8th May 1945 - VE Day
Nightmare about 5am, of sirens blowing in Colchester. I was cycling along Magdalen St and turned up Military Rd just as they began.
Breakfast at 9, a bright sunny morning, the sound of Walsoken bells on the breeze. The old sweep, Wiseman, came by whistling his interminable hymn –
'Now praise we all our God
With heart and hand and voices – '
over and over again.
The woman next door was hanging out flags, and Mrs. Burnett was busy spring cleaning the dining room. Flags all down Norwich Rd, milk and papers being delivered, and a British Liberation Army man just come on leave, carrying his pack, and shouting to a woman “I’ll be glad to get my boots off.” Norfolk St a mass of flags.
The Museum open, and Miss Thompson not quite sure whether the war was over of not. Several people came in, and Edwards turned up at 10.30 and stayed until nearly 12. Began to take the cover off the Townsend case, and did a little in the Library.
Announcer van going round the streets saying there would be services at 4 o’clock today, and that the King will speak tonight.
This afternoon quite a number came in, including four Women's Land Army girls. One, who came from Newcastle, said in the course of conversation that she had always believed that Wales was an island. I mentioned Dorothy L. Sayers book, 'The Nine Tailors' [which is set in the Fens], but none had even heard of her.
The church bells began to ring shortly after 3, first single bells, then peels, then great clashing chords. The service at 4 was well attended, big crowds going through the Square, women dressed in their best. Some people stood round the West doorway and I could hear the hymn “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past.” After the service the bells began again.
To my surprise and delight Sisson walked in, on his way from King's Lynn.