Thousands commemorate VE Day

PARADES, church services and street parties were held across East Anglia yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.One of the largest was in Haverhill, where war veterans and their families joined air, sea and army cadets for a procession through the town.

PARADES, church services and street parties were held across East Anglia yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day.

One of the largest was in Haverhill, where war veterans and their families joined air, sea and army cadets for a procession through the town.

Those present at the event ignored the pouring rain, and instead made the most of the chance to reflect upon the memory of fallen comrades, parents, grandparents, and friends who died during the conflict.

Bill Norton, 80, now lives in Harlow but grew up in Linton, near Haverhill. He served with the Royal Marine Commandos from 1941 until 1945.


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"There are not many veterans left now, and it is important that the memory of those who died is kept going by future generations," he said.

"It is hard for younger people to understand just what the war was like, and events like this are important to try and get the message across that we must never forget those who died."

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The parade, led by the St Edmunds Sea Cadets and followed by the 1451 Haverhill Squadron Air Training Corps, and the Haverhill Detachment Army Squadron, made its way to the town's cemetery, where Canon Edmund Betts held a ceremony of rededication for the refurbished memorial.

Wreaths were then laid by local dignitaries, including West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, and the Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Councillor Michael Jones, before a Service of Remembrance was held in St Mary's Church.

In Clacton, the sun shone as war veterans laid three wreaths to mark the occasion.

The moving service was held at the war memorial on the resort's seafront. About 60 people including representatives of the Royal British Legion, the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Korean Veterans plus members of the public braved the changeable weather to attend.

John Sparks, Clacton branch treasurer, said: "It was a very good service and several members before they came away told me how pleased they were by it. There could perhaps have been a few more people but there is a long programme of events this year and this was a good start."

Later that afternoon, members of the Royal British Legion Club Ltd in Walton on the Naze were transported back to the 1940s at a special party and dance.

The hall in Vicarage Lane had been decked out inside with flags and red, white and blue streamers and outside flags were flying to mark the occasion.

Members of the Halesworth branch of the Royal British Legion paraded their standards in the parish church yesterday for a special VE Day service.

Among those present were the branch president, Lt. Col. Brian Fowle , its chairman, Sir Edmund Lacon , members of the legion's women's section and Dr Bill Pagan, chairman of Halesworth Town Council.

More than 2,000 people visited the Martlesham Heath control tower for a special open day yesterday to commemorate VE Day.

Fly-bys performed by a Yak 52 Russian training aircraft and a spitfire, which was piloted by Squadron Leader Paul Day, the commanding officer of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, were the highlights of the day.

Meanwhile the entertainment, uniforms, vintage vehicles and even cakes took people back to the wartime years.

Bob Dunnett, vice-chairman of Martlesham Heath Aviation Society, said: "It was a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed it. It brought back memories – some glad, some sad."

Second World War veterans were among the people taking part in a parade through Hadleigh yesterday to remember all those who had fallen.

The procession, which was hosted by the local Royal British Legion branch, started at the county primary school, moved along Station Road and ended in a service at St Mary's Church.

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