Union Flag from first VE Day flown for 75th anniversary

UNION Jacks and bunting adorned houses and street parties throughout the area on the VE Day 75 bank holiday, but few of the flags could have had the historic connection of one flown by a Pyrford resident.

Ian Wareham was able to display a flag that was put up to mark the end of war in Europe on 8 May 1945.

Ian Wareham with his original VE Day Union Jack

Ian was just eight years old on VE Day. He was being brought up his aunt and uncle in Bardsey, near Leeds, and the Union Jack and “lots of bunting” on their house was their contribution to the celebrations.

Seventy-five years later, Ian and his wife Lili fixed the flag to a maple tree in their garden at Hayes Barton.

“I found it lying neglected in a dusty corner almost 40 years after the war, when clearing the family home, and the memories of 1945 came flooding back,” said Ian, a retired journalist.

“I put it to one side but never forgot it, hoping one day it could perhaps find a role.

“The 50th anniversary of VE Day came and went in 1995, but nobody was interested, so it remained hidden away and, several times, was nearly thrown out. Lili reminded me we had it the day before the 75thanniversary and it felt the right time to dust it off and mark the occasion.”

The flag attracted plenty of attention from the other residents of Hayes Barton and many stopped to chat to Ian during the bank holiday, as he shared its story.

“I was amazed at the amount of interest it generated,” he said.

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