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VE Day 75th anniversary: Moray pays its respects


By Alistair Whitfield

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People right across Moray managed to find unique and personal ways to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday.

Dufftown and District Pipe Band member Chris Jameson takes a minute to remember during the VE Day 75th anniversary celebrates. All pictures by Daniel Forsyth.
Dufftown and District Pipe Band member Chris Jameson takes a minute to remember during the VE Day 75th anniversary celebrates. All pictures by Daniel Forsyth.

With social distancing making it impossible to hold any official events it meant households and individuals took it upon themselves to organise their own small-scale, but heartfelt tributes.

The event was marked in Duftown, Elgin, Forres and Lossiemouth to name just four communities.

In Hopeman leaflets were delivered to every household to let everyone know in advance what was being planned.

After the two-minute silence was observed in the village at 11am, there was an organised singsong, for which lyric sheets had been printed and delivered.

The communal singing featured three wartime classics – (They'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover, Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye) and We'll Meet Again.

'Peace stones' were also dotted around the village, bearing painted messages such as 'love' or various designs such as a poppy.

Kathleen Simpkins joins in the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day in Hopeman.
Kathleen Simpkins joins in the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day in Hopeman.

Before lockdown was implemented six weeks ago, children from the village school had been learning about the significance of the day and also making bunting in preparation.

Lynda Heron, who is on the school's parent council, said: "That made it even more important to make sure we marked the occasion."

Lynda and her family even went to the trouble of making a model of her husband's grandfather James Bruce, who served in the Royal Navy during the war.

The model was then kitted out in the Petty Officer uniform worn by her husband Stuart during his time in the Navy.

In order to mark VE Day the Lord Lieutenant of Moray left his home and walked the short distance next door to the grounds of Dallas Church, within which there are two Commonwealth War Graves.

Wearing his father's medals from the Second World War, Seymour Munro then read aloud the speech which Winston Churchill gave to the nation exactly 75 years ago.

Lord Lieutenant of Moray - Major General The Honourable Seymour Monro CBE - recited Churchill's speech at the Dallas Churchyard to mark VE Day. He is proudly wearing his father Hector's war medals in honour of the Coastal Communities Pilot. ..75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day at the Forres War Memorial...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Lord Lieutenant of Moray - Major General The Honourable Seymour Monro CBE - recited Churchill's speech at the Dallas Churchyard to mark VE Day. He is proudly wearing his father Hector's war medals in honour of the Coastal Communities Pilot. ..75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day at the Forres War Memorial...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Speaking about the continuing relevance which VE Day still holds, Seymour said: "It was one of, if not the most important single day in the whole of the last century.

"People had gone through five years of fear and hardship to battle against evil.

"Can you imagine the emotions they must have felt to know that the war in Europe was finally over.

"It was a tremendous effort, both by the people who had done the fighting and by the people on the home front – the doctors and nurses and everyone else.

"Many lost their lives and many more were dreadfully injured.

"It's only right that we remember what they did."

A good, socially distanced, crowd gather in their gardens and on the pavement on Hebenton Road, Elgin.
A good, socially distanced, crowd gather in their gardens and on the pavement on Hebenton Road, Elgin.

Churchill began his speech on May 8, 1945, by outlining to the radio-listening public the details of how Germany had surrendered.

He then continued: "The German war is therefore at an end.

"After years of intense preparation Germany hurled herself on Poland at the beginning of September, 1939, and in pursuance of our guarantee to Poland and in common action with the French Republic, Great Britain, the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations declared war against this foul aggression.

"After gallant France had been struck down, we from this island and from our united empire maintained the struggle single-handed for a whole year until we were joined by the military might of Soviet Russia, and later by the overwhelming power and resources of the United States of America.

"Finally, almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers who are now prostrate before us. Gratitude to our splendid Allies goes forth from all our hearts.

"We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead. Japan, with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued.

"The injuries she has inflicted upon Great Britain, the United States and other countries, and her detestable cruelties call for justice and retribution.

"We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our tasks both at home and abroad. Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!"

More news from Moray here


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