- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Rose Hails (nee Stokoe)
- Location of story:
- Ashington, Northumberland
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 11 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Durham Clayport Library on behalf of Rose and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
When the end of the second World War was announced, partying and parades continued, culminating in a grand finale of a stret fancy dress competition. Of course, our street, Welfare Street, expected to win as we excelled in talent, especially the Russian (non) Dancing Girl and Little Bo Peep, plus our big brother Harry Stokoe and pals who landed home on leave from the Army, Nay and Air Force, and who were, as always, the life and soul of the party.
Billy Gray, with his head shaved and skin darkened with gravy salts, wearing his mother’s long white nightgown, and accompanied by a reluctant goat captured from the allotment, became Mahatma Ghandi. The goat showed his annoyance by butting bums!
Our Harry, with his wavy blond hair and good looks, was decked out in Mam’s best pink frock, high heels and silk stockings, a slap of lipstick and rouge, jaunty hat and a bunch of flowers made a bonnie GI bride with sailor Andy as his reluctant groom.
But Joe Watson stole the show in his RAF uniform, jackboots, black hair slicked down with Brylcreem and false ‘tash as Herr Hitler, as he was roped up and frog marched by a Dad’s Army of Home Guard and Air Raid Wardens.
The police awaited as the cross roads, luckily to judge and not arrest… that came later when drunks got out of hand. Cheers resounded as Welfare Crescent won amid cries of “Hang Hitler”. These orders were carried out as protests from Joe (alias Hitler) were ignored. He was elevated and tied up the nearest lamp-post — hilarious for everyone but him.
As the parade re-grouped to march back to their streets, Joe was almost forgotten. Shouts of “Howay, man, get is doon” eventually won him release. H was quickly revived with a pint of beer from the prize barrel. Children received a victory mug and cakes fro the street party; musical entertainment from Harry at the piano which has been dragged into the back yard. Uncle Dan was on the drums and Billy Mason played accordion, plus mouth organs, musical combs and a good time was had by all.
It would be several years later before some less-bright kids realised that it wasn’t really Herr Hitler after all.
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