VE Day: Get in touch with your memories | Nostalgia

This year The News will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on May 8, 1945. Although some time ago, I am sure there must be many of you who can remember the celebrations that continued for some days.

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 6:00 am
VE Day celebrations at Lyndhurst Road, Gosport.

If you would like to talk to me about it please let me know and I can visit you at home or drop me a line via e-mail or letter.

Perhaps you were in the forces on the final day of fighting and realised you had come through and survived the ravages of war which cost so many lives.

Maybe you were at school when the news came through and the teacher told you all to go home for the day. How many of you headed to Guildhall Square to celebrate?

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A sailor and a civilian clamber on top of a bus stop in Whitehall, London, during the VE Day celebrations. Picture: Keystone/Getty Images

You might have been in the Royal Navy, army or RAF and about to be sent to war when your deployment was cancelled at the last minute.

Perhaps you were a sailor who might have been delayed travelling to Portsmouth and your ship sailed without you only to be sunk in the final days, but you survived because a train was delayed?

Perhaps you and your family were celebrating when a telegram arrived to say a family member had been killed in the final days and for you there would be no celebrations?

Portsmouth lost nearly 1,000 civilians during the conflict. If your family had lost relatives did this stop any celebrating?

A vanload of beer passing through Piccadilly Circus on VE Day. Picture: Keystone/Getty Images

On November 19, 1945, it was announced the Portsmouth lord mayor’s appeal in aid of the King George’s Fund for Sailors had topped the £20,000 mark. Were you involved in raising this money?

There must be a thousand stories out there for me to write about. Please do contact me. You can also ring me on (023) 9243 5936.

• Falling In always seemed an odd order to me.

It was/still is the instruction given to soldiers, sailors and airmen when they had to line up in a given formation – tallest at the ends, shortest in the middle.

I sent the recently-published picture of the archway leading to Whale Island to Captain Gordon Walwyn who was also a gunnery officer at HMS Excellent.

He says: ‘My favourite true parade ground expression arose when a sub-lieutenant was last in his class to fall in on the parade ground.

The gunnery instructor came out with his version of the English language when he bawled at the officer: ‘Them wot’s keen gets fell in previous.’

• Dennis Wills has asked me to ask if anyone can remember the parts of former ships that were used to repel the sea at Langstone foreshore.

Plates from parts of ships’ hulls which had been cut up were placed on the foreshore from the footpath north of the old mill as far as Emsworth.

The plates had all been originally riveted together so were of an age.

Where waves crashed ashore caves were formed in the fields to the rear of the plates some 10-15ft in depth, Dennis tells me.

Since those days the sea defences have been replaced by wooden railway sleepers.

• Seeing the report in last Monday’s edition of the blind footballer who set up his own massage treatment centre reminded me of the time I was asked to referee football match played by deaf and dumb players at Alexandra Park some 30 years ago.

I wondered how on earth a whistle would be of any use but, I was told by the official looking after the players, I had to wave a white hankie if there was a foul.

‘Did I have a clean white hankie with me?’ I asked myself. They are not a usual part of a referee’s kit. Luckily I did.

As you might imagine, if the players had their backs to me they would just play on. And that is exactly what happened. The player fouled against did not complain as he didn’t know I had called a foul and by the time I had caught up with the two players involved the game had gone on and the ball kicked to the other end so there was little point in stopping the game. One of the strangest games I ever officiated in.

• The former transport offices, later Southsea police station in Highland Road, Eastney, have recently had planning permission allowed for conversation to flats.

The building was administration offices for Portsmouth Tramways moved from the Guildhall to Eastney in January 1932. This was because of the post-First World War growth in passenger transport in the city. The new depot and workshops were spacious, modern and well-equipped.

The offices were opened on January 21 with a golden key presented by the architect Henry Dyer. He noted that 75 per cent of the work which had been sent out of the city because of lack of facilities would now be carried out in their own workshops.