MY FATHER'S VE DAY
My father was not very hot on writing, but this letter to my grandmother captures the some of the excitment of VE Day in Swansea, where he found himself in camp.
Ravenhill Camp, Swansea
12 May 1945
VE Day was exciting and good fun. Swansea like any other port is full of toughs and rough-necks who made the most of the excuse of getting really drunk to celebrate the greatest victory in the History of the World. The whole town went mad. Tables were dragged out of the homes and set up down the centre of the street and then laden with all sorts of cakes, jellies and sandwiches. The neighbours and even passers by were invited to sit down and feast. Accordion and mouth organ bands were got together hurriedly to entertain. At the same time the uninvited bystanders with hosts of children danced and sang themselves hoarse. This went on all day and was only interrupted by waves of people surging down the street carrying effigys of Hitler to place on a bonfire that was to be lit that evening. It wasn’t until the pubs opened that the crescendo of noise and excitement reached its zenith. We officers went to a dance at Mumbles, a very rough joint it was. But I must say we had a very good evening, liquor flowed easily and we were all in rather good form, if rather a foolish one. The dance finished at one o’clock so we decided to walk home, calling in at many of the street parties and eventually getting into bed at 3.30.