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In 1945 we celebrated the end of the War in Europe with the greatest party the capital has ever seen. All divisions of rank, religion and ethnicity were put aside and we became one huge family celebrating those most precious values which the previous six years had robbed them of; peace and safety. Although we haven’t been able to celebrate as we would have wished, this year, we nevertheless, did “our bit” to honour the memory of those wonderful people who gave so much so that we could enjoy the lifestyle we now are fortunate enough to possess, and also to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Bro Winston Spencer Churchill was certainly a bright beacon in an otherwise dark and oppressive time and, perhaps, his dogged determination to succeed will enable his Masonic Brethren today to combat with ease the tough times we are experiencing at the moment with Covid-19. This is a small pictorial record of some of the goings-on which members of the Province of London Mark took part in and thoroughly enjoyed. The image is probably one of the most iconic photographs of the day and shows two Land Army girls, Cynthia Covllo and Joyce Digney, in the Trafalgar Square fountains with two Royal Navy ratings enjoying life to the full!
VE.Tea@11 Today’s first cuppa (morning coffee on the doorstep after the 2 Minute Silence) starts on a serious note remembering all those who gave everything to ensure our freedom. Also, an opportunity to reflect on the loved ones we have lost or who have been affected in this current emergency. I’ve selected a few of our seniors to speak to about today. Amongst them Michael Mullally TD of Fitzroy Lodge. He was a mere 18 years old in 1945, working for Westminster Bank but coincidentally in lockdown in a hotel near Euston attending a Royal Air Force Selection Board. He remembers hearing the noises of celebrations in the distance but just like today, was not able to take part in any public gathering. I hope you can all Mark today’s special events in some way Brethren. I look forward to your “comments” and “likes”. See you again after Mr Churchill’s speech at 4pm with another little anecdote. Mark well. Tom.
What a spectacular day T@4.15 that’s not T@3 but does fit in with the BBC’s programming! Not much to add to what has already been said, except enjoy the day and remember, only one hour or so before it’s gin o’clock! Don’t forget, keep safe See you soon, Wes
A Social Distancing Street Party in Congleton – Ben White
VE.Tea@after3 Following the re-run of Mr. Churchill’s inspiring speech (“Advance Britannia; long live Freedom; God Save the King”) here we are in the sunshine for afternoon tea and cake. Actually, it should be birthday cake, as we have one senior Brother with a Birthday TODAY. Carl Nixon of Eclectic & Empress Britannic Lodge. Carl was celebrating his 6th birthday on the original VE Day. He recollects all the bunting on display and being told that he’d never need to shelter under the dining room table again during an air raid. Notts being the centre of the coal mining industry and where his father worked as a miner, had been susceptible to enemy bombardment. Happy Birthday on behalf of London Mark Carl and best wishes to you and Marcia, your faithful wife of 56 years! Next slot is a pre-dinner toast with the neighbors, Brethren. See you all then with your glasses charged…. Tom
Didn’t make the porch, but, with the Pipe Major, took part in a Veterans’ ceremony at Dartford War Memorial, where we observed the two minutes’ silence and – apart from this quick photo – complied with the distancing rule. Colin Miller.
Three bomb strikes, February 22, 1944 Junction of Pall Mall & St James’ Street
Taking a toast with all the Brethren in London Mark and being able to remember all our many Absent Brethren at this very poignant time is Trevor Heap and his lovely wife, Lesley
VE. DayTea@6 Pre-dinner, socially distancing drinks with my next-door neighbor Barry, PM of my Bucks Craft Lodges and a fellow member of Semper Fidelis Lodge of MMM. Eunice and I are off to sit in the far corner of his front garden with Barry and his wife Sandra to finish the bottle!! I hope you can enjoy something similar. This evening’s anecdote involves Harry Landsman of Minchenden Oak Lodge. Harry was 18 in 1945 and attending grammar school. His recollection of the original VE Day is a huge street party in Tottenham where he lived. After school, Harry went on to fly Wellington Bombers. He is currently keeping safe in lockdown with Stella, his faithful wife of 63 years! God bless them both. Our final get-together tonight is after the Queen’s Address at 9pm when I might have saved the best anecdote till last …….. Regards. Tom
Cliff and Sally Sturt, flying the Flag
John Ellis’s Knocker!!
Hi everyone, What am amazing day of VE75 posting by our PGM and others as we all celebrated the end of WW2. Not quite the way the day was originally planned, but still memorable and very moving. I had so much tea yesterday and in order to properly celebrate the end of the WW2, I have sabraged a bottle of champagne [To see Tim’s video, click here] I will do likewise once we are through the current crisis. I hope in the meantime that you are all keeping well, and I really look forward to seeing us all back to Masonry as soon as it is safe to do so
VE.DayTea@9 Final post on this special day of remembrance Brethren. As a postscript to our Queen’s Address tonight, you will recollect having read in the last London Mallet that I sent birthday greetings to Her Majesty for 21st April – the date of our cancelled Mess Dinner. Above is the reply from Windsor Castle. And tonight’s anecdote is a first-hand experience of that original VE Day. Jimmy Anderson is the Province’s oldest member. Born 20th May 1922. He came to London in 1940 to a Civil Service job and was Called Up in 1941 to the R.E.M.E and in 1945 he was based in Deal, working on radar instruments to help in gauging aircraft height but on 8th May happened to be on leave – a 24 hour pass to London. He recollects there seemed to be millions of cheering people on the streets, spilling onto the roads. No buses or cars running as it was impossible to get through the crowds. Jimmy remembers staying overnight in a hostel courtesy of the Duke of Buccleugh – and he assures me he remained sober throughout! Hopefully he will have a wee dream on 20th of this month when he celebrates his 98th birthday. I’d like to end this special day with a reprise of one of my earlier posts, echoing those wonderfully comforting but also uplifting words of Dame Vera Lynn, who at 103 we have seen and heard again today – “We WILL meet again”. [To see Tom’s video, click here] Goodnight Brethren. Thank you for your many messages and “likes” to today’s posts. I look forward to that happy day when we can come together again in our Lodges. Until then, Stay Safe and Mark Well. Tom.
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