White Ensign flag from WW2 battleship brought out for VE Day in Sidmouth

John and Lizzie Moore with his wartime White Ensign flag. Picture: Sarah Hall Photography

John and Lizzie Moore with his wartime White Ensign flag. Picture: Sarah Hall Photography - Credit: Archant

A World War Two veteran and his wife celebrated VE Day in style, by hanging up a huge White Ensign flag from the battleship he had served on in 1945.

John Moore was a ‘very junior officer’ on the King George V, having joined the ship in May 1945 at the age of 18.

He said despite VE Day in Europe, ‘things were still very much going on’ in the Pacific Ocean, and his ship went out there to join the US fleet fighting the Japanese.

“The Japanese were everywhere in the Far East, they were dug in, and we were trying to crack them to submit,” he said.

“The fleet was probably the best way to have a go at Japan, because of all the small islands.”

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The Allied forces relieved some of the islands that had been taken over by the Japanese and made several strikes on aircraft factories.

Soon after the bombing of Hiroshima, the Japanese agreed to surrender.

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Mr Moore recalls that there was ‘great rejoicing among the fleet’.

The official surrender ceremony took place on board the US ship, SS Missouri, but the Americans borrowed a large table from the King George V for the ceremony, and the document was signed on that table.

The White Ensign had been given to Mr Moore when he was on the battleship, after it became tattered and stained with smoke from the funnel, and had to be replaced with a new one.

He took it home when he returned from the war and has kept it ever since as a memento.

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, on Friday May 8, Mr Moore and his wife Lizzie hung it up in the garden of their home in Peaslands Road, where residents held a socially-distanced street party.

Many people put tables out in their front gardens and sat outside chatting to each other and to passers-by.

In the evening, Bob Weeks from Sid Valley Radio, who lives in the same street, presented the show from his home, playing 1940s music and broadcasting the VE Day speeches.

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