WWII

VE Day Marked With Events Across Europe

Commemorations have been held to remember the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Events have been held across Europe to mark the 74th anniversary of VE Day, or 'Victory in Europe Day'. 

On 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the Second World War in Europe had come to an end, following Germany's surrender.

The French village of Merville-Franceville-Plage is among one of the locations where commemorations have been held.

The once German-occupied coastal village has hosted events every year to remember the liberation since 1946.

The focus is on remembering how lives were affected during the war.

Merville Battery, a giant German installation and part of Hitler’s Atlantic wall, was designed to stop enemy invasion during the Second World War.

It was one of the first targets of the Allies when they landed in Normandy.

Between 6 and 8 June 1945, 35 Royal Marines from 45 Commando lost their lives there. 

The community in Merville-Franceville-Plage, together with others across France, is gearing up to remember the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in less than a month.

In Russia, VE Day is marked on 9 May, as they received the news a day later than their allies. 

For the occasion, veterans from both Britain and Russia gathered on HMS Belfast in London.

Watch: veterans from both nations were invited to a ceremony on board HMS Belfast on the River Thames.

The ship, which now sits on the River Thames, spent 18 months supporting Arctic Convoys during the Second World War which helped liberate Russia.

Russian veteran Nikolay Imchuk was among those at the event. He was made a prisoner of war when he was just 11. 

"Of course I remember this day [VE Day] very clearly," Mr Imchuk said.

"We ended the war on the outskirt of Vienna in Austria.

"I was still 14 years old and because, I was too young, I still didn't taste the wine!"

Nikolay Imchuk was made a Prisoner of War aged just 11.
Nikolay Imchuk was made a prisoner of war aged just 11.

RAF veteran Neil Flanigan was also onboard HMS Belfast. He also found out about the liberation later than many others.

"When you're on operation, you are far away from the human race, it's not like next door... so some of us missed out on when it came to celebrating," Mr Flanigan said. 

A flag was lowered on the ship during a ceremony and given to the Russian visitors as a gift to mark the occasion.

Over in Moscow, around 13,000 military personnel marched through Red Square as part of VE day commemorations.