VE Day 2020: Britain toasts second world war heroes as Red Arrows flypast marks 75th anniversary – live | World news

O Countess of Wessex teased a WWII aviator about his hangover after VE Day celebrations when they met for a virtual chat.

Members of the royal family are talking to veterans and civilians of the war this week to hear their stories and mark the 75th anniversary of the war ending in Europe.


Louis Goodwin, 94, from Salisbury, told the countess that she joined the RAF in 1943 at the age of 18 and chose to train as a gunner instead of a pilot or navigator, because the instruction course was shorter.

Speaking on the Royal British Legion's special online program, shown on his Facebook page, the former aviator said:


When I joined, I thought the war would not last as long and I will never fly, because training for a pilot was a good year, so I decided to follow a faster artillery course.

The countess asked about her flight safety in the Lancaster bombers, adding, "In an exposed position that you were in, because you were in the tail."


Goodwin joked, "I wasn't as fat as I am now, with flying equipment it was a job to get anyway – a little tight sitting behind four machine guns."

When he said he had left the VE Day party at 11 pm, the countess said he was "quite civilized, not too bad". He replied, "We have a few drinks".

"Do you remember the headache the next morning?" she asked.

"Yes, yes, and wondering what we would do next," replied Goodwin.



Sophie, countess of Wessex, chatting through a video link with Louis Goodwin. Photo: Royal British Legion / PA

During the Royal British Legion online show, Dame Joan Collins described how her home in London was destroyed in an air raid when she was a child, and the content Alfie Boe sang.

Collins said: “We were bombed and I remember going to our house in Maida Vale and seeing that the whole apartment was gone.

"Oh, where are my toys?", I asked my mom. "Well, we'll have to buy you more," said my father firmly. "

The royal princess talked to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles, 95, from Gloucester, who served in the Royal Naval Service for Women as a small officer and air radio mechanic.

She said "she volunteered for services, because it was the best thing to do, we had to end this war".

Dorothy was 19 when she lost her boyfriend in a plane crash while working on the Fleet Air Arm.

She said of her service: “It challenged me, it extended me. I learned about death.

Princess Royal (right) speaks via a video link to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles.

Princess Royal (right) speaks via a video link to Dorothy Pettican Runnicles. Photo: Royal British Legion / PA

The princess asked how she was dealing with the coronavirus block.

"I am not good at my mobility and I worry [about] not leaving the apartment, but I received instructions from my grandchildren, I need to stamp the apartment in each room and pretend I'm doing physical work ", she said.

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