Flags, flags, and still more flags!
That was one impression of Appledore on VE Day and the day after. With bunting from pre-war Regattas and with ships’ flags, Appledore presented a very gay scene. From Appledore Quay, the docks and shipping looked a mass of colour. Fairy lights were prominent and pictures of their Majesties and Mr Churchill were to be seen in many windows.
Celebrations at Appledore started on Monday evening, when fairy lights in Irsha Street set the pace and heralded singing, dancing and other frolic – with somebody’s piano out in the street – until 11.30, ending with Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem.
On the Tuesday morning, a Victory peal of bells was rung by the St Mary’s Church bell-ringers. At 10am HM Forces attended a service at St Mary’s the Vicar of Appledore (Rev H C A S Muller) officiating and giving an address, supported by Rear-Admiral H G C Franklin and Comm. Ommaney, Lt Howe, RNVR, presided at the organ. At 11am the schoolchildren of St Mary’s Church School attended a special children’s service at St Mary’s. At 6.30 the bells were rung once more and at 7pm a thanksgiving service took place.
Effigies of Hitler, Goebbels, Mussolini and Co. were to be seen in different parts of Appledore, and with much rejoicing were subsequently burnt.
On Tuesday afternoon, as a result of a solo accordionist playing in the streets, a fine collection was made in aid of the Welcome Home Fund. Starting from South Road, a victory parade of schoolchildren, carrying flags, etc. led by the 1st Appledore Boys’ Brigade, Company and Band, marched through Appledore, stopping at the Park, where after a hymn, and prayer by the Vicar of Appledore, and a short address by the Rev A E Green, children’s sports took place, arranged by Mr J E Harris, Mr J Boyles and others.
On VE night, Appledore hit the heights with bonfires, taking place, the scenes being illuminated with fairy lights. The day after VE Day was somewhat quieter. At 5pm at the Council School, Richmond Road, schoolchildren and members of Appledore Youth Club were entertained to a sumptuous tea, and at about 5.30 people assembled on the Quay to watch the miniature naval review setting off for Bideford. On VE night 2, the frolic of the evening before was re-enacted again, bonfires with rockets and dancing and singing proclaiming the town’s joy at the great news.
15 May 1945