In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of VE day tomorrow I have spent a few days talking to a wide range of people about their memories of that day and the VE anniversaries over the years.
These ranged from the daughter of General de Grancey in France (he was once a POW and later Governor of Les Invalides, Paris) who said she would definitely be celebrating with champagne; to 'Great Granny Flo' in England now aged 91 who said she might have a small glass of Baileys.
From Sergeant John Nichols, the only Chelsea Pensioner to have a No. 9 hit in the 'Top of the Pops' charts with 'Scotch and the Rock' in 1961, to Griselda K., whose father Brigadier Jock Hamilton Baillie was a POW in Colditz and who saved it from being bombed by sewing a HUGE Union Jack placed on the top of the castle.
From Sir Richard Stagg (ex. British Ambassador to Afghanistan) whose favourite war poem is The Soldier by Rupert Brooke to a retired British General who still adores his NAAFI tea (the standard forces tea bags since 1921!). From Corporal Ted Roberts who remembers well his older sister Sheila running into a shop doorway to hide from the bombing
raid down Meeting House Lane in SE5 on her way home from school; to my cousin Felicity Hindson who was at school the day before VE day and remembers being taught by Mrs MacLean - Hugh Grant's grandmother.
As we chatted, I asked them all to tell me their favourite war films, war poems and how they would celebrate on Friday. Here are a few of them...
Drink to celebrate:
- Plymouth Gin (The chosen drink of The Royal Navy)
Some of the Cassandra Goad team's favourite war poems, war films and drinks to celebrate...
The French 75
Recommended by AMK (Workshop Manager)
The French 75 has a wonderful history as well as being very yummy and easy to make. The name comes from the French 75mm light field gun, which was a very popular and effective field gun used a lot by the French in WW1. It was very much talked about and used as a symbol of hope by the French to win the war against Germany. The drink itself is composed of 50ml gin, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar and then topped up with champagne.
The Gin Bramble
Recommended by EJL (Marketing Assistant)
The Gin Bramble is a typically British cocktail, created in 1984 in London. It is very easy to make and delicious! It contains 50 ml Gin, 30 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, a dash (10ml) of sugar syrup, a drizzle of Crème de Mure/Cassis, topped up with soda water and crushed ice and garnished with berries and lemon
Pinkster & Tonic
Recommended by JLG (Marketing Assistant)
To make the perfect Pinkster & tonic all you need is a bottle of Pinkster Gin, Fever Tree tonic, ice and a few raspberries and fresh mint leaves to garnish. The UK based Gin company grow all its raspberries here close to their distillery in Cambridge. A Pinkster and tonic is truly the perfect drink to quench your thirst… especially in the British sunshine!
From the workshop...
Great Granny Flo's silver ring being made and a VE day cake made by her great granddaughters: