Keep Smiling Through

Written by Dice

Dancing on VE Day, May 1945. Such a wonderful celebration! Image courtesy of

7th May 1945. The sound of celebration was in the air. The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace was awash with excitement and colour. People danced, sang, cried, laughed, hugged and kissed each other. All wanted to share the moment of triumph. Rule Britannia and long live the King.

Robert was no longer celebrating; he had join those crowds early on, but now he walked alone over the rubble of bricks and mortar that had once been his family home. Only a few weeks earlier it had been hit by a V2 Rocket. Robert had been serving at the war office at the time, but his wife had witnessed it. Robert thanked God that she survived, and that their son, Albert had been evacuated a year before. He tried to picture what Gloria had described. She had said she watched the rocket fly through the roof, a moment later there had been an almighty explosion as if the devil himself had reigned damnation on the street. Deafened by the explosion, her hair flying in the wind from the blast, Gloria had watched as other houses and buildings fell to the explosion, yet their home had remained standing like a lone soldier whose comrades had fallen around him. The wind had changed direction whooshing past her, racing back towards their home. And in that following instant their home was gone. Other houses had pieces of wall remaining, some had only lost a single wall. Robert and Gloria’s home was completely obliterated.

Robert kicked at the bricks sombrely. He had been frustrated enough with his amputated arm that had prevented him from re-joining the fight back in 1941 and defend his family. And now their home was gone too. What kind of a man cannot defend his family or provide a home? He had tried so hard. Everywhere was full. Robert wasn’t a poor man, he offered much to possible land lords. All he wanted was a home to shelter his now deaf wife, if he couldn’t help or defend her, he would provide a home. But he had failed.

As darkness fell Robert could still hear the joy and laughter throughout the ruined city. Limping he made his way down the steps into the Holborn Underground Station, where he and his wife had lived since the bombing. As usually he was greeted with the stench of urine and sweat. The stay in the Underground was unpleasant, but where else could they go? As Robert reached the bottom he could hear singing.

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