MILITARIA: Victory Days

With the current 75th anniversary commemorations marking the cessation of World War Two in full swing, Britain at War explores some of the memorabilia that portray Britain’s victory celebrations in 1945.

The New Era Company of Wembley, north London, produced several different decorative ‘Thanks For The Victory’ cloth banners, including this one, showing Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), with scenes of El Alamein and France. Rare and sought after, these evocative banners sell for a starting price of around £50 and go up to the £400 mark.

Throughout early 1945, Britons eagerly followed the news headlines as the Allies made their final push into the Nazi homeland. The war in Europe dragged as the Germans put up stiff resistance, but by springtime the end of the Third Reich was clearly in sight. The Russians entered Berlin on April 21, 1945 and four days later, American and Russian forces met at the River Elbe, in eastern Germany. On April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler, the war criminal whose nationalist rabble-rousing led to the deaths of millions, cornered in his Berlin bunker, chose to avoid justice via a single 7.65mm bullet. On May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl travelled to Allied HQ in France and, before senior officers, signed the document of unconditional surrender. T e war in Europe had finally ended.

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