Victory Days

On 8 May 1945 crowds gathered outside City Hall for the announcement from London – Germany had surrendered, Victory in Europe (VE Day) was declared.

Two days of holiday to celebrate were announced. Air raid shelters were painted red, white and blue and bunting hung up. Street parties were held and bonfires lit. Ration coupons were pooled to make a good party, and when the children had gone to bed the adults pushed radiograms onto the street and danced. Religious services were held across Cardiff.

Victory over Japan (VJ Day), declared on the 15 August 1945, saw the real end of the Second World War, and there were more celebrations including a dance lit by vehicle headlights in front of City Hall. Americans partied in St Mary Street and air raid sirens sounded for the last time.

Life was to change again as evacuees, troops, war workers and prisoners-of-war started coming home. It was also a time to remember those who had lost their lives in the war. Clothing and food rationing remained in place as the nation began to rebuild.

Stories and Objects

The Museum of Cardiff has collected personal stories and objects related to the Victory in Europe celebrations. Three people from Cardiff recall their memories of the time.

Read People’s StoriesBrowse Museum Objects

Image Gallery

The VE Day crowd in Cardiff city centre.

The VE Day crowd in the city centre.

Having just returned from three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, a man stands with his wife and daughter.

FE Fett of the 77th Heavy Ack-Ack Regiment, here with his wife and daughter, had just returned from 3 years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Black and white photo. People around large table, in the street, pose for photograph. A tiered cake is on the table.

VE Day party in Union Street, City Centre.

Black and white photo. People around large table in the street pose for photograph.

VE Day celebrations in Harrowby Street, Butetown.

Black and white photo. VE Day street celebrations with a Hitler effigy for the bonfire.

VE Day celebrations, with a Hitler effigy for the bonfire, Inglefield Avenue, Heath.

Black and white photo. People on street wearing fancy dress, pose for photo.

VE Day fancy dress parade in Monmouth Street, Grangetown.

Black and white photo. Victory Queen poses for photograph. Three other children pose with her.

Bernice Maynard was voted Victory Queen at Manor Street’s, Cathays, VE Day party, she was eight.

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