When VE Day dawns on 8th May 2020 it will be 75 years since hostilities ceased against Germany at the end of the war in Europe. Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, had committed suicide on 30th April during the Battle of Berlin so Germany's surrender was authorised by his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz. The administration headed by Dönitz was known as the Flensburg Government. The act of military surrender was first signed at 02:41hrs on 7th May at the SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) HQ at Reims and a slightly modified document was signed on 8th May in Berlin. Almost six years of carnage and destruction had come to an end and millions of people took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved-ones and to hope for the future, but not forgetting those still in conflict against the Japanese in the Far East until 15th August 1945 - VJ Day - when it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War 2.
The 75th anniversary will provide our nation, and our friends around the world, with an opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through this dark and terrifying period. To commemorate this important anniversary VE Day 75, a three-day international celebration, will take place from 8th May to 10th May 2020. It will give us too an opportunity to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made and to joyously celebrate as people did 75 years ago, the arrival of peace in Europe.
We will remember the members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy from many countries who gave their lives or returned home injured in body and mind, the hard-working women and men who operated the factories, mines, shipyards and farms, and ARP wardens, police officers, doctors, nurses, fireman, local defence volunteers and others who toiled day and night selflessly on the home front during difficult frightening and uncertain times.
Friday 8th May 2020, has been designated by the Government as a Bank Holiday, allowing many - social distancing and lockdown permitting - to join in the VE Day 75 celebrations, so we do hope that you will take part over the VE Day weekend of the 8th-10th May 2020, providing you with the opportunity to pay your personal tribute to those millions at home and abroad who gave so much to ensure we all enjoy the freedom we share today.
At 14:45hrs on the 8th May a video of SMI (BM) Damon Farnell, our outstanding bugler from The Silver Bugles Band, sounding the Last Post, Assembly and the Advance, will go live on our YouTube channel: (https://www.youtube.com/channe...)
Nationally, at 15:00hrs a lone piper will play the traditional tune Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years, a new tune written for the Anniversary. A number of WW2 veterans will raise a glass to undertake the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2, coinciding with the toast from Dover Castle, Kent, on the world famous white cliffs overlooking the channel, by the Chairman of Dover District Council, who will lead the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ with 75 dignitaries, joining the tribute to all those that left our shores and gave so much, along with those, particularly the women, that stayed at home to keep the ‘home fires burning’, contributing so much to the war effort and enduring so much are not forgotten.
In addition Somerset Army Cadets are running a competition. We want to see photographs of you - cadets and adults - in uniform on VE Day 75, Friday 8th May to create a commemorative A3 poster, similar to the one on this page, that you will be able to download and print and have framed. You can send your photos to the County PR Officer who will design a new poster once all the images have been received. On a separate note, you can also help out ABF The Soldiers' Charity South West by donating as much as you feel comfortable giving by going to our Just Giving page. In these difficult and troubled times there are still many who have given so much in their lives but could now do with YOUR help. Please, please help them.
You can download a high resolution A3 file of this poster here.