VE Day, 75 Years

VE Day, 75 Years

8th May 2020 0 By jarm69

Sat here locked down, like everyone else, I am looking through the window at a beautiful day. This is turning into one of the nicest years weather wise we have ever seen and the full funfair industry is non existant.

I know some that are struggling with the lockdown, it’s not just financial, but the mental strains are starting to tell, after a friend took his own life at the start of the year, a lot of friends actually started talking more about mental health. What became clear was just how fragile some people are, with an awful lot of friends I know personally on anti-depressants to control their moods. The strain of the lock down is starting to open some cracks up and its worrying.

6 Years Of War

With it being VE day I have sat and thought about what they suffered. Almost 6 years of being at war. Nutcase German pilots visiting nightly with the express intention of dropping a bomb on your head. Loved ones serving in the forces, away from home sometimes for years at a time, and you had no idea from one minute to the next whether they were safe, or some crazed little Japanese man was trying to stick a sword up their harris.

Don’t forget, we didn’t have email, Whatsapp, Facebook or mobile phones then. A husband or father could have been killed, and it might well have been weeks, if not months before you found out. I should imagine every knock on the door, or visit from the postman became a psychological ordeal.

Funfair In The War Years

To a large extent the funfair started the war as it is now, closed. Eventually the government came up with the idea of holidays at home to boost morale, and allowed some limited operations. Some enterprising operators managed to set up inside buildings and operated throughout the period.

In many ways it was actually easier for them than dealing with the virus. With radar and air raid sirens you did have a bit of warning that Franz and his Heinkel were coming to get you. The virus doesn’t afford us the same courtesy.

Today

This should have been one of the busiest days in our calendar, not just the traditional funfairs, but the corporate hire market was well booked up to boot. Obviously nothing will actually go ahead, and for a change we will all be sat doing very little on a bank holiday.

I saw an interview on morning television the other day where the gentleman being interviewed had a clear acrylic ‘Tommy’ sat on his desk. He was asking people to put them in the window for VE day, the funds raised from making them directly supports ex armed forces. Unfortunately it was too late to order one for today, but we have placed an order and will put it in the office window in tribute. As bad as this virus is, I don’t think it can compare to charging into machine gun fire on the beaches of Normandy, or trying to hold Japanese Banzai charges back in Kohima.

They were a tough breed then, woman keeping the family together, little more than kids taking to the skies in Spitfires and Hurricanes to face overwhelming odds in the sky. Sailors on Arctic convoys, braving the twin terrors of wolf packs and weather.

I think in the news recently, Captain Tom, sorry, as he has now become Colonel Tom, exemplifies just what Hitler was facing, poor simple silly sod to think that he had a chance against men like that.

A Commemorative Tommy Figure
A Commemorative Tommy

A debt of gratitude is owed to all who served 75 years ago. As the NHS front-line are our hero’s today, they are our hero’s of then.

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon
Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)