VE Day 75

VE Day 75

Sadly, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the wonderful events that were planned across the County to celebrate VE Day 75 have had to be cancelled or postponed in order to stay safe.  However, there are still many ways we can get involved to mark and celebrate this important anniversary.

Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the Nation to mark the 75th Anniversary of  VE Day on Friday 8 May.  Details of this, and the plans of other Members of the Royal Family, can be found here

The Kent Lieutenancy will be joining the Nation in a two minute silence on Friday 8 May at 11am.  The Royal British Legion are encouraging everyone to take part in this moment of reflection and remembrance.  They have also organised various other events including a VE Day 75 Livestream following the silence, a sing along and learning packs for children.

Rochester Cathedral will be livestreaming their very special #VEDay75 Service at 11.15am featuring our Lord-Lieutenant as well as HRH The Countess of Wessex, Joanna Lumley OBE and the High Sheriff.  We are really looking forward to watching this and hope you can too.

We will also be taking part in the Nation’s Toast on Friday 8 May,  If you would like to join in then please do raise a drink of your choice at 3.00pm on Friday 8 May from the safety of your own home and undertake the following ‘Toast’, “To those who gave so much, we thank you,”

For more details on the Nation’s Toast and other ways to celebrate, please do visit the VE Day 75 website

In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches and other locations will ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace.

Our two Cathedrals in Kent, Canterbury Cathedral and Rochester Cathedral are taking part in the Big Picnic for Hope.  Find out here how you can join in as well as some fun activities

The RBLI have many ways for you and your family to get involved, take a look at their website to see how you can join in

The BBC are running a Great British Bunting event where you can make your own bunting to decorate your house for the occasion, more details here

English Heritage have some wonderful stories and pictures on their website including activities for you to try at home

Sky News have put together a page to details activities across the Country

Timetable of main events
11.00am Two-minute silence
11.15am VE Day Livestream service from RBL
3.00pm Nation’s Toast
7.00pm Bells for peace
9.00pm HM The Queen will address the Nation

Local Events

Kent Archives have put together material from VE Day in Kent to show how it was celebrated throughout the County and what people’s experiences of it were.

VE Meal Poster

VE Meal Poster

Age UK Thanet are organising meals for 75 veterans in the area for VE Day 75.  They have also put together quotes from people in Thanet who have memories of where they were on VE Day:

“I was working in the bakers on VE Day. We used to serve the soldiers. All I remember was that on VE Day everyone went down the pub and I couldn’t go with everyone which was so unfair.”(Anonymous, served in the Wrens)

“I was posted to the Far East at the time, so I didn’t experience VE Day in Britain. This makes it hard for me to be able to share any thoughts about VE Day because I was at a distance. If I wasn’t married though, I’d have stayed in the army for sure. I was married for 72 years and got married at 18.” (Anonymous, served in the army)

“On VE Day I was on leave in London, but due back by the end of the day. When I found out,  I sent a telegram to my CO that I wasn’t coming back and went to the West End (Piccadilly Circus) to celebrate instead. There were millions of people cheering and shouting. It was a sight to see.” (Gerry Abrahams, one of the last Lancaster Bomber pilots)

Dover District Council are asking for residents in the community to join them in the Nation’s Toast by sending in photos of them taking part.  More details here

The Kent Messenger Group have shared these wonderful photos with us of celebrations throughout Kent on VE Day 1945.

Street parties in Victoria Street, Maidstone May 1945.

At Maidstone they danced in the High Street, – May 1945

A VE party in Victoria Street, Gillingham, May 1945

The Mayoress of Maidstone, Mrs Gordon Larking, met this mini Winston Churchill, at a VE day party on the Foster Clark estate, Maidstone 31 August 1945.

Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) on VE Day, 8 May 1945

Both VE Day and Victory in Japan Day (VJ Day) are notable anniversaries for the United Kingdom and the World; marking the end of horrific experiences and great sacrifice.  Kent’s local Regiment, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), the Tigers, remembers the sacrifices made by its forebear regiments in the Second World War.  This is where the battalions were serving on VE Day:



2. The Buffs:
1st Bn –  South of the River Po, Italy
2nd Bn – Rangoon, Burma
4th Bn – disbanded after disastrous losses on Leros
5th Bn – South of the River Po, Italy
7th Bn – Redesignated as 141 Regt RAC (The Buffs) – Delmenhorst, Germany (Then disbanded)

6. Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment:
1st Bn – Greece
2nd Bn – UK
4th Bn – Waw, 100 Kms North East of Rangoon, Burma
5th Bn – Fiesson, Northern Italy
6th Bn – Ferrara, north of the River Po, Italy
7th Bn – Disbanded 2nd May 1944, redesignated as 2nd Bn to replace losses in the Dodecanese
9th Bn – (162 Regt RAC) but retained White Horse cap badge, disbanded 1942