Ronald Prince was demobbed in December 1945 and eventually returned to his trade as a printer.
George Baker was kept on in the Army until 1947, serving in Palestine.
Len Harvey also did not leave the Army until 1947, marrying a Polish girl he met in Germany.
Tom Mason was transferred to the Highland Light Infantry until the end of the war and later served in Palestine.
Bill Wills stayed on as a sergeant in the Intelligence Corps until 1947, tracking down Nazi war criminals in Germany.
Arthur Walters saw LCT 627 handed over to the French after the war, but managed to save its ensign and log.
Philip Parks was transferred to the 6th Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) until the end of the war, coming home in 1946.
Dai Jones in his later years made his home in North Wales.
Bill Fletcher, despite his serious wounds, survived and made his home in Scotland.
Len Nott was commissioned in October 1945 before finally leaving the Army in the autumn of 1947 to join HM Customs and Excise.
Jack Prior was promoted to brigade staff captain and back in civilian life was awarded the MBE.
Jim Holder-Vale left 92nd LAA in March 1945 to attend OCTU and was commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers.
Leo McCarthy returned to Birkenhead in December 1945, working as a labourer on the docks, at the Cammell Laird shipyard and on the roads.
When these men – and millions like them – were demobbed, all they wanted to do was get back to their homes and families and try to pick up the threads of normality. Most were still only in their early twenties. But, for better or worse, the war had shaped them. It was the defining moment of their lives.
Until recent years, when they reached their 70s and 80s, few were willing to talk in detail about their experiences, even to families and friends. However, when they did speak, there was no bragging or boasting – ‘shooting a line’ as they put it. They shared their memories with modesty and reticence. And the last thing any of them would call himself was a hero.
But these were the citizen soldiers who, as young men, went to war to defend the freedom we enjoy today. Their generation led the crusade that saved the world from the scourge of Nazism, rescuing civilisation from what Churchill called ‘the abyss of a new Dark Age’.
However, when the war was over, few were inclined to philosophise deeply about it. Most were simply grateful to have survived when so many of their comrades never came home. And, for many, a battle of a different sort now had to be faced – the struggle to make a living back in Civvy Street.
But the veterans could forever be heartened by the knowledge that the Second World War, unlike so many wars before and since, had not been in vain. They had fought the good fight. It was their finest hour.
Perhaps Jim Holder-Vale of 92nd LAA summed it up for them all when he said: ‘Faced with the Third Reich under Hitler, with what the Nazis did – the Final Solution – it was a war that had to be fought, a justified war. We did very well considering the state we were in after Dunkirk.
‘One of the things I still marvel at is the attitude, the way people just got on with it. In the early days of the war, I used to go to work by bus. There used to be a man on that bus in a beautiful business suit, overcoat and homburg hat, a very refined-looking man. He would be knitting socks!
‘That’s the sort of thing that happened – everybody just got on with it. The comradeship, the way people behaved, it was really marvellous. I was proud of that. I’m proud to have lived through that period. I remember listening to Churchill on the radio and what effect that had. It was a great time to be alive, to live through the greatest time in our recent history.’
Let us salute them.