Celebrities and World War Two veterans have joined forces to share their memories of VE Day in a new podcast for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Guests include Betty Boothroyd (Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell, former Speaker of the House of Commons), Sir Derek Jacobi, Dame Patricia Routledge, a female Bletchley Park veteran (aged 96), a Chelsea Pensioner (aged 96) and 102-year-old Capt Jack Swaab MC.
Memories include first-hand accounts of seeing thousands of Germans surrender and an overriding sense of relief, alongside more light-hearted recollections of accidental crowd-surfing, contraband cake and fancy dress competition victories.
“We were so lucky. Well it wasn’t luck; it was fortitude, it was hard work, it was devotion, it was commitment to the country, it was patriotism, it was all pulling together – it will never be forgotten.” – Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell
“I saw thousands of Germans surrendering – an incredible sight. All those German soldiers. I never thought I’d see it.” – Geoffrey Winter (aged 98)
“There was an overriding sense of relief. It was just nice not to be shot at.” – Capt Jack Swaab MC (aged 102)
“There were so many people that I really didn’t have to consciously walk, I was just carried along with the mob.” – Betty Webb, Bletchley veteran (aged 96)
“My recollections of peace descending on us all are twofold: I remember the street party that we had, everyone got out little trestle tables down the street, it was wonderful. There was a fancy dress competition which I won – I went dressed in rags covered in ration books, as ‘Mother’s Worries’, and I won first prize!” – Sir Derek Jacobi
“We went down to the landing stage where the ferries came and went to Liverpool, and the place was packed with people. The river Mersey was full of ships and they were all honking away and the lights were on – it was astonishing, really wonderful.” – Dame Patricia Routledge
This compelling piece of original content distils over 1000 years’ experience into one fascinating podcast.
Notes to Editors
1. ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the Army’s national charity, formed in 1944 to provide a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their families when they are in need. In the past year, we have helped 70,000 members of the Army family in 68 countries across the globe and funded 92 other charities and organisations to deliver specialist services. While there is a British Army, there will be The Soldier’ Charity. www.soldierscharity.org