Victory in Europe - VE Day.

Event
Tuesday, 8 May, 1945
2 RUR on the outskirts of Bremen in the closing days of the Second World War

Broadcasting to the nation at 1500 hours on 8 May 1945 from the Cabinet room at Number 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the Germans had signed a ceasefire at 0241 hours on the 7 May at General Eisenhower's Supreme Allied Command Advance Headquarters in Reims, and that hostilities would officially end at one minute past midnight on 9 May 1945.

The following typically understated reflection on the war's end appears in the regimental history of The Royal Irish Fusiliers and applies equally to all of our former regiments' experiences before VE Day:

'No one would pretend that they were carefree years. They were years of discomfort, toil, anguish, tragedy. Fine officers and men died in places so hellish that those who came out alive could hardly credit their own survival. But amid all the horror there were compensations; situations calculated to bring out the worst in men instead brought out the best in them, in the shape of courage, self-sacrifice, and good humour. Danger acted as a strange cement, joining men together in the closest of comradeships. Yet danger has this effect only when other factors are present. Prime among these, as the experiences of World War II demonstrated once more, is the Regimental spirit... .'

The Battle Honours emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment are amongst those awarded to our antecedent Regiments and can be explored in the story of the Battle Honours for the Liberation of Europe.

On VE Day, the location of our antecedent regiments was as follows:

The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers:
1st Battalion: Dehra Dun, India.
2nd Battalion: Udine, Italy near the border with Yugoslavia.
5th Battalion: Lancaster, England.
Depot Company: Omagh, Northern Ireland; the Inniskilling basic recruit training company at 25th Infantry Training Centre.

The Royal Ulster Rifles:
1st Battalion: Niendorf near Wismar on the Baltic coast, northern Germany.
2nd Battalion: Mettingen, west of Osnabruck in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Depot Company: Omagh, Northern Ireland; the Royal Ulster Rifles basic recruit training company at 25th Infantry Training Centre.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers:
1st Battalion: Cividale, Italy east of Udine, closer to the border with Yugoslavia.
2nd Battalion: Swansea, Wales, reconstituted after Leros from the 6th Battalion on 2 May 1944.
5th Battalion: Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, retitled 30th (Northern Ireland) Battalion in November 1941.
Depot Company: Omagh, Northern Ireland; the Royal Irish Fusiliers basic recruit training company at 25th Infantry Training Centre.

The London Irish Rifles:
1st Battalion: Doberdo, in Gorizia province northern Italy near the border with Yugoslavia.
2nd Battalion: Udine and Plezzo (now Bovec in Slovenia) near the borders with Austria and Yugoslavia.

After VE Day 1945, the King and Queen, with Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth, visited Ulster as part of the Royal Victory Tour, meeting war wounded and veterans. You can watch a news recording of this visit by clicking on the Royal Visit to Ulster and when complete you can return to this site by clicking on your back browser. The attachment below, is the script of the King's VE Day speech, broadcast by the BBC on VE Day.

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