Par­ty­ing in the streets was tinged with sor­row

Macclesfield Express - - VE DAY SPECIAL -

MAXONIANS par­tied in the streets when news broke that the Sec­ond World War had ended in Europe.

Thou­sands came out of their homes and gath­ered in the town cen­tre at Mar­ket Place to cel­e­brate to­gether with mu­sic and danc­ing.

The cel­e­bra­tions erupted af­ter news that the Sec­ond World War in Europe was of­fi­cially over.

It marked the sur­ren­der of Nazi Ger­many to the Al­lies. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had com­mit­ted sui­cide on April 30 and Ger­many’s sur­ren­der was of­fered by his suc­ces­sor Ad­mi­ral Donitz in France.

Cel­e­bra­tions took place through­out the world and more than one mil­lion peo­ple cel­e­brated in the streets in the UK.

In Macclesfield, one of those cel­e­brat­ing was Len John­son, 88, who lives with wife Beryl on Bel­grave Road and is a for­mer chair­man of the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion.

He was back in Macclesfield aged 18 on leave from the Army on VE Day.

Len said: “Peo­ple were com­ing out of their homes and into the streets to cel­e­brate. I went to Mar­ket Place with my par­ents and fam­ily and there was mu­sic play­ing out from speak­ers from the town hall. There must have been thou­sands of peo­ple there.

“We were all so re­lieved it was over.

“But it was a con­fused time, a time to be forgotten in many ways.

“I was think­ing about all those peo­ple who never came back to Macclesfield, all those peo­ple who were killed and in­jured.

“You can see them all on the war me­mo­rial.

“It was a happy time but there was sad­ness too.”

Al­lan Wil­liams, 61, chair­man of the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion in Macclesfield, said: “We only have a few peo­ple in Macclesfield now who will re­mem­ber VE Day now, but it’s im­por­tant that we mark the day be­cause of the in­cred­i­ble sac­ri­fices made by so many, and all the death and de­struc­tion.

“I don’t know of any bomb­ing in Macclesfield but Ac­ton farm at Over Alder­ley was bombed by Ger­man bombers.

“All it takes is a look at the war me­mo­rial to see the ef­fect the war had on Macclesfield.”

Res­i­dents are urged to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of VE Day with events on Fri­day.

A mem­ber of the Cheshire Youth Theatre will read the mov­ing speech made by Win­ston Churchill in 1945 at the VE Day cel­e­bra­tions in Lon­don.

●● Len John­son has given his mem­o­ries of VE Day in Macclesfield

●● Macclesfield chil­dren on VE Day in 1945

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