Put your flags out for VE Day 75th anniversary on 8 May

This year a special Bank holiday has been declared to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.

The May Bank Holiday, which normally takes place on the first Monday of May, has been moved to Friday 8 May, to mark the occasion 75 years ago when it was announced that Nazi Germany had unconditionally surrendered, signalling the end of the Second World War in Europe.

VE Day is a very significant day for the City of Brighton & Hove, which has a proud history of marking the occasion.

Photos from 8 May 1945 show street parties taking place across neighbourhoods in Brighton & Hove as well as a parade past Hove Town Hall.
The community celebrated as 3.8 million British men and 400,000 British women could begin to return to their homes and families, some for the first time in many years.

What's happening in Brighton & Hove?

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government has announced revised plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and in Brighton & Hove too, plans to commemorate the day have changed.

Speaking in her role as Chair of The Royal British Legion, Brighton & Hove City Branch, Councillor Mary Mears says that despite people being unable to attend public VE Day events, there are still ways to mark the occasion, she said:

“Right now 75 years on, we face another challenge in Brighton & Hove, one which we will overcome by pulling together and supporting each other.

“There has never been a better time to channel the spirit of resilience and community that our predecessors celebrated on 8 May 1945.

“Residents across Brighton & Hove are encouraged to put union flags in their windows and outside on their front doors to mark the day and pay tribute and remembrance.”

National plans for the day

The official commemorations will begin at 11am on 8 May, with a national moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence and to mark the historic occasion.  Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

The Royal British Legion is playing a central role in the delivery of a range of remote activity, including:

Other plans for the day include:

  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will read an extract from King George VI’s diary from 8 May 1945 which describes the day including The Royal Family’s iconic Buckingham Palace balcony appearances. 
  • As part of special BBC programming, extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago at 3pm and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day. 

A template pack has been produced so that the public can hold a 1940s style afternoon tea party at home complete with homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children.

Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow will host special VE history lessons for children from Monday 4 May. At 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dan will host a History Hit live on YouTube’s Timeline channel that will focus on a different aspect of the Second World War.

All UK historical records available on ancestry.co.uk will be free for the public from Monday 4 May until Sunday 10 May, giving people the opportunity to uncover the personal stories of the Second World War and the roles their families played.

Councillor Amanda Grimshaw, the council’s lead member representing the Armed Forces said she hoped VE Day could also be regarded as a day of hope for future peace and an end to war, she said:

“VE Day gives us all the opportunity to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and to hope that one day we will live in a world without war.”