Natural History Society Archives Highlight VE Day

This is a guest post by June Holmes, Archivist of the Natural History Society of  Northumbria.

Friday 8 May 2015 is the anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), marking
70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The WW2 made a huge impacted on the Hancock Museum, resulting in money and staff problems with many of the members lost as casualties of the conflict.

Hancock Museum Curator T Russell Goddard

Hancock Museum Curator T Russell Goddard

Curator T Russell Goddard (1889-1948) records the welcome news of the end of hostilities in his Curator’s diary and the Museum closed for the day.

“Today & tomorrow, May 9th, were appointed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill) as public holidays in celebration of victory in Europe. The Prime Minister made a public announcement by wireless at 1500 & H.M. The King broadcast a message to all his peoples at 2100.”

The day before he had recorded that “sand bags etc.” had been cleared away from the Museum and added –

“At 0241 today at General Eisenhower’s Headquarters at Rheims [sic City of Reims, France] General Jodl, the representative of the German High Command & of Grand Admiral Doenitz [sic Karl Dönitz], the designated head of the German State signed the act of unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe.”

Curator T Russell Goddard's diary

Curator T Russell Goddard’s diary

On Wednesday the 9th May the Hancock reopened from 1pm – 5pm and the joyous people of Newcastle celebrated by visiting their favourite museum – over 800 people came through the doors!

See the Curator’s diaries for yourself in the library of the Great North Museum:Hancock. Contact June Holmes Archivist of the Natural History Society of Northumbria to make an appointmen:


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