Inverclyde was a key strategic location during the Second World War. It was home to the Free French Navy. Its shipyards also made a vital contribution to the war effort by building and repairing warships. Inverclyde was also where tens of thousands of Allied soldiers first arrived in Britain before going to fight in other theatres of the war.
Greenock itself felt the full might of the Luftwaffe, the German airforce, on 6 and 7 May 1941 when nearly 10,500 local people were killed or injured in bombing raids.
It is with this rich and painful history that we approach VE Day. Friday 8 May 2020 is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day). The event commemorates the end of the Second World War in Europe when the victorious Allies, Britain, France, the United States of America and Russia, finally defeated Nazi Germany.
Friday 8 May 2020, has been designated a Bank Holiday so we hope that, even in these difficult times, you will be able to join in the celebrations over the VE Day weekend 8 - 10 May 2020.
The celebrations are clearly different to those that we had originally planned. But the weekend will still be an opportunity for us all to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made at home and abroad and to joyfully celebrate the arrival of peace in Europe, just as people did 75 years ago.
We will remember the members of the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy from the many countries who gave their lives or returned home injured; the hard-working women and men who worked in the factories, mines, shipyards and farms and the ARP (Air Raid Patrol) wardens, police officers, doctors, nurses, fireman, local defence volunteers and others who toiled day and night on the home front during difficult, frightening and uncertain times.
While we face strange and new difficulties coping with the Covid 19 coronavirus, we hope you can take the opportunity to pay your own personal tribute to those millions at home and abroad, and the thousands here in Inverclyde, who gave so much to ensure we all enjoy the freedom we share today.
Please take a minute to read a message from Provost Martin Brennan - available on the links on the left of this page.
Read our collated document of how the people of Inverclyde celebrated VE Day 75 years ago. Available on the links on the left of this page.
See our 1945 information document for more facts about Inverclyde during this time.
To mark the occasion, as we wont be able to get together in these current times, we have created a bunting pack to give children and adults alike a fun activity for the coming week.
We invite you replicate the bunting that was put up in households across Britain on 8 May, 1945. The easy guide can be downloaded here on the left hand side.
We hope to see your lovely bunting images in the windows throughout Inverclyde next Friday, please share your images on Facebook and Twitter with the #VE75Inverclyde
Get the kids to download our WWII activity pack created by our team at The Watt Institution. This pack provides home-based activities about your heritage using the collections at The Watt Institution.
We’d love to have your feedback about the pack, also drawings and stories about VE Day. Why not send completed activities to firstname.lastname@example.org or #VE75Inverclyde and we will showcase your work on our Facebook and Twitter pages and perhaps add to the resources to support the museum collections?
Images in the pack are ©Inverclyde Libraries, McLean Museum and Inverclyde Archives
Activity pack is available through the links on the left hand side of this page.
Click the links below for images of our local people and places during this remarkable time in 1945.