Elm Park and Harold Wood mark 75th anniversary of VJ Day
PUBLISHED: 17:23 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:30 17 August 2020
Services to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day have been held across Havering.
On Saturday, August 15, ceremonies were held in both Elm Park and Harold Wood to mark Victory over Japan, which effectively signalled the end of the Second World War.
Fr Tom Keighley told the Recorder he was pleased with how well the service at St Nicholas Church, Elm Park, went, particularly in light of Covid-19 restrictions which required it to take place outdoors.
He said: “The service took place on the steps of the church. We wanted to address two important themes; the first is that many people are not aware that VJ Day is what truly marked the end of the Second World War. Secondly, we wanted to acknowledge the contribution of the Commonwealth forces.”
Fr Keighley continued by explaining that the British Indian Army lost around 80,000 soliders in the war; 18 of its members were awarded Victoria Cross (VC) medals for bravery.
The service finished poignantly with The Last Post, after which the church bell was tolled 75 times.
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Then came the Reveille, followed by a moving rendition of God Save the Queen.
The Harold Wood service was held at the War Memorial outside the town’s library, and was opened by ward councillor and former Havering Mayor Cllr Brian Eagling.
After welcoming all attendees, Cllr Eagling used his speech to remember the sacrifices made by those on campaign service in the Far East, where the Second World War continued after VE Day had been celebrated.
At 11am a two-minute silence was impeccably observed, after which came a rendition of the National Anthem and a reciting of the Lord’s Prayer.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were fellow Harold Wood councillors Cllr Darren Wise and Cllr Martin Goode, alongside Gooshays’ Cllr Jan Sargent.
Cllr Goode laid a wreath on behalf of the Harold Wood Hill Park Residents’ Association, with Cllr Sargent laying flowers on behalf of the Residents of Harold Hill.
Local residents and business owners also paid their respects, alongside veterans and representatives of the Women’s Institute.
After the service, all present were invited for complimentary drinks at The Harold pub by its new landlord.
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