Today we commemorate the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the Britons who gave their lives to liberate Europe, and the three quarters of a century without war between the major states in Europe which the victory produced.
That historic year was a moment of peace and unity in Europe, whose spirit continues to inspire people in Britain and across the continent to this day.
Seaton had played its part. Soldiers from the town died during the war, Seaton had been bombed, and British, American, Canadian, Free French and other forces were based at Seaton and other south coast towns until 1944, preparing for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which began the liberation of Europe from Nazi rule.
They included, I think, some Czechoslovaks, since several are remembered in Seaton’s Remembrance Day commemoration each November. Ted Gosling, now aged 91 and possibly the only survivor of the town in the Second World War, will know the details. If Seaton Museum were open now it would be showing a special new WWII display which Ted has organised, and which I funded from my locality budget.
After 1945, European unity soon gave way to the Cold War between East and West, which divided the continent again. But since Germany and France were now part of the same Western alliance, and would never again fight each other, they together with other countries were able to begin the process of European unification which has now produced a European Union of 27 proud, independent nations.
It is a shame that Britain in 2020 is no longer together with the rest of Europe. But we can still remember that day in 1945 as a common achievement which has brought us all peace.