A WWII Marine from Forfar who watched Belsen concentration camp burn will be among veterans taking part in a VE Day event this weekend to mark 70 years since the end of the war.
Alexander Adam, 91, was part of the occupational forces sent into Germany after peace was declared.
Alex will join a group of five WWII veterans who will be guests of honour at the Royal British Legion Scotland (Legion Scotland) VE Day event at Forfar Athletic Football Club’s Station Park ground and the adjacent Farmington FC, Market Muir ground on Saturday (May 9) from 2 p.m.
Alex said: “I remember watching Belsen concentration camp burn. We saw it about a mile away from the main road. I remember seeing the smoke up in the distance. It was a terrible place. It was a relief to know that it was all over.
“It was so funny looking back as we didn’t take part in any of the celebrations to mark the end of the war. We were mostly confined to our barracks and not allowed to mix with anyone. We ended up being there for about five months. To us it felt like the war was still going on.”
Alex joined the Royal Marines in 1942 and was part of the naval unit responsible for looking after wireless equipment on landing craft.
The 91-year-old grandfather is encouraging families and the local community to go along and take part in the free family event.
Army Cadet Officer and Legion Scotland Standard Bearer Captain Margaret Brown, also from Forfar, worked with her husband Charlie to help Legion Scotland get ready to host the event. She said it’s a chance for the local community to get together and have fun celebrating while they remember those who helped win the deadliest war in our history.
She said: “As an ex-service person myself I am so aware of the debt that we all owe for those sacrifices made both past and present by our military personnel. It is an honour for me to help Legion Scotland put on this event, to mark this incredible day that saw an end to one of the deadliest conflicts in our history.”
Commenting on the huge community event Charlie, Chairman of Forfar Branch, said: “The local community and football clubs have all pitched in to make this a really special day of commemoration. All at the local branch are extremely thrilled to be involved in making it happen. The day will culminate with a social event in the Legion Forfar Branch Club with music provided by Reel of Fortune Ceilidh Band. As with all of the day’s events, this is free, and everyone is welcome”.
A replica spitfire will fly by at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The event will feature Military bands, The Kennedy Cupcakes 1940s dance troupe, modern military vehicle displays, military displays and children’s activities.
Following the family activities from 2 to 6 p.m. Legion Scotland will lead in a spectacular Beating Retreat by massed pipe bands and The Military Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland on Station Park. Several branches of Legion Scotland around the country will be hosting VE day events.
Kevin Gray MM, CEO of Legion Scotland, said: “On May 8th it will be 70 years since the world woke up with relief to the incredible news that war was over.
WWII was the most widespread war in our history, involving over 30 countries. VE Day is one of the most significant days in our nation’s history. We’re inviting everyone to come along and join in our event for the whole community. It’s a chance to meet some veterans who served during WWII, see some military displays and get together with other families as we pay our respects to those who made extraordinary sacrifices for our freedom.”
All funds raised on the day will go to help Legion Scotland look after the many veterans in Scotland whether they served in WWII or left the forces yesterday.