Mark­ing VE Day

The Advertiser - - LETTERS -

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

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