Veterans remember Victory in the Pacific Day
Bolton Clarke Milford Grange residents and World War II veterans Harry and Olive have very different recollections of the day they got the news the war was finally over.
The pair joined fellow veteran residents Doug and Jim with RSL and Salvation Army representatives, family and friends to commemorate the 78th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific on 15 August.
WAAF veteran Olive was one of the first to get the message of the war’s end through her work with the Cypher Unit.
“I was on duty the day they announced the end of the war at the RAAF Command in Victoria Park,” Olive said.
“We got the message on our Cypher and had to decode it – it announced that there was going to be peace.
“I was able to finish up early and go down to City Hall and we were all dancing and shouting with joy,” she said.
Harry was overseas when that message filtered through.
“Today brings back a lot of memories for all of us,” he said.
“I was overseas in Tarakan, Indonesia on the day they announced the end of the war.”
Heading for home, Harry celebrated his 21st birthday onboard an American ship travelling through a cyclone before being discharged on 21st January 1946.
“It was lovely to see all the diggers getting together and enjoying themselves today,” he said.
While there was much relief for many at the end of the conflict, Olive said it left her and her peers confused as to how to settle back into a normal life.
“I was very fortunate that my job at the accounting firm was held for me, but we all thought ‘what are we going to do now?’.
“There were a few of us from the same office that went to the forces and came back so we shared those same feelings.
“I think the young ones have to realise what war does and hope we never see another one.”
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