Veteran recalls joy of VE Day 70 years on

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SEVENTY years ago Harry Thrush was aboard a troopship in the Far East when news came through that the Nazis had surrendered.

Now 91, his memory may be fading but he hasn’t forgotten the feeling of elation.

Harry Thrush. 'Photo : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Harry Thrush. 'Photo : Jonathan Gawthorpe

He served as a gunner with the 7th Mountain Regiment and had taken part in the Allied invasion of Italy when forces landed around Salerno.

He heard that the war was over in Europe while listening to the radio.

“We were listening to the wireless. A message came across that the Germans had packed in and capitulated and that was it.

“I was absolutely overjoyed. An almighty cheer went up on board ship and we all sang D-Day Dodgers (a popular wartime song).

“It was great when we saw England again. That brought tears to my eyes.”

Seventy years on Mr Thrush, who lives at Robin Hood, Leeds still thinks about the friends he lost.

He was called up aged 18 in 1942 and can still recall his Army number.

After training at Catterick he was soon bound for Gibraltar. Two ships were sunk on the way.

“They were full of troops and no-one could pick them up because they couldn’t stop the convoy. The survivors in the water were just left to drown. Hundreds of people. That was a horrible experience.”

He and his comrades landed under fire at Salerno. He saw several lads killed on the beach and many more later by snipers and landmines.

* What were you doing on May 8 1945?

The Yorkshire Post wants to hear from anyone who recalls that momentous day. Email