Henley 1945: More Rejoicing

The 1945 Royal Henley trophies. Left to right: The Hedsor Cup for school eights, The Barrier Sculls, The Danesfield Cup for Open EIghts.

9 May 2020

By Tim Koch

No, Tim Koch is not done with VE Day75.

Following my post yesterday on the 1945 Royal Henley Regatta marking the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, Greg Denieffe sent the above picture showing the three trophies competed for at the one-day, three-event regatta. This inspired me to find some more images of wartime Henley-on-Thames.

American soldiers and Henley Grammar School boys on Henley Bridge, May 1944.
More GIs on Henley Bridge, May 1944.
Bridge building practice at Henley, 1943. Picture: IWM H30960.

The online Henley Herald has some nice interviews with locals who remember VE Day including one recorded for YouTube with Richard (Dick) Charlton (b.1920) who they claim is Henley’s last surviving Second World War veteran. Dick talks about his time in action and as a prisoner of war.

Finally, YouTube also has a morale boosting film from 1940 showing scenes of wartime Henley-on-Thames and talking lyrically about how normal life and the Regatta will return one day. The film ends with shots of a pre-war Henley Regatta and the words, ‘May these times come back soon’. A couple of months ago, this would have been just an historical curiosity, but today we can relate to the sentiment expressed only too well.

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