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VE DAY 75TH ANNIVERSARY

Fleet Remembers – 8th May 2020

A DAY OF CELEBRATIONS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

8th May 2020. Fleet soaked up the sun as the thermometer hit 23 degrees and local residents began preparations to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day. It wasn’t the day that many had planned, events had been cancelled, friends and families separated but the residents of Fleet weren’t going to let that stop them as social distancing street parties took shape and houses, roads and even shops were decorated in a red white and blue theme.

From old to young, people gathered together (at a safe distance) to remember the end of the war in Europe, as the irony of the battle we are all facing today was sadly all too clear. But if this day has taught us anything, it’s that we can get through hard times together and that when the chips are down, the sense of community and friendship at the heart of our streets is one that will always be there when we need it the most.

So from the original Fleet VE Day celebrations in 1945 to the lockdown celebrations in 2020, here are the memories that you helped create. Hope you enjoy them and thank you for all your contributions.

If you’d like to add your photos and/or videos here, please visit our Facebook group. This article will be updated with more info as it is acquired. It was last updated on: 11th May 2020.

FLEET 1945 – VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY

Fleet residents did an amazing job of marking the anniversary of VE day but 75 years ago things looked rather different. Food and drink were in short supply, decorations were hand made and yet every section of the local community came together to donate all they had, so people could gather and celebrate the momentous event as one.

In this section, we take a look at the Fleet 1945 celebrations. Thank you to all who have contributed here. Names have been added where possible but if you recognise yourself or anyone else in the photos below, please get in touch and that information can be added for you.

WESTOVER ROAD

Below: Westover Road Victory Party 1945  in The Institute, Albert Street. From the book “Fleet A Second Selection”, by Percy Vickery.

ELMS ROAD AREA

Below: Victory party 1945 in the Elms Road area, this only comprised of around 30 houses at the time. From the book “Fleet A Second Selection”, by Percy Vickery.

ALDERSHOT ROAD

Below: A Church Crookham VE Day Party in the W.I. Hut on the Aldershot road in Church Crookham, (opposite the Co-op, about where The Verne Road is now). Photo: Pete Silvester.

1Rosalind Parkes (née Brooks). 2: Chris Brooks. 3: Richard Mellersh. 4: Pete Silvester. 5: Grace Page. 6: Gladys Silvester.

Family Connections: Pictured are Rosalind Parkes (née Brooks) and her brother Chris Brooks. Rosalind is the Mother of our FFS group member James Parkes.

CLARENCE ROAD

Below: Victory celebration tea 1945 outside Marlborough Villas in Clarence Road (a few yards from Church Road). Photo 1 James Parkes, originally from the book From the book ‘Fleet the Photographic Collection’ by Percy Vickery. Photo 2: Janet Rooms.

1Rosalind Parkes (née Brooks). 2: Ellen Carter. 3: Mary Taylor. 4: Shelia Luckes (née Johns). 5: Eileen Baigent. 6: Ena Baigent. 7: Maude Johns. 8: Chris Brooks.

Family Connections: Pictured are Rosalind Parkes (née Brooks) and her brother Chris Brooks. Rosalind is the Mother of our FFS group member James Parkes who uploaded the photo.

“Thank you for posting the photo as I’ve been able to identify my mum, Mary Taylor and my great grandmother, Ellen Carter. In my photo, my mum is a blur and I just didn’t recognise my great gran!” –  Janet Rooms

“VE Day 1945 outside Marlborough Villas in Clarence Road. The little girl top left corner is my Mother” – James Parkes

“Yes it is me!! (No. 1). I was there with my gran but she is out of the picture. Somewhere there is the same picture with more left hand on view, and that does show my gran ( I think she is sitting on a bench…) I was two and a half.” – Rosalind Parkes

“I remember the party very well I lived at No 4 Clarence Road next door to Vincent’s butcher” – Brenda North

“This photograph was taken from my bedroom window in Clarence road. I am the girl serving drinks in the foreground. Because of rationing everyone gave what they could spare to ensure there was plenty to eat and drink. What a day !” – Sheila Lucke

READING ROAD SOUTH

Below: Children’s VE Day party held at the Methodist Chapel, Reading Road South. Photo: Patricia Andrew.

1Patricia Andrew. 2: Ian Temple.

“This was in the Methodist Chapel Hall on Reading Rd. South. Now demolished and replaced by the lovely modern church building. I’m the shy little girl on the left, who still remembers the strange pink blancmange we were given to eat. Note the lupins on the tables and the boys all wearing jackets and ties!” – Patricia Andrew

“On reflection, I think that the reason for our really clear photograph that day could be that it might have been taken by Mr. Roe ( founder of Roe and Kitteridge) as he was a professional photographer and also a leading member of the Methodist Chapel at that time. I remember him also as a keen bee-keeper, we used to watch them in his lovely garden.” – Patricia Andrew

KENILWORTH ROAD

Below: 1945 VE/VJ Day party in Kenilworth Road. Photo: Helen Jane Lewis.

1 Jean Slingo.

“The little girl in the front in a hat is my next door neighbour Jean Slingo. She moved to Kenilworth road when she was 3 then a house further down the same road when she got married!” – Helen Jane Lewis

CONNAUGHT ROAD

Below: Victory Street party in Connaught Road. From the book ‘Fleet Memories’ by Percy Vickery.

“Victory party in Connaught Road, a couple of hundred yards from the (now) fire station.”

ALBERT STREET

Below: Children’s VE day party in Albert Street. From the book ‘Fleet the Photographic Collection’ by Percy Vickery.

“Victory celebration tea 1945. Party for local children in the Salvation Army Hall in Albert Street (at the junction of Reading Road).”

CROOKHAM SCHOOL

Below: VE Day celebrations at Crookham School 1945. From the book ‘Fleet and Crookham: A Pictorial History’.

FLEET WAR MEMORIAL

At 11am a small gathering at Fleet War Memorial honoured the two minute silence held in remembrance of those who were lost. This was followed by the traditional wreath laying at Fleet and Church Crookham memorials. Below are a few images of local events, you will find more in the full photo album further down this page.

Below: Two minute silence at the Fleet War Memorial. Photo: Ilona Bryan.

“Stopped in town and observed the VE Day 2 minute silence at the war memorial.” – Ilona Bryan

Below: Wreaths laid at Fleet War Memorial. Photo: Tim Burt – British Royal Legion (Fleet and Church Crookham branch).

8th May 2020 – 75th Anniversary of VE Day

“This morning committee members of the Fleet, Crookham & District Branch of The Royal British Legion laid wreaths at Fleet War Memorial and Crookham War Memorial to commemorate the casualties of the Second World War.

At each memorial a wreath was laid to commemorate those armed forces who lost their lives and a wreath to remember the civilian casualties.

At Fleet, the military wreath was laid by Branch Chairman, Air Commodore Bill Tyack CBE and the civilian wreath by Branch Treasurer, Mr Ross Cannings.

At Church Crookham, the military wreath was laid by Branch President, Brigadier Dickie Haldenby RM and the civilian wreath by Branch Church Crookham coordinator, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Young.”

Below: Fleet War Memorial 11am. Photo: Simon Paul Fenwick.

“VE Day 75 morning with a visit to the War Memorial for the 11am two minutes silence. Three new wreaths were laid. These were supposed to have been laid at Guildford Cathedral but of course that couldn’t happen. Only half a dozen of us at the memorial. In different times it would have been packed.” – Simon Paul Fenwick

YOUR VIDEOS

We might not have been able to attend public VE Day 75th Anniversary celebrations this year but thanks to Graham Hix (on piano) and Emma Mabin (on vocals), we can still enjoy a taster of what was meant to be. Graham explained “Emma and my quintet, together with friends from Cody Musical company, should have been doing a charity concert at Church on the Heath tomorrow”. Well as sad as it is to see the event cancelled, it’s wonderful to see the video, thanks Graham!

Below: VE Day Anniversary Celebratory Video. Video: Graham Hix.

Below: Local residents celebrate the VE Day 75th Anniversary. Video: Norma Pickles.

Below: VE Day 75th Anniversary Decorations at The Crescent, Crookham Village. Video: Norma Pickles.

Below: VE Day Social Distancing Street Party. George Street, Fleet, Hampshire. Video: Ruth Hill.

YOUR PHOTOS

All over town you painted, decorated, baked and planned to make this a truly amazing day. The result was a truly wonderful event celebrated by old and young alike as lockdown proved that it could not dampen the British Bulldog spirit. Below are a few of your photos and you will find many (many!) more in the album further down the page too.

Below: Poster from 1995, the 50th anniversary of VE and VJ Day in Fleet, Hampshire. Photo: Nick Sparrow.

“Does anyone remember this event from 25 years ago? The poster was found whilst clearing out our shed, but I don’t remember attending the event. One thing is for sure, there will be nothing like it this year.” – Nick Sparrow

Below: Bunting from King George’s coronation. Photo: Tony Clark.

“Here’s our effort. Bunting is from King George’s coronation and cut down by spectators in Westminster. Was then used again when celebrating the end of the war. I’m reliably told anyway..” – Tony Clark

Below: Painting commemorative rocks. Photo: Shirley Thompson.

“Painting rocks and listening to wartime music” – Shirley Thompson

Below: The beloved W. C. Bakers in Fleet, flying the flags for VE Day. Photo: Steve Contreras.

VE DAY PHOTO ALBUM

So here we come to the full album of VE day in Fleet. From 1945 to 2020, the images, memories and parties that have spanned generations. I hope you enjoy looking through them all and remember, if you’d like to add your own photos or videos, please just pop along to our Facebook group.