15 August 2023




A memorial service was held at the Bolton Clarke Milford Grange aged care facility in Booval on 15 August to mark the 78th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific (VP) and pay tribute to some of Ipswich’s surviving Second World War veterans.

The service was attended by World War Two veterans Jim Clark, Harry Griffiths, Olive Pugh and Doug Simmonds, who are all residents of Milford Grange, and Jean Bird from the Riverview Gardens nursing home.

A sixth veteran and fellow Milford Grange resident, Mr John Hindmarsh, was due to attend, but unfortunately had to be admitted to hospital in recent days.

The commemoration was organised by the Bundamba Salvation Army and Ipswich RSL Sub Branch, and Salvation Army corps members, local veterans and families, Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann and Mayor Teresa Harding were in attendance and laid wreaths to honour those who served in the conflict.

78 years ago, on 15 August 1945, the war ended in the Pacific, with Japan giving their unconditional surrender to the Allies, officially bringing an end to the Second World War.

The war in Europe had ended three months earlier, but Japan fought on until US Forces dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.

Some one million Australians served in the war and nearly 40,000 Australians lost their lives in the conflict, including more than 17,000 in the war against Japan.

Mr Neumann said VP Day was an opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of these brave Second World War veterans from the Ipswich region.

“We have a proud tradition of military service here in Ipswich, and many men and women from the area served in the war.

“However, today there are only a few remaining World War Two veterans living in Ipswich, so it’s very important that we pay tribute to their legacy.  

“We remember their valiant efforts on the Australian home front, in Malaya, Singapore, Papua and New Guinea, Borneo and elsewhere in the south west Pacific across those three years of war.”

Mr Neumann noted that during the war, the threat of invasion seemed very real, and it was a time when Australians worked hard and pulled together to defend our country.

“We need to remember the courage and sacrifice of this magnificent generation of men and women who served during the Second World War.

“Today’s ceremony is about paying our respects to those veterans who served in the Second World War and protected Australia from a very real threat.

“I want to thank Milford Grange, the Bundamba Salvos, Bundamba ANZAC Observance Committee and Ipswich RSL Sub Branch for organising a very moving and dignified ceremony,” Mr Neumann said.

More information about VP Day and the Second World War is available on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Anzac Portal website at: https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/world-war-ii-1939-1945/events/victory-8-may-194515-august-1945