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VE Day on Natal Road

VE Day Celebrations on Natal Road, 12 May 1945

Like much of the country, the residents of Natal Road held a VE Day Celebration Street Party in 1945. Above is a photo of children at the party (see below for their names) and here are two letters from the time sent from Ida Fakes to Gordon Fakes.

Extracts from book “LETTERS FROM IDA “ sent to Gordon Fakes her husband in India during WW2 where he served in the Royal Corps of Signals May 1943 to October 1945.

Air letter number 169 – Thursday 10 May 1945

My Dearest Gordon

Well lovee ! what a week we have had and I am sure we are all thankful that the War in Europe is at an end. It seems as if London had a great day on Tuesday: the typical, but orderly crowds, and the flood-lighting and cheering and glimpses of the King and Queen and the Prime Minister [Winston Churchill]. For all the ‘bricks’ that have been thrown at him by a certain section of the community I maintain he has done his task well. I think he will get some bouquets from you service men, especially if you get a quick release, eh lovee ! Anyway I am sure home seems a little nearer to you now and I feel that you ought to be with us for Xmas …. We went to chapel in the afternoon on V.E. Day as it was the continuation of our ‘Women’s Anniversary’. Plenty of services at 7 in the evening which were well attended. I took Susan to Parker’s Piece at 6 .30 pm to hear the Home Guard band play. We then walked on to neighbouring Midsummer Common to show Susan where the bonfire would be. That was going to be lit at about 10 pm and a torch-light procession and a few fireworks, searchlights and flood – lighting on Parker’s Piece. We were home long before they commenced. Susan enjoyed an ice cream best of all and seeing all the bunting out…

On Wednesday I went to see Marion, who was pleasantly surprised to see me …. Marion looks extremely well, nice colour, and enjoys going to school. She is still very good, sister said….Marion said they were given very good food on V.E. Day: bacon and fried egg for breakfast; roast potatoes, greens, chicken and stuffing followed by plum pudding for dinner; and apricots for supper. So I guess she did better than any of us. How did you spend the day? So I guess some of you had to be on duty as your sphere of the war still goes on. Still I should say all of you felt thankful for the deliverance of everyone from Nazism. There was feeling of joy amongst most folk here, one finds the majority of folk who made the most of it were those who had been lucky enough to carry on in war-time, almost the same as in peace time. A number of people in our road were out soon after 9 pm on Monday passing round drinks. Later they had a meeting to discuss about giving the kiddies a party… Well lovee we can now look forward to your home-coming and oh what a day that will be sweetheart. My heart leaps up to great heights when I think of it and the old emotions of love come flooding through one ….   All my love darling  Ida, Marion and Susan


Air letter number 170 – Sunday 13 May 1945

My Dearest Gordon

You will be surprised lovee I know when I tell you that we have got Marion home for the weekend. You see we had a ‘Victory’ party yesterday afternoon for the children in our road. It was organised by the firewatchers, although Mrs Mee and several ladies done the arrangements for the food. We all sent something and we shall all pay a small sum towards the entertainment, which was a Punch and Judy show and conjuring given by a Mr Grimwood from Histon, and very clever he was too. We all had a really grand time and it was nice for all we parents to get together with all the children. The men helped with a few races and games; the music was provided on a gramophone ; and we also had community singing. When the children were in bed the majority of adults went into the street and had dancing from 11 to 2. But I did not go. I fetched Marion yesterday. I left home about 8.15 am but had to wait until 1pm before we could get a connection back to Cambridge

[Editor Note : Marion was at a hospital in St Albans from April to mid June 1945 for a special operation on her arm. She had an accident in July 1943 when she was hit by a car at the top of the Natal Road a cul de sac at the junction with Perne Road}.

Everyone said how well Marion looked and fat in the face… It is lovely to have her home and Susan will keep hold of her hand for fear she will run away; and the minute she woke up this afternoon she said where is Marion, I want to see her. Marion was pleased to see all the flags in our road and see the fairy lights on … Marion had the stitches out and plaster changed last Thursday; Sister said Mr O’Connell is quite pleased and wants to keep her a little longer. I see by yesterday’s newspaper that they are going to commence to release men in groups 1 – 11 on 18 June and will follow on with groups 12 -25 on 1 September. I hope that is the same as you have heard for then I shall feel certain that you will spend Xmas at home this year. I felt quite bucked up when I read it….Marion spends 4 hours each day at hospital school, except visiting days. They do PT, painting, listening to school programmes on wireless, arithmetic, English, handwork….Now the time seems so near for your home-coming one’s patience is apt to wane, but thank God we have kept straight and soon we will let loose all the love we have bottled up for over two years ….

[ Editor Note : Gordon was to not leave India until late October 1945 as part of his work involved sending lists back to London of British prisoners released from the Japanese. Also they had trained many Indian soldiers to take over the various tasks].

Thanks to Colin G. Fakes for the photo and letters.

The people in the photo are as follows:

Back Row Standing left to right:
Marion Fakes (married Doug Thomson), Phylis Fordham (married John Mills), Barbara Hills, June Wilson (niece of Mrs Helsdon), Sheila Cowley, Jeannette ?, Keith Porter

Middle Row left to right:
? Bailey, Peter Smith, Jean Bailey, Michael Beardmore, John Dobbins, Donald Mee

Front Sitting left to right:
Alan Bailey,  Helen Cambridge (with baby David ? Smith),  Susan Fakes (married David Nunn),  Peter Smith’s sister (standing], unknown

You can see more of Colin’s pictures of Natal Road on the Mill Road History Society website.


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