Talking Points
“All I can remember is having a good lunch al fresco prepared by the lay sisters who enjoyed it as much as we did.  Then an enormous bonfire in front of the house which as it got darker was illuminated by all the lights being turned on for the first time most of us could remember,  I think we had a holiday too!”  M


As we celebrated V.E. Day over the weekend, many of us looked to our older relatives and friends for their stories and memories of the end of the war and V. E. Day celebrations.

Several of our Community remember the party at Newnham Paddox, where the Community and school were evacuated in 1940 – 1946.   They, and other Old Fishes, recount their memories in Fishy Tales – Memories of New Hall 1930 – 2012.

If you would like a copy of the book please see


Here are some of those memories:


“Sudden darkness shocked us one evening. A plane had flown into the

power lines. Later we knew Fr Butler had gone over to the crash-site.

There were exceptional evenings, when the school was allowed to listen

to Churchill making a speech to the nation. Then came V.E. Day and a

mighty celebration bonfire, which S.M.Benedict and S.M.Ignatius

stoked wearing their gas masks and ARP tin helmets.”


“On V.E. Day we had a festive meal out on the terrace and in the

evening a magnificent bonfire in front of the house.

When we returned to New Hall after the war I was very doubtful of

how I would survive with all that freedom gone. But by that time I was

in the last year of School Certificate and so was well focused in the

direction of work.

No one had been able to go home for half-terms during wartime but

now they went as before, and only a few of us stayed. We enjoyed the

time so much that we resented the return of everyone else! School –

including all the Community members we knew – had become more

family than home for me, and I was desperately sad to leave and go on

to university.”


“On V.E. Day we spent all day collecting twigs and branches and

anything that would burn. Then in the dark, with as many of us as

possible wearing some blue (with our red uniform and white shirts,

making patriotic colours), we watched as Percy Sygrove set our huge

bonfire alight. A small plane put the jewel in the crown as it flew

overhead and dipped its wings. We jumped up and down waving.

‘Thank you! Thank you!’ we yelled as it flew off into a night filled with

lights and hope.”


“On V.E. Day a huge bonfire was lit in front of the grand gates, which we had to

watch out of the dormitory window. Every time an aeroplane flew over

a great roar of joy broke out among the Fishes gathered round the fire.”


“On V.E. Day we had a huge bonfire in front of the house. The young

nuns – S.M.Christopher, S.M.Peter, S.M.Martha and S.M.Benedict –

and probably also S.Magdalen John, helped to build it. It was at night,

and amazingly exciting – all the more so when an aeroplane flying over

dipped its wings.”



A more detailed account can be found on our Archive page under VE Day / WWII Evacuation