TV documentary sparks Pat’s Stevenage VE Day memories
- Credit: Archant
It was the middle of the night when the news broke in Stevenage, and 14-year-old Patricia Smith heard the noise rising up from Albert Street through her open window.
The date was May 8, 1945, and, although she didn’t know it at the time, the Second World War had just come to an abrupt end.
For the next two days everyone in the street celebrated victory in Europe, falling in and out of pubs and dancing in the roads – with Patricia’s father entertaining the revellers with his accordion.
Someone on the street captured these jubilant scenes with a camera, and over the years the pictures found their way into Patricia’s collection, which she has now shared with the Comet.
Now 85, she said: “It was lovely, everyone came out and it was such fun, everyone was dancing and drinking.
You may also want to watch:
“I was looking at the pictures and it just made me wonder how many of the people in these pictures are still alive, only the children I should think.”
Patricia’s memory was jogged after reading in the Comet about iconic 60s model Twiggy presenting a new BBC One documentary about the building of Stevenage’s new town after the Second World War to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
- 1 Taser video: Officer's actions which left man with injuries 'deemed appropriate'
- 2 A505 driver escapes without serious injury after head-on crash
- 3 Arrest made and 350 cannabis plants seized after raid in Letchworth
- 4 'Important milestone' reached in building of John Barker Place
- 5 History buffs celebrate town's historic buildings
- 6 Where in Hertfordshire are the most incidents of weapon possession?
- 7 Walk-in and booster vaccine slots available this week
- 8 Stevenage's annual fireworks display returns on Bonfire Night - November 5
- 9 Glimpses of the past: Exploring Hitchin from 1910 - 1950
- 10 Council approves new measures to get to net zero by 2030
“I thought, if I don’t share the pictures now I will forget about them and the event will just pass by,” she said.
Patricia, who was born on Christmas Day in 1929 above what is now Kink’s hair salon, said: “During the blackouts we used to stand at the top of Letchmore Road and look down to London and see it all burning from the German bombs. We had to hide under the desks at school when the sirens went, which was quite often, and we just had to get on with it.”
One war time event she remembers well was when a German plane flew over the High Street, tracing the train tracks down to the de Havilland factory in Hatfield.
“It was a Monday afternoon and I was walking back from school with a friend,” she said.
“And the plane just came out of nowhere, flying low above the High Street. We looked up and it had swastikas painted on the wings.
“And it flew along and bombed de Havilland, everyone remembers that – we nearly died of fright.”
The BBC documentary is currently being filmed and will be shown on TV next month.