70 th Anniversary of VE Day on Friday - a poignant reminder

  john bunyan 19:26 06 May 2015

I know that Thursday and the election is the next important date but Friday is the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Some of us here remember it - I was in London and as an 8 year old I remember it well - street parties and so on.

My father was one of the 55000 plus members of Bomber Command KIA; in his case returning from a raid on Berlin on the night of 23 Aug 1943. Only the rear gunner survived. The rest of the crew and a total of 24 RAF aircrew are buried in a small graveyard in Nieuwe Dordrecht just inside the Netherlands from Aachen in Germany. There is a fantastic committee of Dutch folk who not only care for the graves , but have paid for and maintained a wonderful stone memorial there. They host reunions on significant occasions. I have attended a few times but this year was unable to go for health reasons.

However, a group of young Dutch archaeologists have recovered quite a few planes. I have, in fact heard a first hand account of my fathers crash.

I attach a photo of parts of my father's Lancaster from 207 Sqn. My father's photo is in a frame on the bottom right (A PO Navigator). His brother, my uncle, got a DSC as a Landing Ship OC at Normandy and Walcheren landing RM Commandos under heavy fire.

As the generation that fought the last war is dying out I am sure that we all will be thinking about them on Friday (and, for the Far East fighters, when VJ Day comes round.)

Bomber crash

  john bunyan 15:45 08 May 2015

I watched the VE Day service at the Cenotaph on TV. A little surprised that Andrew was the sole Royal representative - I would have thought Charles, at least, would attend. Nicola Sturgeon looked very smart!!

I had wondered if others had memories of that day, but forgot that few here will actually remember it!!

The generation that fought it, born from about 1907 to 1928 or so were a fantastic one, living through, and picking up the pieces of WW1, experiencing the depression and Wall Street Crash, then struggling in WW2 then seeing the start of the NHS and the rationing and so on. We have a lot to thank them for.

  rdave13 19:21 08 May 2015

A tribute from Wolverhampton that sums it up to how much we owe.

VE Day remembrance in Wolverhampton

  Quickbeam 07:17 10 May 2015

I quite enjoyed last nights VE concert from Horse Guards Parade, it made a nice change from the norm.

  oresome 11:31 10 May 2015

Thank you for sharing those memories John.

A stark reminder of the horrors of war.

My late MIL was in the Land Army and told tales of how they counted the planes passing overhead on their way out and checking off those that returned, speculating on the fate of the rest.

  flycatcher1 10:37 14 May 2015

The celebrations of the 70th went very on TV and were much appreciated. I remember the day very clearly, a big bonfire, dancing and much drinking What we did not realise how hard things would became in the following years with rationing and shortages.

Like most families in this country we were affected in many ways. A cousin, an Observer, shot down and killed over Germany, an Aunt and Uncle bombed out of London.Another Cousin by marriage was a Tactical Reconaissance Pilot and was actually based in Germany on VE Day. His fiancee was in the ATS and her Brother served in the Royal Tank Corps and ended up in Vienna. Another Cousin by marriage torpedoed just outside Cape Town on medivac. My Father, Regular RAF, completed his 5 years overseas and chose to return to the UK in Set/Oct 1941. Six weeks on a ship with two Atlantic crossings and a bombing raid on Liverpool for a welcoming.

I was with my Father in Egypt in 1939 and was evacuated to Palestine, then South Africa and enjoyed the voyage home - one big adventure six week adventure.

My late Brother-in-Law was a Spitfire Pilot just post the B-of-B and finished up as a Forward Air Controller in Burma. He brought home some copies of the Forces newspaper and to cartoons represent the humour of the "Forgotten Army. One showed Sappers building a Bailey Bridge in difficult circumstances when the Sergeant shouts " Five minutes break for a ten minute smoke it's peace in Europe!"

The second one showed some Chindits deep in the jungle listening to the radio announcer saying " And now we will listen to the GHQ Choir from New Delhi singing " It was roses,roses all the way""

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