‘Boy soldier’ takes part in VE Day anniversary

Members of Mid and East Antrim Council paying their respects at the VE Day commemoration at Knockagh Monument. INCT 19-023-GR
Members of Mid and East Antrim Council paying their respects at the VE Day commemoration at Knockagh Monument. INCT 19-023-GR

A ‘boy soldier’ has laid a wreath at Knockagh Monument on behalf of World War II veterans.

Bill Pennington, who joined the army at the tender age of 15 in 1939, performed the honour at the County Antrim War Memorial on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe.

Mr Pennington initially signed up with the RAOC (Royal Army Ordnance Corps), later transferring to the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers).

He retired from the regular Army in 1958 and went on to serve with the Territorial Army and Army Cadet Force until 1965 when he finally hung up his boots. In total he achieved 26 years of service.

Mr Pennington remembers the celebrations at Piccadilly circus in London on VE day in 1945; such was the jubilation he recalls being covered in lipstick!

It was on VE day 70 years ago that peace broke out and brought an end to nearly six years of war across Europe.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Billy Ashe spoke of the importance of “reflecting on the sacrifice and courage of the people who saw us through this period in our history”.

A two-minute silence was observed at the conclusion of the event after the Last Post was played.