A letter from America brings VE day memory

The 487th bomb group (H) of 838th bomb squadron. Sergeant Vernon Devitt is second from left in the back row.
The 487th bomb group (H) of 838th bomb squadron. Sergeant Vernon Devitt is second from left in the back row.

Girvan received a letter from America recently which threw light on the VE Day celebrations in the town.

Calfornian woman, Dianna Devitt, from El Centro, wrote a letter addressed to the Mayor of Girvan, which found its way to local councillor Alec Clark and then local history society member Ian Jones.

Dianna was going through the personal effects of her father, Vernon Devitt, who died in 2015.

Mr Devitt had served in the US Army flying B52 bomber missions. He was based in Lavenham near Bury St Edmonds during the war but he was in Glasgow just before VE Day and was posted to Girvan on VE Day.

Aged 20 at the time, he spent a week in Girvan around the VE day celebrations and wrote a letter back home to his mother in the US.

Ian said: “The letter explains what it was like being in Girvan at that time and how wonderful it was. All he did apparentely was go to dances in the local halls and play golf all week!

“He stayed across from the King’s Arms Hotel in Girvan and that went on fire at the end of the week he stayed in Girvan.”

Dianna’s letter said: “I hope you will read the enclosed 1945 letter written by my father, Vernon Devitt, and smile as much as my father must have when he visited your town and wrote to his mother about it. He was 20 years old. I pray Girvan is still blessed with the goodness they shared with my father so many years ago. God Bless your community mightily.”

Mr Devitt’s original letter, dated May 26, 1945, to his mother said: “Dear Mom and All, I am stationed at Lavenham, north of London. I suppose everyone feels pretty good back there now. It isn’t easy for me, we are just waiting now and that’s what I hate. I was sent to Glasgow, Scotland on sick leave and had a swell time. I was sent there to get some rest but I had to do my resting after I got back here. I stayed in a little town by the name of Girvan and the people are swell. It was just like walking down the street of your home town with everyone saying ‘hello’. I got there on VE Day and they sure gave us a warm welcome. A hotel burned down and it was just across the street from the one I was staying in, I played golf most of the day and danced most of the night, they really celebrated VE Day,

“It sure was fun dancing the old Scottish dances. They were patient with us while we were learning the dances. The Scottish people have a good sense of humour and that is something the English don’t have.”