Three Scottish veterans who fought in the Far East during the Second World War have met the Red Arrows team to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
Veterans Whitson Johnson, Albert Lamond and Barney Roberts greeted the pilots as they stopped to refuel at Glasgow Prestwick airport during the Red Arrows’ journey.
The men exchanged service stories, with three quarters of a century between their Armed Forces careers.
In a first since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, the RAF aerobatic display team had scheduled a UK-wide tour with flypasts to take place over the four nation’s capital cities as part of wider commemorative events.
However, the flypasts over London, Edinburgh and Cardiff were cancelled due to poor weather, the Ministry of Defence said.
Having flown over Belfast at 2pm on Saturday, the team treated the veterans with a flypast above the airport before stopping to meet them.
Mr Johnson, 96, served in the RAF from 1942 to 1947 deciphering codes in support of the Fourteenth Army in the Far East and spent time in Bombay, Calcutta, Chittagong, Hmawbi and Burma.
“As far as I was concerned, August 15th was when the war ended," he said.
“That was a great day. I will never forget it. War is a terrible thing.
“I learned that lesson and I realise there is no point in war.
“I am glad that the war finished when it did, and the Allies were victorious.
“I can hardly believe that it has been 75 years since that day.”
Mr Lamond, 94, served in the Royal Navy from 1943 to 1947 as a signalman and was at Sword Beach during the D-Day campaign.
He was later attached to the Pacific Fleet that joined with the American navy under the command of Admiral Halsey of the US Navy in the Far East.
Bernard “Barney” Roberts, 93, served in the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1947 initially serving on a minelayer to protect the Arctic Convoys from German U-boats before fighting in Italy and later in North Africa.
“On VJ Day I felt great relief and happiness that it was finally over," Mr Roberts said.
“My message to everyone today and in particular the younger generation is that we are very lucky, very lucky indeed not to be involved in a war like the Second World War.
“So many of us owe the freedoms we have today to the Second World War generation.”
Scottish-born Squadron Leader Martin Pert, team leader and Red 1 of the Red Arrows, said:
“It is an enormous privilege, as members of the modern day Royal Air Force, to meet these incredible veterans as they continue to provide inspiration to us all, particularly when we reflect on their sacrifice and service.
“Although separated by different generations and circumstances, there is still so much we have in common with these individuals – indeed, the UK’s Armed Forces in 2020 seek to embody the same values, qualities and determination of our forebears.”
Cover image: RAF veteran Whitson Johnson with one of the aircraft used by the Red Arrows (Picture: MOD).