Victory in Europe Day

"My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole."

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Oxford DNB is featuring twenty-one lives illustrating aspects of the end of the Second World War in Europe.




George VI (1895–1952), king of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, and sometime emperor of India

Elizabeth [née Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon] (1900–2002), queen of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, sometime empress of India, consort of George VI, later styled Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother

Rhodes [née Elphinstone], Margaret (1925–2016), aristocrat and courtier


Brooke, Alan Francis, first Viscount Alanbrooke (1883–1963), army officer

Cunningham, Andrew Browne, Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (1883–1963), naval officer

Portal, Charles Frederick Algernon, Viscount Portal of Hungerford (1893–1971), air force officer


Churchill, Clementine Ogilvy Spencer- [née Clementine Ogilvy Hozier], Baroness Spencer-Churchill (1885–1977), political wife

Carter, (Helen) Violet Bonham [née (Helen) Violet Asquith], Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury

Marquis, Frederick James, first earl of Woolton (1883–1964), politician and businessman


Bailey, Sir Donald Coleman (1901–1985), civil engineer

Watkins, Sir Tasker (1918–2007), judge

Whateley [née Wood; other married name Balfour], Dame Leslie Violet Lucy Evelyn (1899–1987), director of the Auxiliary Territorial Service


Lascelles, George Henry Hubert, seventh earl of Harewood (1923–2011), opera administrator and festival director

Beamont, Roland Prosper (1920–2001), air force officer and aviator

Gryn, Hugo Gabriel (1930–1996), rabbi and broadcaster


Last [née Lord], Nellie [Nella] (1889–1968), housewife and diarist

Benson, Ivy (1913–1993), bandleader

Pargeter, Edith Mary [pseud. Ellis Peters] (1913–1995), novelist and translator


Denman [née Pearson], Gertrude Mary, Lady Denman (1884–1954), public servant

Sargent, Sir (Harold) Orme Garton (1884–1962), diplomatist and civil servant

Curran, Sir Samuel Crowe [Sam] (1912–1998), physicist and university administrator