It is 75 years since the end of the Second World War: victory in Europe was officially declared on 8th May while victory in the Far East – VJ Day – came over three months later.
On this page you can find links to some of the wartime stories held in our archive and local studies collections which record those momentous events plus new content created to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
From the end of April 1945 there was daily news of Allied advances in Europe and German surrenders. Those who had a wireless radio hung on every news bulletin; those without relied on the many newspapers, local and national, to keep them updated.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Archive and Local Studies collections contain numerous personal as well as official records of the Second World War – diaries, letters, school log books and other local government documents, sketchbooks and photographs. Many of these personal records reflect life on the Home Front but we also have military records, notably the diaries and sketchbooks of Royal Artillery officer General Jack Parham.
The Wiltshire diaries featured here belong to General Parham, author Edith Olivier, Chippenham doctor Joan Hickson and Bloomsbury Group writer and pacifist Frances Partridge. Dr Hickson and Frances Partridge appear in the book From Blackout to Bungalows written by County Local Studies Librarian Julie Davis. You can listen to extracts from the book here.
Julie has also narrated a film show about the Home Front in Wiltshire describing how the Second World War affected people’s lives and the communities they lived in.
If you are looking for VE Day party recipes, or traditionals games to play, or would like to test your knowledge about the Second World War then download the Wiltshire Council VE Day At Home celebration pack.