VJ Day: London's black cab drivers ferry veterans for free on anniversary of victory

Drivers have been running a free shuttle service between Whitehall and the capital's transport hubs as memorial services take place

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 15 August 2015 22:11
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Veterans and serving members of the British Armed Forces march past Big Ben on VJ Day
Veterans and serving members of the British Armed Forces march past Big Ben on VJ Day

London’s black cab drivers have offered veterans free taxi services on the anniversary of VJ Day.

Hundreds of drivers have reportedly offered their services to ferry elderly veterans and former prisoners of war to and from ceremonies in the capital remembering their contribution to the Second World War.

A shuttle service, running between Whitehall and all of London’s major transport hubs and organised by the Taxi Charity, has been operating since early on Saturday morning.

Dave Hemstead, a taxi driver and the charity’s vice chairman, told the Evening Standard he was missing part of his daughter’s 21 to help.

“It’s just something you need to do,” he said.

"It's just something I like doing. It's costing me an absolute fortune in lost wages, but it's great - I love doing it, and the veterans are so nice,” he continued.

Ted Cogdell, 97, from south Wales, who fought with the 55th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
RAF veteran John Watkins, 89, from Boston, Lincolnshire

Approximately 800 veterans have travelled to the capital to take part in commemorations, including a service at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and a parade through central London, culminating outside Westminster Abbey.

The events, attended by the Queen and Prime Minster David Cameron, commemorate the end of the war against Japan in 1945.

The Queen meets veterans
Actor Charles Dance reads 'Mandalay' by Rudyard Kipling

Similar memorials have been held across the world, with couples congregating in New York’s Times Square and ceremonies held in Japan and across Asia.

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