The country marks 70 years since the Nazi surrender which brought an end to the Second World War today.
Victory in Europe day was celebrated on May 8, 1945, when the fascist regime in Europe finally succumbed to advances by allied forces on land, sea and air.
For one soldier from Herne Bay, it brought an end to the privations of a prisoner of war camp following his capture at Dunkirk in 1940.
Ronald Homersham, from Fitzgerald Avenue, was liberated by American soldiers on May 1, 1945, after spending years in captivity in Poznan in Poland.
Known as Ron, he had lied about his age to enlist in the British army in 1939, aged 17.
He was deployed as part of the ill-prepared British Expeditionary Force.
But unlike the 330,000 soldiers who escaped at Dunkirk, Ron was one of the few who remained and was captured by the Germans.
His son Tony Homersham, 58, has kept photographs and mementos of his father’s wartime experiences.
Tony said: “He never really spoke to me much about his experiences or what he went through. I suppose it was part of the British stiff upper lip.
“I’m very proud of him. It was very difficult for those who were taken prisoner.
“My father felt quite different about it than people who had positive experiences of action.
“I acquired his prisoner record, and there is a sorry picture of him with a board hanging around his neck with his prisoner number 4304, making him one of the earliest prisoners of the war.”
Ron was captured on May 19, 1940 after a German Panzer had burst through a hedgerow and overwhelmed his position.
He was marched to Trier near Luxembourg, before being herded onto a train bound for Poland.
He was taken to Fort Grolman, near Poznan.
Tony said his father only intimated how tough camp conditions were. Ron contracted typhus due to the lice and fleas.
He was injured while laying railway tracks, and was lucky to escape allied bombing raids of German infrastructure being used in the war against Soviet Russia.
Tony added: “Hunger was always a problem and they survived on pitiful rations. Lack of food was something that he never forgot.
“When I would complain of not liking things he would say ‘you’d eat anything if you were hungry enough’.”
The Russians advanced through Poland in 1944 and 1945, resulting in a death march for prisoners back to Germany through the harsh winter.
He was repatriated to Britain on May 16, 1945 and returned home to Herne Bay, where he joined the Royal Army Reserve.
But it was difficult to readjust. His brother Archie had been killed fighting in Italy on September 15, 1944, and was buried at Coriano Ridge along with 2,000 others.
Tony said: “It’s terrible when I think about it. Dad must have been only 17 or so, and was kept until he was 23, effectively losing that part of his life.
“It’s quite a thorn when I think about what I was doing between those ages.
“Life had carried on so he had a lot of trouble adjusting.”
After the war Ron married and Tony was born in 1958. He left the army in 1959, and worked for a local building firm and for Borg Fabrics in Whitstable.
He retired in the 1980s, and died in 1996, aged 74. In 2006 Tony and his daughter Alexandra made a pilgrimage to the former camp in Poland.
Tony added: “There I was expecting to find a derelict and atmospheric old fort, and I found myself in the middle of a rock concert.
“It was the day and venue for the Poznan Harley Davidson riders’ club’s annual party.
“I think my father would probably have laughed. He was a kind a generous man who never bore a grudge against the German people.”
Tony says it is now down to those left to make sure younger generations understand what happened and remember the significance of VE Day.
He said: “I think it’s very important to remember. A lot of young people have no idea and have almost forgotten what people went through for what we have now.”