Council education officer, Margaret Edwards, says the commemoration of the May 1945 U-boat surrender at the weekend taught younger people, as well as visitors, about the vital role Londonderry played in one of the most significant events in world history.
She said it helped put the spotlight on an important aspect of the city’s unique maritime heritage.
“People who lived here during the war or who grew up listening to stories about rationing and blackouts enjoyed taking a trip back in time to reminisce,” said Margaret.
“For the many younger people, as well as visitors to the city, who attended the weekend events, it was a chance to learn about the important role the city played in one of the most significant events in world history.
“The north west has a rich and diverse maritime heritage. We plan to build on the success of the U-Boat commemoration events to reclaim this aspect of the city’s unique maritime heritage,” she added.
One of the visitors to climb into the cockpit of the Ulster Aviation Society’s replica Spitfire in Guildhall Square was Drumahoe octogenarian Andrew Lindsey.
Reminiscing about what it was like to live through the war he said: “The rationing didn’t really affect me as we lived on a farm but I remember children who were evacuated from Belfast coming to stay with us and going to school at Upper Cumber Elementary. They went home to Belfast but then the bombing started again so they came back. I remember their parents used to come and visit and one time they brought us a leather football.”
For Pearl Mowbray from the Waterside, the visit to the Guildhall reminded her of her first job collecting ration coupons: “I worked as an assistant with a wholesaler and remember having to count out the coupons when people came in to buy rationed items like sugar, butter and tea. It seems strange now but back then it was just part of the everyday life.”