Second World War veterans get their marching orders: join up for one last parade

The Scottish Government is appealing for Second World War veterans to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender.

Myles Shandley, who served as a button boy in the Royal Navy during the war, taking part in both the Atlantic and Arctic convoys. Picture: PA
Myles Shandley, who served as a button boy in the Royal Navy during the war, taking part in both the Atlantic and Arctic convoys. Picture: PA

Veterans minister Graeme Dey has asked for surviving members of the armed forces, or anyone who played a part in the war effort, to come forward and be part of the commemorations.

While still a work in progress, the celebrations of the end of the war in Europe on 8 May 1945 is slated to include a parade and a concert in Edinburgh.

Veterans and their families have also been offered free travel and accommodation in the capital for the events.

Catherine Drummond, who served in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force as a radio operator. Picture: PA

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Currently, 25 veterans are known to the Scottish Government – which has been working with Legion Scotland on the commemorations – but they are appealing for more to come forward.

Dey said: “We have a basic structure of a gathering for the veterans and the people who will be coming with them.

“There’s the element of a parade and we have an afternoon of live music.

“There will be a focus on them, that’s the key message. It’s not a military parade or a military event; it’s about the veterans.”

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Margaret Landels, who was part of the Women's Royal Naval Reserve. Picture: PA

He added: “At the moment we’ve identified 25 veterans but we’re hoping that the launch event will spread the word.

“It’s open to everyone and I really want this to be an opportunity to commemorate the service of some amazing people.”

Dey was joined at the launch by three veterans – Myles Shandley, Margaret Landels and Catherine Drummond.

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Shandley served as a button boy in the Royal Navy during the war, taking part in both the Atlantic and Arctic convoys. Landels was part of the Women’s Royal Naval Reserve, while Drummond served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as a radio operator.

Dr Claire Armstrong, the chief executive of Legion Scotland, said the charity was unsure about how many other veterans were out there but it was looking to reach as many as possible before the anniversary, with new names coming in daily in recent weeks. She said: “We started towards the end of last year using the website, using social media and other regimental channels to push the message out that we wanted to identify as many people who were involved in the Second World War – in the effort at home and overseas.

“We’ll continue to push that out through the media, through social media, the website and all the veterans contacts that we’ve got.”

Armstrong also believes it 
is “vital” to ensure that younger generations learn about the war effort and the sacrifices of those who served.

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She said: “The one thing that we’ve got here on the 75th anniversary is we have that living memory.

“We’ve got that first-hand testimony and stories and we get to meet these fantastic people who gave up so much.

“That’s something that’s really precious and that we want to make sure that the younger generation understand and they take on board that message and take that message forward into later years.”

A number of educational materials will be sent to schools in an attempt to help children understand more about the conflict.

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