The night the war ended

By Joan Rees, Cwmaman, Aberdare

I remember clearly the night that the war ended. Neighbours in the street behind our terraced house had relatives living next door to us, and their screams to tell our elderly gent neighbour echoed through the night. "The war is over ... the war is over."

It seemed that everyone in the village was immediately out in the streets. The whole community were rejoicing. There were soon bonfires roaring and spontaneous dancing and singing around the bonfires. I do not know what was burned that night, but there seemed to be plenty of 'fuel' for the bonfires. Mind you, we did live a few yards from the timber yard of Fforchaman colliery in the village, and there were trucks of coal parallel with our streets.

In the days to follow flags of all hues were draped here, there and everywhere. Such an exciting atmosphere - I'll never forget it! Then there were the street teas to follow to celebrate the end of the war. Long lines of trestle tables were laid with sandwiches, etc. Everyone brought their chairs out. Families dressed in homemade fancy dress and there was a grand parade through the village.

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