TODAY, on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, a Pyrford man recalls his part in the end of the Second World War.

Bill Blount was in Singapore for VJ Day and a few weeks later was a member of the Guard of Honour for Earl Mountbatten when he accepted the formal surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army at Singapore on 12 September.

“He came out before VJ Day and then there was a big ceremony and all that,” Bill, now 95, said. “We lined the street and they brought the generals under escort to sign the treaties in the municipal building.

“I was delighted, absolutely delighted. Although there was a big do there and a parade I was allocated to look after the sergeants’ mess, so I didn’t take part in the ceremony. I did the guard of honour for Earl Mountbatten, though.”

Bill, a gunner in the Royal Marines, arrived in India on a troop ship before being deployed on a landing craft to patrol Singapore, Burma and Malaya,  finishing up in Sumatra after the end of the war to assist the Dutch forces and help guard naval installations there.

Bill volunteered to join the Marines in 1943. After training in Devon and commissioning landing craft in South Shields, he was involved in the D-Day landings in Normandy, serving at Juno Beach with Canadian forces.

“There were only 48 of us on board the landing craft,” Bill recalls. “We were a gunship so we didn’t go ashore, we patrolled all the coastal waters.

“The same with D-Day, we didn’t go ashore but we went right in first with the Canadians.”

He would stay there for three months patrolling the coast.

After spending a year in the Far East, Bill came back to England in September 1946. He was demobbed and became an engineer for BT, but says he now realises how he struggled to adapt to life at home and believes that he was suffering with PTSD.

“My nerves were like fiddle strings,” he said.

* Visit the Royal British Legion website to leave a message of thanks on the interactive map, The Nation Remembers is on BBC1 from 9.30am to 11.30am on Saturday 15 August. There will be a two-minute silence at 11am.

For the full story, see the 13 August edition of the Woking News & Mail