FIRES were lit across the county to mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War.

Buglers from The 7 Rifles band announced the start of proceedings at Oxford Castle Mound where the Queen's representative in Oxfordshire, Lord-Lieutenant Tim Stevenson lit a gas beacon.


The event marked Victory in Europe Day when Allied forces defeated Hitler's Third Reich in 1945 after six years of war. 

The Royal British Legion's county chairman, Jim Lewendon, paid tribute to the nation's wartime achievements.

The 86-year-old former Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantryman said: "It's good for the younger people to recognise the sacrifice that we made.

"We lost thousands of men and women so it's good they are reminded they safe because of that."

Similar events also took place in Banbury's Spiceball Park and at Folly Hill, Faringdon where the town's last surviving veteran George Goddard delivered an emotional speech.

The 93-year-old served in the Far East against the Japanese after being called up in August 1939.

He said: "It was quite exciting. The wind was blowing sparks and you could see other fires to the west.
"The 70th anniversary is important because it brings to people's minds that we went through a pretty rough time.

"But we came out it and defeated terrible people. For a long time I had great disrespect for the Japanese, but I have forgotten that now."

Mr Goddard was called up as territorial soldier for the Royal Berkshire Regiment before being mentioned in dispatches for his service in Burma.

His thoughts also went to his brother Ronald, a bomb aimer in Lancasters who was killed on March 30, 1945 over Germany.

He said: "The tribute was quite emotional really because it was for people who served who did not come back - it was an emotional moment as far as I was concerned."

The commemorations continued today with the Royal British Legion collecting for its Poppy Appeal in Oxford's Bonn Square.

The RBL's community fundraiser for Oxfordshire, Mark Garwood, said it was only right to remember those who gave their lives for their country.

The 37-year-old said: "It's remembering those people who took part and made the ultimate sacrifice.
"We say 'let the memory live on' because we should always remember the fallen."