Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City commemorate 75 years since Victory in Japan
PUBLISHED: 15:58 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 18 August 2020
Wreaths have been laid at Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield war memorials to mark Victory in Japan day, when Emperor Hirohito announced their surrender – bringing World War II to a close.
Local resident Andrew Night thanked Welwyn Hatfield’s mayor Cllr Roger Trigg for turning out despite the rain on Saturday morning.
Cllr Trigg said: “Today we honour all the British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces who fought so bravely in the Far East. So many paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today. We are eternally grateful.”
Meanwhile in Hatfield, the town council organised a service conducted by the Reverend Darren Collins with wreaths laid by Hatfield mayor Cllr Margaret Eames-Petersen, Welwyn Hatfield deputy mayor Cllr Peter Hebden and HTC leader Cllr Lenny Brandon. WHBC’s Veteran Covenant Champion Cllr Glyn Hayes also attended.
Cllr Brandon said: “VJ Day marks the day Japan surrendered in 1945 to effectively end the Second World War. We gathered on Saturday to remember and pay tribute to all who served many thousands of miles away in Asia.
“Some paid the ultimate sacrifice never to return, while many, many others were left scarred for life from not only the horrors of war but from being held captive in prisoner of war camps. Lest we forget”.
WHBC’s Armed Forces Covenant Champion¹, Cllr Glyn Hayes, also paid a special tribute to the Commonwealth forces.
Cllr Hayes said: “Victory in Japan was a significant moment marking the end of the Second World War and it is important we remember the service and sacrifice of those brave men and women.
“As they fought for our freedoms, we also give special thanks to the legacy of those Commonwealth veterans across Asia-Pacific, who have helped to shape our culturally rich and diverse communities across the UK.”
This year also took place during the coronavirus pandemic, many marked the day virtually with Welwyn and District History Society explaining how the historical day was remembered by those who lived it.
According to the society, Rector Rev. H. R. Bate said at the time: “We have been profoundly thankful and perhaps still a little bemused that the long dark dreary road is behind us and the gate stands open for us to set our course into the new world which lies before us all unknown.”
A dinner was later organised for the troops, after they returned, in October 1946. Mr Bate added: “There was a good congregation at the thanksgiving service on Wednesday night and also on the Sunday following. Our collections were given on VJ night to the reconstruction of churches in Europe and on the Sunday following for the same purpose in China.”
Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden and culture secretary also marked the day, saying on Saturday: “Wherever you are, please join us in giving thanks to the veterans who came home and to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
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