At 6.20pm on the 4th May 1945 in a tent on Luneberg Heath in Northern Germany a German delegation signed the instrument of surrender of all German forces in Holland, Denmark and North Western Germany. The surrender was taken by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery commanding the 21st Army Group comprising the British Second Army and the First Canadian Army.
The cease fire in the British and Canadian sector was to come into effect at 8am the following day.
It was not until the 7th May that a final German surrender to all of the allied forces, Britain, Canada, United States, France and Russia was signed and the following day, 8th May, was to be known as Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
Among the troops of 21st Army Group were three battalions of the county regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
The 1st Battalion, also known as the 43rd, had landed in Normandy in late June 1944 with the 53rd (Welch) Division and had fought through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany and now with the end of fighting was in the city of Hamburg.
The 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, also known as the 52nd, had been the first troops to land in France by glider on D Day, 6th June 1944 and fought through to the River Seine before returning to the United Kingdom. Rushed back to take part in the Battle of the Bulge at the end of December 1944 it had again returned home in early 1945.
On 24th March 1945 the battalion took part in its second major airborne operation when it took part in the Rhine Crossing suffering 50% casualties. It then took part in the advance to the Baltic where it met the Russians.
Now at the end of the fighting it was at Bad Kleinen.
The 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion had also landed in Normandy on D Day, 6th June 1944 and was responsible for the defence and organisation of a sector of “Sword Beach”. Later the battalion was broken up to replace battle casualties in other infantry battalions mainly in the 51st (Highland) Division. The remainder of the battalion becoming “Lines of Communication” troops before the decision was taken to rebuild the battalion as the Garrison battalion for Brussels. In early 1945 the battalion was designated as a “T” or “Target” Force Battalion responsible for seizing and holding of enemy military and industrial assets.
The battalion would eventually make up the T Force units for both 1st Canadian and 2nd British Armies meaning that when the fighting ended their companies were spread across Holland and northern Germany.