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Portsmouth Veteran’s National Remembrance Date

12 August 2020
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For one veteran Portsmouth sailor there is a special place in the landmark national event for the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day, 15 August 2020.

Albert “Les” Wills was just 18 with nearly two years of service under his belt and on HMS Indefatigable in the Pacific when the war ended. But his work was far from done as the ship was ordered to repatriate prisoners of war to Australia before finally returning seven months later via New Zealand and South Africa.

On Saturday, Les will be at the National Memorial Arboretum alongside HRH The Prince of Wales who will lead the commemorative event. Read more about the event on Gov.UK.

“I think it is the highest honour to be asked to represent the Royal Navy on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two,” said Les. “I do this in memory of all those who served their county during those difficult times. We will not forget you.

“I am so pleased to be able to attend this auspicious occasion when so many cannot. It is a real privilege and will be a very special day for me.”

I think it is the highest honour to be asked to represent the Royal Navy on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. I do this in memory of all those who served their county during those difficult times. We will not forget you. I am so pleased to be able to attend this auspicious occasion when so many cannot. It is a real privilege and will be a very special day for me.

Portsmouth is a special place for Les and his shipmates. For many years the HMS Indefatigable Association, which Les has been chairman of, has been held their reunion in the city along with a service at Portsmouth Cathedral each April.

He then joined the Birmingham Fire service and eventually rose to the rank of Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

The members were thrilled and honoured when the ship’s standard was allowed to be housed at the cathedral, just one of a few ships which share this honour.

The Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, including the two-minute silence, will be broadcast on BBC One from 9.30am. This event is not open to the public and people are asked not to visit the arboretum. VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute will be broadcast on BBC One from 8.30pm.

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