Victory over Japan: V.J. Day celebrations in Dundrod, Co. Antrim

In Dundrod and Loanends, bonfires lit the sky and local residents played games and danced to mark V.J. Day or Victory over Japan Day in 1945.

With the announcement of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, residents of Dundrod, Co. Antrim and surrounding areas came together to celebrate V.J. Day or Victory over Japan Day.

At Loanends, Mr. George Scott of Ballymather donated his field for use as a focal point of the celebrations. There, Ballyhill Flute Band paraded under the direction of Mr. James Johnston. There were also sporting events held for children and young people while tea was served to all.

There were more touching scenes as well, following a short address from Reverend W.J. Craney who paid tribute to the fallen from the locality. In his address, he made reference to band leader Mr. John Campbell, a veteran of the Boer War, who was celebrating his 4th victory day. One of the area’s oldest residents, Mrs. Fleming of Moss Burn Hill lit the bonfire and as fireworks rocketed skywards, the celebrations continued into the morning.

Dundrod, Co. Antrim

In the village of Dundrod, Co. Antrim, the Dundrod Victory Fund Committee put together an array of entertainment. The Dundrod Brass Band paraded under the direction of Mr. Sandy Butler and a Victory Dance in the local Orange Hall overflowed into the street. Those who made it inside enjoyed an evening of games, dancing, and drinking tea.

In the Orange Hall, Mr. George Thompson J.P. and Mr. Robert Harper briefly addressed the crowd. The latter had 21 years’ service in the British Army. Mr. Fred Bickerstaff was joined by a member of the Fleet Air Arm from H.M.S. Pintail at Nutts Corner to provide some music with a rendition from Mr. Robert Harper. The M.C. for the evening was Mr. James Graham and rhe Rhythm Racketeers Dance Band provided tunes until late in the day.

The village also saw the lighting of a ceremonial bonfire where Ballyhill Flute Band performed. Meanwhile, in the nearby Protestant Hall, Brother William Jones was the M.C. of another evening of entertainment where Messrs. Johnston, McCartney, and Calvert provided the music.

On Sunday 19th August 1945, several days of celebration and commemoration drew to a close with a morning and evening service of thanksgiving at Dundrod Presbyterian Church. Reverend David McKinney M.A. had returned early from his summer holiday to mark the special and historic occasion of V.J. Day in Dundrod.


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