West Bay beacon to light up 70th VE Day

| 06/05/2015
Cayman News Service

Image supplied by CIVA/Cayman Islands National Archives

(CNS): The Cayman Islands will join many countries around the world this Friday in marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. The seaside of the Cayman Turtle Farm has been selected as the site of a beacon that will be lit at a special celebration on the evening of 8 May. Everyone is invited to attend the public lighting of the bonfire, alongside the Cayman Islands Veterans Association (CIVA) and government dignitaries.

More than 200 fires are expected to be lit on this side of the world alone to commemorate the anniversary of the “Victory in Europe”, when the Allied Forces accepted the formal surrender of Nazi Germany. Worldwide the beacons will light up mountains, village greens, country parks farms and, as is the case in Cayman, shorelines.

Still a colony during WWII, the Cayman Islands and the rest of the British Empire was automatically pulled into the conflict once the British government declared war on Germany and the axis powers. As a result, many young men from the Cayman Islands fought alongside troops from both the United Kingdom and the United States. Most joined the Trinidad Royal Navy Volunteers and served in active duty, especially protecting the oil resources around that island..

As well as the focus on the Atlantic arena, German ships and submarines also targeted vessels in the Caribbean, especially near oil-rich Trinidad, but also around the northern Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Cayman Islands.

During the conflict a local Home Guard unit received military training, manned watchtowers constructed at strategic locations around the Islands, and were responsible for the maintenance of warning beacons.

During the commemoration on Friday the country will remember all those who fought or were impacted by the conflict, which touched every corner of the world and some historians estimate that more than 60 million people died as a direct result of the war.

The memorial event is scheduled to begin at 8pm, when the fire will be lit by Governor Helen Kilpatrick.

Cayman News Service

Image supplied by CIVA/Cayman Islands National Archives

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