VE Day 75: 'My father never spoke about the war – all he said is that it was terrible for the horses'
A street party with pony rides is the golden memory Bishop's Stortford woman Beryl Bartlett recalls from VE Day in 1945.
Now 84 and living in Thorley Park, she was a nine-year-old girl in Dartford, Kent, on the day peace in Europe was declared.
She treasures a picture taken that day which shows her with mum Ada Ashenden as they celebrated with friends and neighbours.
Her father George was still away, serving with 4 Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He was decorated for his roles in Mesopotamia – which is now Iraq – and India.
When he returned he was tight-lipped about the conflict and about the difficulties and dangers he faced.
Beryl said: “He never spoke about it – all he said is that it was terrible for the horses.”
She remembers her childhood as a time of adventure and excitement despite the perils.
As the German doodlebugs – the V-1 flying bomb – rained down, her family took refuge in a shelter in their garden. She said: “It was fun in there. I loved it.”
Now divorced, Beryl has lived in Bishop’s Stortford since 1961, when elder son Michael was born. He now lives in Germany while daughter Carol lives in Manningtree and youngest child Kevin lives in Windhill in Stortford, so he is close at hand to help her during lockdown. She is a proud grandmother of five boys.