Mrs Millar is presented with a hamper full of goodies by SSAFA and Royal Navy

Royal Navy deliver gifts to Glasgow Veteran to mark VJ Day 75

Topic: PeopleRemembrance

Scots-based Royal Navy personnel are visiting Second World War Veterans around Glasgow this weekend to say thank you for their service and sacrifice.

On Saturday, August 15th we mark VJ Day, the day 75 years ago when Imperial Japan surrendered and effectively brought WWII to an end.

Compared to VE Day, VJ Day is a time when the Royal Navy, working closely with the US Navy came into their own. In particular, the Royal Navy was the only British force that contributed to operations aimed directly against the Japanese mainland.

To mark this occasion, Faslane-based Able Seaman Writer (AB Wtr) Roxanne Castellas visited ninety-six-year-old Margaret Millar on Thursday, August 13, at her home in King’s Park, Glasgow.

Twenty-six-year-old AB Wtr Castellas presented Mrs Millar with a hamper of goodies and a VJ Day 75 commemorative coin, donated by Legion Scotland and spent time chatting to the Veteran about her service during WWII.

AB Wtr Roxanne Castellas who joined the Royal Navy in September 2019 said: “I felt really special meeting someone who served in the Second World War! It was also significant for me to meet another woman who served in the Navy in a different age and since people like her were the forerunners to women joining the armed forces, I am extremely grateful to her for her contribution.”

Mrs Millar, or Mardie, as she likes to be called, was only eighteen-years-old when she joined the Wrens in 1942 and she spent two years at Bletchley Park decoding German intercepts. One day she was asked to pack a bag and get on a sealed lorry. At this point Mardie had no idea where she would end up.

On arrival at her first destination, Mardie knew she was in Glasgow because she recognised the green and orange coloured Glasgow trams. From there she joined a Naval convoy on the Clyde and set sail for Colombo in Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) where she was responsible for decoding Japanese intercepts.

Mardie recalls VJ Day, noting that as far she and the team in Ceylon were concerned nothing had changed. She remained in Colombo for some time after the war ended to support the repatriation of British Prisoners of War (POWs) and she still has a large album full of pictures of look back on.

The album holds many memories and one picture in particular shows a piper leading some of the POWs during the Victory Parade in Colombo. Mardie was delighted to share her album full of memories with AB Wtr Castellas during the visit.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of many large-scale events marking the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day including many parades and events around Scotland involving veterans.

To make up for this and to recognise the sacrifice, courage and determination of our veterans, SSAFA, together with the Royal Navy, the Army, the RAF, Legion Scotland and Fares for Free have arranged several visits to veterans by military personnel over the weekend. As well as thanking the individuals for their service, the idea is to dispel some of the loneliness which may have been caused by the restrictions in place during these difficult times.