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May 2015: Victory in Europe!

Printed VE thanksgiving ascot

The Germans finally surrendered on 7 May 1945 bringing an end to the Second World War. The official date for Victory in Europe, or VE Day, is 8th May 1945. After years of rationing, destruction and loss of life, people were ready to rejoice. Street parties were held all over the country. It was a time for celebration; a time to cheer.

However, it was also a time to reflect and to remember all those who lost their lives in the conflict. For many it was a chance to visit their local church for a peaceful service in order to give Thanks to God for victory and the end of the war. Here is an example of one such service held at Radley parish church (catalogue reference: D/P95/28/3):

Radley ve day service

The service states that they "desire to thank him [God] for deliverance from the hand of our enemies". It also mentions that they "pray that his wisdom may lead us, and his Spirit strengthen us, in the days that are to come". This highlights the fact that despite the victory, there would still be difficult times ahead due to continued austerity measures and the rebuilding of society during peace time.

Such services would have been held all over the country and as 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day there are likely to be all sorts of events to commemorate it, no doubt including local church services.


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