Marlborough and the villages joined in with the national commemorations for VE Day 75 in style. There was plenty of bunting, socially distanced street parties, 40’s themed cakes and food, and music, singing and dancing. Some residents donned 40’s style dress.
Even a WWII jeep turned up to join the celebration in Manton.
The day also brought back memories for those who were old enough to be there in 1945. Malcolm Lucas, 97, participated in the Farrar Drive celebrations. In 1945 he was stationed in India where he was involved in the electrical servicing of the bomber planes for the Burma campaign. On May 8 1945 there was no sign there of the war ending. “The lads were feeling a bit jealous of those who were able to enjoy celebrating back home and were naturally looking forward to the time when they could join them!”
A keen musician all his life, Malcolm helped the Farrar Drive street party go with a swing by joining the group of musicians in the street to play forties favourites on his piano accordion. A video of the Farrar Drive tea party can be seen here.
Sheila Hale (née McCormack) was prompted to write to marlborough.news to share her memories. Like the people interviewed in the article ‘VE Day 1945 in Marlborough – processions, street parties, lemonade and jam sandwiches, bonfires and more‘ Sheila was at school in Marlborough in 1945.
“I read with interest the article about Marlborough on VE Day. I was a pupil at St Mary’s Infants’ School. I remember being given a small Union Jack and walking around Marlborough singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York ‘. I also recall a party in Blowhorn Street (I lived in Southview Place) where I won a bar of Fry’s Cream Chocolate for singing a nursery rhyme. Sweets were in short supply then!”
So far they have collected many photographs of the fabulous bunting adorning homes as well as a virtual recording of The BlueBelles singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’. The group had planned to sing at a few events on May 8 but instead put together a recording whilst staying safe at home.
Marlborough’s Town Crier, Mike Tupman, gave a virtual performance of the shout (Cry for Peace) and can be viewed on YouTube here.
Manton managed to host two street parties. Nicky Evans and Tracey Whant organised the ‘lower’ party at the end of the High Street near to the Oddfellows, whilst Roger Grant (with more than a bit of help from Lindsay Long of the Manton Residents Association) turned his MantonFest organising skills to create the ‘Upper’ street party further up Manton High Street.
Even one Manton resident was able to bring a genuine icon from the period – a renovated Willys Jeep (see pic above).
In Edwards Meadow the theme was red-white-blue. Starting with a community ‘Zoom’ meeting a while before to make all the arrangements, by 4pm on Friday the whole street was decked out ready for the party – which was conducted with social distancing always at the forefront.
“We have discovered our neighbours through a nasty virus forcing us to help each other and working together. This will last way on into the future; a kinder, happier and caring community and environment in a peaceful setting. We are very lucky to live here.” commented Edwards Meadow resident, Hilda Moore.
Aldbourne Band paid tribute to those who fought in WW2 and in particular the 101st Airborne (Easy Company) who were based in Aldbourne by creating a video. The video was recorded individually by Band members and accompanies a series of WW2 photos which tell something of the history of 101st’s connection with Aldbourne and the connection with the Band. The video can be viewed here.