VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day is commemorated annually on the 15th of August and for Australians, it marks the end of the Second World War. This year, a new VP Day commemoration service ceremony was instigated by RAAF Base Edinburgh and the RAAF Association (South Australia).
Providing an important opportunity for those precious few remaining RAAF World War 2 veterans who served in the Pacific to be appropriately acknowledged by the RAAF and the broader community, the ceremony is now one of four commemorative services held in Adelaide annually.
The others services are for the formation of the RAAF in March, the Bomber Command Commemorative Service in June and the Battle of Britain Commemorative Service in September.
Mr Robert Black, President of the RAAF Association (South Australia) said it was wonderful to have this ceremony, along with our annual Bomber Command and our Battle of Britain ceremonies in Adelaide.
“These ceremonies mean so much to our South Australian veterans and we greatly appreciate the fantastic support of RAAF Base Edinburgh without which these ceremonies could not be possible,” Mr Black said.
The ceremony also provided an opportunity for several squadrons at RAAF Edinburgh that served in the Pacific during World War 2 including 24 Squadron (City of Adelaide Squadron), 11 Squadron and 87 Squadron to embrace the legacy of their squadrons.
Wing Commander Orton, Commanding Officer 24 Squadron noted 24 Squadron’s vital contributions including in the defence of Rabaul, ground attack in New Guinea and heavy bomber strike role in Dutch East Indies.
“Commemorating the sacrifice and deeds of our squadron in World War 2 is vitally important for us as a unit today,” Wing Commander Orton said.
The service was also significant for 11 Squadron who this year is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its formation.
For Group Captain Weller, Director Community Engagement at RAAF Edinburgh, the ceremony provides an important opportunity to acknowledge the many contributions of South Australian RAAF personnel across the Pacific theatre during World War 2.
He noted as an example the story of Pilot Officer Ted Quinn, a young South Australian who was killed on 9 August 1945 in combat. “Pilot Officer Quinn was born in 1922 in Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. He was killed in action in a flying battle in Borneo on 9 August only six days before the Japanese surrender,” Group Captain Weller said.
Around 150 people including political, senior Defence and community dignitaries, veterans (current and ex serving RAAF veterans including several who served in World War 2 in the Pacific) attended the ceremony.