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‘Photographs courtesy of Elmbridge Museum. Find out more about Elmbridge during the Second World War and search the collection here
VE Day posters by Imogen Andrews

A Remembrance of Things Past

V E Day Celebration

V E Day


Pam Francis

I was only three so what did l know

when they sat me at a table with my hair in a bow

All of the mummies were happy and gay

for this was a party for a special day.

Everyone brought some food on a plate

the table was set up outside our gate.

Auntie Glad who lived next door

curlers and a turban she always wore.

On this day l didn't know who she was

It was the first time we'd seen her hair of course.

In the concrete pillbox just behind

the Civil Defence kit you would find.

I had a little card Commemorating the event

but,ruined in the 1968 floods,it went.

Celebrations were planned after 75 years

street parties are cancelled amid new fears

A new war against a virus has knocked us askance

But celebrations will go ahead at a distance.

V E Day


Pam Smyth

When the lights went on again,

all over the place

There were cheers and cheers of happiness

for days and days and days.

The flags were routed out,

and lots of bunting too,

no more dreaded scenes

and the all clear sounding through.

The excitement was all about me,

and people danced around.

There was much music and singing

because we were ‘anxiety’ free.

My mother was a pianist

and played the accordion too,

she knew she would be welcome

and could entertain a few.

So off to the local pub she went,

into the crowds she played all night

they stood her on a table,

must have been a lovely sight.

Too late for me to celebrate

Because I was only 12,

but in the daytime we made up for it

and all enjoyed ourselves.

That week the cinemas were full

because we had to see the news reel.

The London streets were crowded

and they danced along the mall.

They arrived at Buckingham Palace,

to see the Royal family

and then they all appeared,

all of them on the balcony.

Then after that we all prepared

for the street parties and some fun,

there were lots and lots of sandwiches

and maybe the odd bun.

Although the food was rationed,

there was plenty of food to spare,

jellies and blancmanges,

and drinks were everywhere.

We will never forget those special days

of the VE Day celebrations

A group of women standing outside near a wall; 2 facing the camera holding jugs on V. E. Day 1945. Aunt Kate Lampard (nee Knight) in centre. She lived over Esher Fire Station when it first opened, then in Park Road. A neighbour of Aunt Edie is on the left. Courtesy of Elmbridge Museum

We commemorate the past in many different ways; respectful, somber and celebratory, in tones sad, funny and lyrical and through the joy of a Jubilee street party, a small plaque on a park bench and the quiet of a two minutes silence.


2020 sees the 75th Anniversary of V E Day. Celebrations across the country were planned to commemorate the ending of the Second World War and to remember the losses, struggles, and spirit shown by those people who lived through those dark days. Sadly, all these plans were put on hold when the Nation had to face up to a new crisis, but one that saw the courage and determination of people shine through. We also have a new way to celebrate the wonderful NHS and Care workers with the weekly Thursday night Clap for Carers.


Two years earlier, members of The R C Sherriff Trust’s Rosebriars Initiative took part in the A Remembrance of Things Past, a project that was part of the commemorations for the Armistice Centenary. Inspired by family, friends or pure imagination, participants created poems on the theme of Remembrance and Commemoration. Some of the poems were used to create original pieces of choral music, composed by musician Jack Hurst and performed by Walton Voices, at Christ, The Prince of Peace Church, Weybridge on 9 November 2018, with Johnathan Kilhams conducting.

The performances can be seen HERE

All the poems written for the project can be read HERE

A selection of the poems have been recorded and are read here by Jacqui Armitage, Rebecca De Lacey, Jo Humphries, Jackie Noyes, Jess Noyes, Janet Shell and Stephen Willis. 

Half Day Closing by Pam FrancisRead by Jacqui Armitage
00:00 / 00:52
I'll Leave The Door Unlocked by Peter AllenRead by Rebecca De Lacey
00:00 / 01:04
Remembrance #3 by Pam FrancisRead by Rebecca De Lacey
00:00 / 01:32
How I Would Like To Be Remembered by Pam FrancisRead by Jo Humphries
00:00 / 02:11
VE Day by Pam FrancisRead by Jo Humphries
00:00 / 01:14
Remembrance #1 by Pam FrancisRead by Jackie Noyes
00:00 / 01:32
Remembrance #2 by Pam FrancisRead by Jess Noyes
00:00 / 01:31
Dad by Sam ThompsonRead by Janet Shell
00:00 / 00:51
Somebody's Somebody by Jan TraversRead by Janet Shell
00:00 / 01:35
Poppy Day by Gillian BoneRead by Stephen Willis
00:00 / 01:14
Remembering by Nia JonesRead by Stephen Willis
00:00 / 01:30

A Remembrance of Things Past

A Video Commemoration

Images courtesy of Elmbridge Museum, Pam Francis, Imogen Andrews & The Rosebriars Art Group

Piano - Craig Murdoch

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