A new war memorial unveiled on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day was a symbol of “joy and hope”.

Several dozen people, including representatives from the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and Royal British Legion, turned out at Queens Park on Saturday morning to see the stainless steel sculpture designed by Swindon artist Dr Mike Pringle.

The design, which featured a woman holding a child wrapped in a flag, was commissioned by South Swindon Parish Council to mark the 75th anniversaries of VE Day in May and VJ Day this month. Victory over Nazi Germany was declared on May 8, 1945, but fighting continued against Japanese forces in the Pacific until August and a peace treaty signed after US pilots dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities killing up to 226,000 people.

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The mayor, Coun Garry Perkins and Coun Chris Watts of South Swindon Parish Council Picture: DAVE COX

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The memorial is unveiled Picture: DAVE COX

Chairman of the parish council Chris Watts said the feeling of joy, relief and hope that greeted the end of World War Two would be similar to how the nation would feel at the end of the current pandemic.

Artist Dr Pringle said of the uplifting design: “The end of the war was as much about the peace that was coming as the war that had gone.”

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Posters detailing the lives of Swindon men put up in Queens Park Picture: DAVE COX

As well as the memorial in the rose garden at Queens Park, the council had commissioned artists No Added Sugar to create a mural by the lake and called in the help of historians to put up posters detailing the potted biographies of Swindon men who had fought in the hostilities. The posters have been put up in Queens Park, GWR Park and Town Gardens.

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Chris Watts speaks at the unveiling of the memorial Picture: DAVE COX

Mark Sutton, one of the historians working on the project, said there was one combatant featured in the posters who was particularly close to his heart.

His grandfather, railwayman Charles Edward “Ted” Porter, signed up to fight in 1939 when he was barely older than 18. He joined the Worcestershire Regiment and was involved in the retreat to Dunkirk but was captured and spent the next five years in POW camp Stalag VIII. “He never spoke about being terrified. He spoke about being let down and feeling he let his country down,” he said.

Police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson, who also attended the Queens Park event, is the grandson of former councillor Charles Macpherson – who was the borough’s mayor during the war’s final year. He remembered his dad and aunt telling him of being taken by their father to the street parties that greeted the end of the war.