Flags, bunting, jazz, street parties and all that jive make for a special and moving VE Day celebration

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Thursday 14th May 2020 11:02 am
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Christine and Alan John's in 1940s dress outside their home in Petersfield

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THE 75th anniversary since the end of the Second World War in Europe saw houses decorated houses with flags and bunting, and social-distance street parties.

People and families in Petersfield, Buriton, Harting, Rogate, Nyewood, Liss Liphook, Hawkley, East and West Meon, Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle came out to commemorate the signing of peace on May 8, 1945.

There were family street barbecues, 1940s-style teas, shouted toasts and conversations as people refused to let the lockdown stop them recreating the celebration parties when the war ended in Europe with the German surrender.

And everywhere there was music – Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, the national anthem and Jerusalem were favourites – while jazz and swing tunes, some recorded, others played live, encouraged people to dance, and wartime songs such (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover got some singing along.

As well as street parties, there were garden parties, as well as English tea and cake, sipped and nibbled with raised little fingers. There was Pimms, wine, beer and G&Ts, raised in not such little glasses at times.

And adding a 1940s feel to the day were those who dressed in period outfits, home made, found in attics or charity shops, or even borrowed from elderly relatives.

There were also serving members of the armed forces in uniform, and among the flags flying from houses in one street were a few Royal Navy signal flags representing the letter ‘W’ – in Navy circles, sometimes hoisted when a ship is in port to indicate it was time for a whiskey, said one Royal Navy warrant officer, with a smile and a glass in hand.

And the warm sunshine added to the feel-good factor and determination to celebrate the day – and remember those who died during the war.

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