May 8 1945 was V-E (victory in Europe) Day. I walked into town with yet another Barbara - my brother's girl friend. Market Square was packed solid.
We had a street party for the kids at which I served lemonade donated by Dad. Saturday night there was dancing round the bandstand on the Arboretum. I went with cousin Jean, I enjoyed it but the concrete floor made my feet burn.
At this time I became close to my father when I joined the local Labour Party and became their Trades Council Delegate although I was only nineteen and not yet allowed a vote. I was instrumental in squashing a move to put pressure on my old headmistress, Miss Harding, who was accused of snobbery in forbidding pupils to take paper rounds. I was able to point out that she also forbade the undertaking of night school courses (I knew this since I had myself asked for permission). Her reason in both cases was that school work was too demanding to allow for these extra activities.
I might have had a political career but, as I learned many years later, Dad put a spoke in the wheel. The Chairman told him they were considering putting my name on the short list as candidate for the next election but Dad suggested I was too young and should be allowed to "get over my teething problems."
However, I knew nothing of this, took a correspondence course in "Local Government" through Ruskin College, and was instrumental in persuading my father to stand for the council, as a trade union candidate. Unfortunately, he was given a staunch Tory ward to tackle and although he substantially reduced their majority, he was not offered the same ward the next time round. He was very bitter about this, particularly as the chosen candidate was a businessman who had previously stood as a Tory candidate. He felt he had been "sold out" by his branch secretary.
I enjoyed canvassing and heckling Tory speakers at public meetings. With all the faith of youth, I thought my generation was going to alter the world. I sang the Red Flag with all the gusto that I had once sung La Marseillaise and held to Karl Marx's doctrine "To each according to his need and from each according to his ability" as divine truth. Dad told me his only religious belief was that it was up to every man to leave the world a little better for having known you.
Dad gave a great deal of his life to union work to this end. My elder brother felt he should have devoted the time to his own family and to the business. With hindsight perhaps my brother was right for all the gains made by the unions on behalf of the workers have been eroded under Margaret Thatcher's rule. Dad did not live to see the decimation; it would have broken his heart.
There was an election in July and Clement Attlee defeated Churchill. He was a small unattractive man who probably wouldn't stand a chance today when image is everything.
Since 1935 Attlee had been the leader of the Labour Party and officially became deputy to Churchill in the wartime coalition government.
The Labour party remained in power until 1951 and Attlee was its leader until 1955.
The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. Many people think this was a good thing as it supposedly shortened the war but to me it was an atrocity compounded by the dropping of a further bomb on Nagasaki on August 9. There was no way Japan could continue with the war and September 2 was VJ day.
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