Pontefract Civic Society was proud to have staged this closed ceremony with Ackworth & Pontefract Branch Royal British Legion. Having had to cancel all physical VE Day commemorations in May this year, it was a step in the right direction that a small socially distanced service could take place at Pontefract War Memorial on Saturday 15th July. Strict guidelines from the RBL HQ were in place including a maximum of 30 invited representatives.
Paul Cartwright, Chair, Pontefract Civic Society said ‘After the disappointment of not commemorating VE Day, we breathed a sigh of relief that we could remember VJ Day and the end of 2nd World War. This was particularly poignant for the ‘old soldiers’ of Pontefract, especially as the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry contingents who saw active service in Far East conflicts were based at Pontefract Barracks’.
All arrangements were made between Brian Berry, RBL, and Phil Cook, Vice Chair, Pontefract Civic Society, and 5pm was chosen to avoid large gatherings during Saturday, a busy market day. The ceremony commenced with a recorded pipe version of ‘Battle’s O’er’, followed by Reverend Canon June Lawson, the Royal British Legion Chaplain and Vicar of All Saints & St Giles’ with St Mary’s Pontefract leading the religious service, and Pontefract Heritage Group’s Town Crier, John Turner, read the ‘Cry for Peace’, as all town criers across the land were doing on this special day. The exhortation was read by the Royal British Legion, and Last Post and Reveille was performed by a bugler, together with a recording of the National Anthem.
Brian Berry, Chairman, The Royal British Legion, Ackworth and Pontefract Branch said ‘The Ackworth and Pontefract Branch TRBL, was delighted to be able to work with The Pontefract Civic Society and Pontefract Heritage Group to mark this important historic occasion. VJ Day represented the end of the Second World War, so it was vitally important for Pontefract to commemorate the 75th Anniversary with a ceremony at The War memorial’.
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