Film ID: NEFA 12585 Video of NEFA 12585 V.E.Day _ Thanksgiving Day V.E. DAY MAY 8TH AND 9TH 1945: THANKSGIVING DAY MAY 14TH 1945 1945 Visitor TabsDescription This amateur colour film focuses on V. E. Day street party celebrations in Gateshead on the 8th & 9th May 1945, to mark the end of World War Two, and the Thanksgiving Day celebrations and parade through Saltwell Park on the 15th May. It was filmed by off duty police officer John W. McHugh, who as a member of the Gateshead Photographic Unit, had also made a number of instructional films during the war. He was therefore more easily able to acquire rare colour film stock. Title: V.E. May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day. May 14th 1945 The film opens with still images of the Evening Chronicle newspaper with headlines celebrating "Victory" and Germany's "Unconditional Surrender" alongside images of Winston Churchill. There are then stills of the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and Newcastle Journal newspapers announcing V E Day celebrations and the 3.00 pm announcement by the prime minister A Union Flag flies on a flagpole and a clock tower shows the time to be 3pm precisely. General view of Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides where ships are draped with coloured bunting and flags. A large beacon burns on a hillside at night. General views of numerous street parties in Gateshead, possibly include events in Fleming Street and Askew Road, showing streets and individual doorways heavily decorated with flags, bunting and streamers. The streets are filled with cheering crowds of mostly women and children, many wearing party hats. The crowds smile and look towards camera. Groups wave and cheer for the camera. One group hold up a large banner which reads “Victory – there will always be an England”. Long tables are laid out in the streets, filled with party food and tea cups. Large crowds of adults stand around a table giving the victory sign to the camera. Women are poised with large teapots and jugs at the ready. The next sequence captures a Thanksgiving Day parades with views of a procession of servicemen and women (Royal Air Force and Navy personnel included) marching through Saltwell Park in Gateshead. The Salvation Army, Scouts, Guides and police organisations also take part in the parade. General views of what is believed to be be a thanksgiving service taking place in a large open grassed area, where the organisations from the parade congregate. The Mayor, in ceremonial robes, and other civic dignitaries and clergy stand on a raised platform singing. A police officer is standing close to a microphone holding a sceptre. A clergyman speaks to the crowd. Groups of army officers and civilians are singing. General views of the surrounding crowd and dignitaries on the platform all taking part in the service. The various groups then march away, each group leader saluting. The parade includes firemen and Civil Defence Corps members. The film ends with a final shot of the Union Flag flying on a flagpole. Context Jubilant VE Day parties in Gateshead You can almost hear the cheers in this gorgeous silent film of VE Day celebrations on the red, white and blue decked streets of Gateshead. As Victory in Europe is officially declared by Churchill at 3pm on May 8th 1945, an off-duty policeman captures stunning Kodachrome film of the celebrations in Gateshead - flags and bunting strung between terraces, and jubilant women and children (and a few men) gathered for street parties, waving defiant teapots after years of wartime blackouts, bombs and ration cards. On Thanksgiving Day crowds cheer on a grand civic and military procession through Saltwell Park. Also caught in monochrome by John W. McHugh of the Gateshead Police Photographic Unit, a Victory bonfire burns at night on Windmill Hill, a public park with panoramic views over the River Tyne, gifted to the people of Gateshead on 18th November 1861, but long used for communal entertainment such as Hoppings at Whitsun in 1829. The rare colour footage of VE Day celebrations, filmed in West Gateshead down terraced streets (Fleming Street, Askew Road) since demolished, features as a stand in for the ‘mean streets’ of Liverpool at the end of World War Two in Martin Scorsese’s documentary on The Beatles pop star George Harrison, Living in the Material World (2011).