Not many Great Coxwell residents remember VE Day. But, seventy-five years ago, Ted Nieass, (Sandcroft), was a twenty-year old RAF pilot as the war in Europe came to an end. What were his memories of VE Day? Our investigative reporter went to find out! It turns out that Ted was the other side of the Atlantic on 8th May 1945. His WW2 story begins three years earlier, when at the age of just 18, he volunteered to become an RAF pilot and was summoned to Lords Cricket Ground, of all places, to be inducted into the RAF. Amusingly, Ted remembers being put up, eight to a room, in commandeered luxury flats in Maida Vale. London Zoo was their temporary cookhouse…The wild animals had packed their bags and been evacuated to Whipsnade Zoo, apart from the monkeys, who remained!
Ted has one daughter, Jenny, three grandsons, Christopher, Martyn and Jonathan, all in their forties and one great granddaughter, Emilia Rose, Jon's child, born last September.
Great Coxwell marked the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on Friday the best we could, given the continuing lockdown restrictions. Musical entertainment at the bottom of the village kicked off with Nick Warr playing the Last Post and then Glenn Miller’s ‘In the Mood’ brilliantly on his saxophone. This was followed by Nancy Smith, playing the National Anthem and then ‘the Can-Can’ very assuredly from her improvised stage – her Dad’s 1943 EAC ‘Matador’ towing lorry, (once used to tow artillery guns to the battlefield).
At the top of the village, Lynette Stulting and her band…more like an orchestra!... played Vera Lynn’s famous song, ‘We’ll meet again’, followed by ‘A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square’. It was hugely appreciated by the socially distanced audience.
Below are some of the video recordings, and some photographs of village residents taken from Friday evening …..
(The Last Post) - Nick
(In the Mood) - Nick
(Can Can) – Nancy - (Offenbach's Infernal Galop)
(We’ll Meet Again) Lynette Stulting Band
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The Great Coxwell Community Fund is managed by its Trustees, Pam Smith, Pauline Durham, Sylvia Athawes and Annabelle Zinovieff. It is available for village community events, but also, in extremis, for those in difficulties who have tried all other avenues for support. If you are struggling and need a little help, please contact Pam Smith in the first instance.
Pam Smith – 01367 240233 or email on Chris Smith email@example.com
That’s it for this week. At last, we heard some good news last night about the Government’s plans to end the lockdown. Hurrah! What is clear from the last two months is how the village has pulled together, how we have all looked out for each other, and how we have helped and cared for each other in adversity. My thanks to everyone for all their kindness and consideration so far. In a funny way, Great Coxwell feels a closer-knit community now. One positive from the lockdown.