Where were you when… the Second World War in Europe ended, 8 May 1945
It was a very jolly time, remembers Britain’s Got Talent winner Colin Thackery
Happy and glorious! Victory in Europe Day celebrations in London
I’m 89 now but was only nine years old when the war began. At the start, I didn’t really understand what was going on – it was only when the bombings began that I realised we were at war. We were terrified at first but, like all things in life, we soon got used to it. I grew up in Camden Town in London – we used to run around the bomb sites, seeing who could find the biggest piece of shrapnel. Terribly dangerous now you think about it.
When I was ten I was evacuated to Luton with my brothers and sisters. We’d never seen a cow before, so on the way we were rushing to the side of the train shouting, ‘Cor! A cow!’ I got fed up after two weeks in the countryside and decided to make my way back to London to live with my mother (my father was in the army).
I hadn’t the foggiest idea of how to get there but I did it by hitching on the back of lorries. Back in London I became an errand boy for the air raid wardens who were posted above the Carreras Cigarette Factory in Camden. I’d make tea and fetch cigarettes and sandwiches for them.
I was just 15 when the war in Europe ended. Radios were scarce but everyone gathered near one to listen to Churchill. He was such a great man, the hero of the hour. I remember reading in a newspaper that the war had finished, and that was a rather good feeling. The atmosphere in London was jolly – everyone was dancing around, having a good time and getting drunk. We’d been cooped up for such a long time and now there were no more air raids or bombs being dropped – even if the place was in ruins.
- Colin Thackery’s debut album Love Changes Everything will be released on 20 September on Decca/Syco
Also that month…
- The five-year occupation of the Channel Islands by German forces ended on 9 May – Liberation Day. Jersey still celebrates this with an annual Bank Holiday.
- Actress and former wife of Elvis Priscilla Presley (right) was born, as was Pete Townshend, guitarist in The Who.