BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Gloucestershire

South East Wales
Hereford & Worcs

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

Chill puts a damper on VE party mood

VE Day at Kemble
A chilly VE Day at Kemble Airfield
Last updated: 14 May 2005 1214 BST
lineHundreds of people got in the wartime mood and flocked to Kemble Airfield on Saturday for a celebratory feast of nostalgia to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.
(May 2005)
See Also

BBC People's War

Going Out Index

Web links

Kemble Airfield

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

View a print friendly version of this page
Talk to us and each other

Uniformed men galore, an army of young evacuees, an impressive display of 1940s glitz and glamour and the evocative music of Glenn Miller all created an authentic wartime atmosphere as Kemble turned back the clock for Gloucestershire's biggest VE weekend event.

People in WW2 costume

Visitors old and young really got into the spirit of the day, the majority dressing to suit the occasion in variety of period outfits including the wartime uniforms of British and American forces, the boiler suits and headscarves of Land Girls and female factory workers, colourful tea-dresses and the red lipstick, pearls, satin and fur of Forties eveningwear.

Historic hangars

Against the airfield's backdrop of historic hangars an impressive parade of vintage vehicles added to the feeling of stepping back in time, while BBC Radio Gloucestershire joined staff from Cirencester College to invite visitors to contribute their own or their families' wartime memories to the BBC People's War project.

The 'evacuees' - actually children from a local school - tucked into a party tea of iced buns and lemonade while older visitors opted to celebrate with something stronger from the bar or their own picnic hampers.

Amid the music and mood of celebration there was also time for reflection as the audience joined the Royal British Legion for a parade of standards and act of remembrance before the evening's entertainment began.

Last post


Union Flags fluttered in the stiff breeze as buglers from Cirencester Silver Band played the Last Post and the crowd observed two minutes' silence and prayers for those who lost their lives in the Second World War.

Then came the time for foot-tapping and swinging as the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK, directed by Ray McVay, took the stage and the big band sound of Glenn Miller favourites like String of Pearls, In the Mood, Tuxedo Junction and many more wafted across the airfield as the sun went down.

Unseasonal weather

Those not sporting Forties furs soon wished they were as the cold wind that had blown across the airfield all afternoon turned icier with the onset of evening.

Some of the bravest were the Swindon Bluebell Majorettes who braved the cold weather throughout the day to put on two displays..

And sadly it was the unseasonal weather that defeated an audience that had turned out in force prepared to celebrate in style, a band determined to provide a good evening's entertainment, and even the wartime Spitfire that was meant to provide a special flypast.

No spitfire

Fighter plane

News came late in the day that high winds meant the Spitfire of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was unable to take off from its base at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. But aviation fans were not left disappointed as an impressive alternative display of aerial acrobatics was provided at short notice by the pilot of a veteran Chinese fighter plane which had arrived at Kemble that afternoon.

The band decided to play their whole set without an interval and at first the chill got plenty of people up on the floor and dancing energetically to keep warm. But the Dunkirk spirit sank as the wind increased and temperatures plummeted further, penetrating even the many blankets, coats, hats and scarves that the audience had wrapped themselves up in.

As more and more frozen folk packed up and left for the warmer climes of car and home even the band were forced to admit they were too cold to play on and cut short their set. A disappointing ending to an ambitious VE weekend celebration into the - but at least it didn't rain!

dotted divider

If you would like to comment on this story get in touch at or have your say on our messageboard

You are in:
>> Going out
Latest news & reviews
Comedy nights
Festivals guide
On stage in Cheltenham
On stage in Gloucester
On stage in Stroud
On stage in Tewkesbury
On stage in the Cotswolds
On stage in the Forest
Get YOUR event listed
FREE nights out on us!
News & reviews
Latest releases
County cinema listings
Gloucs in the movies
The Harry Potter file
Tolkien's Forest
The Review Archive
News & reviews
Gig guide
Local talent: get listed!
News & reviews
Club nights
Tourist attractions
Ghostly Gloucestershire
Royal Gloucestershire
Gardens to visit

dotted line
dotted line

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy