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May 8th, 1945 (TUESDAY)

EUROPE: It is VE Day. Offensive Operations end at 2301.

UNITED KINGDOM: London: "The German war is at an end. Advance Britannia! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!" The great crowds waiting all day in the streets of London fell totally silent to hear those word broadcast by Mr. Churchill from 10 Downing Street at 3pm. The official announcement has been a long time coming, but they knew that the war was over. In this morning's Daily Mirror strip cartoon, the scantily-clad "Jane" has disrobed completely, as she had always promised to do for peace.

When at last the end was official, pent-up feelings broke loose. People waved flags, blew whistles, climbed the lampposts, sang and danced in the streets. Above all they massed in front of Buckingham Palace, chanting "We want the King!" He soon appeared bareheaded on the balcony with his wife and daughters, a simple family group waving back to them as they sang "For he's a jolly good fellow and so say all of us". It was the first of eight appearances which the royal family made, up till midnight.

Meanwhile, Mr. Churchill had gone to read his statement to the House of Commons: "Finally almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers who are now prostrate before us ... but let us not forget that Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued and her detestable cruelties call for justice and retribution."

Later Mr. Churchill appeared on the Palace balcony with the king and queen and then on a balcony above the sea of faces in Whitehall. He waved his hat and joined in singing "Land of Hope and Glory". 

"This is your victory," he told them. "In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this."

Tonight, floodlights and bonfires light up the capital and searchlight beams dance in the sky to the sound of ships' sirens sounding the V sign.

Tonight King George VI addresses the kingdom in a special radio broadcast.

Destroyers HMCS Haida, Huron and Iroquois arrived Clyde with Convoy RA-66.

FRANCE: The two regiments of the French Special Air Service (RCP) are assigned to the French Air Force. (Stuart Millis)

GERMANY: Fischhorn: US troops arrest Göring, who assumes that he will be taken to Eisenhower to negotiate a truce.

Mrs Odette Marie Celine Sansom [now Hallowes] (b.1912), a British agent, was led to US lines by the commandant of Ravensbruck camp, where she had ended up after her arrest and torture in 1943. (George Cross)

The last official victory to be awarded to a USAAF pilot in the war against Germany is a staff plane downed at 20.05 hrs by 2d Lt. Kenneth L. Swift, of the 474th Fighter Group's 429th Fighter Squadron. (The 429th FS flew P-38's and the 474th FG was subordinate to the 70th Fighter Wing of the IX Tactical Air Command/9th Air Force.) (Russ Folsom)

Near the the Obersalzburg, Germany, Colonel "Bob" Sink, CO of the US Army's 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, ("Curahee") 101st Airborne 'Screaming Eagles' Division, accepts the surrender of the German LXXXII Corps, commanded by Lt General Theodor Tolsdorf. (Jay Stone)

The Red Army occupies Dresden.

U-382 scuttled after being raised in March following an initial sinking in January.

Test pilot Hauptman Heinz Braur flies 70 women, children and wounded troops to Munich-Reim airport . After he lands, Brauer is approached by one of Colonel Harold E. Watson's Whizzers intelligence team who give him the choice of either going to a prison camp or flying with the Whizzers. Braur thinks flying is more preferable. Three Messerschmitt employees also joined the Whizzers: Karl Baur, the Chief Test Pilot of Experimental Aircraft, test pilot Ludwig "Willie" Huffman, and engineering superintendent Gerhard Coulis. Test pilot Herman Kersting joined later. When the Whizzers located nine Me 262 jet aircraft at Lechfeld airfield, these German test pilots had the expertise to fly them. (William L. Howard)

NORWAY: Oslo: Eleven Allied officers arrive with Norwegian troops and Crown Prince Olav to liberate Norway.

U-1109, U-2502, U-2506, U-2513, U-3008 of the 11th Flotilla surrendered at Horten.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Russian soldiers of the 1st Division POA start to retreat back to the German border.

GUAM: All Japanese airbases on Kyushu, Japan's main base for its air attacks on the US invasion forces at Okinawa, have been wiped out, jubilant B-29 crews claimed as they returned from a raid today. They reported a total lack of fighter opposition and anti-aircraft fire as they bombed industrial targets in the 18th successive B-29 raid on the southern homeland island since 27 March. US fighter superiority over their Japanese counterparts was also shown when a flight of 65 Mustangs from Iwo Jima was able to strafe and bomb airfields and munitions in the Chiba and Kisarazu districts of Tokyo without meeting fighter opposition.

PACIFIC OCEAN: Submarine USS Snook (SS-279), CO John F. Walling, is listed as missing after today, east of Formosa All hands lost. (Joe Sauder)

Off Okinawa: An extract from Jim Verdolini's Diary:

May 8, 1945: I made it. I'm 19 today and we are in a Typhoon! What a birthday present! At least no suicide planes attacking. The war is over in Europe. VE Day, Harry Trumans birthday and mine. Something I can remember.

Minesweeper USS Salute mined and sunk at Brunei Bay, Borneo.

CANADA: Halifax, Nova Scotia: VE Day turns into a riot as 10,000 servicemen loot and vandalize downtown Halifax during VE-Day celebrations. Rioters rocked the city of Halifax causing extensive damage to the commercial district. The blame for the riot was eventually laid on RADM Leonard Warren Murray, Commander-in-Chief, Northwest Atlantic. Murray left Canada and retired in England. He never returned to Canada.

U.S.A.: Washington: President Truman warns the US that the war is only half won.

The President addresses the nation in a special radio broadcast.


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