THE 75th anniversary of VJ Day took on a special significance last weekend for Bill Blount when a Royal Naval Association parade came to his door to commemorate the occasion.

Bill, 95, a former Royal Marine whose Second World War service was highlighted in the News & Mail, is not so mobile these days, but that proved no barrier to making sure he was involved in the day.

Keith Tarling, the public relations officer for Woking RNA, said: “We were keen to do something as a branch, but there wasn’t much happening because of COVID-19.

“I’d been chatting to Bill about things, and about the piece in the News & Mail, and I knew he can’t get around very well these days, so I said to him, ‘I tell you what, we’ll come to you’.

“I knew where he lived in Pyrford and that there was room enough out front for us, so I made a few calls and got some people together.

“There were six of us at the ceremony, including another Second World War veteran, Henry Rice.”

Henry was also in the Far East on VJ Day, with the fleet that would have attacked Rangoon had Japan not surrendered. He, like Bill, had been a part of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Eric Rice, no relation, is vice chairman of Woking RNA and was commanding officer for the day, calling the colour party to order and ending the two-minute silence with a call on his bosun’s whistle.

The standards were lowered for The Last Post.

“We all had a good chat afterwards,” Keith said, “not to mention the traditional tot of rum.

“It was off the cuff, but everyone appreciated it and it was good to do something.”