Victory in Europe – 8th of May 1945

A wonderful opportunity today, to remember the cessation of hostilities in Europe, on this date, 75 years ago. I am sure we are all sat here today, having perhaps expected to engage with these anniversary celebrations in a way significantly different to how and where we find ourselves on this Friday.

The report of this momentous day was recorded in the Mepal Station Log, with, typically understated, yet factually precise manner as can be seen below:

One assumes that there was the odd beer and celebrations a plenty, though, the Squadron was still tasked with flying responsibilities, perhaps fittingly, it was this day that saw the final ’Manna’ sortie flown from Mepal in support of humanitarian efforts for the Dutch people.

Strangely, I have found no specific recollections of this day, though one must assume for many it represented a massive release, but perhaps also the start of the collective burden that many of the boys would carry to varying degrees for years after.

It was not long before attentions turned from the smouldering devastation of the defeated Third Reich to the Far East, where the War continued and as such, plans were made to reconfigure the Squadron to support these intended needs – 75(NZ) Squadron was to join ‘Tiger Force’. I was perhaps a cruel irony that these plans did not include the RAF aircrew of the Squadron, the Squadron being crewed exclusively by RNZAF aircrew.

75(NZ) Squadron RAF finished the War with highest number of sorties flown in all of Bomber Command, the second highest number of operational aircraft loses and the second highest number of aircrew loses in the Command – a total of 1,139

 

AKE AKE KIA KAHA!

6 thoughts on “Victory in Europe – 8th of May 1945

  1. Stephen Price

    Re Tiger Force My dad went to India as part of Tiger Force….(he was welsh) I have pics of him and his crew in Ranch 1946.so the statement about it being screwed by strictly RNZAF…is incorrect…..He also used to tell me about “operation manna”

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    1. 75nzsquadron Post author

      I was referring to 75(NZ) they left Mepal and were stationed at RAF Spilsby, up until the point that the atom bomb was used to end hostilities against Japan

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  2. Gary Cairns

    My Dad Wilf Cairns was in one of the those aircraft that did the final Manna drop to Rotterdam 8/5/45 with Eddie Ware in JN “Z”
    I was unaware of the significance until today when I read this post and more so that today would have been our Mum’s 96th birthday today, we lost her 19/5/19
    My siblings and I very proud to have had a Dad a member of “75”

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  3. Nick Wilson.

    Good evening, although, like many, the village of Sutton, adjacent to the former RAF Mepal, had to curtail its VE Day Commemorations for the 8th May we did manage to hold a very small event at 11:00 on the day with the Last Post, Two Minute Silence and Reveille at the War Memorial followed by a “ringing” (CD played through the bell tower speakers) of the bells.
    On the evening of VE Day 1945 Sutton Church was lit with floodlights, commemorative postcards were produced of the event at the time. We were able to reproduce that event exactly 75 Years later, I took some photographs if you would like one to post on this site, I also have a photograph of the original postcard for comparison.
    Thank you.

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