The British High Commission Banjul on Saturday 15 August held a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day and the end of the Second World War.
The Honourable Minister of Defence, the Deputy Chief of Staff and veterans joined representatives of the nations that fought for and alongside the Western allies to remember and honour all those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom during the Second World War.
The guests observed a two-minute silence remembering the contribution of all British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces, without whom victory and the freedoms and way of life we enjoy today would have not been possible. This was followed by the laying of wreaths and prayers.
Special recognition and thanks were given to the Gambian veterans, and their comrades-in-arms who are sadly no longer with us, for their heroic contribution serving in the 81st West African Division of the Fourteenth Army in Burma during WWII. Their contribution and memory will be preserved and honoured, now and in the future.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy High Commissioner said ‘We are proud of the support the Royal Commonwealth Ex-services continue to provide to Gambian veterans. These funds, provided by the generosity of the British public, are for the relief of poverty and hardship and granted to eligible beneficiaries.’
The increased support from 2019 was designed to provide veterans in the twilight of their years with a level of dignity that they might not otherwise have experienced. Delivery of this support in The Gambia has been coordinated through the Gambia Legion.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented particular challenges with the delivery of the cash payments and the RCEL are working hard to find ways to reach those veterans affected whilst ensuring that every care is taken to protect their health and safety and that of our caseworkers distributing the funds in-country.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission team were also commended for their hard work throughout the year in maintaining the cemetery for visitors to come and reflect.