“St Neots received the joyful news of the end of the war against Germany quite calmly,” the St Neots Advertiser reported in 1945.
The paper continued: “With feelings of thankfulness to God, happiness, relief, pride, humility, gratitude to the gallant men and women who made victory possible; remembrance of those who had given their lives for us in many parts of the world; sympathy for their relatives and a vivid reminder of the stern fight ahead against the brutal Japanese. An outward sign of rejoicing was a profuse display of flags and Russell Street was a specially high spot. Church bells rang merrily in St Neots, Eynesbury and Eaton Socon.”
Liz Davies, St Neots Museum curator, says: “The re-formed Eynesbury and St Neots Town Silver Prize band paraded the town and played on the Market Square. Church services were held and there were ‘joyous scenes on St Neots Market Square on VE night’. Loud speakers had been installed on the Market Square and dancing continued into the early hours.”
Another popular part of the celebrations was the lighting of bonfires. Little Barford power station was floodlit and could be seen for miles around. In Eaton Socon, the highlight of VE Day was the huge bonfire at The Hillings, where Hitler’s effigy was consumed by flames. Fireworks were let off on The Green, where the dancing continued until 2am. Another bonfire was lit at Eaton Ford.
The Inmates of the St Neots Institution had extra rations, and those well enough were allowed to attend local church services. In Great Gransden, people assembled at the cricket field to hear Churchill’s broadcastand more than 1,000 people attended a dance.