Sound of silence all around

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The Independent Online
In Hyde Park, at 8.38pm, the silence was so complete you could could have heard one of Dame Vera Lynn's sequins drop.

For two minutes, even the youngest children among the 150,000-strong crowd fell silent. People stood absorbed in their own reflections of the war. One woman in her 60s cried quietly.

During the official silence, the uninformed radio listener could have been forgiven for thinking the batteries had run out. All that could be heard was an empty hiss across the spectrum of national and commercial stations, bar a lone reggae singer.

Television and radio schedules were interrupted, public address systems silenced, and a hush fell across the key Premiership football match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. There was not so much as a murmur from the crowd as players stood with heads bowed around a wreath of roses in the centre circle.

Across the rest of the British Isles, observance was more sporadic, but Bristol ground to a halt, with its roads momentarily deserted as motorists stopped to remember the war dead.

On Dartmoor, Second World War veterans joined more than 200 people to observe the two-minute silence at Haytor Rock.

In Cardiff, customers who flocked to pubs and British Legion clubs for special VE night anniversaries put down their drinks and stopped singing to observe the silence.

In Glasgow, about 1,200 people observed the two-minute silence at a special VE night at the Paramount social and bingo club in Hawthorne Street.

Across Jersey, in the midst of celebrations for their liberation from the Germans, islanders also took time to remember. At a banquet to honour members of Taskforce 135, which marched into Jersey on 9 May to signal the end of the occupation and free the island, they stood in silent tribute.