Eastleigh Borough residents are being encouraged to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day at home during the coronavirus lockdown. Events take place over the Bank Holiday weekend from Friday 8 May, the date the Second World War in Europe ended.
A package of opportunities to take part are coming together, both in the Borough and nationally, to help residents mark the historic occasion.
The Point and Berry Theatres are closed at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped the team from helping you show your street your support for the VE Day commemoration with their #WonderfulWindowChallenge!
On the day itself residents can join Eastleigh Mayor, Councillor Darshan Mann, in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice.
Meanwhile, there’s a national website where everyone can continue to pay tribute to the Second World War generation on VE Day. There’s a VE Day toolkit, reminiscences from veterans, and even a recipe from Prue Leith. HM The Queen will broadcast a message on the day at 9pm, the same time as her father, King George VI, made his radio address to mark victory in Europe.
BBC Radio Solent will be showing you how to make your own special VE Day 75 ‘Great British Bunting’ to display in your window at home. You can decorate it with pictures of whatever inspires you -
Eastleigh in the Second World War
Eastleigh Borough was an important location during the Second World War. Most famously, it was where the maiden flight of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft – which went on to play such a decisive role in the 1940 Battle of Britain - took place in 1936. Eastleigh was a major railway town and the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley was one of the biggest military hospitals in the country.
Eastleigh had a significant role in the build-up to the June 1944 Normandy landings, the decisive Allied invasion that signalled the beginning of the end of the war. Four marshalling camps at Hiltingbury had a total capacity of 11,000 men and 2,000 vehicles, and were the largest group of camps in any of the marshalling areas in the run-up D-Day. There was also a marshalling camp at North Stoneham.
The town’s Pirelli cableworks contributed to PLUTO (the PipeLine Under The Ocean) that was crucial to the success of the invasion.
On VE Day street parties and other celebrations are reported to have taken place across the Borough.