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North East women share their memories of VE Day

75 years after the war ended on 8 May 1945, North East women have shared their memories with us.

By Laura Kingston

Joyce Arey, 97, Rosemount Care Home

I was 22 when the war ended. I heard the news on the radio, we were all so relieved that the bombing had stopped and so happy that the men were coming home but we didn’t know when we would see them. We were also very relieved that rationing was going to finish. We expected it to stop immediately but it didn’t. 

When I heard on the radio it was over, I went to see my school friend. We decided we were going to celebrate by getting dressed in our finest clothes, put our lipstick on and go into town to have a little drink. We went to a little bar on Nun Street and drank gin and orange to celebrate. Town was empty, there was no big party there, so we went home for our tea.

Patricia Temperley, 90 (on VE Day)

This date stands out in my memory as it also happened to be my birthday. I was 15 that day and was at school, an ordinary school day. 

When the announcement came via the radio  – no-one had a television in those days! There was a feeling of great relief – no more bombing raids, sirens and blackouts. 

There were celebrations – everyone was ecstatic. We had a street party and all the neighbours pooled their rations and put up balloons and banners. 

The younger children got dressed up and everyone had a great time. A truly memorable moment in my life. 

P.S. We still had food rationing until 1954 – nine years later!

Sheila Collins, 86

I was about 11 at the time and was visiting my Aunt Anne and Uncle Luigi in London. They lived in a flat on Tottenham Court Road and so Regents Park was fairly near to them.

They took me down to the celebrations taking place around Buckingham Palace on the actual day and I remember it being very exciting being in amongst all the throngs of people. There were lots of fireworks going off and it was so colourful. 

I was wearing a light blue wool coat with a darker blue velvet peter pan collar.

 

Clara Tully, 97, Rosemount Care Home 

I was 23-years-old when the war ended. I was serving in the Land Army. We heard on the radio that the war had come to an end. It was a day to remember. We lived in Benwell and we all went outside our homes and celebrated with our neighbours. 

We had a big street party, everyone was dancing and singing. 

We were all so thrilled it was over. It was a very happy day.

 

Violet Coates, 1922 – 1995

Violet from Gateshead was in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, she was a flight mechanic on the Spitfires – and even flew one. She was stationed at RAF Ossington and RAF Hednesford.

Violet has now passed but her family will always be very proud of her. She embodied the fighting spirit and resilience of North East women. 

The photo provided shows Violet with other female flight mechanics – Joan Lynch, Gwen Crawford, and Audrey Higgins.

 

Thank you to our readers and the staff at Rosemount Care Home in Whitley Bay for helping us to source these stories. 

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