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VE Day - 75th Anniversary - A Shared Moment of Celebration

"This is your victory. Victory of the cause of freedom. In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this.” — Winston Churchill, VE Day, 1945

Friday 8th May marks the 75th anniversary of VE day and whilst some plans have had to change due to lockdown, that doesn’t mean we can’t still remember and celebrate in an alternative way.

What is VE day?

VE Day fell on 8th May 1945 marking the formal acceptance of Nazi Germany’s surrender by the allied forces at the end of the Second World War.

While VE Day marks the surrender of Nazi Germany after a long six years of fighting, it did not signify the absolute end of the Second World War. The official end wasn’t until 2nd September, coming after Japans surrender in August,

How we will remember?

Over this week we will be looking at how we can celebrate from home. With our catering students sharing recipes for classic wartime foods, hair and beauty students will be showing us how to get the classic hair and make-up look and our Student Union has found out what games and music were popular at the time.

This Friday, families up and down the country will be holding VE celebrations at home, with a 2-minute silence being observed at 11 am. Dover District Council's chairman Cllr Michael Conolly, will lead a nationwide toast at 3 pm. The Queen will deliver a special VE Day address at 9 pm on BBC, after which, the public will be invited to take part in a country-wide sing-a-long of Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again”.

Folkestone during the war

Folkestone was a thriving seaside town, regularly a place of choice for holidaymakers. So much so, that at the start of World War II many children were evacuated to the town. By the time war was declared in September 1939 Folkestone had its ARP system in place and everyone had been fitted with gas-masks and black-out tests had been run in July and were well informed. However, due to its coastal location, Folkestone fell under constant attack from bombs and shelling from across the channel and very quickly became a prohibited area with approximately 35,000 residents leaving the area. The face of the town changed, all street lights were switched off and defences including tank traps and gun batteries set up throughout the town.

In total it is approximated that 14,441 properties were damaged, 550 houses destroyed, 778 injured and 123 people were killed. The town took nearly 20 years to completely recover.