On Saturday 15th August, a small crowd gathered, whilst observing social distancing, at the Penzance War Memorial at Battery Rocks to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War.
It formed part of a programme of virtual and socially distanced events across the country to commemorate the anniversary, organised by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR and his dedicated team.
The Mayor of Penzance, Councillor Nicole Broadhurst, was joined by the Penzance Deputy Town Crier, and standard bearers representing Penzance Royal British Legion, Penzance RAF Association, and West Cornwall Light Infantry Association.
Proceedings began in Penzance at 10:58am with bugler Graham Martin, of the West Cornwall Light Infantry Association, playing the Last Post followed by a two-minute silence. Mr Martin was one of only nine buglers across the country invited to take part in the official commemorations by Bruno Peek and was presented a silver bugle for the occasion.
“This is such an important day to remember,” said Mr Martin. “My father served in Burma during the war and they are often called the forgotten army. It’s important for every generation to remember their sacrifice which gave us our freedoms today.”
This year marks the 60th year that Mr Martin has been the Last Post bugler for Penzance; a position that he takes very seriously: “I’ve never missed a year from the age of ten.”
The two-minute silence was followed with a ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ by Penzance Deputy Town Crier, Phil Northcott.
Men from across the parish of Penzance died during the conflict with Japan on active service and in prisoner of war camps. Their sacrifice is as important today as it was 75 years ago, with survivors and their descendants still living in the area.
The commemorations were particularly poignant, as this was one of the first public events where people could come together as a community following the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
“It was right and proper that we commemorated the end of the War in the Pacific and the work and sacrifices that were made” said Councillor Broadhurst.
“The quiet and contemplation of our ceremony was a fitting tribute to all those who were involved. The act of remembering ensures that we honour those who helped enable a lasting peace.”
The Penzance Book of Remembrance, which contains all the known names of those from the parish who made the ultimate sacrifice, is on display at Penlee House Gallery & Museum and the Memorial Chapel in Penlee Park.