When Peace Came

One of my new favorite ways to waste time, is to type random searches into ‘The Commons’ archive on Flickr to see what interesting pictures I can find.

The Commons is a huge collection of photos contributed by public libraries and cultural institutions all over the world. The institutions which have added photos to the online archive have concluded that each picture added has “no known copyright” restrictions, making them available in the public domain. The British Library for example, has contributed over one million images to The Commons. The National Library of Ireland have also donated images.

While searching random words yesterday (yes, yes I know my life is a currently rollercoaster of activity) I came across an image that just stood out to me. I immediately loved it.

The photo captures a group of people greeting one of the first Norwegian planes to arrive home from England in 1945 when the war ended.


The photograph, taken in Norway in 1945, was found in an unusual place: The archive of the Norwegian Temperance Movement.

How did it end up there? That’s the really interesting part.

Well, the Norwegian Temperance Movement launched an essay contest for schoolchildren where they were challenged to capture the experience of war and peace. One essay stood out because of the photographs which were glued to it, one of which was this photograph.

An archivist, Kristin Brattelid, who chose this photo recently as one of her favorites, wrote that it had crossed her mind looking at the image that there are likely elderly Norwegians who have no idea their childhood essays are still so well preserved and saved.

The young girl, from Bygdøy in Oslo, who wrote the essay, chose the theme “When peace came”. She wrote:

When peace came we were not sure if it was right, because we had been fooled so many times.

I thought it was so strange [when the plane arrived home], because it was like it was a greeting from our king, so I choked up, and the boys who had rowed out to the plane told that the pilot who had been in service during the whole of the war cried like a baby when he hoisted the flag.

The archivist later noted that the image “captures the joy of the newfound freedom and the positive nationalism that people took part in during those days in May 1945”.

“The fact that they greet something outside of the photo gives a feeling that they are greeting the future and welcoming peace itself,” she said.

I just thought it was a great photograph with a great story.

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