As we raise a glass, couple tell of two very different VE Days - The Redditch Standard

As we raise a glass, couple tell of two very different VE Days

Redditch Editorial 8th May, 2020   0

THE VE Day celebrations may have been cancelled but on the day itself, Friday, May 8, the nation has been invited to raise a glass at 3pm to salute the 75th anniversary of the historic event.

Victory in Europe Day signalled the end of fighting in Europe, but the Second World War would continue for some months yet until the Americans dropped two atomic bombs on Japan leading to VJ Day on August 15, 1945.

One Redditch couple, Lorna and George White – who were both in the army at the time – tell Ross Crawford of their very different VE Day celebrations 75 years ago.

“I was on leave in Bournemouth at the time staying with a friend who’s parents ran a guesthouse,” said 94-year-old Lorna, who served as a storeswoman attached to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

“We went out and there were hundreds of people about, including a bunch of sailors.

“We got in with them and had a few jars then got a taxi to Weymouth where we had a few more jars and then somehow, I can’t remember how, got back home, but there’s a picture of me somewhere with a sailor’s hat on.”

It couldn’t have been more different for her husband George who was serving with the Green Howards and onboard a ship going to Bermuda en route to the Far East to fight the Japanese.

“The war wasn’t over for us, we were on our way to join the 14th Army – I think my main concern at the time was finding somewhere on deck to sleep!” he said.

By VJ Day he was in Rangoon as an army muleteer handling the pack animals.

“When we heard I just put the mule back in the corral and we waited for further orders.

“The army didn’t celebrate as much as the civilians.

“Our camp was where the prisoners of war who’d been working on the Burma railway came to, so that was a sight.”

The couple, who live on Woodrow, met while serving in Singapore in 1951.

With a short break, Lorna stayed in the Army until 1959, earning a mention in dispatches for her work in Malaya.

In 2012 she awarded the MBE for her services to Redditch.

George, the eldest of 15 children, stayed in army until 1969, and has a chest full of medals.

The couple have two children and six grandchildren.

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