Errol Gardens, New Malden: Victory Street Party

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Date Photo Taken 1st January 0001
Partial / Incomplete Date 1945
Area West Barnes
Picture Reference MerMor_​28_​20-5
Original Format Photo
Notes / History The residents of Errol Gardens had more reason than some to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. On Friday 16th August 1940 over a dozen High Explosive bombs were dropped on the north end of Errol Gardens and its neighbouring streets. This was the first Luftwaffe attack on Merton in which a total of 44-45 bombs fell on the borough in a single afternoon (see Merton Historical Society Bulletin No 166 June 2008 [The First Raid on Merton by David Haunton] and the Merton and Morden Bomb Map compiled c. 1946 [Wimbledon Museum]).

The end came nearly five years later when, on April 30 1945, with the allies surrounding Berlin, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker. One week later, on Monday May 7, Allied Commander General Eisenhower accepted the unconditional surrender of all German forces in Europe at his supreme headquarters in Reims in France.

Tues 8 May was declared Victory in Europe Day marking the conclusion of the war with Hitler. Celebrations had begun the night before when the Ministry of Information announced that 8 May would be a public holiday called VE Day. Communities like this one in Errol Gardens began hanging out flags and bunting and pooling food – still rationed – for street parties.

The war in the Far East continued for several more months until 15 August 1945 when US President Harry S Truman announced that the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of Japan.

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