Friday 1 May 2020

Voices of War brings together first-hand, and very different, accounts of VE Day from IWM’s extensive sound archive.

The voices belong to people who had diverse experiences of war and victory - ranging from an army nurse who served in Egypt and a Jamaican aircraftsman who emigrated to the UK aboard the Empire Windrush in 1948, to a Jewish man from Berlin who spent six weeks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Click on the audio player below to listen to our four minute soundscape and reflect on the experiences of those who witnessed the events of VE Day in 1945.

Support IWM

As a charity, IWM needs your support now more than ever to ensure we can continue to share personal stories of conflict for generations to come.

Take a moment to reflect on what victory in Europe meant for people across the world in 1945

 

 

  • Who am I listening to?

    You can discover more about the voices in our soundscape by exploring their profiles. 

    • BBC reporter
    • Elizabeth Barbara Hammond
    • Winston Churchill
    • Lady Frances Isobel Dunnington-Jefferson
    • Samuel Beaver King MBE
    • Stephen Dale
    • Gerald Fraser Collis
    • Catherine Lilian Maud Bradley
    • Patricia Jean Fitzgerald
    • Vera May Grigg
    • Winston Seales

Artistic Responses

Six artists and performers present their responses to VE Day.

A Brief Period of Rejoicing

A Brief Period of Rejoicing

Created by Charlie Dark | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

DJ, poet and writer and founder of Run Dem Crew


The poem borrows its title from Winston Churchill’s VE Day speech.

“The line ‘A brief period of rejoicing’ really caught my ear and totally changed my thought process on the piece I wanted to make. Originally I’d wanted to write something on the theme of celebration but the line inspired thoughts of contemplation and caution and although I’d almost finished the original version I scrapped that idea and went in a new direction.” Charlie Dark

Victory is far from ours

Victory is far from ours

Created by Amina Atiq | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

Yemeni- Scouse writer, performance artist, facilitator and activist

“In a world of adversity, war and oppression, Victory is far from ours questions what does victory mean today, who does it belong to and is it not our right to live?” Amina Atiq

Victory is Yours

Victory is Yours

Created by Chanje Kunda | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

Poet, playwright and performance artist

“The idea or notion of victory is what has drawn me to this project. Victory is a loaded phrase that encompasses an exuberant joy. I am sure it is one of the sweetest feelings one can have. To be able to explore this is fascinating. Also, I am interested in the concept of achieving freedom. I hope that this 75 year anniversary of VE Day can inspire all nations of the world to end all wars, and instead use their efforts to be united.” Chanje Kunda

Weather Forecast, March-May 2020

Weather Forecast, March-May 2020

Created by Rachel Long | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

Leader of Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour


The poem is inspired by the BBC’s VE Day weather report by Stuart Hibberd, the first since war broke out, and a poem in itself.

“Inspired by the Hibberd audio, I wanted to record my voice only, as a wireless-style mirroring of VE day weather report.”  Rachel Long

Coming to terms with Victory

Coming to terms with Victory

Created by Daljit Nagra | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

Inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra

“I was inspired to think about the very language of conflict and how win versus defeat can often be more complicated than implied by this binary.” Daljit Nagra

Victory

Cristina Daura, illustrator. Colourful Victory 75 artwork featuring hands placing a seed in the ground
IWM, Cristina Daura

Victory

Created by Cristina Daura | Commissioned by Imperial War Museums

Illustrator

"Victory is both a strong and a fragile concept. The illustration depicts victory achieved at the end of conflict as if it were a seed that must be nurtured in order to thrive. Like a flower, victory must be taken care of in order to be re-gifted to future generations.

“I thought I didn’t have a very close personal connection with VE Day but I guess it’s silly to say that I don’t. Everyone does. What we are living now is the result, in part, of that day. The Europe that we know, the way we live.” Cristina Daura

Support IWM

As a charity, IWM needs your support now more than ever to ensure we can continue to share personal stories of conflict for generations to come.

Explore Further

V for Victory Thumbnail
Second World War
Where does 'V for Victory' come from?
Winston's Churchill's V for Victory sign is perhaps one the most iconic of the Second World War, but where does it come from?
A truck of revellers passing through the Strand, London, 8 May 1945.
Second World War
What You Need To Know About VE Day
8 May 1945 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day – was one that remained in the memory of all those who witnessed it. It meant an end to nearly six years of a war that had cost the lives of millions; had destroyed homes, families, and cities; and had brought huge suffering and privations to the populations of entire countries.