My VE Day
My 10th birthday fell on the Thursday 19th April; some 20 days after Good Friday the day I was born on and 19 days before VE-Day. The Daily Mirror headlines for the 19th April were SOVIET ARMY SEES FIRES OF BERLIN; PATTON CROSSES THE CZECH BORDER and “TIN PIN” BADER FREED (from POW camp in Germany). There was also a footnote that British Miners would have 2 days holiday for the VE-Day celebrations and a third day for local festivities to be arranged in the different districts.
However, my memories of the VE festivities are somewhat limited. Towards the end of April ,I with some of my fellow pupils at Doughton School near Fakenham in Norfolk, enjoyed my afternoon break by leaving the school yard and playing in the common land that surrounded the isolated school. Somehow or another, I managed to trip over a rabbit hole and ended up severely cutting my left leg on a broken bottle causing me to begin bleeding profusely.
I managed to hobble back to the school and sought out Mrs Jenkins, our head teacher, who immediately attempted to staunch the blood flow whilst her daughter frantically rang for emergency assistance. She was only successful once she changed the description of the nature of my injury from a severely cut leg to a fractured leg. I was bundled into their car and rushed to a doctor in Fakenham stopping only to pick up my mother on the way. The doctor who saw me immediately gave me chloroform and repaired the damage both to my leg and the veins which had been severed during my fall. The next thing I remembered was waking up in my bed at home with the stern instructions that I was, on no account, to get out of the bed for 10 days.
Confined to bed as a 10-year-old was very hard to take; remember there was no TV and only limited radio to while away the time. But the thought of the upcoming VE-Day celebrations was just the tonic I needed. I couldn't wait for the day and carefully plotted just what part of the celebrations I would take part in. But the best laid plans of mice and men, or boys in this case…….
When finally allowed to rise from my bed on VE-Day, I was so weak that I could not stand unaided. Any thought of joining the celebrations had to be put on hold. By the time I could descend the stairs and go outside, the celebrations were a thing of the past. So, no VE Day for me! Roll on VJ-Day. Ray Thompson