The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

June 29th, 2016

May 10, 1945 Springhill Record Huge Crowd Attends V-E Celebrations

     News of German capitulation following the years of “news of battle”, spreading quietly by radio, telephone and happy voices on Monday prefaced the official announcement and declaration of V-E Day

     Preparations got underway at once for the local celebration – not as a complete victory but in thankfulness that the guns were silent at last in Europe, where so many of our Springhill men have served since the first December of the war.  Out of the more than 1250 enlisted men and women from Springhill approximately 700 (697 listed to date) have gone Overseas – a showing of which we are very proud.

     The preliminary voices of victory sounded in the Church bells, whistles, car horns, etc. and the evening was lively, but orderly, with plenty of fun in the streets and close attention to the radios in the home, with decorations blossoming out, street by street.

     Suddenly an impromptu parade was staged on Main Street by a large number of children, in a march organized by Winfield Brown, up and down, maneuvering in wonderful order.  They enjoyed for several hours – free children in a free country.  Perhaps we might also mention Sumner Cooper’s One Man Band in which the children joined in sort of a Pied Piper fashion, contributing in no small measure to the good order observed. 

     The general feeling of thankfulness found expression for many in the Church services.  At 7:30 Monday evening large congregations met at their respective churches for the Victory service of prayer and thanksgiving. 

     On Tuesday evening at 7 O’clock a general community service was held in All Saints Anglican Church with Rev. W.M. Knickle officiating assisted by the local clergy as follows:

  1. Psalm – Rev. George Archibald

  2. New Testament – Capt. E. Hall

  3. Prayer of Thanksgiving – Rev. D.A. MacKinnon

  4. Litany of Intercession – Rev. Dr. Gornall with responses by congregation

  5. Prayers – Rev. George MacLean

  6. Address – Mayor Mason

  7. Silence

  8. Prayer of Remembrance – Rev. Knickle

  9. Prayer of Dedication – Rev. J.D. Davison with congregation

     The services on Sunday, May 13th will commemorate the cessation of hostilities on the battlefields of Europe, as the Allies, backed by the United Nations, prepare to take up the final phase of the war in the Far East.

     The celebrations of V-E Day Tuesday opened with a parade in the following order:

  1. The Canadian Legion Band – Bandmaster Horace Buck

  2. The Union Jack – carried by Lieut. Stanley Wood

  3. Guards – WO H.M. Megeney, C.S.M. Thomas Bickle

  4. School children – marshalled by Principal Boran

  5. Boy Scouts – Scoutmaster James D. Davison

  6. Girl Guides – Mrs. Eleanor Fraser

  7. C.G.I.T. – Mrs. William Pyke

  8. The Stars and Stripes – carried by Lieut. Douglas Campbell

  9. Guards – John Swift, Alvin Hayman

  10. St. John’s Ambulance Corps. V.A.D. – Mrs. A.J. Mason

  11. Lord Nelson Orangemen

  12. The Russian Flag – carried by Seldon Betts

  13. Guards – Brian Bickle, Leo Arseneau

  14. Reserve Army – Maj. G.C. Burden

  15. Cadets – Cadet Officers: Gerald Osmond, Arthur McPherson and Robert Bishop

  16. J. Demetre in tradition dress carrying a Greek banner

  17. Legion and Returned Men

  18. Springhill Fire Dept. – Chief Lusby Roney

  19. Decorated Fire Trucks

Stepping along in the parade were two of the Springhill Trotters, Rhodes Letcher’sHaliburton” driven by Mr. Letcher and Russell Letcher’sCalumet the Great” driven by W. Bishop, with decorated sulkeys; and Billy Boran on his pony: numerous decorated cars and bicycles added color and brilliance.

     We were sorry to be unable to learn the name of the boy, with his dog harnessed to a cart, in the line.

Of particular interest was Springhill’s only Greek citizen, Mr. James Demetre, the Candy Man; wearing his national costume, which is also the uniform of the famous Greek Evzon (well belted) Regiment.  The dress is striking with its white kilt known as a fustanella, a coat of rich velvet and braiding, tasselled cap and the famous pompomed shoes.  Needless to say it was worn by Mr. Demetre with pride and characteristic vigor. 

Lt.-Col. C.J. Allbon, M.C. was Grand Marshall with the following assistant Marshalls: Group 1- E.S. Boran, Group 2 – Archie Potter, Group 3 – Maj. G.C. Burden, Group 4 – A.L. Canning

Converging on the side streets to the Miners’ Hall, the parade moved off at 3 o’clock, after the “fall in” sounded by Pte. Edward Goode, proceeding down Main Street, to Victoria Park where a Victory program was carried out with Mayor Mason as Chairman, as follows:

  1. “O Canada”

  2. Prayer – Rev. Knickle

  3. Salute to the Flag – “Present Arms” by Military Party, Legion

  4. Band

  5. Minute of Silence – In memory of the men who have been lost

  6. Address by the Mayor

Introduction by the Mayor of the special speakers: four young Springhill people from the Services:

  1. The Army – C.Q.M.S. Lawrence Gilroy (Sicily, Italy)

  2. The Air Force – Flying Officer Bertram Chapman, R.C.A.F. (Operational flying Overseas.  Posted as “missing” came down in forced landing in France.  Escaped with the assistance of French Underground)

  3. The Navy – L/Str. Kenneth Hannah, R.C.N.

  4. C.W.A.C. – L. Cpl. Minerva Boran

Announcement of the official word just received of the death of Pte. Ernest Brown, killed in action, with Prayer for Bereavement and Prayer for Dedication.

  1. “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past”

  2. Benediction – Rev. Dr. Gornall

  3. “God Save The King”

Following the program, the Legion Band played the Color Parties to Wesley Church where the flags were deposited.

     At 9 O’clock people gathered once again at the park to enjoy the bonfire and the brilliant fireworks which concluded the civic celebration; this part of the program being in charge of W.H. Matthews.  Probably the largest crowd ever seen in Springhill were out in force, orderly and serious, rather than noisy, although there was plenty of fun.  Long before midnight the crowd had dispersed as Victory Day – so long awaited - came to a close. But not for the young people ….. hundreds attended a monster dance at the Armouries.  Dancing until the small hours. 

     Mr. George Haystead and staff of “Edison Light” assisted by installations at the park.


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