Victory! The End of the War in Europe

23rd January 2020

VE Day, 8 May 1945 was a day to celebrate. Victory in Europe Day marked the long-awaited defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allies and followed the formal acts of military surrender. In Britain, Churchill marked the occasion by declaring this day a Public Holiday. People held local street parties, danced and sang in the streets and huge crowds gathered in London around Westminster, Trafalgar Square and outside Buckingham Palace.

Newsreel, Service and amateur cameramen all captured VE Day on film. Highlights from the IWM film collection can be viewed in our show-reel including vibrant colour footage taken by amateur cameramen taking part in the celebrations.

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IWM holds a wealth of film related to VE Day Celebrations in London and elsewhere. Register/Login to access clip reels selected by our expert Film Curator team.

 VE Day fountain
© US Public Domain (IWM EA 65799)


Who were the women in the fountain on VE Day?

It's an iconic photograph that has been broadcast globally in television programmes, books and newspaper stories, capturing the joy of a generation freed from the burdens of war. Determined to find out more about the women, IWM put an appeal out on Twitter for help. Twenty-four hours later, we were contacted by a relative: their names are Cynthia Covello and Joyce Digney, former British Land Girls and life-long friends who moved to Canada after the war. Less well-known is the amateur colour footage of the girls in the fountain shot by Lieutenant Sidney Sasson of the US Army Signal Corps, featured in our showreel above.

VE Day celebrations

© IWM (HU 41808) Revellers passing through the Strand, London, 8 May 1945

Find out More

10 Photos of VE Day Celebrations 

11 Photos of VJ Day Celebrations

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