8th. of May 2005, 60 years on since VE Day in Europe
Trafalgar Square London VE Day 1945
Today, Sunday the 8th. of May 2005 is the 60th. anniversary of VE Day in Europe which signalled the end of WW2 in that part of the world. It seems hard to believe we have reached that milestone, it has all gone so quickly, but in Australia, at that time, although we were pleased one phase of the war was over, for us, we still had the job in front of us to finally defeat the Japanese war machine in the Pacific.
We could but think of the thousands of Australian troops still incarcerated as POW's in the hands of the Japanese. We still had another 3 months of fighting to face before it was at last over in the Pacific, and the Japanese signed the surrender document aboard the USS battleship, Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay, also on a Sunday, the 2nd. of September 1945.
As recorded elsewhere on AHOY, I was delighted to have survived 6 years of WW2, and to be present on that momentous day, serving in the Australian 8 inch gunned cruiser HMAS Shropshire, as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy.
Some interesting statistics.
- By the end of WW2, some 993,000 Australians had enlisted in the armed forces, of whom 575,799 had served overseas.
- 40,000 had paid the supreme debt with their lives.
- In all, 28,756 had become Prisoners of War, 8,296 died in Japanese POW camps, of the 20,000 taken prisoner in the Pacific theatre.
The crowd at the Melbourne Shrine Of Remembrance Service to celebrate VE day, 8th. of May 1945
Losses of the Axis Powers.
- Germany: 7 million, half of them civilians.
- Italy: 400,000.
- Japan: 2 Million.
Losses on the Allied Front.
- Britain: 490,000.
- United States of America: 292,000.
- The Soviet Union: 4 million Red Army personnel died in battle. 5 million taken prisoner of war, probably 13 million people died from starvation.
As many have noted before me: WAR IS HELL!