VE Day – John Govier shares memories of Sidmouth celebrating end of World War Two
- Credit: Archant and Sidmouth Museum
A Sidmouth pensioner has shared his memories as a child during the town’s VE Day celebrations.
John Govier, who turned 80 in February, was one of the youngest to take part in the celebrations on May 8, 1945, which marked the end of World War Two.
Speaking to the Herald, he recalls everyone gathering in Market Place, a bonfire at Peak Hill and a children’s tea party.
He said: “I was five years old and three months. I was one of the youngest to be taken to the celebrations of VE Day in Sidmouth.
“I know there will be others, but I would have been one of the youngest.”
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Mr Govier said he has ‘vivid’ memories of being taken to the VE Day celebrations by his mother and that his father was still away at war.
He added: “The whole town met in Market Place in Sidmouth - I can remember bits of it.
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“We met in Market Place in what would have been the early evening.
“We all walked along the seafront which was covered in barbed wire.
“We walked up over the hill and I vividly remember the scenes and the ladies singing songs.”
He said they sang Daisy Daisy, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and White Cliffs of Dover.
“I can remember we walked up to the top of Peak Hill and there was an observation post there,” Mr Govier added.
“They built an enormous bonfire and there were bonfires built around the country – it was quite an occasion.
“I was with my mother and my sister – my brother would have been too young.”
He also remembered a tea party organised after the VE Day celebrations.
He said: “They held a big tea party for all the children in Sidmouth which was held in Church House Lawn.
“They (the children) were provided for by the ladies of Sidmouth and my mother was one of them.”
He told the Herald he has seen photographs of him at the tea party with friend Oliver Bagwell.
He added: “That was Sidmouth’s way of celebrating VE Day.”