May 8, 2020 Faith Matters

VE-Day showed writing was on wall for fight against Japan, veteran remembers

A Second World War veteran has told of the “wonderful” moment he learned about victory in Europe, while he was still in action in China.

Bill Ramage was called to service in August 1942, before being deployed as an RAF wireless operator in the China and India.

It took him six weeks from leaving docks in Glasgow to reach Mumbai, and he spent some time in the country before being told he would be moved to China in the fight against the Japanese.

The 96-year-old, of Grangemouth near Falkirk, recalled being raided by soldiers of a “Chinese warlord” and having breakfast with Lady Mountbatten during his time there.

He was in the British 14th Army, which was a multinational force comprising of units from Commonwealth countries.

When victory in Europe was declared, the servicemen spent the day celebrating, believing that it meant Japan would surrender soon.

He told the PA news agency: “VE Day was wonderful. We only had one vehicle and it took all 15 of us through the streets of Kunming – by that time we had a few drinks.

“We got on the Jeep and the commanding officer drove all through the towns while we were singing at the top of our voices and waving Union Jack flags.

“By that time we realised that if the war in Europe was about to terminate, it was on the wall that the Japanese would not be long behind.”

Japan surrendered in August, which brought the Second World War to its close.

Mr Ramage then spent eight months in India as his repatriation was held up due to riots at the beginning of the country’s independence campaign.

He was awarded the Burma Star for his service.

VE-Day is being commemorated on Friday to mark 75 years since the war in Europe ended.

Mr Ramage has Union Jack flags in his garden and plans to follow the coverage of tributes to those who fought in the war.