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VE Day, As Seen from a Field near Veniceicon for Recommended story

by Ron Goldstein

Contributed by 
Ron Goldstein
People in story: 
Ron Goldstein
Location of story: 
Italy
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2324189
Contributed on: 
21 February 2004

12th May 1945 Piazza San Marco, day leave in Venice

Diary entry for 8th May 1945
Filling up with petrol while Hewie has a day in Venice. Packed most of the tanks. Dinner was just for Bill and I. Boys came back from leave 'dry'.

There we were, in this field in the middle of nowhere, when someone on another tank called out, 'They're going mad back home, get the BBC on your set or you'll miss all the fun.'

I tuned in my 19 set to the Home Forces station and for the benefit of those outside the tank, hung all the earphones over the side of the hull. The crackle of the headphones soon drew a small crowd around the tank and we all listened in amazement to an unknown announcer describing the scene in Trafalgar Square.

I remember quite clearly that my emotions at the time were mixed. On the one hand it was good to feel that perhaps some of my loved ones back home were taking part in the scenes that were now taking place. On the other hand I, and in hindsight, I'm sure most of my comrades, felt somehow cheated that we, who had 'risked life and limb' and had been away from home for so many years, were not there in England to share in the triumph.

There is a footnote to the above.

In May 1995 one of my local papers asked their readers to send in stories relating to 'Where were you on VE Day?' I sent in my small story and as a result of this being published I was contacted by London News Network who were doing a run up to the VE Day Commemoration programs.

I, with a few other veterans, was invited down to the Imperial War Museum, stood in front of a Sherman Tank and interviewed on what it felt like to be listening to the crowds in Trafalgar Square whilst I was still so far from home. I still have a video of the program that was shown during the ITV news and a photo that I took of myself as it was shown on the screen.

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These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - VE Day

Posted on: 04 May 2005 by Maurice W

Hi! Ron We 5th Bat The Buffs were on the boarder of Italy and Austria, no fags information came through that the NAAFI had been burnt down?, the column of vehicles was held up for what reason no one seemed to know, just a short distance away was a large building packed with German squadies who informed us the war was over, and they were smoking their cigarettes, they must have been worse off than us to smoke those cigs,we could not believe it, we had been on the move continualy for hours, so were not kept informed as to the doings elsewhere.We decended down a road that was very narrow and unpaved into a small village, houses neat and tidy roads and side lanes ALL swept and NO litter. This was the start of a very pleasant stay until demob, just after Christmas 1946.

 

Message 2 - VE Day

Posted on: 16 May 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Hi Maurice

Sorry I missed your story as I was away in Rome last week.
It makes you think that we might all have been killed by cancer instead of shelling when you think of the rate at which we all smoked in those days.
I was a sixty a day man until I came out of the forces and discovered the perils of the weed !
I was a 48 group man and also got out early in 1947
Best wishes
Ron

 

Message 3 - VE Day

Posted on: 10 July 2005 by ODYSSEY

Hello RON, You don't know me unless you read some of the stories I wrote under the name"Odyssey": I was a nurse in occupied Holland.
I know you are a friend of Peter who helped me a lot and that you recently went back to Italy to remember your fallen comrades.
To day is a big VETERANS' DAY CELEBRATION: I read about the millions of poppies dropped on the crowd by WW2 vintage airplanes and the marching of veterans and fly over of WW2 planes: the Flying Fortresses.
I remember seeing them in Holland when they flew over as the British seemed to fly by daylight :endangering their lives more than night flyers.
I missed the VE day in LONDON in '45 as a group of dutch "girls' liberated sooner than the rest of Holland were being boarded in Liverpool to be taken to Australia
by troop ship .

There we waited till the Japanese capitulated.
I was flown in a B 25 to Batavia to take care of the concentration camp victims.
I spent a time in London and loved it!
I always will be gratefull to the British who sacrificed so much and lost so many of their people fighting the GERMANS.
And when I read about today's celebrations I wondered whether YOU were marching too and TOM and PETER!
Your sacrifices were instrumental in making us free again.

A gratefull Josephine alias Odyssey.

 

Message 4 - VE Day

Posted on: 20 July 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Dear Josephine

Any friend of Peter or Frank is a friend of mine and I certainly have read most of your own excellent offerings on this site.

Thank you for your kind words and also for letting us all read your own fascinating story.

The Commemoration event in London on the 10th of July was indeed a special day and my wife and I, together with my brother Mick and his wife were pleased to be able to take part.

Best wishes

Ron

 

Message 5 - VE Day

Posted on: 16 September 2005 by norman freeman

I also felt out of it during ve day. I was stationed in Wevelghem Belgium and we all were sad that we couldnt join in the victory celebrations. We had to make do with enjoying a few lagers in the local estaminet. WHAT HAPPENED to all those years?? We are very forunate to be here today to talk and write about those momentous days when so may of our comtrades are not. I have a grandson in the 82nd. airborne division who i fervently pray will not be sent to Iraq.. Enough of wars!! Trust you and yours are in good health.I am trying to arrange a trip back home, it is a little difficult as my wife needs oxygen 100% of the time and it has to be arranged before hand. Hopefully it can be done. The last time we were in blighty was 1997. and i do miss it. My son lives in Durham with his English wife for many years now and always asks me why I ever left?? Keep well. Norman Freeman formerly LAC RAF.

 

Message 6 - VE Day

Posted on: 16 September 2005 by Ron Goldstein

HI Norman
Nice to have you pop in occasionally and I do hope you are able to make your UK visit.
Just in case you've missed all the recent shenannigans (re the Closing Down of this site) click on my Personal Page to get the latest news.
Best wishes
Ron

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