A defiant nation in lockdown salutes its fallen heroes

With Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) this year marking the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied Forces on May 8, 2020, people around the U.K. and Europe are celebrating the occasion while observing social distancing and lockdown restrictions implemented amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While much of the planned public event schedule hasbeen altered or cancelled due to the virus outbreak, some ceremonies are still being held albeit in a stripped-back manner. As the public come together to celebrate the anniversary oftheend of WWII and commemorate those who lost their lives in battle, we look at the occasion in pictures. (Above) A couple pictured outside their house in Tooting while marking the day in London, England.   Britain's Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland) observe a two minute silence at the Balmoral War Memorial in Scotland.  A wreath is laid at the Armed Forces Memorial in Alrewas, England.   The Royal Air Force Red Arrows pass over Buckingham Palace in London, England during a flypast to mark the occasion. In a message read by actress Lesley Sharp, Dame Vera shared: 'As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, what a perfect opportunity for me to say thank you to everyone who did their bit to help us fight for freedom. 'Not only our wonderful Air Force, Navy and Army, but all the munitions workers in factories, those who broke the codes, the land girls and everyone else in the country. Victory in Europe Day is a 'very special' occasion, Captain Tom Moore has said, as he remembered his comrades from the Second World War. The 100-year-old veteran and NHS fundraising champion said 'we all need to be very happy' during celebrations as the UK marks 'the end of a very fearsome war in Europe'. The Yorkshireman, who was just 20 when he was conscripted, has become a national hero by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32 million for the NHS. After he joined the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1940, he was posted to India the next year, later moving to the jungles of Burma. He had just returned from Asia and was at an army camp in Bovington, Dorset, when news of Nazi Germany's surrender came through.  But despite the war ending in Europe, Captain Tom has bittersweet memories of VE Day, having returned to the UK to work as a tank instructor while his friends were still fighting in Asia. He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: 'At the time I was very concerned that all my comrades I had left in Burma were still fighting. Captain Tom previously said he would be celebrating by having a 'very peaceful, quiet day, rejoicing the very fact that this did happen so long ago and with so much benefit to everybody'. The veteran, who was made an honorary colonel to mark his centenary and fundraising efforts, added that it is 'rather sad' that people will not be able to celebrate the occasion in groups together because of the coronavirus lockdown. 'But please allow us, your proud compatriots, to be the first to offer our gratitude, our heartfelt thanks and our solemn pledge: you will always be remembered.' Russian president Vladimir Putin has sent a message to the Prime Minister on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. In his message to Boris Johnson, the Mr Putin said: 'The Great Victory was a pivotal event of the 20th century with enduring significance for the fate of all humankind. Mr Benbow, who went viral for a video which showed his care home carer, Kia Tobin, handed him a cushion with his late wife's image on it, spoke about how much celebrating V.E. We were picking up men in the sea that had been shot down and taking them back to their aircraft carriers.  'We were doing various things, but we heard on the wireless that the war in Europe had ended and Germany had been defeated, which was a wonderful feeling and we all were so very, very pleased. Talking about wanting to get back to the UK to celebrate with his friends and family, Mr Benbow said: 'Definitely, that was the most important thing.' When asked what he will be saying in his speech later today in the care home, Mr Benbow said: 'I'll thank the Lord for my life. In a video addressing the nation this morning, the PM said: 'Seventy five years ago, the people of this country celebrated victory against Hitler's aggression. In cities scarred by enemy bombing, the crowds gave thanks for a national exertion greater than anything else before or since. 'But we did not fail: thanks to the heroism of countless ordinary people, who may be elderly today, but who once carried the fate of freedom itself on their shoulders. 'On the home front, women defended out cities against air raids, worked the factories, ran the hospitals and broke enemy codes. 'And yet they triumphed over every ordeal and hardship and because of their victory, hundreds of millions of people live in peace and freedom today. A two-minute national silence will be observed at 11am to honour the memories of the British servicemen and women who gave their lives during the conflict. Meanwhile, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will reflect on the 'courage and sacrifice' of the war generation, describing reconciliation and hope as the 'two great tributes we can pay'. At 9pm, the Queen will address the nation in a televised message - the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a speech over the radio three-quarters of a century earlier.  Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £32 million for the NHS in April, will share his memories of wartime in an ITV documentary called Captain Tom's War, which airs at 8pm. In it he recalls having his spirits lifted by Dame Vera Lynn, whose songs include We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover. Sir Nick described the centenarian fundraiser as 'a bit of a legend', but said fellow veterans deserved to be in people's thoughts amid the muted celebrations. Neither the long years, nor the dangers, nor the fierce attacks of the enemy, have in any way weakened the unbending resolve of the British nation. I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we've doneand they will say, 'do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straight forward and die if need be − unconquered'. Tomorrow our great Russian allies will also be celebrating victory and after that we must begin the task of rebuilding our hearth and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully andtreacherously attacked by Japan. Captain Tom's 'forgotten war': £32m NHS fundraising hero who fought on the front lines in Burma in WWII says conscription did him 'no harm' and shares bittersweet VE Day memories By Jack Wright for MailOnline The former British Army Officer, who raised over £32million for the NHS during the pandemic, survived dengue fever, the Japanese and giant spiders in Asia. While serving in the brutal Burma campaign, known as the 'Forgotten War', Captain Tom's role was to fight on the frontline while riding a motorbike. He has also shared memories of watching Vera Lynn perform for the troops, and his bittersweet recollections of VE Day which took place after he got home.    Captain Tom's involvement in the world war began in 1940, when the then 20-year-old Yorkshireman was conscripted into the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. One million Allied troops from 40 countries attempted to repel Imperial Japan from the then British colony over almost three years, between 1942 and 1945. It was part of the South-East Asian theatre of the world war, and primarily involved the Allied powers: the British Empire, the US, and China. Puppet states were established in the conquered areas and territories were annexed, while the Allied forces in British India launched several failed offensives before August 1945. It was prolonged by seasonal monsoon rains, which allowed effective campaigning for only just half of each year; by famine and disorder in British India; and by the priority given to defeating Germany. '  Alongside Japanese soldiers, he says he had to battle fever and spiders 'the palm of your hand', adding: 'That takes a little bit of getting used to'. Captain Tom also shares his memories of VE Day, which happened after he returned to the UK and became a tank instructor. A cold war between the USSR - one of the Big Three - and the US and its allies would come to divide the world and dominate the rest of the 20th century. '  The programme is narrated by actor Sir Kenneth Branagh and features contributions from the 100-year-old's daughters, Lucy and Hannah.  Captain Tom's War is on ITV tonight at 8pm.  A minute-by-minute account of VE Day... 75 years on: Brought gloriously to life here, it was the moment Britain exploded in joy, relief and national celebration after six long years in the shadow of war By Jonathan Mayo for the Daily Mail After Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, German forces surrendered region by region. On May 4, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery took the unconditional surrender of the German troops on the western front, greeting their commanders with a terse: 'Who are you? Midnight, May 8, 1945  In No 10 Downing Street, Winston Churchill is working late dictating to his secretary, Elizabeth Layton. The U.S. army radio operators tune into every Japanese frequency and defiantly announce thatthe volley is in celebration of Victory in Europe. The Board of Trade announced yesterday that until the end of May 'you may buy cotton bunting without coupons, as long as it is red, white or blue'. Worthinghousewife Joan Strange is waking up to the sound of her mother wrestling with the family's moth-eaten flags that last came out for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. News of the surrender was greetedyesterdaywithrelief bythe islanders and even by some of the German occupying forces eager to go home. In a last attempt to assert their authority the Germans have banned the display of Union flags until the war is officially finished at one minutepastmidnighttonight, buttheflagsare already everywhere. A pair of Royal Navy destroyers are en route from Plymouth to accept the German surrender at 2pm  this afternoon. Lionel is helping the King prepare for one of the most important moments of his reign when, at 9pm, he broadcasts a VE Daymessage to Britain and the Empire. 8am  In the prisoner of war camps in Thailand, news of the German surrender is picked up on numerous clandestine radios. Prisoners could be beaten to death if a radio was discovered.Across most of Britain it is a perfect spring day and many churches are already ringing their bells in celebration. In her hand is a posy of flowers and in her pocket she has photos of her grandsons Cecil, John and James who are serving with the Army overseas. Betty makes her way through the gates and towards the small RAF chapel where she puts the flowers carefully on the blue and gold altar. Goering has made a special effort to beatthe HQ of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division in Kitzbuhel, Austria, at 9am — he usually sleeps in until 11am. He surrendered two days ago and has with him a selfimportant letterforGeneralEisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, offering to help in the reconstruction of Germany. The rising sun reveals soldiers looting houses and shooting shopkeepers who try to protect their property. The Hoch family, who own a large house, are hiding as many local girls as they can and have shoved furniture in front of their door to keep the soldiers out. Royal Navy warships around the world will sound their sirens and pierce the darkness with searchlights on Friday to mark VE Day. From Bahrain to the Caribbean to the Falklands, to the White Cliffs of Dover, the men and women of the Naval Service will join their countrymen in remembering the sacrifices made between 1939 and 1945. While the pandemic has forced large numbers of commemorations to be cancelled, the Royal Navy refuses to let the occasion go unmarked. Among those pausing to reflect will be Warrant Officer 2nd Class Jules Cook, Bandmaster of The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines CTCRM, based at Lympstone in Devon. The Czechs offer them their rationsandshow them pictures of the recently liberated concentration camp of Belsen but the Germans dismiss the photos as mere propaganda. Inthecentre of Prague a unit of German soldiers accompanied by tanks and artillery is fighting Czech resistance forces. The town hall is soon ablaze and the SS start toround upandshootcivilians; women and children are being forced to march in front of armoured vehicles as human shields. He gets out of bed to deliver gifts of champagne and a large Gruyerecheese to his staff in the Downing Street Map Room. People are on the streets wearing paper hats in the shape of police helmets andcrowns.Someone has chalked 'Hitler Missed This Bus' on one on Whitehall. In a Lyons Corner House just off Piccadilly Circus, two 18-yearold officer cadets, John Lowry and Geoffrey Howe,thefutureChancellor, are enjoying a free lunch because they are in uniform. This morning they caught the 1.20am train from Exeter to Paddington and have been exploring thecapitalsince.Howeremembered feeling 'an extraordinary sense of bewildered exhilaration'. It is a surreal scene; German Corporal Friedrich Kaufmann said: 'Around this impromptu gathering lay the dead from the last Soviet attack, but this didnotseemto dampen the bonhomie.' A German minesweeper pulls alongside and young naval officer, Lieutenant-Commander Arnim Zimmerman, climbs aboard the Bulldog and shouts 'Heil Hitler!' Snow, tells him bluntly that this is out of the question, Zimmerman replies that thedestroyers mustretreat to a safe distance or they will be fired upon by German coastal batteries. Commanding officer Colonel Gagnon starts toread thelist of the 36 men they have lost, with tears in his eyes. 2.30pm  Outside the Cabinet Room in Downing Street, where in September 1939 Neville Chamberlain had announced the declaration of war with Germany, a large number of typists and private secretaries are eavesdropping on Churchill's rehearsal for his radio broadcast. In Birmingham, large crowds have gatheredinfront of the Council House hoping to hear the PM's radio address relayed by loudspeakers, but there are none. 2.35pm In the White House in Washington the Press are being shown into the Oval Office, where President Truman is waiting for them, together with his wife Bess and daughter Margaret. He announces that hostilities will officially finish at one minute past midnight tonight and says: 'We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toil and effort that lie ahead...' In Paddington Green Hospital in London, a children's ward is listening silently toChurchill's speech. In the Channel Islands radios have been illegal for five years but now they have been proudly placed in open windows with the volume turned up full. Churchill is saying: 'Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, but in the interests of saving lives, the ceasefire began yesterday to be sounded all along the front, and our dear Channel Islands arealso to be freed today.' Rolf Weinberg, 26, a German Jew who fled to join the Free French Forces, is so overcome with emotion that he faints. Rolf replies: 'For me this isn't a time for a fiesta because I'm thinking of all my comrades and all those killedbythis damn Nazi regime. 3.10pm  In the British Embassy in Moscow, Churchill's wife Clementine has arranged for a party to coincide with her husband's historic speech. Now the speech is over, Clementine grabs a glass of champagne and climbs onto a chair shouting: 'We will drink to victory!' A couple of days ago, Clementine was shown secret cables about Russianatrocities in Eastern Europe and Germany. Churchill wrote to his wife: 'I scarcely need to tell you that beneath these triumphs lie poisonous politics and deadly internationalrivalries.' The Prime Minister believes that the Nazi menace has been replaced by a Soviet one and in four days he will write to President Truman that 'an iron curtain' has been drawn down on the Russian front. Churchill's speech has been relayed to all the ships in the British Pacific Fleet at action stations 600 miles south of Japan. Officers on board the aircraft carrier HMSIndefatigable are celebrating VE Day by splicing the mainbrace and, in the words of a journalist watching, 'rejoicing at the thought of the bells ringing and the lights blazing outagainover England'. 3.20pm  Churchill is being driven in an open car the short distance from Downing Street to the House of Commons, where he will read the statement he's just made on the radio. The car passes through the gates of the Houses of Parliament just feet away fromtheyoung officer cadets Lowry and Howe, much to their delight. Stack hasn't let on thathe speaks fluent German but, unable to contain himself, snaps back: 'Das ist mir ganz Wurst!' In many British towns andvillages,effigies of Goering and Hitler, complete with uniforms and medals, are being made to be placed on bonfires for VE Day celebrations this evening.