History

'The relief and joy... it was really lovely'

VE Day

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Ken Friar has reflected on what the country was like at the end of the Second World War.

In an exclusive interview with Arsenal.com, he told us about what it was like to live through that time - and the celebrations when the war ended in 1945.

"I was very young because when the war broke out, I would have been five," Mr Friar said. "I remember being taken to the tube station every night and we used to live in the underground with millions of others. 

"We were at Essex Road tube station until the weekend, when we got a real treat. On the weekend we got taken to the Angel underground station. So we had a variation, but that was our life at the time.
 
"They were my early memories of the war. Of course, coming out of the underground early in the morning and seeing all the buildings alight, and blocks of houses coming down... it was dreadful. Fire engines in the road and people being carried away, it was nasty. I remember that.

"There were street parties [when the war ended in 1945] and it was really, really lovely. The relief of people at that time, from having been under such pressure for so many years, most of the men were away at war - it was absolutely dreadful. 

"The relief and the joy at seeing people come back out, almost out of shelters, coming out of undergrounds and resuming their life again. It was quite an exceptional time.
 
"No I don't [remember how I celebrated], other than joining in. The family joined in with some of the street things that were going on. Cakes were made and things like that. It was really nice."

 

 

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