Ulster joins in VE Day anniversary celebrations

Soldiers from 152 Fuel Supply Regiment during the Bangor parade to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day
Soldiers from 152 Fuel Supply Regiment during the Bangor parade to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day

Ulster has marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day with a series of events commemorating the end of World War Two in Europe.

Beacons were lit at several locations including Belfast, Coleraine, Enniskillen, Bangor, Ballyhalbert, and at the Knockagh monument, Greenisland.

They were among a chain of more than 200 beacons across the UK.

It was on VE day 70 years ago that peace broke out and brought an end to nearly six years of war across Europe. In 1995, beacons were also lit to mark half a century since VE Day on May 8, 1945.

There were also 1940s-style parties and a gun signal at Hillsborough Castle.

In Coleraine, two search lights were switched on at the front of the town hall on Friday night, forming a V in the night sky.

Earlier, DUP minister Arlene Foster joined UK party leaders in laying wreaths at the Cenotaph in London.

Ards and North Down Borough Council also held a series of commemorative events.

At 2.30pm on Saturday a VE commemoration parade, which included approximately 500 veterans, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion, paraded from the town hall in Bangor.

The military representatives at the parade were 152 Fuel Supply Regiment, based in Palace Barracks, along with Bangor Sea Cadets.

During the parade a salute was taken at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Main Street in the Co Down town.

Deputy Mayor of North Down and Ards, Carl McClean, said: “Thousands of people attended the VE event where several bands paraded through the town centre.”

The UUP councillor added: “I think what we were most grateful for was just the beautiful weather in contrast to the day before where we had lit beacons in both Bangor and Ballyhalbert.

“There was a mini festival atmosphere and we were all delighted with the weather which allowed the bands to march past.

“Several war veterans were in attendance on Saturday. In Newtownards we had a gentleman called Eddie Spence at the commemoration who was present at D-Day.

“I asked him what memories the celebrations brought back to him and he said it was as vivid as if it was yesterday and nothing was lost in it.

“We did have veterans parading down in Bangor as well.”

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Alan Graham, said he was “extremely proud to be part of these events, remembering such an important date in the history of our nation”.