Thinking of the “Golden Generation” today, as they called them this evening on the BBC, or the “Greatest Generation” as they are remembered in America. Those who got us through the Second World War, our parents among them.
Tim in the RAF from the Battle of Britain on, Pat in the ATS – where she would drive people like Orde Wingate and, later in the war, survivors from the Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, whose experiences she later confessed that she struggled to understand.
Watched The Queen this evening, talking about her experiences at the time, with her own ATS cap prominent on her desk.
May 8th may mark VE Day, but it was also when our parents – Pat Adamson and Tim Elkington – married in 1948. They both died last year, in their late nineties, but were very much in our minds today as we watched the 75th VE Day celebrations.
Delightfully, our own locked down street, Cambridge Road, like so many others, erupted in communal renditions of songs like It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and We’ll Meet Again. I was busy upstairs with one of the endless stream of podcasts and webinars I’m doing at the moment, mainly on the subject of the new book, Green Swans. But found the whole thing profoundly moving.
Today’s celebrations also brought to mind the string of bombs that went down our street in Barnes during the war, taking out the ceilings in our house and levelling several others, with an incendiary bomb accidentally discovered a few years back just the other side of the wall alongside our kitchen. Elaine was summoned out of our home by the police. Very small beer compared with what people suffered in the. Blitz, but memorable nonetheless.
And here, in celebration of their roles in the lives of the four of us (Caroline, Gray, Tessa and I), and of their extraordinary lives together, are three photographs that conjure those long-gone days of May 8th 1948 when hopes were high for ultimate recovery and a better world: