Villagers remember the momentous events of May 1945
Ella West recalls the Peace Declaration. “Any news then Ella?” asked a young communications officer, Dick, returning to Stratford one day in April. He couldn’t say any more, but Ella knew what he meant. Sure enough on the next News Bulletin the end of the War in Europe was announced.
On 8th May 1945, VE Day, Lower Weald celebrated with a football match on Pond Close (or Cow Field as Ella referred to it) opposite Manor Farm – men versus ‘women’.
The men, Ella remembers, dressed as women. They were Mr George Fountaine, Mr Bill Wilkes from Middle Weald wearing a large hat, Mr Harold West (Ella’s husband), Mr Archie King of Manor Farm, Mr Sid Stanley and others.
After the match
Bet Jones remembers “we had a party up at the farm. Everybody all got together, all the little kids in the centre of the lawn. And it wasn’t just a bit of bread and jam, or a bit of cheese – we had a variety! Everbody was bringing food. We just stood there watching, saying ‘Hello’ and pinching them off the table. Bet’s brother Dick recalls “It was just a tea party but that was good that was – we had a lot to eat! We pinched some of the cakes and hid them in the sheds to eat them up. That was the best thing we ever had in me life up there, until then”. *
Later that evening
There was a party afterwards up the yard. Everyone brought something to eat and a big bonfire was lit with a guy on the top made up to look like Hitler! The day’s events were even reported in the local paper.
The Newspaper cutting reads:
Victory celebrations at Calverton took the form of a children’s tea party and sports. Tea was served in the schoolroom by Mrs. W. Ward, Mrs. C. West, and other mothers.
The residents generously gave money (over £9) and kind (cakes jellies, etc.) to enable the children to enjoy a sumptuous tea. Sports were held in a meadow, organised by Mr. George Fountaine, Mr. Harold West, and Mr. Cecil West. Refreshments were partaken in the school, the proceedings terminating with a bonfire when an effigy of Hitler was burnt.
From the Wolverton Express of Friday 18th May 1945
*Bet and Dick Webb’s quotes from ‘Calverton Manor Farm – a century of memories’ published by the Living Archive.