Victory Celebrations (Government Decision)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1946.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Norman Hulbert Sir Norman Hulbert , Stockport 12:00 am, 18th February 1946

asked the Prime Minister if he is now able to make a statement with regard to the Government's proposals for a victory march in London and the principal provincial cities.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

Yes, Sir. Official Victory celebrations will take place in London on Saturday, 8th June, which will be a Public-Holiday. They will consist of a Victory Parade in the morning, children's entertainment in the Royal Parks in the afternoon and a river, searchlight and firework display in the evening. I will circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Sir Norman Hulbert Sir Norman Hulbert , Stockport

May I ask the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that these celebrations will be on a scale fitted to the occasion and that there will be no austerity?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I think they will be as fitting to the occasion as circumstances will allow.

Photo of Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge Mr Thomas Skeffington-Lodge , Bedford

Is the Prime Minister aware that many of the newspapers are regarding the day as Whit Saturday, whereas, in point of fact, this day is a week later, and as this is an important point, especially where Lancashire is concerned, may I ask the Press to give publicity to this supplementary question?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I think my hon. Friend must have got the wrong calendar.

Photo of Mr Edward Fleming Mr Edward Fleming , Manchester, Withington

Would the Prime Minister make sure that, on Victory Day, the people will get special allowances of rations so that they can really enjoy it?

Following are the details:

Saturday, 8th June will be a public holiday and the last Victory holiday. In regard to the payment of wages the Government intends to treat its own employees (including industrial civil servants) in the same way as on the occasions of the previous Victory holidays; that is to say, wages will be paid to workers taking the holiday and, for those who are required to work on the holiday, the usual payments for working on public holidays will be made. Employers in general are invited to follow the Government's example in these respects.

In the morning there will be a Victory Parade comprising a Marching Column and a Motorised Column. The Marching Column will proceed through the West End and the Motorised Column through East and South East London. The Columns will unite in Westminster and proceed along the Mall past the saluting base.

The Marching Column will include small contingents from each of the fighting services of the belligerent Allies with larger contingents from each of the four major Allies. The main body of the Marching Column will consist of representatives of the Dominions, India, Burma and the Colonial Empire, the Royal Navy (including the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet), the Army (including the Home Guard), the R.A.F. (including the Royal Observer Corps), and of Police, N.F.S., the wide range of all the Civil Defence Services, together with an industrial contingent and representatives of organisations such as the Joint War Organisation of the Red Cross and St. John, N.A.A.F.I., etc., etc. The Motorised Column will include vehicles from the Royal Navy, Army, R.A.F., N.F.S., and Civil Defence.

British Commanders will head the Columns, and during the short gap between the March Past of the Marching Column and of the Motorised Column, the R.A.F. will stage a fly-past.

It will not be possible to erect stands and only a small amount of standing accommodation will be reserved in the Royal Parks.

In the afternoon there will be open air entertainments for the children in Hyde Park, Regent's Park, St. James's Park and Green Park and in the King's Park, Edinburgh. The space available in the four Royal Parks in London for this purpose will be very limited because some of them will be required as camps and assembly areas for the Parade, and consideration is, therefore, being given to the possibility of arranging a certain number of dispersed entertainments for children in the Metropolitan area during the week beginning 1oth June.

Owing to present manufacturing difficulties His Majesty's Government doubt whether the provision of any of the usual forms of souvenir would be practicable or justified. They therefore propose that a commemorative card bearing a message from His Majesty The King should be provided at the expense of the Exchequer and distributed to school children through the local Education Authorites.

Between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight for the period 8th June to 15th June inclusive, the Ministry of Works will floodlight certain official buildings in London and elsewhere. No objection will be raised to local authorities and public bodies similarly lighting their buildings should they so desire; but other decorative lighting and lighting advertisements will not be allowed, in view of the continuing need for fuel economy.

On the evening of 8th June a search-light display will be arranged covering the Greater London area, and between 10 p.m. and midnight there will be fireworks and a display by the N.F.S. on the Thames in the neighbourhood of Westminster. It is hoped to berth some of His Majesty's ships at Greenwich in Woolwich Reach and in the Lower Pool beyond Tower Bridge, and to illuminate or floodlight them. Arrangements will probably be made for the public to visit them on Whit Sunday and Whit Monday.