South Shields pays its respects to mark 75th anniversary of VJ Day

South Shields and the wider South Tyneside borough are marking Victory over Japan Day with a series of low-key but poignant services.

Saturday, August 15, marks 75 years since the Japanese surrender signalled the end of the Second World War.

With social distancing restrictions preventing large public gatherings, a number of smaller than expected events are taking place across the borough.

The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick and Jean Williamson, and the chair of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, Councillor Ed Malcolm, will lay a wreath at Westoe war memorial.

A bouquet of poppies were placed on the drum altar during the service.

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Gladys Hobson and an Army representative will also lay a wreath at Hebburn’s Carr Ellison war memorial.

Additional wreaths will be placed in other key commemorative locations across the borough.

Cllr Dick said: “Although the commemorative event will not be as originally planned, due to the current guidance around public gatherings of people, we are pleased to mark the day and honour our heroes of the Second World War.”

Cllr Dick has already attended a drumhead service to mark the anniversary outside South Shields Town Hall.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Norman Dick, left, attends the earlier VJ Day Service outside South Shields Town Hall.

Drumhead services were services held near battlefronts during armed conflicts where altars would be replaced by stacks of drums.

Tuesday’s ceremony, which was conducted by Father Michael Weymes, of the South Shields, Whitburn and Boldon Catholic parishes, included a bugler playing The Last Post and was followed by the planting of red, white and blue planters.

As well as the laying of wreaths on Saturday, South Tyneside Council has also invested in memorial benches at Westoe and Carr Ellison war memorials as well as specially commissioned themed planters.

The benches will be unveiled on August 15 with Cllr Malcolm adding: “VJ Day is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in World War II, effectively bringing the war to an end.

“This was a huge historical moment and the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country deserve to be remembered and honoured, despite the challenges we currently face.”

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