Burnley Leisure create commemorative VE Day video depicting Burnley through the ages

In celebration of VE Day, Burnley Leisure has created a special video showing historic photographs of east Lancastrian people, places, and events during the Second World War and VE Day.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 7:00 am
Burnley locals celebrating VE Day in 1945
Burnley locals celebrating VE Day in 1945

With staff contributing archive family photos of their relatives, Burnley Leisure - a charitable trust which runs Prairie Sports Village, St Peter’s Leisure Centre, Padiham Leisure Centre, Towneley Golf Club, Burnley Mechanics theatre, and The Boathouse in Thompson Park - also had help from local history groups Hapton Heritage and Ye Olde Padiham in creating the video.

Highlighting the bravery, dedication, and spirit of local men and women who served at home and abroad during the Second World War, the images illustrate the variety of contributions to the war effort in east Lancashire, with the video depicting local servicemen in the East Lancashire Regiment, the Parachute Regiment, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and the Royal Navy.

Other images capture the drama, fear, and destruction of war through pictures of paratroopers jumping from aircraft, sailors hauling a crashed fighter plane from the sea, and men working on a mine-sweeping ship.

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The parts played by locals in key historic events are also honoured in the video, which includes shots of William Thomas Morley, a young east Lancashire soldier who was part of the allied Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944 in which many allied lives were lost. William thankfully survived and one happier photograph shows him marrying his wife, Lucy, after the war.

Photos of Major Leonard Berney, one of the first British troops to liberate the Belsen-Bergen concentration camp in northern Germany, and of Lancashire troops in India and Africa are also included, as are images demonstrating the vital role played by east Lancashire women including Nora Stanton of Burnley, who worked in agriculture for the Land Army.

Also local to Burnley, Elsie Alston was an ambulance driver with the Women’s Voluntary Service for Air Raid Precautions, which helped civilians during and after air raids with rest centres, food, first aid, and the evacuation of children. Further images depict the local Juvenile Gaieties Troupe, a dance group formed to lift people’s spirits, and Padiham Green Church Lads’ Brigade.

Burnley Leisure thanks staff who contributed family photographs and information to the video, as well as Kieron Ridehalgh and Ann Clark of Ye Olde Padiham and Jan Lakeland of Hapton Heritage.

To watch the video, go to https://burnleyleisure.co.uk/ve-day-75/A message from the Editor:

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