Remember Moree sacrifices during 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day this Saturday

Members of the 7th Division and Ran Commandos at prayer during the thanksgiving service held in the Salvation Army hut in Balikpapan, Borneo on Victory in the Pacific Day on August 15, 1945. Photo: Australian War Memorial

Members of the 7th Division and Ran Commandos at prayer during the thanksgiving service held in the Salvation Army hut in Balikpapan, Borneo on Victory in the Pacific Day on August 15, 1945. Photo: Australian War Memorial

This Saturday marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese government surrendered to the Allied forces, ending World War II, following the surrender of Nazi Germany three months earlier.

The following day, on August 15, the Australian government gazetted a public holiday as VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day, also referred to as VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, celebrating the end of the Second World War.

At the time, Australian forces were engaged in campaigns across the Pacific - in New Guinea, Bougainville, New Britain, Borneo, and in the Philippines - and Australian prisoners of the Japanese were spread throughout Asia.

Most had expected the war against Japan to continue into 1946, but instead Australians enjoyed what Prime Minister Chifley called "this glorious moment".

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Seventy-five years on, as we face "unprecedented challenges presented by a global pandemic", NSW RSL North-West District Council president John Tramby OAM encourages us to "look back and take heart from the trials and tribulations suffered by the generations before us leading up to that terrible conflict".

"They were a generation that knew more hardship than help, and accepted the responsibility of not only defending Australia but assisting to defend the rest of the world," Cr Tramby said.

When our current situation becomes too much, you are unable to be with friends and family or it all seems too overwhelming, remember many have suffered longer, borne more pain, then went back to work afterwards, and built this great nation we live in today.

John Tramby OAM, NSW RSL North-West District Council president

Almost a million Australians, both men and women, served in the Second World War, fighting in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as against Japan in south-east Asia and other parts of the Pacific.

More than 39,000 lost their lives during World War II, and thousands more were injured.

Many Moree men were among the casualties of World War II.

One of these was Charles David Brennan, a lieutenant in the 2/31st Battalion of the Second Australian Imperial Force, who was killed in action during the Battle of Balikpapan in Borneo on July 3, 1945 - less than two months before the end of the war.

Charles David Brennan.

Charles David Brennan.

Charlie was born in Moree in 1919. He was the youngest son to parents William (Bill) and Blanche Brennan, who came to Australia from Kenmare, Ireland. The Brennans had lived in Bingara, before moving to Moree from 1912 to 1936.

"On Saturday, August 15, 2020 I invite you to pause, reflect, and give thanks to those magnificent Australians who gave so much and suffered for so long to give us the freedom we enjoy today and that sometimes we take for granted," Cr Tramby said.

Portrait of buildings and the harbour of Balikpapan, after the area was liberated during the Second World War. Photo: Australian War Memorial

Portrait of buildings and the harbour of Balikpapan, after the area was liberated during the Second World War. Photo: Australian War Memorial

"Take a moment to look up any of the battles and read in detail about the tenacity and fortitude of Australians in the most unbearable situations.

"When our current situation becomes too much, you are unable to be with friends and family or it all seems too overwhelming, remember many have suffered longer, borne more pain, then went back to work afterwards, and built this great nation we live in today."