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Australian Contingent Given Great Welcome

By Sightseers

LONDON, Sunday.

Units from the three services and representative of every part of the British Empire provided the procession which marched through the city yesterday in commem- oration of Victory Day while overhead planes flew in formation, and the fervour of the celebrations was not marred by the rain which poured down.

London streets were packed with its biggest and gayest crowds and there was prolonged cheering as men and women from the British Com- monwealth forces marched by in the impressive Victory parade.

The stream of men and weapons, which flowed down past the saluting base in the Mall, was a mighty dem- onstration of Empire solidarity.

Separate columns of marching men and weapons came together be lore reaching the Mall and it was a magnificent moment when the King

took the salute.

Australians Cheered

It was indicative of the family spirit which kept the crowds stand- ing in the rain, even from early noon, and it was the same family spirit which broke out into exuber- ant cheers when a band, playing "Waltzing Matilda," heralded the ap- proach of the Australian contingent and sent them cheering again when the dented hats of the New Zealan- ders appeared.

Australian and New Zealand girls, with their softly-tanned faces, con- trasted with the white faces of the British girls.

The crowd gave its warmest wel- come to Dominion troops who were re-visiting England to which they had come in the dark days of the


The troops marched 12 abreast and made an imposing spectacle.

The cheering swelled into a roar as Australians, led by General Ea- ther, swung as one man into White- hall, looking the smartest of all the contingents.

Dressed in an Admiral's uniform   the King took the salute. For prac- tically two hours the Queen stood be- side him, going back to the chairs with the Princesses and Queen Mary only when a sharp shower beat into the front of the pavilion.

The strain of long hours of wait- ing was too much for many of the sightseers and ambulance officials had to treat 4,127 persons, 65 of whom were taken to hospital.

Fireworks Display

After dusk floodlights illuminated a majority of London's principal buildings and a fireworks display on the Thames fascinated thousands who watched Their Majesties proceed down the Thames in the Royal barge.

The crowd was so dense that the police had to cordon off Westmin- ster Bridge.

In the uniform of the Admiral of the Fleet the King, with the Queen. in powder blue, and accompanied by the two Princesses, stepped   aboard the Royal barge at 9 p.m. and, escorted by five police boats and a fire launch, proceeded to West-


A fanfare of trumpets, relayed by 500 loudspeakers, was played as the Royal party arrived.

The most impressive moment of the day came when thousands on, the bridges and on both banks spontane- ously burst into singing the National


The planned celebrations ended with a brilliant display of fireworks Which changed the Thames and em- bankments into a, fairyland and flooded Central London with a blaze of colour as rockets and star 'shells rose and burst, hundreds at a time.

After watching the display Their Majesties returned to Buckingham Palace which seemed more closely packed then ever. Mounted police had difficulty in making way for the Royal car from which the King and Queen acknowledged ovation after


Responding to the insistent de- mands Their Majesties, Queen Mary and Princess Margaret appeared on the- palace balcony at 12.20 a.m. and acknowledged another acclamation.

With queues up to a mile long un- derground stations at Central Lon- don were closed periodically to pre- vent the choking of platforms and entrances as Victory Day millions attempted to wend their way home after midnight. Thousands gave up hope when time came for the last trains approached, and they settled down in parks, gardens and door- ways to wait the first transport on Sunday morning.

London had taken in more than it could handle in the time. Many women and children were caught in dangerous crushes in Westminster Bridge, Charing Cross and station area. Police allowed only a thin trickle through as thousands were massed at both ends of the bridge.

An hour before dawn, when the congestion was sorted out, London became a city half asleep and still

half awake.  

Some revellers fitfully maintained song and dance but most dozed un- easily on hard couches, crouched in coats or huddled under sheets of paper. Some even slept at bus stops to be the first in morning


Accompanied by the Princesses, Queen Mary, the Princess Royal and the Duke and Duchess of Athlone, the King and Queen attended a com- memoration service at Westminster Abbey this morning.

The Abbey was less than half-full when the Royal Party arrived, but the congregation quickly increased as the news of the Royal party spread.

Prayers included Thanks to God for Victory and for the devotion and loyalty of the British Commonwealth

of Nations.

In the meantime, a crowd of about 1000 assembled outside the Abbey and, when the Royal party left, they

were cheered.