The Daily Telegraph’s went with “GERMANY CAPITULATES!, followed by ‘To-day is VE Day: “Complete and Crushing Victory”. Of course the other newspapers joined in with celebratory VE Day headlines. After all there was a lot to celebrate. The official day for the celebrations was on 8 May 1945, although after a radio announcement the previous evening many people decided the black out was over and all over the country people pulled back the curtains and the blinds and walked out into the street to see what it looked like. By early afternoon the next day people were gathering in the West End of London by their hundreds of thousands. Many people were wearing paper hats. Harold Nicolson walking through Trafalgar Square that afternoon thought them “horrible, being of the comic variety” .At three o’clock in the afternoon everyone stopped to listen to Churchill’s victory speech he had written the night before: “the evil-doers now lie prostrate before us” he said with a flourish and everyone cheered. Loudspeakers had been connected everywhere.
Model and actress Christabel Leighton-Porter made her way to perform at the Kilburn Empire in London. She was famous as the model for the famous Daily Mirror cartoon strip ‘Jane’, and that evening, in honour of VE Day, she had decided to pose on stage as a semi-nude Britannia, draped in a Union Flag but, best of all, wearing a helmet the fire brigade leant her.
The crowds in front of Buckingham Palace have spilled into Green Park and in the evening deckchairs and park benches were passed via a human chain and thrown onto a massive bonfire.
After celebrating VE Day in front of Buckingham Palace, Noel Coward walked back to the Savoy Hotel, where he’d been ensconced since his home was bombed in 1941, with his friend, the composer Ivor Novello, who has a flat nearby. At about midnight Coward wrote in his diary later: ‘I suppose this is the greatest day in our history.’
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