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This page has been archived and is no longer updated.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

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

It's Over: VE Day in Stockton-On-Teesicon for Recommended story

by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

Contributed by 
Frank Mee Researcher 241911
People in story: 
Frank Mee
Location of story: 
Stockton-on-Tees
Article ID: 
A2097867
Contributed on: 
01 December 2003

The war was over to some of us it was a brief spell then into the forces. 50 years of uncertainty followed as we fought the cold war. Our hopes of ending all war never came about. Picture of Myself 1947 MELF.

A couple of weeks now it had been all the buzz, it was nearly finished anytime now and we would hear about it. It being the war which we had known for six years I was ten and a half when it started sixteen when it finished.I had seen men and women from all over the world from Canada and Mauritious to Italian and Germans in those early days to Americans Poles you name it as the war progressed. Living on what was nearly all one big Aerodrome, we had dozens of bases round about and then Catterick Garrison just down the road we saw them all. The Saturday dances in Stockton Middlesbrough and Darlington could become quite riotous at times with us civilians taking cover under tables chairs and under the girls long skirts, we were not tangling with hero's.
The sky was still black with planes each night they could fly, they returned about dawn so we knew they were going much further, they were still taking losses and military funerals would often be seen as the planes came back with dead and injured aboard so the war was still real.
We had a lot of local Regiments in the battles and they had started to send the wounded straight up to be near home, we had military hospitals round us and those men talked about how it was nearly over. German forces marching under their own officers straight into rapidly erected cages, we thought they were joshing us but too many were telling the same thing. Some Germans fought hence the wounded and we heard about the Werewolves young kids with a rifle or a tank buster who would step out behind as they went through a village and let go. A tank man on leave told me they went through a place at speed machine gunning anything that moved, they were not taking chances that late in the war but he still got wounded.
We had gone to work amid rumours that it was all over, the Germans had capitulated that was the 7th May but nothing was announced. Next morning the radio said Mr Churchill would speak at three o clock so Mr Brown said go home lads and come back in two days.
"We May allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing" Mr Churchill said and all hell broke loose. Us young ones poured out onto Norton Green and were singing dancing many of the adults joining in. Flags came out long hidden bottles of Sherry, Green Coddess cocktail, a horrible concoction my mother loved and had hidden for years, I was glad when we finished the bottle.
Came tea time and everything stopped for tea even celebrations, Mum had dug out a large tin of Del Monte Peaches with a hidden tin of Carnation Milk possibly saved from our last box from New Zealand. It was a rare and marvelous treat to us after years of saving food in case of?
I went off to a dance and it was riotous flags draped around the hall and lights full on, every one kissing every one else, I drew the line at hairy faced Sailors and stuck to the girls making sure I went round several times. We sang we danced and we joined hands singing all the Songs we could think of.
Finally tipped out of there we walked home in groups feeling as if a huge cloud had lifted off our shoulders and I must admit I never once thought of the war in the far east still going on as we sang and danced in the streets.
Each time we met a group going the other way we shared bottles and kissed all the girls, to a sixteen year old with raging hormones it was seventh heaven.
On the Green at Norton we found a bonfire at the top of Beaconsfield road so all stood around that talking laughing and in my case more kissing. Sometime around one in the morning with the bonfire down to embers and a girl in my arms who was not exactly saying "dont do that" I thought my life was made until a stentorian voice yelling Mary get yourself home interupted my dreams. Oh well it was probably for the best, we all knew of the girl down the road who was sent away to have her baby, she swore blind she had only been kissing. Life was so much slower then and we boys still only guessed at the mechanics of all that kind of thing.
That was May 8th 1945. We woke next morning to see the papers covered with pictures of crowds in London going mad. As we sat down to our usual breakfast, Cut a slice of porrdge out of the pot mix it well with sugar and milk then Bacon Egg and fried bread. That had been my breakfast most days for the whole war having our own small holding and Uncle Arthur's farm we had not suffered as the city dwellers had.
Dad looked at me and said "we have the Japanese to finish yet and that will be a long haul, you could end up in this war yet" he was not to know it was my most ardent wish, I wanted to be in there with the army not skulking about at home. Sixteen full of #### as Dad said and no idea what it was really like, he hoped it was over before they wanted me daft as I was. I did go much later and find my own little war and he was right, you do not volunteer for that kind of thing twice.
Another day of celebration and back to work we still had a long haul yet. Little did we know that the USA was preparing armageddon for the Japanese and the rest of the world would live under its cloud for the next fifty years. Our fears held for those war years carried on into the rest of our lives so we were never free of fear really. We worried for our children and grandchildren, now we have World terrorism to worry about.
For a couple of days we rejoiced felt free and uplifted enjoyed it all then back into the grist mill, from my experience it settled nothing, but we were not to know that.
That ends the story of the war through the eye's of a young boy. It shaped my life and my future. It was exciting frightening and very funny in turns the pace of living had increased as we came down to a day by day style of doing things, the cry being we might not be here tomorrow, that was only half said in jest. We still had a few more months of the war in the far east to run only it seemed so far away and having been brought up on Hollywood films we all thought the jungle was like that we saw in Tarzan. We knew nothing then of the cruelty to our prisoners. I met many men who came back from there, it took me a long while to understand their anger and hatred but did realise what they suffered in the end.
I pray for my Grandchildrens sake it never happens again.
Frank Mee.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Books Category
End of War 1945 Category
Postwar Years Category
Teesside Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



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