May 2015 will see the 70th Anniversary of VE Day and IWM (Imperial War Museums) is encouraging everyone to discover more about this historic event and talk to people in their families and communities who witnessed the day – so that their memories can be shared with others on Friday 8 May to mark the anniversary.
IWM would like everyone to join in marking the anniversary by sharing the VE Day memory you have been told, or would like to tell and by posting a short story or picture to social media using #VEDayMemory
From 1 – 11 May, IWM will be sharing VE Day memories, sound clips, photograph and archive materials through twitter, Facebook and at www.iwm.org.uk.
IWM is working with other organisations to encourage people to share their VE Day Memories. One of these organisations, Royal Voluntary Service, founded in 1938 as the Women’s Voluntary Services for Air Raid Precautions (WVS) will be encouraging its volunteers and the older people it supports to share memories and mark VE Day.
WVS was initially formed to help recruit women into the Air Raid Precaution movement assisting civilians during and after air raids by providing emergency rest centres, feeding, first aid, and perhaps most famously assisting with the evacuation and billeting of children.
David McCullough, Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Royal Voluntary Service, or WVS as we were formerly known, played a pivotal role in the war. A million women were recruited to support Civil Defence and each one rolled up their sleeves to help with tasks big and small, from the evacuation of children to providing tea and comfort to those who needed it.
“Everyone who celebrated VE Day, including these women, have stories to tell about what they were doing on that day, the role they, family members or friends played in the war and how their lives were impacted. We are delighted to be working with IWM to encourage as many people as possible to share their memories to ensure they are never forgotten.”
Diane Lees, Director General of IWM said “We are so lucky to have people in our families and communities who remember VE Day first-hand. There is a great opportunity over the coming months to talk to them and find out more about their experiences of VE Day – where they were, what happened and how they felt. We know from our own archives that there are a huge wealth of stories about that time just waiting to be told and shared with today’s and future generations.
“For some VE day was a day of celebration but for others it was another day of work, a day of huge reflection about the changes to their world the war had bought about and for many war continued well after this. One of the best ways we can mark this historic event is to listen while this event is in living memory, save these stories and tell them again.”
Ideas for participating in VE Day Memories #VEDayMemory include;
Talk to relatives or friends in the community who remember VE Day and find out
What were they doing on 8 May 1945?
Do they have photos from the era?
Take a look at their family diaries and letters from the Second World War.
Write down memories to share with others or make a scrap book of what you have discovered to pass on.
Visit a local museum, history group or archive and find out more about what happened in your community on VE Day
Share what you have discovered on Friday 8 May, using #VEDayMemory
What’s on at IWM
Visitors across IWM’s branches can also participate in a number of VE day activities.* These include a 1940’s inspired day of events at IWM North on Sunday 3 May with a tea dance and talk on 1940’s night life in Manchester with Dave Haslam, exhibitions Fashion on the Ration and A Family in Wartime at IWM London and major event – the VE Day Anniversary Air Show at IWM Duxford on 23 and 24 May.