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- People in story:
- Captain A R Williamson
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- Contributed on:
- 06 May 2005
My grandfather, Captain W, was 53 at VE Day. He worked for Jardine Matheson as their Marine Superintendent in China. During the war he retreated to Singapore, then Bombay, and by 1945 had returned to London. He always kept a diary, many of which survive, and from which I draw his recollections of VE Day.
Background info: His only daughter (J) was married (to C) and they had a son (R, aged 2); they lived at Well Walk, Hampstead and had a lodger, Vivienne. Capt W lodged with his widowed mother near Wembley.
Monday May 7 1945
Dull, overcast and warmer. End of war in Europe appears close at hand. Lunch Slaters. Visited Chambers Wharf with W.J.K. and T. It was reported that an announcement would be made at 4pm. Went outside Mansion House - nothing doing - ditto 5pm, so went home. Germany capitulated unconditionally at 2.40am at Eisenhower's HQ.
Thunderstorm during night.
Tuesday May 8 1945
"V" DAY Fine, warm day.
Holiday! Office 10.15
11.30 to "Green Man" for beer thence to St Paul's to hear bells.
12.00 Thanksgiving service in Paul's.
12.30 Snack and beer at "Green man" and walked up Cheapside and back to Paul's to hear Coldstream Guards Band.
14.30 To Mansion House.
15.00 Heard Winnie's statement, Lord Mayor's speech, hymn, National Anthem and cheers for King and Winnie.
15.40 Tube to Hampstead. Tea with family.
17.30 Set forth with J, R, C and Vivienne to catch bus to Oxford St. Parted company, and J and I walked to St Martin's Lane and met J’s friend N at the New Theatre.
18.30 Saw ballet "Coppelia" - exquisite show and great fun and enthusiasm.
20.40 Walked to "A la broche" but no luck - com. said all grub eaten! including pots and pans. N left us Tottenham Ct Road and went home to Holland Park. J and I went back to Well Walk for supper. R abed but not asleep.
10.30 Left with J and Vivienne who accompanied me to see bonfire in Flask Walk and on to station. Home via Picadilly train.
10.40 Home. Grand day.
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