The Toowoomba Region’s Town Crier, Kevin Howarth will join a global chorus on Saturday, August 15th to commemorate one of the final acts of World War Two when he delivers a heartfelt tribute at Toowoomba’s Mother’s Memorial at 11.05am.
Mr Howarth will mark the 75th anniversary of VP Day (Victory in the Pacific), marking the end of World War Two hostilities. He said he had been practising a cry that had been written especially for the occasion.
“The VP Day Cry for Peace Around the World is an international commemorative event that has been organised to mark the date,” Mr Howarth said. “I am honoured to join my fellow Town Criers across Australia and the world to proclaim the 75th anniversary of this memorable occasion.
Town Criers across Queensland, Australia and New Zealand will be the first to ring their bells to start the VP Day Cry for Peace.
“Criers from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada will recite the cry that recalls the sacrifice of military personnel and the efforts of citizens who kept the home fires burning.
“The cry captures the unbridled relief, joy and sadness that were associated with the end of the hostilities in the Pacific when the Japanese surrender was announced on August 15, 1945. It also marked the end of the war.”
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the commemorative activity meant the landmark anniversary would be recognised in a fitting manner, despite the limit on people attending gatherings.
“The Toowoomba Region and Australia still honour the service and sacrifice of veterans who played a vital part in the Second World War,” Mayor Antonio said. “The ranks of these servicemen and women might be thinning, but the events and lessons of the Second World War remain a vivid part of our living memory.”
“Just as we do every Anzac Day, this commemoration on August 15 serves as another reminder of how much was sacrificed and why we must serve the interests of peace across the world.
“For our region, it is a chance to reflect on the sacrifice of the men who served in the 25th Battalion, better known as the Darling Downs Regiment, and their actions in New Guinea, especially at Milne Bay in August 1942. The men of the 25th Battalion played a vital role in the defence of a key airstrip and helped to secure the first land defeat of Japanese forces in the Pacific war.”
The final scenes of World War II were enacted on September 2, 1945 when representatives of the Japanese Government signed an ‘instrument of surrender’ on board the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
The Second World War, which had started on the German-Polish border six years and one day earlier, had finally come to an end.
Background information:: Australian military personnel from all branches of the services played significant and vital roles in the war in the Pacific.
Many soldiers who fought throughout the New Guinea campaign had served in the Middle East the year before. The New Guinea campaign saw approximately 7000 Australian troops killed.
The first and worst air raid on Australian soil occurred in Darwin on February 19, 1942 when 243 people lost their lives.
Raids across the north of Australia from Broome in the west to Townsville in the east saw the suggestion of the Brisbane Line – a strategy to let the invaders take the lands north of a line parallel to Brisbane.
Three midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour on the night of May 31, 1942 and fired on vessels. A Japanese submarine shelled Newcastle one week later.
In May 1943 the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur was torpedoed and sunk (north east of Brisbane) with the loss of almost 270 lives.
Official figures show 39,366 Australian men and women died during World War Two (1939-1945). ** Taken from the national Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.
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