Forfar 2015: 70th anniversary of VE Day Slideshow

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Eyes lifted skywards as the evocative sight of a lone Spitfire over Forfar signalled the official start of VE Day celebrations.

The fly-past by replica fighter aircraft began a day-long commemoration organised by Legion Scotland marking 70 years since the end of the War in Europe.

The 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe was commemorated at the Market Muir and Station Park, Forfar, on Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Pic by Andy Thompson)

The 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe was commemorated at the Market Muir and Station Park, Forfar, on Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Pic by Andy Thompson)

Beginning with an afternoon of entertainment at the Market Muir, the day featured military bands, vehicle displays and a special performance by 1940s dance troupe, The Kennedy Cupcakes.

It also included an impressive Beating Retreat ceremony at Station Park in the evening which was attended by a number of invited guests including Keith Brown, veterans secretary and cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities; Pierre-Alain Coffinier, the French Consul General; Angus Provost Helen Oswald and Georgiana Osborne, Lord Lieutenant of Angus.

The guests of honour, however, were the Second World War veterans present, who were applauded by the audience packed into the Station Park stand.

Led by the massed pipes and drums of Legion Scotland, the ceremony also included the Military Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

And it culminated in a free ceilidh at the Legion Scotland clubrooms on Academy Street.

The stars of the day were the veterans who mingled with and talked to members of the crowd at the Market Muir.

Alex Adam (91), from Forfar, said he was delighted that the event had attracted all ages.

“It’s hard to believe it’s 70 years ago,” he said, “but I think this is a very good thing, to cast the memory back.

“It’s also a good thing to jog folks’ memories; to remind them of just what was given during wartime.”

A veteran of the North African and Mediterranean campaigns, Mr Adam, a Royal Marine, spent VE Day in transit to Germany as his unit, 117 Brigade, was on its way there as an occupying force.

He continued: “I never got to take part in the celebrations that were going on. En route I saw Belsen burning, about a mile-and-a-half from where we were, and someone told us what it was.

“I remember seeing the smoke up in the distance. It was a terrible place, it was a relief to know it was all over.

“We were mostly confined to our barracks and not allowed to mix with anyone. We ended up being there for about five months.

“To us it felt like the war was still going on.”

Keith Brown said he was honoured to attend the evening’s service of thanksgiving and remembrance.

He added: “Those from Scotland and the rest of the UK and beyond whose actions helped free the peoples of Europe from brutal oppression will never be forgotten.

“This 70th anniversary of VE Day is a particularly poignant commemoration and moment for reflection for surviving veterans and those who can recall the events of 1945.”

The pictures featured in our slideshow were taken by freelance photographer Andy Thompson.