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VE Day: People celebrate with bunting and bonfires

Following the surrender of Germany in World War Two, on 7 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the following day a public holiday, Victory in Europe (VE) Day. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A Dufaycolor colour transparency of Admiralty Arch, in London And, after nearly six years of conflict, the public took to…

Following the surrender of Germany in World War Two, on 7 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared the following day a public holiday, Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

Admiralty Arch in London on VE Day

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A Dufaycolor colour transparency of Admiralty Arch, in London

And, after nearly six years of conflict, the public took to the streets to celebrate.

Crowds celebrating VE Day in Piccadilly Circus

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Celebrations in Piccadilly Circus, London

Workers celebrate in the street

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Workers celebrate in Manchester

Crowds celebrate VE Day

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Crowds celebrate in London

There was dancing, music and street parties up and down the country, with many people dressed in the red, white and blue colours of the union flag.

A VE Day celebration street party with people having a meal at a long table

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A party on Dunstan Street, Netherfield, Nottinghamshire

Children help put up bunting and flags on VE Day in London

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Children help put up bunting and flags in London

A woman bus conductor waves her hat in celebration

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A bus conductor celebrates in Scotland

A man sleeps on chairs wearing a party hat

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A reveller sleeps off the day’s celebrations, in London

Huge crowds cheered from below as Churchill appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and the Royal Family, including the 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth.

The future Queen called it “one of the most memorable nights of my life”.

King George VI, Winston Churchill and the royal family wave to crowds from Buckingham Palace

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Princess Elizabeth, the Queen, Winston Churchill, King George VI and Princess Margaret wave to crowds from Buckingham Palace

Crowds outside Buckingham Palace cheer on VE Day

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King George VI, the Queen and Princess Elizabeth wave to cheering crowds

London’s St Paul’s Cathedral held 10 services, attended by thousands of people.

Floodlights illuminate the building tops near St Paul's Cathedral with revellers on the street

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Floodlights illuminate the building tops near St Paul’s Cathedral

And, in the evening, people even lit bonfires, which had been banned during the War.

People gather around a bonfire in the street

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People gather around a bonfire in West Croydon, London

But VE Day did not mark the end of the World War Two, as fighting continued in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bunting attached to Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London

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A Dufaycolor colour transparency of Trafalgar Square, London

A VE Day parade of uniformed servicewomen marching down the street

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A parade in Teesside

Churchill said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead.”

Winston Churchill makes his VE Day broadcast

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Winston Churchill makes his broadcast to the world, on 8 May 1945

Victory over Japan (VJ) Day came on 15 August 1945, following US atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

People are caught in the beam of a floodlight

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Revellers are caught in the beam of a floodlight in London

VE Day and VJ Day marked victory for the Allies but the lives of many survivors had been changed forever, as millions had lost loved ones.

And the British people had the task of rebuilding the nation, with food rationing lasting until 1954.

Nurses drive a car waving

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Jubilant nurses celebrate in Liverpool

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