  Having spent hours singing and cheering we made our way to Victoria station to have a cup of tea and sandwich, having not eaten since breakfast, in the early hours of next morning.

For all my life since, I can recall so many sad events we all endured during the six years, our home in Beckenham shattered by a bomb which destroyed a house opposite killing the occupants.  We stayed with friends for nearly six months sleeping in an air raid shelter by night and by day time clearing our home of debris with workmen installing new windows and doors, repairing the roof and being without items of furniture damaged by shrapnel.  I remember having news in 1941 that two cousins aged 21 had on a mission to Germany been shot down, one died in Poland from injuries and one whose body was never found.  My grandmother returning from a weekday church service to find 80 years of age her home with the whole street demolished by a bomb, and lastly ending up with men, women and children in a large shelter every night when the doodle bugs first appeared. 

Ken Bridger