IWM Duxford pays flying tribute with Victory in Europe Day air show

RAF Duxford VE Day parade. Credit: IWM Duxford

RAF Duxford VE Day parade. Credit: IWM Duxford - Credit: Archant

Imperial War Museum Duxford is commemorating the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day with an air show and an exhibition delving into the reality of the landmark occasion.

RAF Duxford VE Day parade. Credit: IWM Duxford

RAF Duxford VE Day parade. Credit: IWM Duxford - Credit: Archant

The VE Day Anniversary Air Show – which takes place on May 23 and May 24 – pays tribute to the men, women and children who endured six years of conflict on the fighting fronts and the home front during the Second World War.

RAF Duxford was home to the 78th Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces when Victory in Europe was announced on May 8, 1945.

A report from the 78th Fighter Group reads: “About 10am on May 7, 1945, the Tannoy broadcast the news that Germany had capitulated.

“It didn’t cause much excitement. There were a few self-conscious whoops, but for the most part, work wasn’t even interrupted.

The Thunderbolts Band of the United States Army Air Forces 78th Fighter Group perform at the VE Day

The Thunderbolts Band of the United States Army Air Forces 78th Fighter Group perform at the VE Day party at RAF Duxford on May 8 1945. Image copyright IWM. - Credit: Archant

“However, using VE Day as an excuse, work was suspended as of noon on the seventh until the morning of the tenth.

“All aeroplanes were grounded. The bars were opened and the beer began to flow.

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“The real celebration didn’t get underway until the next day. All personnel were restricted to base and that evening the post orchestra held a short concert on the parade ground, preceded, interrupted and followed by alcoholic beverages.

“The next morning an unhappy group of officers and men paraded their hangovers past the colonel in a formal VE Day review.

“After lunch the more hardy souls went back to their celebrating and the others went back to the ‘sack’ and Victory in Europe was history.”

Tickets are available online at www.iwm.org.uk/duxford.

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