My father passed away on 9th October last year. In the three weeks before his funeral, I discovered and then read two diaries that he had meticulously kept during his National Service in the RAF between August 1944 and February 1947, when he was demobilised.
His journey started out in Glasgow, sailing through the U-Boat infested waters of the Bay of Biscay, passing Gibraltar, and heading through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, finally ending up in India after a final stop in Aden.
After a temporary posting to the border with Burma, in what is now known as Bangladesh, my father returned to a camp in central India.
On VJ Day he was in Belgaum in India. His diary entry 75 years ago perfectly captures the reality of the time;
“VJ day announced today. Parade at 1130hrs for the C.O. to give the whole camp 2.5 days holiday. Belgaum on 19:00hrs bus. Supper in Meade Club and then on 21:00hrs bus back to camp. Turned in soon afterwards. There were no visible signs of Victory in Belgaum not even a solitary flag flying. Rather a poor show from my point of view.”
The next day he went back into Belgaum where he bought a bottle of whisky; like father, like son!