The Australian Defence Force has marked 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe with a simple ceremony held in Adelaide.
VE Day - Victory in Europe Day - signalled the end of almost six terrible years of fighting between the Allies and Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945.
Three quarters of a century on, in a small ceremony at the South Australian National War Memorial in Adelaide, senior ADF representatives joined Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le, the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Sandy Verschoor, and RSL South Australia President Cheryl Cates to lay wreaths in commemoration of those who served.
Senior Australian Defence Force Officer - South Australia and Air Warfare Centre Commander, Air Commodore Brendan Rogers, said the service was personally significant having served with No. 10 Squadron and understanding the importance of their operations in Europe during the war.
“For me the simple service was particularly poignant reflecting on the legacy left by those who flew for 10 Squadron during World War II,” Air Commodore Rogers said.
“Despite the impact of COVID-19, it was important that we came together, however modestly, today to commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“We particularly acknowledge the remaining RAAF veterans in South Australia who served in Europe in WWII and who are with us in spirit today but, unfortunately, could not participate in today’s service.”
Director Community Engagement, Group Captain Greg Weller, said RAAF Edinburgh units, and the Air Force veteran community in South Australia in particular, appreciate the importance of this year’s 75th anniversary.
“Several Air Force units at RAAF Edinburgh saw distinguished service in World War II in Europe,” Group Captain Weller said.
“No. 10 Squadron was the first unit to see operations in World War II and the first to incur a casualty - Flight Lieutenant John Napier Bell, a South Australian born at Largs Bay, who joined the Air Force in 1935 and was with 10 Squadron in England at the start of World War II.
“On June 15, 1940, he was killed when his Supermarine Walrus crashed in France on a secret mission to extract the family of General Charles DeGaulle to England.
“He was the first RAAF airman killed on operations in World War II.”
For the past 50 years, No. 10 Squadron has continued the proud tradition of maritime reconnaissance, flying the AP-3C Orion.
Likewise, No. 462 Squadron saw operations with Bomber Command in World War II in Europe. Of the more than 10,000 RAAF airmen that served in Bomber Command, more than one-third paid the ultimate price.
RAAF Edinburgh and RAAF Association South Australia worked closely with other veterans’ groups in planning the commemoration this year, despite the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.