Looking to the past and to the future
Minnie, Ola and Pat Gorie, Kirkwall, c1940
Today marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day and is a chance to remember all those who sacrificed their lives in World War Two to give us the peace we’ve enjoyed ever since.
Ola was born just before the war. Her father Pat Gorie was called up to serve in the army, leaving the family grocer’s shop in the care of his wife Minnie and his retired father, John. Luckily for Pat, he was mostly stationed in Orkney. Still, being away from home for six years was fun for neither him nor his young daughter.
Ola, although very young at the time, does remember the VE Day celebrations. She says: “What I recall was being got out of bed at my Granny’s house to see the fireworks being let off by the Stromness lifeboat men. That is really all I remember, apart from the fact that everybody was mightily relieved that it was over in Europe at least.
“Sadly, my uncle George was still a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp on the dreaded ‘death railway’ in Malaya and they probably didn’t know if he was alive or dead at that time. Mum’s older brother William was at sea and was lost when his ship was torpedoed. He was last seen giving his lifejacket to a small boy.”
It’s difficult to fathom what Ola’s parents’ generation went through, with the devastation and uncertainties of war affecting almost every family.
Seventy-five years later, we are now in the midst of another struggle, one that’s full impact has yet to be realised. However, there are glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel as social restrictions start to be lifted next week, meaning we are one step closer to being reunited with loved ones and enjoying the freedoms we had before.
We know that we can’t compare coronavirus to a war, but the optimism we feel as the pandemic starts to subside can and should be celebrated.
So, today we raise a glass to remember the end of war in Europe 75 years ago and the reuniting of the Gorie family, and millions of other families too. We also toast to a safe and healthy future for everyone going forward.
To commemorate VE Day and to mark the launch of our Here Comes the Sun Sale, we’re giving everyone 20% off all Ola Gorie Jewellery currently available on our website with the code VE20.
Discover our range of jewellery, handcrafted in Orkney.
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We'd like to thank our niece, Ola's grand-daughter, Becky Tait, who interviewed her grandmother about her memories of VE day. Fascinating!