60th anniversary of
the end of WWII:
Barton Mills commemoration
Whoops, sorry about the 'supersize it' title there, but I can't think of a better one at the moment! Yes, the Barton Mills Parish Council managed to get a grant from the Lottery Commission to fund a local commemoration of the end of WWII. This was to be held on a weekend in September, and sure enough the invitation arrived through the letterbox:
I won't reproduce the whole invitation, but there were several events over the weekend that I went to, and several I took pictures of. The first thing was an exhibition of memorabilia in the Village Hall, which was organised by the Mildenhall Museum Society. So off I went to the Hall, stopping off on the way to admire the new village sign:
Lovely job! The Hall was decked out in Union Jacks, and, incidentally, also featured the OLD village sign :)
Luckily I was there quite early, so managed to take a few pictures before it got too crowded. There was a very interesting mix of memorabilia encompassing both the military and civil activities of the time.
One extremely fascinating thing was the painting on the easel in the picture below (to the left). It is a reproduction of a painting done by troops who were forced to build the Burma/Thailand railroad whilst prisoners of the Japanese. It is a highly detailed map of the railroad, and has an enormous amount of information about which units worked on which parts (and, therefore, whose deaths occurred where). The gentleman who provided it had a father in the Cambridgeshire Regiment (largely captured by the Japanese in the fall of Singapore) who was lucky enough to make it home. I wish I'd taken a better picture of it, but more people started to arrive and I didn't get a good shot.
Other items of interest included a big RAF map of part of the UK, again the detail was great but the picture doesn't do it justice:
And one of my favourite things, some good propaganda (there were also reproduction newspapers of the time, which are always fascinating):
Back home for a bit of lunch, and then I was getting ready to go down to the street party to take a few pictures. A few strange noises were heard, and it turns out our neighbours were equipping their station wagon with big speakers and Union Jacks in order to provide some 'mood music' at the party!
It was enjoyable to have the 'soundtrack' in the background of the party - all the old favourites were there, and I even heard the USAF song at some point......although of course at the time it was the US Army Air Corps Song :)
The party seemed to go well, with the kids (for whom it was mostly intended) seeming to have fun and a good spread of picnic type food:
Back home again for the rest of the afternoon before venturing out once again to the evening's entertainment. First up was 'Keyboard Ken' (a well-known local figure) in the marquee. He was playing and singing many old favourites, although since Jason was dragging his feet I missed my much-adored Lili Marlene! Curses.
After the singalong came the fireworks out on the village green. There was a large area roped off, which irritated Jason, as he thought it excessive for 'a few small fireworks'. Hah! He'd forgotten the British addiction to huge mortar type fireworks ;) He hadn't been at home the previous Guy Fawkes Night to hear how the entire village sounded like it was on the Somme just prior to an attempted advance! As it ended up, I was more than glad of how far back we were kept, as despite that I copped some burning cardboard bits in my hair ;) But the fireworks were marvellous:
I've included that last one not only because it's spectacular, but so you can see from the trees how big the fireworks were :) A very successful display! After the fireworks was a disco in the marquee, but I didn't go to that because I am, officially, old.
The next morning I actually went to the Service of Thanksgiving in the village church, something that will astound most of you who know my total lack of religion......but I was hoping they'd have a full church for it (it was pretty full as it happened, so that was good) and was interested in the music. It was just after the English team had won the Ashes (for you Americans reading this, don't worry about it, it would take too long to explain!) so I was hoping for a rendition of "Jerusalem". No such luck, but at least I knew "Amazing Grace" :) No photos, though, didn't seem appropriate. That evening I went back to the marquee for the "Swing Street Big Band", a 16-piece band:
They were fantastic! All the usual suspects were there, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Cole Porter..... Sentimental Journey, In the Mood, Autumn Leaves, Night and Day......etc etc. Not only was the music superb, but the Council organisers had laid on tea and biscuits (real china, even!) which was perfect on a nippy evening.
The whole weekend was a lot of fun as well as being a nice commemoration of the end of the War. Everyone involved with putting it on did a marvelous job - I'm glad I got to experience a village 'event' like this during our time in the UK.
Go back to the main page if you want to see anything else :)