A further 37 Darwen lives had been lost in 1945 as a direct result of war action. For many people they thought that the war had ended in May 1945 when the Germans surrendered. Others thought that the war was over in August when the Japanese surrendered. However, servicemen and women were still on active service and many of them were overseas. Out in the Far East there was unrest amongst the ranks as they thought they had been forgotten and were not being re-patriated quickly enough. Although kept quiet, 52 Squadron actually mutinied and were refusing to go on parade, service aircraft or carry out normal duties. Some even went on hunger strike. Having destroyed infrastructure, removed authority and damaged sources of essentials such as food and hospital services an army cannot simply leave on surrender. Europe was pretty much the same and there was a lot to be done before we could leave. Back home people were trying to get back to normal but rationing would carry on for some items for almost a decade. Worried about the sudden increase of motors on the road now that menfolk (drivers) were returning and petrol rationing was not so severe, Darwen held a Road Safety Week. Trams disappeared from Darwen's roads.
***You can click on each image to enlarge it***
The first Darwen casualty of 1946 was Robert Hutchinson of the RNPS working on Trawlers on minesweeping duty.
Sadly, this would be followed up by another only 2 days later when Elsie Hutchinson, a member of the ATS died.
Armed Forces were still being deployed around the world and in January 1946, Sergeant James Albert Ormerod found himself in Egypt.
On the last day of January 1946, Petty Officer Alice Copestake, a member of the WRNS died and was buried at St Stephen’s in Tockholes.
In March William Cooper who had not been to war because of his reserved occupation married Muriel Cooper who had been evacuated to Darwen.
In April 1946 Harry Warburton of the General Service Corps died and was buried in Darwen Cemetery.
The empty roads of Darwen during the war through petrol rationing and drivers on war service would soon become a place of danger once more.
Darwen held a Road Safety Week in May/June with an exhibition at the Tech. Notice that some of the railings (which are now back) were removed for war salvage.
Still working on Spitfires in May, James Albert Ormerod was out in Sardinia.
Recognition for services rendered during the war started to appear, and many Darwen families would have received their certificate for taking in evacuees.
School children received their official notice of the end of the War from King George VI in June.
On the reverse was a list of important dates where they could also record their family’s contribution to the war effort.
Weddings would start to return to normal, and the often seen military uniforms were replaced by suits and white dresses. This one was in June 1946.
In July Thomas Haydock of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps lost his life and was buried in Darwen Cemetery.
In July out in Burma, Sergeant Albert Edward Heap was promoted to Warrant Officer for the part he played in taking spies and supplies behind enemy lines in 1944.
The passenger list had been prepared before his promotion was known of and had to be altered on the Crash Investigation Report.
W/O Albert Edward Heap along with 21 other returning servicemen died when their plane crashed into a swamp and is buried in Rangoon War Cemetery.
Like so many Darwen men and women, their final resting place is far from home.
Norman Baxendale, at only 18 years of age would have been a new recruit when he lost his life in August 1946 with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Jack Walsh who had been a Stoker on HMS Victorious passed away on 12th August 1946 and was buried in Darwen Cemetery.
HMS Swiftsure entered Hong Kong harbour in August 1945 to take the Japanese Surrender. Devon man Peter Wall who had a penpal in Darwen was onboard.
In September 1946 Peter visited his penpal whilst on leave and, having met her just two weeks before, married her at St Paul’s in Hoddlesden.
Darwen trams had been given a reprieve by the war and should have been replaced in 1941.
1946 brought that reprieve to an end and the tram shed closed down as well.