Public Events 14th/15th August
Covid-19 restrictions prevented the nation from commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day in May and Victory over Japan (VJ) Day in August in a manner fitting the efforts and sacrifice of those men and women of the British Empire who took part.
Relaxation of restrictions will allow us to commemorate the two days properly this year with events in Dorchester over the weekend 14th and 15th August which the general public are welcome to attend. The weekend activities include:
Saturday 14th August
· A VJ Day Anniversary Service will be held in the open air at The Kohima Stone outside County Hall (Colliton Park, DT1 1XJ). The service will commence at 11 a.m. and last for approximately 30 minutes. In attendance will be the daughter of Lt Col ‘Knocker’ White DSO, who commanded the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment in Burma and fought at Kohima. Also Janet Fox, the daughter of the late Sgt Gerry Waterhouse, Dorset Regiment. Sgt Waterhouse had played a crucial part in the Battle of Kohima April/May 1944, commanding a tank that was winched up a precipitous hill and then clinching victory by firing at close range into Japanese bunkers. This is a public event and all members of the public are welcome to attend the service.
· The Keep Military Museum (DT1 1RN) which is close by, will be open all day. In addition to the Museum’s extensive collection of historical displays, there will be a number of special activities including weapons on display and available for handling by the public.
Sunday 15th August
· A ‘Victory Day’ service (marking both VE Day and VJ Day) will be held in Borough Gardens, commencing at 11.30 am. The service will be followed by a band concert by The Durnovaria Band, and a display of vintage vehicles in Borough Gardens. There will also be a display of vintage buses in the Top’o’Town car park. Following this there will be a private lunch for 135 people in Marabout Barracks, Poundbury Road at 1245. Present will be veterans of the Dorset Regiment and families, including two veterans of the 4th Battalion Dorsets who were PoWs – one captured in Normandy and one captured at Arnhem. Another veteran took part in the occupation of Tokyo at the end of the War. In addition there will be the sons of several distinguished Dorsets, men such as Colonel ‘Steve’ who rescued the survivors of his battalion’s rearguard action at Festubert, getting them safely home from Dunkirk. Also the sons of Max Heron and Gary Cooper, who together attacked German tanks with Bren gun carriers and got away with it. Also the son of CSM Nick O’Connell, who fought in Malta, Sicily, Italy, landed on D-Day (when four of his five officers were casualties) but was himself killed a few days later, the son of a stretcher bearer decorated for his bravery in Sicily….and more!
· The Keep Military Museum (DT1 1RN) close by, will be open all day. In addition to the Museum’s extensive collection of historical displays, there will be a number of special activities including weapons on display and available for handling by the public.