Marking VE Day
TODAY is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the end of World War II hostilities in Europe.
Half the world celebrated peace from the threat and oppression of Nazism.
Many thousands of Australian service men and women planned a return to Australia, which was still at war.
Our army had been almost completely withdrawn to serve in the Pacific theatre. By contrast, two-thirds of air force personnel had served in Europe or the Middle East, suffering nearly 8000 casualties.
Some who returned later served and fell in the Pacific.
Many air force personnel trained under the Empire Air Training Scheme, and served not in the RAAF, but in the RAF and other Commonwealth units. On return they were labelled “Odd Bods”, a moniker that was accepted with some pride.
Three months later, on August
15, VP (or VJ) Day was celebrated, as Japan surrendered and Australia’s war ended.
VE Day in this year of COVID-19 restrictions may be commemorated in groups of two or three. But one hopes that by August this year, we may be able to gather in greater numbers to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a day of great significance in our history.
Lest we forget.
ROBERT BLACK, president, RAAF Association, SA