Signals Association

Victory in Europe


Extracted from the Sunday Times ‘Section 3’ on 7 May 1995:

“FIFTY years ago tomorrow, at midnight on May 8, 1945, the war in Europe officially ended. The final unconditional surrender, signed at 2.41am on May 7 at the headquarters of Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower in Reims, France, by General Alfred Jodl, representing the German High Command, formally closed hostilities that had started in 1939.

Apart from volunteers serving with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, it was the end of South Africa’s war. Peace found the bulk of South Africa’s men, infantry, tank support troops of the 6th Division spread across northern Italy from the French border to Venice on the Adriatic.

News of victory sparked wild and joyous celebrations around the world …


The Sunday Times also quoted Huntley Stuart’s SABC broadcast of VE day from Cape Town (Source: SABC archives):

“Listen to the noise in Adderley Street. This is the noise, the voice of victory. This is the din, with the guns thrown in, of deliverance. It is the row, the racket, the Rumble and the riot of relief. It is the pandemonium of peace.

Now that you have heard the noise, let me try to describe what is going on. A warm clear sun beats down on this scene, Adderley Street, Cape Town, with buildings full of flags of Britain, America, Soviet Russia, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, India and every other nation of the Allied combine.

There is bunting too, flying down from all the big buildings, the post office and all the big shops. There are crowds about, the Adderley Street flower people are waving their small flags and creating a din with ratchets. Even horses have feathers in their headgear and one very enterprising person has painted the flags of all the nations on a large sheet. The town literally is littered with colour, the colour of all freedom-loving nations.

Above all this, in the distance I can see Old Man Mountain towering in his age-old solid way. There is no white mist on him today, it is a clear head, and he apparently understands as much as we do that there is freedom in the air. And now as I look up at the mountain, I can see pigeons whirling and wheeling about. Even trees move in the breeze, flags flutter. Everything is agog with excitement, relief, of victory and peace.

A few moments ago, Mr Churchill broadcast his speech to the world, telling us of the final laying down of arms of an enemy. And the crowd has been reacting pretty strongly. There is excitement all over the place, high delight of the first order, people are literally delirious with joy – you can still hear the guns going off, you can still hear the people cheering. They are rushing about waving flags, the traffic has come to a standstill, there is movement everywhere indicative of freedom.

Freedom and freedom again and then again. Brother clasps the hand of brother, sister kisses the cheek of sister and as far as I can see, occasionally a brother usurps the privilege of a sister and kisses her cheek as well. The bells are going, the sirens are going, the ratchets are going and cheers are still going on. The salvos are still being fired. And this mob, having listened to Mr Churchill’s speech, is disintegrating and gradually dispersing.

As a matter of fact, I can see a little dog running about, the little dog laughed to see such sport, and I wouldn’t be surprised at any moment to see the other part of the nursery rhyme, to see the cow jump over the moon. But the moon is probably beaming its beams elsewhere. There is enough lunacy here without the effects of the lunar system on the Cape Town crowd today.

It is as I have said, the voice of victory, it is the relief, the racket, the riot and the rumble of relief. It is the pandemonium of peace.”

Winston Churchill in a speech to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 said:

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: VICTORY. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory, there is no survival.”

The above cipher message announcing the End of World War II was taken down by Mr James Timoney who was the cipher operator at the time. James was a former member and chairman of the 3rd Brigade Signal Company Reunion Association and a former Vice-Chairman of the SIGNALS ASSOCIATION. The message appeared on the front page of ‘Section 3’ of the Sunday Times on 7 May 1995.