The generation who were young during the Second World War are fast leaving us. It has been fascinating to have met many through my work as a vicar and my very great privilege to have ministered to them in their final days and at their funeral services. Two examples from just the last seven days. I took the service for a veteran of the evacuation of British forces in Dunkirk in May-June 1940 when over 300,000 troops were lifted from the beaches and brought home. Seen as a ‘miracle’ at the time, the beaches were terrible places. Constantly bombed by enemy aircraft the stress brought out both the best and worse in the people there.
And then I met someone who had served in the Royal Navy, on one of the mighty battleships we had in those days. At the end of the war his ship was posted to the Far East to continue the war against Japan. On the day of their surrender his ship was anchored close to the USS Missouri where the Japanese delegation came to sign the necessary instruments for peace. High above the decks, he looked down and witnessed the Second World War come to an end. Living history of the most striking and vivid kind!
If you want to see this event, as witnessed by a Bridport man, here’s the link.