VJ Day 75: Dagenham veteran, 97, remembering fallen comrades on landmark anniversary
- Credit: Taxi Charity
A Dagenham Second World War veteran has told how he will be remembering his fallen comrades on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
Danny McCrudden, now 97, spent time in the Arctic, Mediterranean and Pacific seas during the four years he served on board the destroyer HMS Queenborough, and was still in the Navy at the time of Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945.
The ship, which launched in 1942 after it was built as part of the War Emergency Programme, was part of the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian NAvy.
Danny arrived in Australia on his 21st birthday and, while Down Under, the young entertainer sang on the stage in Sydney with music hall star Gracie Fields. He also appeared on Australian radio several times.
But it was war, of course, and the reality of death was always just around the corner - such as when two Kamikaze pilots flew over and attacked another ship, killing 25 men.
Danny said: “I can’t quite believe that it is 75 years since VJ Day and the knowledge that we would be able to return home to our families.”
When he and his crewmates returned home after the war, there was no crowd to meet them, and Danny recalled that when he met his mum for the first time she was shocked he had not grown into a big man.
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With the coronavirus pandemic meaning that any large-scale celebrations of VJ Day cannot take place, Danny still plans to mark the occasion and remember those he served alongside.
“On VJ Day I will be watching The Prince of Wales, and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire leading the UK in a national moment of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who served in the Far East,” he said.
“I will be remembering those who didn’t come home.”
Danny is among those supported by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, which has had a commemorative VJ Day tin designed to mark the 75th anniversary.
Vice president Dick Goodwin said: “With most VJ Day events having to be cancelled, it is our way of letting the veterans know we are thinking of them on this very important anniversary.”