Doubleview Primary School students celebrate 75th birthday together


CLASSMATES of a Perth primary school will celebrate their milestone birthday along the beach they spent much of their childhood at.

Four 1957 graduates of Doubleview Primary School have formed a committee to organise a reunion at Rendezvouz Hotel in Scarborough.

“This is a fancy one because we’re all turning 75 years of age, so it’s like a celebration of it,” committee member Noel Clarkson said.

“It’s probably going to be the last one…we’re getting to the age where some of us may not be around.”

Camera IconThe student cohort in 1955. Credit: Supplied

Committee member Barry Chesson said the reunion would feature music from the 1950s, to bring back memories and prompt patrons to reminisce their time at Doubleview PS.

“People who went here spent a lot of time on Scarborough beach, so we thought that we’ll build on that and have our venue down by the beach at Rendezvous Hotel,” he said.

“Doubleview PS was built during an unprecedented post-war period when there was a large population growth, so schools were springing up everywhere.”

L-R: Noel Clarkson, Barry Chesson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport in front of one of the original Doubleview PS buildings, at International School of WA.
Camera IconL-R: Noel Clarkson, Barry Chesson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport in front of one of the original Doubleview PS buildings, at International School of WA. Credit: Nadia Budihardjo

Fellow committee member Christine Fogarty-Reston said classes would have more than 50 students.

“We had 63 in one of our classes that one time,” she said.

The reunion will be held at Rendezvouz Hotel in Scarborough on November 8.

L-R: Noel Clarkson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport at the new Doubleview Primary School sign.
Camera IconL-R: Noel Clarkson, Christine Fogarty-Reston and Rob Davenport at the new Doubleview Primary School sign. Credit: Nadia Budihardjo

“In those days, kids would wander around out of the schoolgrounds…It was just an easy life, in primary school,” fellow committee member Rob Davenport said.

“I always think about our swimming lessons, there were no swimming pools in Perth then.

“We learnt to swim in the Swan River…so we would swim among all the jellyfish.”

Doubleview PS moved into its new location in 2018 while the original buildings became home to the International School of WA.



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PM Modi releases Rs 75 coin to mark 75th year of FAO


By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

October 16, 2020 12:15:48 pm


The Rs 75 coin which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. [Twitter/BJP Bihar]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday released a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO] of the United Nations.

Speaking on the occasion via a web telecast, the Prime Minister also released 17 new biofortified crop varieties and reiterated the government’s commitment towards the welfare of the farmers.

The move came at a time when several farmers have refused to call of their ongoing agitation against the contentious agricultural laws, despite holding talks with the Centre recently.

“The government has broken all past records in procurement of wheat and rice. The government is committed towards MSP procurement, which is an important part of India’s food security,” Modi said.

He added that the Centre was also promoting millets and high nutrition crops to address malnutrition in the country.

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U.K. remembers Far East war on 75th anniversary of VJ-Day


LONDON —
The U.K. marked Saturday the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Japan during the Second World War, with Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip leading tributes to those who fought during the six-year campaign.

In a special message on Victory over Japan Day, the Queen and Philip offered their “grateful thanks” to those involved in a campaign that has been widely overlooked in the decades since.

The war cost the lives of some 50,000 British and Commonwealth troops, nearly half of whom perished in brutal prison camps.

“Those of us who remember the conclusion of the Far East campaign, whether on active service overseas, or waiting for news at home, will never forget the jubilant scenes and overwhelming sense of relief,” said the 94-year-old Queen, who remains in quarantine at her residence in Windsor Castle because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Amongst the joy at the end of the conflict, we also remembered, as we do today, the terrible devastation that it brought, and the cost borne by so many,” she added.

Following the surrender of the Nazis on May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day, Allied troops carried on fighting the Japanese until an armistice was declared on Aug. 15, 1945 in the wake of the U.S.’s dropping of two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Japan formally surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945, but many Pacific War veterans felt their efforts were not fully recognized and forgotten in the fog of the mushroom clouds. They dubbed themselves the “forgotten army.”

They were being remembered Saturday across the U.K., firstly with a commemoration at the National Memorial Arboretum in central England and a two-minute silence. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. They all spoke with some of the around 40 veterans present, carefully observing social distancing guidelines to remain at least 2 metres apart. And all those present looked skyward in wonder after the official ceremony to see a special Battle of Britain flypast.

Richard Day, 93, who was involved in the decisive 1944 Battle of Kohima in north-east India, remembered the harsh conditions everyone had to contend with, and of how he contracted malaria and dysentery at the same time, while fighting a highly determined enemy.

“I think the worse part was crossing rivers at night, it was cold at night, then all night in wet clothes and wet equipment, still having to move about,” he said. “It was a glory for them (the Japanese troops) to die for their emperor. They didn’t appear to have any fear at all.”

In a first since the London 2012 Olympic Games In London, the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows scheduled a U.K.-wide tour with flypasts over the four nation’s capital cities. However, due to poor weather the flypast over the Scottish capital of Edinburgh was cancelled and the Red Arrows flew over Glasgow Prestwick Airport instead. The pilots landed there to greet three veterans.

In an open VJ-Day anniversary letter addressed to “Veterans of the Far East Campaign,” Johnson hailed the courage of those who fought in Asia and the Pacific.

“You were the last to come home but your achievements are written in the lights of the glittering capitals of the dynamic region we see today,” he said.

Johnson acknowledged their war-time experiences had been “overshadowed in popular imagination by the conflict in Europe,” but he stressed that their service had brought the Second World War to an end and inaugurated a period of peace and prosperity across southeast Asia that remains intact to this day.

Britain, which had been a colonial power across much of the region, suffered arguably its biggest military defeat to Japanese forces in the early years of the war. Overwhelmed troops had to retreat from Malaysia, Singapore and Burma in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable.

“These blows were so heavy that many feared they would break your will to fight on,” Johnson said in his tribute letter. “But you survived the longest retreat in British history, marching almost 1,000 miles from Burma to India, and then you regrouped and reformed.”

The prime minister also highlighted the creation of the “formidable” 14th Army, a fighting force that was made up of nearly a million soldiers, including from India and Africa, and which helped “turn defeat into victory.”



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Scotland marks 75th anniversary of VJ Day


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Poppy Scotland

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Jack Ransom is 100 and has lived in Largs for most of his life. He was a prisoner of the Japanese for more than three years

Commemorations are taking place across Scotland for the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day.

VJ Day marked the end of the conflict in Asia and brought World War Two to a close in 1945, four months after the fighting in Europe finished.

Millions of people from the allied countries took part in parades and street parties to celebrate.

But Saturday’s events will mean commemorating in a different way because of the ongoing pandemic.

What is VJ day?

VJ Day ended one of the worst episodes in British military history, during which tens of thousands of servicemen were forced to endure the brutalities of prisoner-of-war camps, where disease was rife and there was a lack of food and water.

For thousands of British civilians captured when British and Dutch Far East colonial territories were overrun, VJ Day was the end of illness, starvation rations and an uncertain future in the Japanese camps.

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The Royal Scots

Image caption

Major Howard, second in command, on the road to Kohima in India

It is estimated that there were 71,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.

More than 2.5 million Japanese military personnel and civilians are believed to have died over the course of the conflict.

‘The war is over. Japan has surrendered’

Jenny Martin, 78, was born in the Changi Prison Camp, in eastern Singapore, and spent the first three years of her life there with her mother, aunt and cousin.

She told BBC Scotland she could recall the moment she knew freedom would come and that she would never forget that day. She was only three years old.

“Unknown to us, a bomb fell on Hiroshima and then another on Nagasaki,” Jenny said.

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Jenny’s mother was four months pregnant with her when she was taken in a truck to Changi prison

“One day, the guards all disappeared and then a plane flew overhead and dropped from its undercarriage thousands of leaflets, which fluttered to the ground like snow.

“Around me everyone was saying: ‘Thank god, thank god!’ and the leaflet read: ‘The war is over. Japan has surrendered. We are coming for you very soon.’

A few days later, British soldiers arrived in trucks and they were taken to be given medical attention.

Jenny said she remembered sitting in a garden after she was free, fascinated by the plants, flowers and grass.

Along with her mother, she was reunited with her father. She was on the first ship to leave Singapore to return to the UK. She later studied in Edinburgh.

How is the anniversary being commemorated this year?

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the events taking place in Scotland are different from those in previous years.

The Red Arrows will perform a flypast of Edinburgh in one of the only physical events marking the day.

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Reuters

Image caption

The Red Arrows will do flypasts over Belfast and Cardiff before finishing their UK tour over London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea

An online concert and service of remembrance will lead the commemoration.

The Royal Scots will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at Laurieston Castle, Edinburgh to remember their 496 serviceman who died in prisoner of war camps.

In Dumfries, a virtual service will go online and a video will be promoted across the council’s social media channels to mark the day.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh said: “It is, of course, disappointing that there can’t be an actual gathering but the safety of veterans and the public is our paramount consideration during Covid-19.

“Our alternative VJ Day arrangements demonstrate Dumfries and Galloway Council’s continuing support for and appreciation of our Armed Forces.”

In a video message First Minster Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to the those who died in the Second World War and the men and women who served their country.

Ms Sturgeon also remembered those who spent time in prisoner of war camps and those who made sacrifices on the home front.

She added: “Together, they ensured the freedoms that we enjoy today.

“And all of us should be inspired by their service, resilience and bravery – as well as by their idealism, their determination to create a better world in the aftermath of the war.”

A two-minute silence was also observed across the country.

Legion Scotland will issue medallions in honour of those who made a contribution to the war effort.

Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said the day would be a time for the nation to come together to remember the sacrifices “which ensured the peace and freedoms we enjoy today”.

He said: “The whole country owes our current and ex-service personnel an immense debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice.”

Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “This campaign saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Second World War and in some of the harshest conditions.

“Many thousands of British and Commonwealth forces and civilians being taken as prisoners of war, enduring terrible mental and physical trauma.”

Dr Armstrong added that VJ Day would pay tribute, not only to the British forces, but the Allied and Commonwealth forces, “without whom the defeat of Japan would not have been possible”.



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WWII internment of Italians in Australia remembered on 75th anniversary of war’s end


As Australia commemorates 75 years since victory over Japan in World War II, descendants of Italian-Australians who were interned during the war recall the dark days when suspicion fell over their community.

About 5,000 Italian men were interned in Australian including 1,500 who were British subjects, many who came to Australia as children.

The impact of internment hit Queensland’s sugar communities especially hard, with hundreds of men in the farming town of Ingham rounded up when Japanese forces threatened Australian defences during 1942.

Ingham local David Robino was just four years old when his Italian-born father Solotore Robino, who had been naturalised as a British subject for 24 years, was arrested at dawn and taken south to be interned.

“Dad was as Australian as they come; he was naturalised in 1917, he played football, he represented North Queensland in football, he was in the rifle club and the Volunteer Defence Corps.”

Sent by guarded train to Cowra, multiple letters from respected locals were furnished to authorities pleading for his release, which was eventually granted in early 1943.

Different allies, different treatment

Solotore Robino’s younger brother served in the Australian Army, which was typical for many internees who also had sons and brothers who enlisted for service.

As Australia readied for possible invasion, many of the United States servicemen who arrived in 1942 were shocked by Australia’s treatment of its Italian community.

Italian detainees being moved at Loveday, South Australia, the largest Commonwealth internment camp in the Southern Hemisphere.(Supplied: AWM)

“I remember Dad saying, ‘We passed a troop train on the way to Cowra’, and a troop train coming north full of American soldiers heard them speaking Italian,” David Robino said.

“They said, ‘What are you blokes doing here?’. The Australians said, ‘They’re locking us up’ and the Americans said, ‘We’re coming up here to fight your war and they’re locking you up?’

Solotore Robino was released on the condition that his younger brother Peter remained interned, where he worked during the war on road construction near Alice Springs.

Forgotten history

Deakin University researcher Mia Spizzica completed a PhD on the impact of internment on Italians living in Australian during the war, and said Italy was not seen as a threat during the 1930s, with former prime minister Joseph Lyons even photographed with fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

“During World War I, Italy was [allied to] the British,” she said.

There was really no discussion about this amongst the families I interviewed: they thought they were on the side of the British.”

But when Italy entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany sentiment turned against Italians.

b&w photo of italian family
Men of Innisfail’s Caminiti and Neri families were among thousands who were rounded up in 1942, under suspicion of being enemy agents.(Supplied: Josie Caminiti-Verbis)

But when Japan’s army swept through the southern Pacific and took Singapore and modern-day Indonesia, a decision was made to expand the scope of internment.

Professionals and businessmen who were considered community leaders were among the first to be interned, followed by young men of military age.

“My grandfather was among those group of men,” Dr Spizzica said.

“He was of military age and had done his national service, his wife and child were in Italy and he was interned.”

David Robino said two or three local men were considered committed fascists by the Herbert River Italian community around Ingham.

“They were sort of despised by the others, because that’s what they wanted to get away from when they left Italy — the fascism over there,” he said.

Food production suffered

Like many of his fellow internees, Solotore Robino was involved in farming and owned the largest sugarcane farm in the Herbert River district.

“It’s a cane-cutting area here,” Mr Robino said.

“Production on our farm dropped from 3,700 tonnes to 700 tonnes of sugarcane.

“There would have been a hell of a lot more production for the war effort if people had been left on their farms up here.”

In addition to the 5,000 interned in prison camps, Dr Spizzica said another 10,000 to 15,000 Italian men were put to work in remote bush camps to build roads, rail and work in mines.

railways station with victory sign
Townsville Railway Station decked out to celebrate Victory in the Pacific, 1945.(Supplied: NQ Photographic Collection)

Reparations never paid

David Robino estimates the cost of both internment and the confiscation of tractors, trucks and other farm machinery put his family back a decade financially.

Some machinery was returned in poor condition but a Chevrolet truck was never seen again.

Mr Robino said compensation for internment and the seizure of property was never mentioned after the war.

“They actually got reparations after the war, these Japanese in America, but our people got nothing,” he said.

While requests were made for reparations in the 1990s, Dr Spizzica said both major political parties refused to entertain the prospect.

“This request has always fallen on deaf ears and now the last detainee, Peter Delsignore, has passed away in Townsville I don’t think there will be any more talk of it,” she said.

Dr Spizzica said her research found most internees resented the years wasted behind barbed wire when they could have been growing food for Australia’s war effort.

“They just felt like all that manpower was wasted,” she said.

“It was an interesting feeling: they loved their country of birth but this was their country of adoption.



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VJ Day commemorated on 75th anniversary


The “last of a great generation” and Australians across the country have paid their respects on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Veterans and dignitaries, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, commemorated Victory in the Pacific Day in a closed, socially distanced ceremony at the Australian War Memorial on Saturday morning.

It was 75 years earlier, on August 15 of 1945, that Emperor Hirohito publicly announced Japan’s acceptance of the Allies’ terms and his country’s surrender.

Three months prior, Nazi Germany had surrendered to the Allies.

The date became the marker for the end of the six-year-long second world war.

One million Australians donned the nation’s uniform throughout that time, including many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Paying respect to indigenous veterans during her welcome to country, proud Ngambri woman Dr Matilda Howes and her great-grandson Michael thanked the men and women who gave their lives for Australia.

“In the Australian defence forces they were equals, not so when they returned,” she said.

“We will always continue to protect our land and our country.”

Mr Morrison addressed the small crowd in Aircraft Hall and the millions of Australians watching at home, thanking the veterans for their sacrifice and honouring them as the generation that saved the world.

Mr Morrison drew comparison between their global fight against tyranny with the global fight against COVID-19.

“All understood if tyranny was not confronted together, it would be confronted alone. It was true then, and it’s true today,” he said.

“One million Australians wore our uniform and made the silent promise to give their lives for our country if need be.

“They promised their tomorrows for our today.”

media_cameraVictory in the Pacific Day celebrations in Sydney in 1945. Picture: Australian War Memorial

Speaking directly to three veterans in the front row, Mr Morrison said “you didn’t give it a second thought”.

“You were boys who helped free a world and became great men,” he said.

“You did all this with your nation behind you and always on your mind.

“In your sunset we honour you, we honour your generation. In my mind, you are Australia’s greatest generation.

“We thank you. You won a war, secured peace, and saved civilisation. Your deeds will never be forgotten.

“We pledge to always be a good country. To always be as courageous as you.”

Thousands gathered at Martin Place in Sydney to celebrate the end of the war. Picture: Australian War Memorial
media_cameraThousands gathered at Martin Place in Sydney to celebrate the end of the war. Picture: Australian War Memorial

Mr Morrison said the city of Darwin was on his mind, as he reflected on the long road to forgiveness in the Australian city that was most impacted by the war.

Australian Defence Force Chief General Angus Taylor took the opportunity to pay respect to two of Australia’s most distinguished veterans, Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean – who was this week posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross – and third officer Ruby Rose.

“The entire country answered that call back then,” he said.

“Today, we remember and honour them.”

Australian forces had been on campaigns across the Pacific – in New Guinea, Bougainville, New Britain, Borneo and the Philippines – and Australian prisoners of the Japanese were scattered throughout Asia.

The Australian War Memorial recognises that while there were “many contributors to Japan’s defeat, the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, brought the conflict to a sudden end”.

Originally published as ‘Last of a great generation’ honoured



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VE Day 2020: Britain toasts second world war heroes as Red Arrows flypast marks 75th anniversary – live | World news


The Countess of Wessex joked with a second world war airman about his hangover after VE Day celebrations when they met for a virtual chat.

Members of the royal family have been talking to wartime veterans and civilians this week to hear their stories and mark the 75th anniversary of the war ending in Europe.

Louis Goodwin, 94, from Salisbury, told the countess he had joined the RAF in 1943 as an 18-year-old and opted to train as a gunner rather than pilot or navigator because the instruction course was shorter.

Speaking on the Royal British Legion’s special online show, screened on its Facebook page, the former airman said:


When I joined, I thought the war’s not going to last that long and I’ll never get flying, because the training for a pilot was a good year, so I elected to go for a quicker course on air gunnery.

The countess asked about his safety flying in Lancaster bombers, adding: “Quite an exposed position you were in because you were right down in the tail.”

Goodwin joked: “I wasn’t quite as fat as I am now, with flying gear on it was a job to get in anyway – a little bit tight sitting behind four machine guns.”

When he said that he had left the VE Day party at 11pm, the countess said that was “quite civilised, not too bad.” He replied: “We had a few drinks.”

“You remember the headache the next morning?” she asked.

“Yes, yes and wondering what we were going to do next,” Goodwin replied.


Sophie, Countess of Wessex talking via video link to Louis Goodwin. Photograph: Royal British Legion/PA

During the Royal British Legion’s online show, Dame Joan Collins described how her London home was destroyed in an air raid when she was a child, and the tenor Alfie Boe sang.

Collins said: “We got bombed out and I remember going to our home in Maida Vale and seeing that the whole flat was gone.

“‘Oh, where’s my toys?’ I said to my mother. ‘Well, we’ll have to buy you some more,’ said my father toughly.”

The Princess Royal chatted to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles, 95, from Gloucester, who served with the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a petty officer and air radio mechanic.

She said she had “volunteered for the services because it was the thing to do, we had to get this war finished”.

Dorothy was 19 when she lost her boyfriend in an air crash while she was working in the Fleet Air Arm.

She said about her service: “It challenged me, it stretched me. I learned about death.”

The Princess Royal (right) talks via video link to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles.

The Princess Royal (right) talks via video link to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles. Photograph: Royal British Legion/PA

The princess asked how she was coping with the coronavirus lockdown.

“I’m not good in my mobility and I worry [about] not getting out of the flat, but I’ve got instructions from my grandchildren, I’ve got to stamp about the flat from each room and pretend I’m doing physical work,” she said.



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VE Day: UK marking 75th anniversary of end of WWII in Europe


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Getty Images

The UK is marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day, with the Royal Family leading tributes as the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will lead a two-minute silence at 11:00 BST to honour servicemen and women during World War Two, and the Queen will address the nation later.

The PM thanked the VE Day generation, saying “our gratitude will be eternal”.

Events are taking place all day, but public gatherings have been cancelled.

Victory in Europe Day marks the day in 1945 when then-prime minister Sir Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe had come to an end, after Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered.

This year’s celebration will be limited as the lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic means there will be no large-scale street parties or parades.

However, the BBC is airing a series of special programmes to mark the milestone occasion, including a re-broadcast of parts of Sir Winston’s speech.

A pre-recorded message from the Queen will be broadcast on BBC One at 21:00 – the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago.

‘One supreme effort’

In a message, Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to the virus outbreak, saying it “demands the same spirit of national endeavour” as shown during wartime.

“We can’t hold the parades and street celebrations we enjoyed in the past, but all of us who were born since 1945 are acutely conscious that we owe everything we most value to the generation who won the Second World War,” he said.

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PA Media

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Mr Johnson lit a candle in Westminster Abbey, ahead of the day of commemorations

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Leon Neal

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He and the Dean of Westminster socially distance at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior

How VE Day is being commemorated

  • 10:50 BST: A service in Westminster will see Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle lay a wreath on behalf of the House of Commons. Lord West will lay a wreath on behalf of the Lords
  • 11:00: A national moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence
  • 14:45: In a special programme on BBC One, extracts from Churchill’s victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe will be broadcast
  • 14:55: Solo buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will be invited to play the Last Post from their homes
  • 15:00: As Churchill’s speech is broadcast, people will be invited to stand up and raise a glass in a national toast, saying: “To those who gave so much, we thank you”
  • 20:00: Another BBC One special will feature Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will be performing some well-known songs from the 1930s and 40s. The programme will culminate in the nation being invited to sing along to a rendition of wartime classic We’ll Meet Again
  • 21:00: The Queen’s pre-recorded address will be broadcast on BBC One. It will be her second televised message during the coronavirus outbreak after a rare speech to the nation last month
  • 21:30: Spotlights will light up the sky in Portsmouth to recall the experience of blackouts during the war. The local council says the lights are also to remind people “that lighter times will come again”

Mr Johnson – who is due to have a video call with a veteran later – said: “We survived and eventually triumphed thanks to the heroism of countless ordinary people, who may be elderly today, but who once carried the fate of freedom itself on their shoulders.

“Across the world, our soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Nazis with courage, ingenuity and stubborn endurance.

“On the home front, women defended our cities against air raids, worked the factories, ran the hospitals and broke enemy codes. People of every age, race and background came together in one supreme effort.”

Mr Johnson also wrote to surviving veterans and told them, despite the ongoing lockdown due to coronavirus, their efforts to topple a “ruthless enemy” would “always be remembered”.

What is VE Day?

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Getty Images

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Prime Minister Winston Churchill stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside the Royal Family (with the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, on the left) on 8 May 1945

Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8 May 1945 saw Britain and its Allies formally accept Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender after almost six years of war.

At 15:00, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced on the radio that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany’s surrender the day before.

Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the country and the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and her sister Princess Margaret, ventured out with a group of friends to experience the excitement in London.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said although people cannot be together this VE Day, “we can still remember together”.

He also referred to the virus outbreak, saying: “We owe so much to the generation of VE Day. We must do everything we can to care for and support them through the current crisis.”

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Media captionVE Day: ‘The peace treaty was drawn up by our dad’

He added: “The crisis in our care homes has gone on for too long and we must do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, many of whom protected our country in its darkest hour.”

In a video message, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said reconciliation and hope were the “two great tributes we can pay to the 1945 generation”.

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Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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In London’s Piccadily, the end of the war was celebrated with jubilance

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Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Large crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square

‘That’s your father’

Victory in Europe marked the point where some families could be reunited after a long separation. Born in December 1939, Peter Stevens had no memory of his father, who had been fighting in North Africa and Italy for most of Peter’s life.

Peter told BBC Radio 5 Live about meeting his father for the first time, aged five: “A face came at the back window, I looked up and my grandparents said, ‘That’s your father.’ That’s remained with me all my life, that moment.”

He recalls walking with his father through the fields near High Wycombe, meeting his mother where she was working and walking back together, a family for the first time in five years.

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Peter Stevens

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Peter Stevens – pictured on his 80th birthday with his grandchildren – didn’t see his father until he was five

The BBC’s special evening programme will feature Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will be performing some well-known songs from the 1930s and 40s.

It will culminate in a public sing along of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, a song synonymous with World War Two.

Last month, the Queen echoed the words of the now 103-year-old singer – known as the Forces’ sweetheart – when she told those in lockdown “we will meet again” during a rare speech to the nation.



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