|George Collinson (centre) honored for 50 yrs in RCL, left is son Toddy and right John Rose|
The Chapleau Post reported that the "very atmosphere" in the community seemed to change at once. "Whistles from the CPR engines and shops, fire sirens blosing and church bells ringing made the people realize that at last the great day had come.
"Everyone was happy that at times it was hard to know whether to laugh or cry. As if by magic flags appeared on housefronts.
"Schools were closed immediately and the children were excited as the older people."
A peace celebration dance organized by the Canadian Legion was held with the Town Hall filled to capacity.
Later a VE Day celebration was held but a "very cold wind and snow" made outdoor activities impossible so they took place in the Town Hall.
Les Beeston was the master of ceremonies and a "carnival spirit was evident."
Speakers included Reeve Frank Edwards, Reg Thrush, Harry Searle (one of the main founders of Branch Number 5 and a World War I veteran), and Rev. H. W. Strapp, the minister at Trinity United Church.
A play "The Trial and Hanging of Hitler" was perfromed. It starred A.H. Leigh, Reg Thrush, Vera Purich, J. Deluce and Ross Kemp.
Following the celebration which included a treat of hot dogs, the children paraded to the Regent Theatre for a free show.
A Monster Dance was held in the Town Hall in the evening.
Writing about VE Day, my aunt Marion Morris, who had lost her brother, my father Flying Officer James Morris , who was killed on active service in the RCAF on July 16, 1943, noted in a letter to me many years later "parishioners of all faiths streamed into their churches -- no parade -- just Thanksgiving for all the boys and girls in the services and prayers -- joined together from all churches."
After VE Day, the Legion organized a Service of Thanksgiving at the Cenotaph. Children from all the schools attended as well as a huge number of citizens.
Speakers included Walter Steed, a World War I veteran and branch president at the time as well as Rev. J.H. Morris of St. John's Anglican Church (no relation) and Father Romeo Gascon, of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Wreaths were placed on the cenotaph by Reeve Frank Edwards, Mrs. L.A. Montgomery, Ross Whitney, Terence Delaney and Hiram Paul. The Last Post was played by Tom Godfrey Sr. Father Gascon pronounced the Benediction
The Canadian War Museum web site sums up the end of World War II in Europe: "On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide. On May 5, German forces in North-West Europe surrendered. Victory in Europe, or VE, Day was officially celebrated three days later.
Thanks to Doug Greig. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org