Victory in Europe: VE Day celebrations in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry

In Moneymore, Co. Londonderry, VE Day celebrations were a quieter affair with church services to the fore before the victory dances began the following day.

Like many other parts of Northern Ireland, celebrations began in the village of Moneymore, Co. Londonderry on Monday 7th May 1945. Residents decorated their homes in preparation for the following day.

By 1500hrs on 8th May 1945, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the end of the Second World War in Europe, Moneymore had taken on a “festive appearance”. The Victory in Europe Day or VE Day celebrations began immediately.

As well as decorated houses, the streets of Moneymore, Co Londonderry flew the flags of the Allied nations. Scout Master WW Bole and a team of Boy Scouts oversaw the decorating of the main street with flags and streamers.

Services of Thanksgiving

In St. John’s Church of Ireland, Reverend RCC O’Connor held a service of thanksgiving. After singing the national anthem, Miss E McCutcheon on the organ led the congregation in singing. The sermon came from Isaiah Chapter 25, and a 2-minute silence for the fallen followed. The service drew to a close with the singing of ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’.

On the evening of 8th May 1945, the congregation of 2nd Moneymore Presbyterian Church listened to the King’s address on the radio. A 2-minute silence in memory of the fallen followed before the beginning of the service of thanksgiving led by Reverend HCC Conn. Mrs. FP Anderson accompanied the praise on the organ and the evening ended with the singing of the national anthem.

After a day of praise and commemoration, the 9th May 1945 was one of celebration in Moneymore, Co. Londonderry. Ringsend Flute Band led a parade of various war organisations through the village. A meeting at Fair Hill saw speeches given by Captain WL Lenox-Conyngham, Captain RW Harris, Dr. W Cousley JP, Mr. FB Anderson, and Mr. WW Bole. Mr. HE Thompson MBE JP was absent through illness. Local servicemen home on leave received a token of appreciation as part of the day’s events.

At nightfall, “youthful enthusiasts” oversaw the burning of an effigy of Hitler dubbed “The Corporal from Munich”. The sound of Lambeg drums filled the skies as residents departed for a victory dance in aid of the Welcome Home Fund.