Waterlooville couple recreate iconic war image of the unconditional surrender

IT is one of the most recognisable images of passion – an instantly-recognisable photo from the Second World War of a US sailor and a young woman kissing in New York’s Times Square.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 9:27 am
Hollie and Edward in New York's Times Square

And 75 years later, a sailor from HMS Dragon and his partner have recreated the pose in a stunning shot.

The event took place almost half a century before Hollie, 25, and Edward, 28, were born. But after arranging to meet in New York, where Edward was visiting on the destroyer Dragon, which was guarding the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Waterlooville couple decided to re-enact the famous kiss between George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman.

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Hollie and Edward

The initial inspiration for the photograph came in September as leading seaman Edward walked through the dockyard ready to embark on his latest deployment.

Hollie said: ‘Edward walked past the statue of the unconditional surrender, depicting the kiss scene, which was there from the D-Day commemorations. He sent me a photo text saying “that will be us in New York in November”.’

Edward added: ‘When I walked past the statue it did catch my eye and I thought recreating the scene may be a possibility.’

The couple had previously done a superimposed image of the event but wanted to create an original modern day take of the scene.

People gather beneath a 26-foot statue inspired by the iconic kiss between a nurse and a sailor in Times Square August 12, 2010 in New York City. Alfred Eisenstaedt took the famous photograph on V-J Day marking the end of World War II. August 14 will be the 65th anniversary of V-J Day and the famous kiss. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hollie said: ‘We did a quick practice in the hotel room about where to position ourselves and then headed into Times Square. We used my mobile phone to take the photograph. I looked around the square to find someone to take the picture and asked a lady with a tripod.’

Synonymous with the end of the war, the message behind the image transcends the generations.

Edward said: ‘The image really sums up the euphoria of the end of the war. I’ve obviously read about the kiss and it’s such a cool story.’

Hollie, who works in communications, added: ‘The scene really epitomises the celebration of the end of something so bad – although I’m not sure how the same situation would be received today.’

Edward returned to Portsmouth on HMS Dragon on Monday and is looking forward to his first Christmas at home in two years.

‘Everyone has families and it’s hard being away,’ he said. ‘Last year I was out in the Gulf over Christmas. It was incredible to see everyone on the jetty and I can’t wait to have my family over for Christmas.’

Hollie added: ‘We had just bought a house together and had only been in it for nine days before Edward was deployed. It can be really tough being apart but also speaks volumes for our strength as a couple. The photograph of the kiss will give us a memory to treasure.’

This story was edited in January 2021 to remove the surnames of Ed and Hollie at their request.