End of Hostilities
Some time before Victory in Europe was declared, the Rev Chick had already
published his plans for Church services to celebrate the end of hostilities,
so after Churchill gave his Victory speech on May 8th 1945, a Public Service
of Thanksgiving was held at Kirkby Malham church at 7.30pm followed by
Holy Communion at 8am the following morning.
Presumably there would have been a number of spontaneous celebrations.
Marion Wellock remembers that her parents took her and her brother to
the Strid at Bolton Abbey for the day. She remembers the day out but was
too young to realise the reason for it. But surprisingly, information
on more organised celebrations is very sparse and no photographs have
come to light.
There was a tea in Airton and people went in fancy dress. Ethel Taylor
remembers walking through the village to the tea with her sister May dressed
up as a couple, May as a gent wearing a frock coat and top hat and sporting
a painted moustache, and Ethel in a beautiful dress. In Malham there was
a bonfire on the Green with games in the street and tea for the children
in the Reading Room. To celebrate VJ Day there was an even bigger bonfire
and dancing to Jos Swithinbank at Beck Hall.
So what has been the overall impression we have gained of the effect of
the war on Malhamdale and its residents? Most people interviewed seemed
to think that the people of the Dale were very lucky compared with those
from many other parts of the country. For those on active service and
for their families concerned for their welfare, it was obviously a terrible
time, but the area escaped the horrors of nightly bombing raids, and with
so many farms and gardens, rationing did not hit those in the country
as hard as city dwellers.
In a Parish Report of December 1940, the Rev Chick wrote:
a great deal for which to be thankful. We do not have to drag ourselves
out by night to a cold or a crowded air-raid shelter, or return to find
our homes smashed or our Church in ruins.
Such minor inconveniences
as our wartime winter brings us are small compared with other peoples."
Similarly, a post card sent from Malhamdale during the war states:
dont know there is a war on here. No wireless or papers.
This is not to understate the drastic changes to everyones lives,
but despite the hard work, the blackout and other hardships, most people
remember it as a time of friendship, co-operation and community spirit.
Extract from the Craven Herald
11th May 1945
Bonfires were lit in Malham and Kirkby Malham on VE-Day. At Malham
there was a tea for the children, and sports followed. After a service
at church there was dancing.
In Airton a short service was conducted at the Methodist Church by Mr.
W. Mason. On Wednesday there was an open-air village service on the
Green at 11a.m., taken by the Vicar (Rev. A. B. Chick). In the evening
a bonfire was lit and a tea given : and there was an informal dance
at Scosthrop Room.
There was a full church at thanksgiving service at Kirkby Malham on
the evening of VE-Day. The Vicar gave the address, and a collection
for Christian re-construction in Europe amounted to £9 12s.
Earlier in the day the bells were chimed for an hour following the Prime
Ministers broadcast. Holy Communion was celebrated the next morning.
On Sunday there will be further services of thanksgiving.