Library marks 70 years since victory in Europe
Young and old joined hands at Rutherglen Library last Friday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
The event, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, was the official opening of an exhibition showing Rutherglen during and after the war and featuring the stories of Ruglonian Jack Connor, who served with the“Forgotten Army”in Burma, and 93-year-old Mary Munro, who served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a piper in an all-female pipe band.
Visitors will be able to view the Roll of Honour listing more than 200 Rutherglen folk who lost their lives in the conflict and locals are being encouraged to leave their written memories and comments when they visit.
Folders are available on a number of WW2 topics, including the stories of local men who were taken prisoner and items from the war, including a gas mask and medals.
Visitors will also be able to read about how Rutherglen played her part in the aftermath of the Clydebank Blitz in 1941 by looking after those made homeless by the bombing in 1941.
Those attending the opening on Friday observed the national two-minute silence to mark Winston Churchill’s announcement of the war’s official ending in Europe.
This was followed by Rutherglen piper John Paton who played the traditional lament Flowers of the Forest and a selection of Scottish tunes, including Mary My Scots Bluebell, in tribute to fellow piper Mary Munro.
Local writer Dorothy Connor then read an extract from Churchill’s speech on the day and then sang a selection of wartime songs before all sang along to “We’ll Meet Again”and“The White Cliffs of Dover”.
Dorothy said:“The event was well attended with people from 19 to 93 and it was a pleasure and a privilege to meet everyone and hear their stories.
“There was a Ring A-Ring O’Roses circle round the Main Street on VE Day itself on May 8, 1945, with people dancing and singing with relief that it was all over. We wanted folk to get some kind of idea what it was like and it was good to see library staff and members of the public up dancing while also remembering the great sorrow of those times, and not forgetting that the war in the Far East did not end until August that year.”
Dorothy will be giving two talks at the library on wartime themes.
“The Bombs, the Blitz and the Bookies”is on Thursday, May 21, from 6pm-7pm, and“Dear Cathie”, a Rutherglen soldier’s letters home from the Forgotten Army is on Thursday, June 18, from 6-7pm.
Tickets cost £2 from the library and tea and coffee will be provided.
Dorothy’s book Home Town Tales with her mother’s stories about the town during wartime will also be on sale.
Eileen served with the Fire Service as a telephonist in the control room at Rutherglen Fire Station in King Street.
She added:“Zen Boyd, the librarian at the Heritage Centre, has worked so hard to bring it all together and we are so fortunate to have such a great library in Rutherglen and such enthusiastic staff.”
The exhibition runs until August 31 and entry is free.