Celebrating the end of World War 2
Photo courtesy of www.iwm.org.uk
My mother Doreen Coveney is a dark horse.I always found her emails quite articulately expressed but recently with the death of the late Queen Elizabeth I was inspired to know what mum made of it all and wrote and asked her to share her recollections with me . As kids the Queen was always part of the wallpaper of our lives . We were working class and by no means royalists but somehow her Maj was a constant fixture for us kids even if only it was to be about imitating the royal wave and parlaying in imitation of those infuriating plummy nasal tones or poking fun at her hats or rolling our eyes at some of the (as we found them then )deadly dull Queens Christmas messages but somehow she was always well just there somehow and I felt mum who was just a young girl when the Queen was coronated would have some interesting recollections.
Mum agreed to write something and I was really fascinated then when she sent me her recollections which were highly detailed and recalled with crystal clarity .Amazing given she was recalling events which happened around 70 years ago as if it was just yesterday.
Doreens Recollections of The End Of World War 2
“I remember the VE Day celebrations in 1945: red, white and blue bunting , Union Jacks strung across the streets and tables down the centre of the streets filled with as much party fare that the women could provide. not that much in those days of rationing and little food in the shops.
The next big event was the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the handsome and dashing Philip of Denmark and Greece, with whom she had been in love since the age of 13. (how romantic)!
The Coronation was the first thing I had ever seen on TV because not many people had TV in 1953. I remember how Mum and I went up the road to the Co-op hall where they had provided a TV set for all us poor people to watch the Coronation and when we arrived there were already a lot of people there. So we found a seat at the back, but as the TV sets in those days had little 12 inch (30 cm) screens we really needed binoculars to see any details. But I remember watching the procession as it made it’s way to Westminster Abbey with thousands of people cheering the picture-book Coronation Coach on it’s way –
It was all in black and white of course.”
As I read this I couldnt help but imagine how exciting it must have been for Mum in present time now to be seeing all the colour replays of the Queens coronation on her flat screen colour TV
I encouraged her to keep writing down her memories and recollections and recently she sent me this lovely poem where she recalled a happy Sunday afternoon up on Frenchay common with her Mother and Father at a post war cricket match .
My roots are buried deep in England, the country of my Birth.
It’s lush and verdant pastures, It’s rich and dark moist earth.
People say: “It’s not the same – you’ve been away too long.”
But I just smile and nod my head, for memories are strong.
The smack of ball on willow at a village cricket match
On a hazy summer’s day.
The drone of drowsy bumble bees, the scent of new mown hay.
I’m once again that carefree child, sprawled on grassy ground
With buttercups and daisies dotted all around.
Mum and Dad relax nearby; equanimity restored.
A rare break from post-war hardships, they accept must be endured.
The sound of people clapping, signals Cricket’s break for tea;
I run towards the tea tent – the day’s highlight for me.
Strong tea and thick-sliced fruitcake! A treat so rarely seen;
For children raised in wartime – treats are few, and far between!
The War at last is over; no more sirens or “All Clear,”
warm lights now shine from windows as evening time draws near;
And Christmas time is now, once more, a season of good cheer.
Flowers that grow on bomb sites; that once were ‘Home sweet homes,’
are picked by city children who play on brick and stone
and build dens in ruined buildings;
For girls and boys, with scarce few toys; know how to make life fun
And spend the hours in building towers ’til hunger drives them home!
Foot note :
The Cricket match I went to with mum and dad was played on Saturdays on Frenchay Common; a village, (as it then was) on the outskirts of Bristol. I know the cricket resumed shortly after the war ended. The English love their cricket even if it’s only village cricket!
I think the fruit cake must have been made by the ladies of the village! I still remember how good it tasted! We appreciated the simple pleasures of life in those days!
Its a wonderful poem I feel which really captures a feeling and evokes a sense of a childs happy times relaxing with mum and dad on a warm Sunday afternoon permeated with the celebratory post war vibe and the renewed optimism the Brits must have felt once the war was over and which can only have been infectious to the kids who delighted in the simple pleasures like thick slices of fruitcake served up in communal tea tents which as the poem says in war times was a treat which came ‘few and far between ‘
I myself as a kid born in 1958 played on bombsites and built dens and picked flowers which had once grown in back gardens of homes reduced to rubble after the bombings .So reading mums poem also evokes child hood memories for me as well .
I’ve encouraged Mum to keep writing down her memories which will make for a wonderful legacy to leave for family