V.J. Day August 15th 1945

Rhyl Acclaims World Peace!

Holiday-Makers Join in V.J. Revelry and Rejoicings

Thanksgiving, Too!

These were the headlines of the article reporting “Victory in Japan” at the end of World War 2, in the Rhyl Journal, August 23rd 1945.  The article describes the events:

Rhyl greeted the official news of V.J. Day on Wednesday with feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving, and amid the revelry of the day there was no doubt that thanksgiving was the predominate keynote!

There were many who commenced their celebrations after the midnight news-broadcast on Tuesday, which told the people of Great Britain that the most horrific world-war in history was actually over.  Many residents and holiday-makers, after hearing the announcement, brought out their fireworks and in most parts of the town there were joyous bangings until well into the early hours.  Some even lit bonfires.  A large crowd also congregated on the Promenade, where groups could be seen singing and dancing, whilst others – as usual on such an occasion – found more capricious ways of releasing their pent up feelings.

This photograph from our archive shows young women celebrating V.J. Day on the promenade.  L-R Mair Hope-Griffiths, Dorothy Beech and sisters Joan and Enid Roberts.

Thousands of people thronged the streets at an earlier hour than usual on Wednesday morning, and emblems of the National and Allied colours ornamented most buttonholes.   The Promenade – so often referred to as Rhyl’s resplendent “shop window” – lived up to its reputation in this respect, and thanks to the industry of officials and workmen of the Rhyl Council presented a picture of patriotic colour and gaiety.  Happy smiles were infectious, but here and there, there was poignancy too….people for whom the dawn of world peace meant only a painful reminder of war-bereavement and loss.  Amid their thankfulness, they suffered silently.

An unused platform, gaily festooned with Allied flags was speedily erected on the promenade at the top of High Street early on Wednesday morning and it was intended to be the venue of a united open air service of thanksgiving.  Rain fell persistently throughout the morning, however, causing the venue of the service to be transferred to the Rhyl Pavilion.  An announcement to this effect was broadcast, and the Pavilion was filled to capacity with over 1,000 people long before the service was timed to commence.  A crowd of equally big dimensions also filled the vestibules of the building and the enclosure in the Pavilion Gardens, and followed in the service as it was relayed through loudspeakers specially installed for the occasion by Mr R.J.Jones, Market Street.

On another page a headline read:

Rhyl Children Make V.J. “Whoopee”

Youth of the Town Share in Peace Rejoicings

Orgy of Parties

The children of Rhyl were by no means overlooked in the town’s V.J. festivities.  There were “feasting and rejoicing” at many street parties and treats with parents and friends using every facility to provide the youngsters with fun and jollity.

There was a grand children’s sports day at the Brynhedydd Estate. Races included wheelbarrow, 100 yards flat, sack race, egg and spoon race, high jump, slow bicycle race, tug o’ war, tiny tot’s roly poly and a 50 yards novelty race for married women (at 25 yards, peel one potato).  A sumptuous meal had also been prepared.

Over 100 children and adults sat down to a splendidly prepared tea in Princes Street, also with afternoon sports.  The paper also carried reports of similar celebrations in Weaver Avenue/Handsworth Crescent, Terence Avenue/Ffynnongroew Road, and Stanley Park Avenue/Trellewelyn Road.

For more information about V.J. Day and the celebrations that followed click on the following links: BBC, British Pathe, Wikipedia



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