The 75th Anniversary of VE Day will be marked on Friday, May 8.
As part of the Orange Family VE Day programme of events we are bringing our Service and Sacrifice exhibition online.
Museum of Orange Heritage Curator, Dr Jonathan Mattison takes a look at how the news was received in Northern Ireland all those years ago.
Mirroring the reactions of thousands of others, the Orange Family greeted the ending of War in Europe with a mixture of joy, relief, sadness and apprehension for the fighting still continuing in the Far East.
One example was that of Eldon LOL No 7 in Belfast. In the margin beside the minutes of their 14 May 1945 meeting is noted the following, “Victory in Europe”. The pages go on to read “Bro. Allen proposed that as this was our first meeting after the cessation of hostilities in Europe the Secretary should note in the minutes our thankfulness for Victory, and should record our sincere appreciation of Mr. Winston Churchill’s leadership throughout the struggle. This was seconded by Bro. W.M. May and passed unanimously.” Many Orange homes and lodges felt the pain of loss and the relief of deliverance.
Thousands of Orangemen and Women had responded to the call of liberty and served in the armed forces, gone to the factory floor or joined in the endeavour to feed the Nation. Rolls of honour began to appear and Services of Thanksgiving were held as the Orange Family counted the cost of the war. It was the simplicity of many of actions that thundered a great significance.
In October 1945, at their first District meeting since the end of the War, the Worshipful District Master, rose to his feet and “…spoke on the finish of the war and asked the brethren to stand and sing the doxology.”