VE Day and Victory Parade Commemoration Special Page

 

 

The following pictures show the events surrounding the end of the Second World War on 8th May 1945, called VE Day and the later Victory Parade in Berlin on 21st July 1945, which the Desert Rats took part in. 

VE Day.

To read more about the days leading upto and shortly after VE day please go to the Engagements 1945 page. Place your mouse over the picture to read more and click on them for larger versions.

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'D' Squadron, 11th Hussars VE Day Bonfire Divisional Order of the Day, 9th May 1945.

'D' Squadron, 11th Hussars VE Day Bonfire

Divisional Order of the Day, 9th May 1945. Click on the picture for a better view.

Men of 7th Armoured Division showing off a souvenir of war. 5th RTR souvenir in the shape of a captured German Staff Car.

Men of 7th Armoured Division showing off a souvenir of war.

5th RTR souvenir in the shape of a captured German Staff Car.

The End of the War in Europe

"Yesterday morning at 2:41 a.m. at Headquarters, General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German Land, sea, and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Force, and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command.

General Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Francois Sevez signed the document on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General Susloparov signed on behalf of the Russian High Command.

To-day this agreement will be ratified and confirmed at Berlin, where Air Chief Marshal Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and General de Lattre de Tassigny will sign on behalf of General Eisenhower. Marshal Zhukov will sign on behalf of the Soviet High Command. The German representatives will be Field-Marshal Keitel, Chief of the High Command, and the Commanders-in- Chief of the German Army, Navy, and Air Forces.

Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight to-night (Tuesday, 8th May), but in the interests of saving lives the "Cease fire" began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed to-day.

The Germans are still in places resisting the Russian troops, but should they continue to do so after midnight they will, of course, deprive themselves of the protection of the laws of war, and will be attacked from all quarters by the Allied troops. It is not surprising that on such long fronts and in the existing disorder of the enemy the orders of the German High Command should not in every case be obeyed immediately. This does not, in our opinion, with the best military advice at our disposal, constitute any reason for withholding from the nation the facts communicated to us by General Eisenhower of the unconditional surrender already signed at Rheims, nor should it prevent us from celebrating to-day and to-morrow (Wednesday) as Victory in Europe days.

To-day, perhaps, we shall think mostly of ourselves. To-morrow we shall pay a particular tribute to our Russian comrades, whose prowess in the field has been one of the grand contributions to the general victory.

The German war is therefore at an end. After years of intense preparation, Germany hurled herself on Poland at the beginning of September, 1939; and, in pursuance of our guarantee to Poland and in agreement with the French Republic, Great Britain, the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations, declared war upon this foul aggression. After gallant France had been struck down we, from this Island and from our united Empire, maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year until we were joined by the military might of Soviet Russia, and later by the overwhelming power and resources of the United States of America.

Finally almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers, who are now prostrate before us. Our gratitude to our splendid Allies goes forth from all our hearts in this Island and throughout the British Empire.

We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. The injury she has inflicted on Great Britain, the United States, and other countries, and her detestable cruelties, call for justice and retribution. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance, Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!"

Winston Spencer Churchill, in his Broadcast on 8th May 1945.

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Victory Parade - 21st July 1945.

At 10am on 21st July 1945 the guns of 'J (Sidi Rezegh) Battery, 3rd RHA, fired the salute to signal the start of the 'End of the War Parade'. The fact that the Desert Rats were given such a significant role in the parade was a fitting epitaph to a formation that had fought its way from the Desert to the heart of Nazi Germany.

To read more about the Division participation in the Victory Parade please go to the Engagements 1945 page. Place your mouse over the picture to read more and click on them for larger versions. They follow (left to right and then down) the approximate order that Divisional Units took place in the parade.

British Programme for the Victory Parade

 

 
J Battery, 3rd RHA firing the salute in honour of Winston Churchill, that also signalled the start of the parade Winston Churchill, accompanied by General Montgomery, Major General Lynne and Field Marshal Alanbrooke, inspecting 8th Hussars prior to the start of the parade, from M3 Armoured Personnel Carrier from 1st Bn. Rifle Brigade, on the Charlottenburg Chausee. The troops being inspected are 'A' Squadron, 8th Hussars, with Cromwell tanks, while in the background are the Chaffee and de-turretted Honey (Recce) tanks, from the HQ Squadron Recce Troop.

J Battery, 3rd RHA firing the salute in honour of Winston Churchill, that also signalled the start of the parade

Winston Churchill, accompanied by General Montgomery, Major General Lynne and Field Marshal Alanbrooke, inspecting 8th Hussars prior to the start of the parade, from  M3 Armoured Personnel Carrier from 1st Bn. Rifle Brigade, on the Charlottenburg Chausee. The troops being inspected are 'A' Squadron, 8th Hussars, with Cromwell tanks, while in the background are the Chaffee and de-turretted Honey (Recce) tanks, from the HQ Squadron Recce Troop.

Honour Guard of 'B' company, 9th DLI, being inspected by General Montgomery, before the start of the parade.

The quiet before the parade.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Honour Guard of 'B' company, 9th DLI, being inspected by General Montgomery, before the start of the parade.

The quiet before the parade. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Start of the Parade with Regimental HQ Scout Cars leading 3rd RHA.

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

3rd RHA leading the Division during the parade.

Start of the Parade with Regimental HQ Scout Cars leading 3rd RHA.

3rd RHA leading the Division during the parade.

OP Cromwells, M Battery, 3rd RHA during the parade

Comet Tank, followed by Sexton SPGs from 5 RHA during the Victory Parade. The lead tank (a Comet) with the Z mark is that of the Commanding Officer 5th RHA.

OP Cromwells, M Battery, 3rd RHA during the parade

Comet Tank, followed by Sexton SPGs from 5 RHA during the Victory Parade. The lead tank (a Comet) with the Z mark is that of the Commanding Officer 5th RHA.

Sexton SPGs from G Battery, 5th RHA during the Victory Parade

The Sextons and Half-tracks of 5th RHA in the parade.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Sexton SPGs from G Battery, 5th RHA during the Victory Parade

The Sextons and Half-tracks of 5th RHA in the parade. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

The Sextons of K Battery and CC Battery, 5 RHA in the parade. CC Bty is last as they were the junior battery in 5 RHA. Behind them are what looks like the Daimler armoured cars of 11th Hussars.

Picture by Sydney Pitt RASC, courtesy of Ken Pitt.

M3 Armoured Personnel Carriers of 5 RHA. The GA on the front mud guard with is for a Gun Position Officer of A Troop, G Battery..

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

The Sextons of K Battery and CC Battery, 5 RHA in the parade. CC Bty is last as they were the junior battery in 5 RHA. Behind them are what looks like the Daimler armoured cars of 11th Hussars. Picture by Sydney Pitt RASC, courtesy of Ken Pitt.

M3 Armourer Personnell Carriers of 5 RHA. The GA on the front mud guard with is for a Gun Position Officer of A Troop, G Battery.

Two Sextons of A Troop, G Battery (Mercers Troop) as denoted by the 'A' above the Divisional Badge and AoS.

The same M3 Carriers with Sextons behind them from 5 RHA.

Comet Tank of A Squadron, 8th Hussars in Berlin, during the Victory Parade

The same M3 Carriers with Sextons behind them from 5 RHA.

Comet Tank of A Squadron, 8th Hussars in Berlin, during the Victory Parade

Cromwells from 8th Hussars passing the review dias.

Challenger Tank Destroyer of 8th Hussars, during the parade

Cromwells from 8th Hussars passing the review dias.

Chanllenger Tank of 8th Hussars, during the parade

Cromwells of 8th Hussars, with Military Police lining the sides of the route.

Challenger Tank Destroyer of 8th Hussars.

Recce unit of 8th Hussars, with Chaffee and 'cut-down' Recce Honey Tanks.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Daimler Armoured Cars of 11th Hussars, during the parade.

Recce unit of 8th Hussars, with Chaffee and 'cut-down' Recce Honey Tanks. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Diamler Armoured Cars of 11th Hussars, during the parade.

Challenger Tank Destroyer from B Squadron, 8th Hussars

Half Tracks from 621 Field Squadron Royal Engineers

Challenger Tank Destroyer from B Squadron, 8th Hussars

Half Tracks from 621 Field Squadron Royal Engineers

Comet Tanks of A Squadron, 1st RTR, saluting during the parade.

View of the Reviewing Rostrum with Churchill, Montgomery and other representatives from other nations..

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

Comet Tanks of A Squadron, 1st RTR, saluting during the parade.

View of the Reviewing Rostrum with Churchill, Montgomery and other representatives from other nations.

Closer view of the Reviewing Rostrum, showing Winston Churchill, General Montgomery and Field Marshal Alanbrooke.

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

The Colours Progress. 

 

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Closer view of the Reviewing Rostrum, showing Winston Churchill, General Montgomery and Field Marshal Alanbrooke

The colours progress. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Infantry in the Parade.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Infantry in the Parade.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Infantry in the Parade. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

Infantry in the Parade. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

More infantry in the Parade.

Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment with Standards flying marching towards the saluting dais.

More infantry in the parade. Picture courtesy of Norman Whyte REME.

2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment with Standards flying marching towards the saluting dais.

131st Brigade HQ and Signals Squadron marching towards the saluting dias, during Victory Parade. Leading this detachment is Captain Gordon Pelmore, R.Signals followed by Capt. Wadham and Lieut. J.F.C.(Joe) Rodrigues (centre of picture) Major General Lynne, GOC 7th Armoured Division, preparing to take the salute, accompanied by US, French and Russia Officers.

131st Brigade HQ and Signals Squadron marching towards the saluting dias, during Victory Parade. Leading this detachment is Captain Gordon Pelmore, R.Signals followed by Capt. Wadham and Lieut. J.F.C.(Joe) Rodrigues (centre of picture)

Major General Lynne, GOC 7th Armoured Division, preparing to take the salute, accompanied by US, French and Russia Officers.

Other Pictures from the Victory Parade showing other units

Searchlight unit during the parade.

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

Royal Marine Band leading marching Troops.

Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

Searchlight Unit during the Parade

Royal Marine Band leading marching Troops. Photograph by James William Lonnberg courtesy of Kathy Jones

 
The pictures of the Victory Parade and other scenes in Berlin at that time, shown below have been kindly donated to this site by the owner Rob Clayton ( Rob Clayton). 

Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright Rob Clayton and must not be used without his permission.

Into the heart of the Nazi capital -Brandenburg Gate taken from the reverse side. side of the gate that was the edge of the British sector. The jeep contains US military police In readiness for the September Victory Parade a Russian officer uses the loudspeaker system of a Divisional HQ Scout car. The location is the East/West Axis, faintly in the distance can be seen the Siegessaule. Ahead of the armoured car is the Brandenburg Tor.

Into the heart of the Nazi capital -Brandenburg Gate taken from the reverse side. side of the gate that was the edge of the British sector. The jeep contains US military police. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

In readiness for the September Victory Parade a Russian officer uses the loudspeaker system of a Divisional HQ Scout car. The location is the East/West Axis, faintly in the distance can be seen the Siegessaule. Ahead of the armoured car is the Brandenburg Tor. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton.

Another view of the Russian Officer using ther Tannoy system on the Divisional HQ Scout Car.  Lt General Sir Brian Robertson stood in for Montgomery at the September Joint Victory Parade in Berlin. Zhukov assumed control of the event which took place in the British Sector. Patton stood in for Eisenhower, Koenig represented the French. Marching troops were limited to 1000, vehicles were limited to 100. Only the Russians displayed their largest tanks. 

Another view of the Russian Officer using ther Tannoy system on the Divisional HQ Scout Car. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

Lt General Sir Brian Robertson stood in for Montgomery at the September Joint Victory Parade in Berlin. Zhukov assumed control of the event which took place in the British Sector. Patton stood in for Eisenhower, Koenig represented the French. Marching troops were limited to 1000, vehicles were limited to 100. Only the Russians displayed their largest tanks. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

Be-medalled Zhukov preparing to give his speech. It is said that due to the weight of his medals he had a metal plate inside his tunic to help support their weight. Sir Brian Robertson with Patton looking straight ahead. There was obviously some competition between Patton and Zhukov they were both edging to get closer to the front of the saluting stand after each had given their speeches.

Be-medalled Zhukov preparing to give his speech. It is said that due to the weight of his medals he had a metal plate inside his tunic to help support their weight. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

Sir Brian Robertson with Patton looking straight ahead. There was obviously some competition between Patton and Zhukov they were both edging to get closer to the front of the saluting stand after each had given their speeches. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

Comet Tank, with Chaffee behind it saluting during the parade. Tanks of the Desert Rats, they were the only ones to actually salute as they went past. The other nation's tank crews either turned their turrets or made no display. The 52 TAC sign denote it as 1st RTR.  More Comet Tanks, from 1st RTR during the Victory Parade. 

Comet Tank, with Chaffee behind it saluting during the parade. Tanks of the Desert Rats, they were the only ones to actually salute as they went past. The other nation's tank crews either turned their turrets or made no display. The 52 TAC sign denote it as 1st RTR. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

More Comet Tanks, from 1st RTR during the Victory Parade. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

The Tiergarten late Summer 1945, an Division HQ Scout car and soldiers among the battered trees. These would be removed for much needed fuel within a few weeks, the area was later turned into allotments for Berliners to supplement their meagre rations. Soldiers viewing the locals in the Tiergarten

The Tiergarten late Summer 1945, an Division HQ Scout car and soldiers among the battered trees. These would be removed for much needed fuel within a few weeks, the area was later turned into allotments for Berliners to supplement their meagre rations. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

Soldiers viewing the locals in the Tiergarten. Photographer Reg Pidsley Copyright  Rob Clayton

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The pictures below are from Glyn Harris 621 Field Squadron RE, courtesy of Tony Rees.

Waiting for the start of the parade Guns of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery line up for the salute fired by it.

Waiting for the start of the parade

Guns of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery line up for the salute fired by it.

A Half-Track carrying what looks like Winston Churchill. Quad Tractors, limbers and 25 pdr guns of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery in the parade.
A Half-Track carrying what looks like Winston Churchill. Quad Tractors, limbers and 25 pdr guns of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery in the parade.
11th Hussars in Daimler Armoured Cars 8th Hussars in Cromwell Tanks and Challenger Tank Destroyers
11th Hussars in Daimler Armoured Cars 8th Hussars in Cromwell Tanks and Challenger Tank Destroyers
Half-Tracks form 621 Field Sqn, RE in the parade, The 46 serial is just visible. More Half-Tracks form 621 Field Sqn, RE in the parade, The 46 serial is just visible.
Half-Tracks form 621 Field Sqn, RE in the parade, The 46 serial is just visible. More Half-Tracks form 621 Field Sqn, RE in the parade, The 46 serial is just visible.

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Later that day, after the Victory Parade and other events were over, during the opening of the newly formed 'Winston' Club, Winston Churchill met the men of the Division and spoke the words many would treasure;

"Now I have only a word more to say about the Desert Rats. They were the first to begin. The 11th Hussars were in action in the desert in 1940 and ever since you have kept marching steadily forward on the long road to victory. Through so many countries and changing scenes you have fought your way. It is not without emotion that I can express to you what I feel about the Desert Rats.

Dear Desert Rats! May your glory ever shine! May your laurels never fade! May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war which you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic to Berlin never die!

It is a march unsurpassed through all the story of war so as my reading of history leads to believe. May the fathers long tell the children about this tale. May you all feel that in following your great ancestors you have accomplished something which has done good to the whole world; which has raised the honour of your country and which every man has the right to feel proud of".

To read the rest of the speech and to also see a picture of the event please click here.

 

 

More pictures of the Victory Parade and Berlin in 1945 on the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars website 

More pictures of post war Berlin as witnessed by the Desert Rats are now available on the Desert Rats in Berlin page

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