Victory in Europe: VE Day celebrations in Randalstown, Co. Antrim

VE Day celebrations in Randalstown, Co. Antrim saw members of the forces join with youth organisations for a parade before dancing in the local Orange Hall.

Victory in Europe Day or VE Day brought an end to the Second World War in Europe. On 8th May 1945, as in many other parts of Northern Ireland, the town of Randalstown, Co. Antrim came out to celebrate. Throughout the streets, Union Flags fluttered from homes and public buildings.

At Drummaul Parish Church, a large congregation gathered for a service of thanksgiving conducted by Reverend Canon Forsyth. Around 1,000 worshippers attended a joint service in the Old Presbyterian Church. There, Reverend W Hanna and Reverend RS Auld presided over the service.

After the religious services, a large parade formed in Randalstown. Service personnel from a local camp, members of the Air Training Corps, ex-service personnel, Civil Defence Volunteers, members of the Ulster Home Guard, and members of youth organisations such as the Boy Scouts and Girls Guides paraded through the town behind Lisnevenagh Flute Band. On reaching the sports fields at Kemmel Hill Park, Dr. Hall Stewart JP addressed the crowd. He then oversaw the lighting of a large bonfire.

Following the fireside celebrations, many revellers made their way to the Orange Hall. There, Mr. WH Webb gave an enthusiastic speech and an evening of dancing took place. For those who were not dancers, an evening of games and amusements took place in the hands of Reverend W Hanna in the OC Lecture Hall. There was something for everyone as Randalstown, Co. Antrim marked VE Day in 1945.