Some years ago M.B. Venning sent me an unattributed image which I was unable to use at the time, but which fits this weeks Sepia Saturday theme very well, being a direct result of the Potsdam Conference and Declaration.
V-J celebrations in Regent Street, Church Gresley, 15 August 1945
Postcard photograph by unidentified photographer
Image © and courtesy of M.B. Venning
15 August 1945 was V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, marking the end of hostilities in the Second World War, and commemmorated in this part of the world as V-P (Victory in the Pacific) Day.
Most of the children and some of the adults have found time to dress up, and it's an interesting variety of costumes. Church Gresley was a mining and pottery town, and the men on the pavement to the right have perhaps just been given time off work. There are the usual nurses, maids, sailor suits and nursery rhyme characters (I think I see Mary, Mary, quite contrary in the back row, at left, there are a couple of potential Little Bo Peeps, and the Knave of Hearts is carrying a tart right in the centre).
Towards the front there are two boys dressed in costumes of more topical interest: the young lad on the left is a miner, complete with pit helmet (presumably like his Dad), while the one on the right wears a hastily constructed "V" for Victory costume (with the rank of corporal, perhaps like his Dad), and brandishes a Union Jack. Perhaps readers can spot some other characters in the crowd.
By the way, the large vehicle in the background is a Trent bus, a couple of which appeared in a previous Photo-Sleuth article.
Crowds on VJ day, Auckland, 15 August 1945
B&W Still from Weekly Review 208. National Film Unit, 1945
(click image to see the full video)
Image courtesy of Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
By way of contrast, these celebrations seem rather restrained compared with those that took place in countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean.
News of Japan's surrender following the dropping of two atom bombs was received in New Zealand at 11 a.m. on 15 August 1945. Sirens sounded immediately, and before long streamers were unfurled, and there were bands playing and people dancing in the streets.
Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Crowds on VJ day, Willis Street, Wellington, 15 August 1945
B&W film negative by John Pascoe
Image courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library
There were parades, bands playing, thanksgiving services, bonfires, dances and community sports. Once more the beer flowed, and there were streamers, whistles and dancing in the streets. Again there were two days' public holiday ... In Auckland, where there were few organised events, the city went out to enjoy itself the moment the factory whistle sounded. At first it was simply people drinking, dancing and scattering confetti. Then some rowdy people began throwing bottles. Windows were smashed, and people were hurt. By the evening, 51 people had been taken to hospital and 15 tons of glass lay in the roads.
New Zealand History online
"The Kiss," Times Square, New York, 15 August 1945
B&W photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt
Image © Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
And of course there was plenty of kissing.
McGibbon, Ian (2012) Second World War - Final victory, from Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Crowds on VJ day, Willis Street, Wellington, Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972 :Photographic albums, prints and negatives, Ref: 1/4-001830-F, Alexander Turnbull Library.
Victory over Japan (VJ) Day, from New Zealand History online
V-J Day, 1945 - A Nation lets Loose, from Life.Time.com
Sailor, nurse from iconic VJ Day photo reunited, from CBS