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This month The Royal Parks will be joining in the VE Day celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Victory was announced on 8 May 1945, 70 years ago, and London is set to pay tribute to war veterans with a special three-day weekend of commemoration events – many of which are taking place within St James's Park from 8 May.

See our What's on to find out more.

The Royal Parks in wartime

The nation had to play their part to support the war effort from blackouts to food rationing and equally the Royal Parks proved to serve the country well.

Here we take a look at how the Royal Parks helped to win the war.

Dig for Victory

In the 1940s you were more likely to see cabbages rather than crocuses in the flowerbeds of St James' Park. This is because during the war growing food took priority over recreation in the Royal Parks as many parks became allotment sites.

The Royal Parks accommodated hundreds of acres of allotments to support the "Dig for Plenty" campaign aimed at encouraging Londoners to grow their own food.

Hyde Park even became home to some resident pigs.

Honouring heroes

At the request of the Minister of Health in 1939 Brompton Cemetery reserved a special plot to bury former members of H.M Forces.

Hundreds of fallen soldiers including heroes that were honoured with the Victoria Cross were buried in Brompton Cemetery in specially commissioned war graves.

Military headquarters

From 1942, Bushy Park became the site of a large U.S.base called Camp Griffiss, headquarters to a number of the Allied departments.

General Dwight Eisenhower decided instead to make Bushy Park the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) centre for planning the 1944 D-Day landings.

Restoring to former glory

German and Italian prisoners of war were put to work within the Royal Parks after the war to restore the parks back to their former glory. The work prisoners were made to carry out included: felling trees, excavating drains, cleaning out mud from the lakes and filling in shelter trenches.



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