ACROSS THE VALE – Evesham made Merry
The peace celebrations have come and passed and in Evesham and throughout the Vale, there was merry-making, simple in character, but nevertheless joyful and heartfelt. Throughout Monday and Tuesday there had been an air of expectancy that VJ Day was imminent but for the great majority, the Prime Minister’s victory proclamation at midnight on Tuesday was no known until the Wednesday morning when the early wireless bulletins gave news of the glad tidings and neighbours rushed round with the news in case their friends had not heard. Very soon the decorations were going out and housewives with a first thought for the larder hurried into town to the food shops which were opened for a short while.
As will be seen by our account in another column, the merry-making, starting in the afternoon, continued well into the night and it is to the credit of the towns-people that there was no trouble, and spirits were not allowed to become too exuberant and lead to disorder. Police-Sergt R J Price, speaking to me on Thursday, paid tribute to the behaviour of the people by saying: “Evesham lived up to its reputation.”
It had been hoped to stage a parade of the pre-service units through the town on Wednesday evening, but this proved impossible with many of the cadets away holiday-making and the sea cadets at camp.
Only food shops in the town opened on Wednesday morning and they closed after a few hours. The post office and banks remained open until midday.
Fewer trippers arrived by train and bus on VJ Day, but there were more charabancs, crowded with sightseers than ever.
The pleasure steamer was gaily bedecked with flags and bunting.
Private cars passing through the town carried victory rosettes and ribbons.
The Town Band played a varied programme of music to an appreciative audience in the Abbey Park on Wednesday evening and again on Thursday.
A little girl was observed at Bengeworth wearing a red, white and blue dress.
Several US soldiers were among the large assembly at the Thanksgiving Service in the Market Square.
Among the many Victory bonfire was one on the grassland by the Elm at Bengeworth, where a happy crowd of children watched their labours of the previous two days consumed in flame.
The Mayor (Councillor Mrs A Nightingale) spent a busy time on VJ evening mingling with the dancers in the Market Square and looking in at the many celebrations going on.
Rockets, together with many other types of fireworks, were set off in the Market Square and on Merstow Green.
The Clifton Cinema appeared in its full glory on VJ night, with all its neon signs flashing and winking upon the crowds below until after midnight.
Observed in Evesham was a man wearing a red, white and blue tie; a man festooned with streamers, Hawaiian fashion; and a man danching with his dog with his hair tied up with ribbons.
In the Market Square, servicemen tore off badges, rank and insignia from their uniforms and handed them out to the crowd.
The Public Hall had the letters GR – standing for “George Rex” upon two of its large windows, illuminated in red, white and blue ,lamps.
Evesham licensees were given an hour’s extension on VJ Day, but supplies were so short that the majority were only able to open for limited periods.