Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, commemorations in London to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, have sadly been cancelled.
Big Wave PR client, Royal British Legion, was organising much of the commemorations, but to ensure veterans of WWII will never be forgotten, the Legion’s Press Office is collecting VE Day stories from those who served in the armed forces during WWII or who were evacuated during the war.
Supporting the effort is Big Wave PR, Creative Director, Carl Allen. Carl has been spending the past few weeks of lockdown homeworking and spending time on the phone talking to veterans and childhood evacuees to discover their stories.
“It’s been an inspiring experience hearing veterans’ experiences of being called-up, taking part in battles in Normandy, Monte Cassino, North Africa, India and the Far East. It has also been very interesting talking with ladies from the ATS, the Home Guard and evacuees, stories which are not always heard. For the ATS it was intriguing to hear that their service gave these women a first taste of freedom, to be treated as equals to men, they were trailblazers for real equality. Whereas talking with people who were evacuated as children from the cities to the countryside, the sense of adventure and the kindness of strangers gave a new narrative to the war.
“Discovering where people were when victory in Europe was announced, and what people did to celebrate has also been fascinating. Sadly, for many there wasn’t too much food or drink about to properly party, but the relief was enormous,” said Carl.
He added: “It’s also been heart-warming to talk to so many people about this period in their lives during the lockdown. All interviewees were mostly in their 80s or 90s, one was even 100, so were self-isolating due to the Corona virus pandemic. I think everyone was pleased to be having contact with the outside world and to share their story with me. And believe me, there were a few characters on the other end of the phone line! One advantage of undertaking all of the interviews over the phone was that my lockdown hair could not be seen! Might be time for a home haircut?”
To discover more about this year’s revised commemorations for VE Day, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk. To leave your own VE Day message, follow this link https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/march-poppy-press/leave-your-ve-day-message, and to find out more about the VE Day Singalong, click here https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong.