On 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill announced the end of the UK’s war efforts in Europe, following Germany’s surrender.
75 years on, the nation is all set to pay tribute – albeit from our homes rather than in the streets – to that most selfless of generations who sacrificed so much for their country. Although we’re not able to hold big events and public gatherings to celebrate this significant anniversary, in the true British spirit we will all keep going and celebrate safely in our homes.
Here are some ideas of how to get into the VE Day spirit from your kitchen.
Tune into our VE Day Special of The Best Seat in the House:
Not Forgotten supporters, Annie Riley, Mickie Driver and Le’arna Castle are joined by friends in our WWII themed variety show, where they perform some wartime favourites, and James Stopford reads a personal message from Dame Vera Lynn to all Not Forgotten beneficiaries. It will be live on our YouTube channel from 9am on Friday 8 May, so join the show for some singalongs that are bound to get your feet tapping!
Cook up a wartime feast:
Decorate the house:
- Download bunting designs and posters to colour in or personalise here.
- Or design your own as part of the BBC’s Great British Bunting event.
Download some family-friendly activity packs:
- Find the English Heritage activity pack here.
- The Royal British Legion have designed some educational packs for Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3, downloadable here.
Listen to personal accounts of VE Day:
Voices of VE Day: 75 Years On provides a rich tapestry of VE Day memories from guests such as Dame Patricia Routledge, war evacuee Sir Derek Jacobi, 102 year old former Gunner Capt Jack Swaab MC and 96 year old Bletchley Park veteran Betty Webb. The show brings more than 1000 years’ of experience together, distilling it into one fascinating podcast.
Attend the National Army Museum’s online festival:
The National Army Museum, in conjunction with the RAF Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, is holding a three day festival online, with the first event taking place at 5pm on Thursday 7 May. Highlights include a virtual 1940s swing dance class and singalong concert. You can also find some great resources on the RAF Museum’s website.
Search through your family history:
You can use some of these resources to your family’s service records:
- The Imperial War Museum’s archives
- The National Archives
- The National Army Museum’s collections
- The genealogy website, Ancestry, is allowing everyone to use their services for free from 4-10 May. You can search through your family tree by visiting their website.
Join in with the national celebrations:
- 11am: National moments of Remembrance and thanksgiving, including a Two Minute Silence
- 2.45pm: BBC One will show extracts from Churchill’s victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe
- 2.55pm: solo buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will be invited to play the Last Post from their homes
- 8pm: Katherine Jenkins, Adrian Lester and Beverley Knight will perform popular 1930s and 40s songs on BBC One.
- 9pm: a nationwide singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’
- 9pm: the Queen’s pre-recorded address will be broadcast on BBC One at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago.