SECOND WORLD WAR STORIES

VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY

Friday 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War II in Europe.

Across the nation community celebrations were planned to mark the 75th anniversary over the bank holiday weekend of the 8th – 10th May, many of which, like our street party, have been postponed due the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Astons History Group has produced this short and reflective film which marks the start of our new project where we will research this period of time in our villages (1939 – 1945). We have started to gather the individual stories of the men and women from our villages, who served in the war, along with all the people who volunteered on the 'Home Front'. 

We are very grateful to all of the people who have come forward with photographs of their families and stories so far. 



Tuesday the 8th May 1945

If we could step back in time to 75 years ago, when Tuesday the 8th May 1945 dawned, a nation was waiting to hear the long anticipated news that war in Europe had formally been won.

By early afternoon that day, large crowds were gathering in all the main city centres, and especially London. At 3pm everyone stopped to hear Winston Churchill's speech that he delivered from No.10 Downing Street. His speech was broadcast across the nation. Villagers who were lucky enough to have a wireless in their homes would have gathered around it to listen. Neighbours would have been welcomed around to listen in as well.

After the formal broadcast finished, the cheering started. The local bell-ringers would have climbed St Michael’s tower to ring a celebratory peal, the toll bell of All Saints would have been rung and villagers would have been dancing in the streets.

People would have decorated their houses, bonfires and beacons would have been lit, street tea-parties and fireworks would have happened and the two village pubs, The Chequers and The Boot, would have done a roaring trade.

A national holiday was declared and people from all walks of life came together to mark the moment.

The 75th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through the Second World War and brought peace back to Europe.


THE IMPORTANCE OF BELLS

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and to remember and thank those who fought for our freedom, a solitary bell at St Michael’s will ring in advance of 11am on the 8th May up to the 2 minutes silence and then afterwards to signal the end of the silence.

Thirty voices, seventy five years, one story

At a time when the nations bells have been unable to ring during the Corona Virus pandemic so far, the story below tells the history and story behind the prevention of bell-ringing during WW2 and how D Day changed this.

Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of D day, this unique episode sees host Cathy Booth, joined by a whole cast of ringers, bust the myths about ringing during World War II, in ‘thirty voices, seventy-five years, one story’. And what a story!