SIR – The war was over, so how did the young children of old Lymo town cope with the celebrations in the streets of the town?


The air was filled with loud cries of victory, Mr Churchill had spoken, our radio was running out of power – a newly-charged accumulator brought his voice out loud and clear.

It was early evening. Servicemen from all the services milled and caroused with Lymo folk.

Young Jack gripped tightly his brothers Brian’s hand. Seven and 10 years old, they were much too young to be out in the night. The folk around kept an eye on the boys, kindness was in the air, they would not come to harm on 8th May 1945.

Victory was bread and milk to all, and some of the children had only known life in time of war.

Walking up the high street, past G. Balls Ltd and then Doman’s on the left, I can feel it still, all those years ago. The air was filled with joy. The High Street hill gets a bit steeper now, until the Mac-Fisheries shop was on the left and the Londsborough Hotel, preceded on to the bus station.

But there it was: excitement, the milling Lymo folk and every men and women of services – land, sea and air, not forgetting the American services in their smart uniforms. They probably led the turmoil. They had built a massive bonfire in the middle of the High Street.

Every piece of wood had been gathered, even from behind the shops. The flames soared and roared, it could be dangerous.

A young USA serviceman strode out, too near the fire for safety. He sank to his knees, the tarmac was hot, he waved a pistol then he put it to his head. The crowed hushed into shocked silence – then he pointed his pistol towards the sky and a bright red Very shot zoomed high up-street towards the church and petered out harmless.

The gasp from the crowd was enough to pay the USA man for his dramatic deeds. My brother and I remembered the Very pistol scene, burnt into our memory. We kept our heads down; some adult might send us home.

The fire burgeoned higher, a policeman came over: “That fire is too dangerous, it must be extinguished” – little did anyone listen. The fire service arrived, hoses were employed. Success, at least on the bus station street, but another fire started, further up near Timothy White & Taylor. This was a bit too much. The firemen, they went back to depot.

We were told later that it was feared a rogue U-boat commander in the offing might see the fire glow and fire his deck gun towards our Lymington town, so the fire had to be put out.

Next morning most of the pubs in Lymington had Sold Out signs on their windows. A lot of good toasts must have been made to victory in a very enjoyable and exciting night.

Brother Brian tugged my hand. Two young kids must hurry home, mum would be worried, as all mums would.

We both remember it. It wasn’t yesterday, but memory remains to tell the tale.

Jack and Brian Gittoes