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A soldier on VE-Day: ‘I was all mixed up today’

The Story

As the news of victory sinks in, Capt. Frank "Bud" Lynch isn't sure where he wants to be most: with his battalion in Europe, at home with his loved ones, or surveying the scene in Piccadilly Circus in London. Lynch is a soldier who's back in Canada when the Germans surrender. On a CBC International Service program for servicemen overseas, Lynch describes walking among boisterous crowds in Toronto and thinking of the chums who gave up their lives. 

Medium: Radio
Program: War Dispatches
Broadcast Date: May 7, 1945
Reporter: Frank Lynch
Duration: 4:43
Photo: John H. Boyd / City of Toronto Archives / Fonds 1266, Item 96245

Did You know?

• In the book Days of Victory by Ted and Alex Barris, medic Ernie Long remembered hearing the news of the ceasefire. "We sat there in stunned silence," he said, "looking at each other until one of us said what we were all thinking -- 'The war is over, and I'm still alive!'. No cheers. No shouts. Just a shocked realization that we had made it through the war."

• Pilot Harry Bowes remembers being on a train to Liverpool on VE-Day. "We suddenly saw bonfires being lit at dusk on May 7. It didn't take long to realize that the war was over. Since the ingredients for a good celebration were not available to us, we did the next best thing. After six years of blackouts, we celebrated by turning on all the lights and raising all the blinds."

• Another Canadian serviceman, air force gunner Walter Wright, found himself stuck in Ireland on VE-Day. "We took a bus and went to see the sights in Belfast and enjoy a few drinks," he said. "We did not buy many, as the local people kept us supplied."

• The Canadian Forces newspaper, the Maple Leaf, ran a single word on the cover of its VE-Day edition: KAPUT. (Kaput is German for "ruined" or "broken.")

• A total of 42,042 Canadian soldiers, airmen and sailors died in the Second World War. Another 54,414 were wounded or injured and 8,995 were taken prisoner.

• Among the last Canadians killed in the European war were a chaplain and an officer with the Canadian Grenadier Guards in the Netherlands. They had crossed the enemy line to help some wounded Germans.


Victory! The End of the War in Europe more