Waterlooville man reveals how Churchill's VE Day announcement led to his premature birth
A WATERLOOVILLE man has described how the excitement of VE Day led to his birth after his mother went into premature labour.
Norman Hand, who turns 75 on Saturday May 9, arrived two weeks early after his mother, Vera Hand, heard Winston Churchill announcing the formal surrender of Nazi Germany.
‘My mother always told me it was the excitement of VE Day that sent her into labour,’ he said. ‘She’d been with friends when they heard Churchill’s announcement on the radio that the war in Europe was over. She was that excited, she ran home to tell her parents.
‘That evening she went into labour and I was born at 1am in the early hours of the following day. Since then, I’ve been known as the victory baby.’
At the time of the announcement, Norman’s father, Arthur Hand, was serving in the Royal Navy on the battleship HMS King George V. It was due to Arthur’s role serving as a chief petty officer, that his wife was taken into naval quarters to give birth.
Norman said: ‘My mother was taken to Beverley House in Wickham which had been converted into a maternity home. My brother, David, who now lives in California, said one of his earliest memories was travelling to the hospital with my grandmother to collect me.’
While Norman obviously has no recollection of VE Day celebrations, his parents have shown him photographs of the street party on Compton Road where they lived.
‘It must have taken days to organise and there’s a photograph of me being held by my mother,’ he said.
With many VE Day commemorations cancelled due to coronavirus, Norman feels parallels can be drawn between the war effort and the current pandemic.
‘It’s vital we remember the sacrifices of my parents’ generation. While I can’t remember the war I can recall the difficulties afterwards with rationing. It’s important we all pull together in this new battle,’ he said.
While Norman hoped to celebrate both his birthday and VE Day with a garden barbecue, he is determined to still recognise both events.
‘We’ll have a Zoom family get together and I’ll be putting up a flag and making bunting for the house,’ he said.