Joy of VE Day made Fife man's months in PoW camp worth it
Albert Gunn, a former RAF gunner, said the “scary times” he endured after his plane was shot down over Germany and he was captured, meant people across the country could have a different future.
The 95-year-old said VE Day, which happened on May 8, 1945, was an important anniversary to mark and he is glad younger generations are learning about the horrors and sacrifices of World War Two.
The Kinghorn Parish Church member was just 18 years old when his Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber suffered catastrophic engine failure during a raid on Berlin in December 1943.
He and his crew were forced to bail out just seconds before it crashed and exploded.
But the straps on Mr Gunn’s parachute were damaged so he had to clutch the pack to his chest to make the jump.
He made it to the ground safely, but was captured by German soldiers not long after he landed on the edge of a field.
Mr Gunn was taken to Stalag IV-B where he was held as a Kriegsgefangener – a prisoner of war.
He battled hunger and drew on his strong Christian faith to maintain hope and his sanity until the camp, near Leipzig, was liberated in April 1945.
He said: “I was in Trafalgar Square on VE Day, stopping off on my way home after being released from the prison camp.
“There were thousands of people there, all laughing, excited and celebrating the end of the war.
“I knew then that the hard years in the prison camp had been worth it, that all the scary times had meant we would have a different future.”
Mr Gunn said VE Day is an important anniversary to mark.
“I am glad that the younger generations are learning about the war and what my generation went through as there were a lot of difficult moments,” he added.
“People all over the country suffered from bombings, rationing and loss of loved ones.
“VE Day meant all the sacrifices were over and a new future opened up which is what we all fought for.”
Mr Gunn’s war time story is included in a chapter in a book called the “Last of the Kriegies”.
His daughter, Rev Gillian Paterson, minister of Wellesley Parish Church in Methil, said the family were “very proud” of him and VE Day was always an emotional occasion.