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Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Tony Smith, reflects on the 75th anniversary of VE Day commemorations

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Tony Smith, reflects on the commemorations and the current public health emergency.

“The 75th anniversary of VE Day will be marked in a very different way than we envisaged just a few months ago. The coronavirus situation means that street parties and other public gatherings are no longer possible, but ‘Stay at Home Street Parties’ offer a safe and responsible way for us to mark the day. I am looking forward to seeing how people have decorated the front of their homes in red, white and blue while I take my hour of exercise tomorrow morning.

"At 11.00am I would encourage everyone who can to take a moment to reflect on events 75 years ago. Like millions of others across the country, the Mayoress and myself will observe a two minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation.

"I hope people will join in to remember that generation of young people who put on a uniform and left their homes and families to travel to every corner of the globe, where they faced the greatest dangers imaginable.

"I will also remember the role played by all those in the merchant navy, whose incredible bravery in the face of U-boat wolfpacks, helped keep vital supply lines open and the whole nation fed.

"The critical part played by those who stayed here in Wirral, many in reserved occupations, should also be remembered and celebrated.

"Our shipyard workers made an immense contribution which must never be forgotten. 12,000 men and women worked around the clock at Cammell Laird, building 106 naval vessels at the incredible rate of one every 21 days. No less important was their ship repair work, which allowed more than 2,000 merchant and naval vessels to return to service.

"There are so many other examples - from flour-millers to munitions workers, bus drivers to farmers and dockers to soap-makers – the people of Wirral rolled up their sleeves and made a huge contribution to the long and painful struggle to defeat Nazism.

"Although circumstances today are very different to those of 75 years ago, we once again face an enormous challenge. Coronavirus continues to change our way of life and is having a terrible impact on people here and around the world.

"But just as the wartime generation did before us, people and communities have come together to support one another and overcome a common threat. I think the Royal British Legion summed it up perfectly when they recently said, ‘Be kind. Unite. We can, and we will, pull through this together.’

"Enjoy the bank holiday, take time to remember and please stay home, stay safe and look out for one another.”