Victory Day, 8 June 1946
Part of an online exhibition from Durham County Record Office commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945
In February 1946, Prime Minister Atlee's government ordered that Victory celebrations would be held in June 1946 to mark the end of the Second World War. The main event would be a Victory procession in London on Saturday 8 June, but similar parades and events would be encouraged across Britain.
On parade in London, there would be soldiers from every British Regiment. However, as the Regular battalions of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) were overseas (the 1st Battalion in Greece and the 2nd Battalion in Malaya), the Regiment was represented by a small contingent of DLI Territorials.
In Durham City a special Victory Day programme of events was organised for Saturday 8 June and, from a report in the Durham County Advertiser, 14 June 1946, Durham was 'crowded with a happy, good-natured throng' before rain drove people home.
Victory Day programme from the City of Durham Clerk's Department files, FGP 1/36: Victory Celebrations (Du/Appendices (Acc:1768)).
Towns and villages across County Durham marked Victory Day in their own way, so Sacriston's Working Men's Club organised a day trip to Scarborough, whilst there was a children's sports day and tea in Great Lumley.
However, according to the Durham Chronicle, 14 June 1946, there were no organised Victory celebrations in Houghton-le-Spring, apart from a 'free treat to the pictures for school children'. Rather, the newspaper claimed, many people were asking 'What is there to celebrate?' Youngsters did light bonfires but 'most people remained at home to listen to the broadcast of the great Victory Parade in London'. A shortage of beer in Houghton-le-Spring on Victory Day probably did not help the town's glum mood.
Back to 'We have come through' - remembering VE Day 1945 exhibition homepage.