Sailor and his Chichester girlfriend recreate ‘the kiss’ image

It is one of the most identifiable images of passion – an instantly-recognisable photo from the Second World War of a US sailor and a young woman kissing in New York’s Times Square.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 11:35 am
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 11:36 am
Hollie Shelton, and Edward Threlfall, a sailor from HMS Dragon, in New York's Times Square in November 2019.

Seventy five years later, Edward Threlfall, a sailor from HMS Dragon and his partner Hollie Shelton, who grew up in Chichester and works in Eartham, have recreated the pose in a stunning shot.

The original event took place almost half a century before Hollie, 25, and Edward, 28, were born. But after arranging to meet in New York, where Edward was visiting on the destroyer Dragon, which was guarding the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Waterlooville couple decided to re-enact the famous kiss between George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman.

The initial inspiration for the photograph came in September as leading seaman Edward walked through the dockyard ready to embark on his latest deployment.

Hollie, communications manager at Great Ballard School, said: “Edward walked past the statue of the unconditional surrender, depicting the kiss scene, which was there from the D-Day commemorations. He sent me a photo text saying ‘that will be us in New York in November’.”

Edward added: “When I walked past the statue it did catch my eye and I thought recreating the scene may be a possibility.”

The couple, who lived in Stockbridge until August this year, had previously done a superimposed image of the event but wanted to create an original modern day take of the scene.

Hollie said: “We did a quick practice in the hotel room about where to position ourselves and then headed into Times Square. We used my mobile phone to take the photograph. I looked around the square to find someone to take the picture and asked a lady with a tripod.”

Synonymous with the end of the war, the message behind the image transcends the generations.

Edward said: “The image really sums up the euphoria of the end of the war. I’ve obviously read about the kiss and it’s such a cool story.”

Hollie added: “The scene really epitomises the celebration of the end of something so bad – although I’m not sure how the same situation would be received today.”

Edward returned to Portsmouth on HMS Dragon last Monday and is looking forward to his first Christmas at home in two years.

“Everyone has families and it’s hard being away,” he said. “Last year I was out in the Gulf over Christmas.

“It was incredible to see everyone on the jetty and I can’t wait to have my family over for Christmas.”

Hollie added: “We had just bought a house together and had only been in it for nine days before Edward was deployed. It can be really tough being apart but also speaks volumes for our strength as a couple. The photograph of the kiss will give us a memory to treasure.”