We have been remembering VE Day and all it meant to those who survived the war. Not everyone had happy memories.

Every year we visit memorials and read the names inscribed.

Some servicemen made it home, but died of their wounds. Their headstones are cleaned regularly by the War Graves Commission, standing out creamy white in graveyards.

But we must remember many other people. There were those in reserved occupations, and those too young, or too old to fight, and who served their communities in many ways.

There are war graves for those who died while serving in the Home Guard and ARP, the front line at home. Five lost their lives in East Cowes. Their headstones are in Kingston Cemetery.

Those serving in the fire service were also in great danger. In 1942, during the May 4 blitz on Cowes and East Cowes, fire crews from all over the Island were called in to help local forces. Two firemen from Ryde, Colin Weeks and Bert Dewey, died while on duty in East Cowes. Gasometers in East Cowes were surrounded by flaming buildings and the piles of coke were giving off toxic fumes. It was decided that the fires should be fought at whatever cost, to prevent an explosion. The firemen succeeded, and some received commendations for their heroic action.

Shanklin Fire Station suffered a disaster when it was hit in January 1943. Many of the 23 people killed that day were firemen. Set beside the War Memorial at Shanklin is a memorial to all those firemen.

Three Trinity House keepers at St Catherine’s were killed in June 1943 when German aircraft attacked the lighthouse. Buried at Niton, their memorial plaque is displayed at the lighthouse.

The Women’s Voluntary Service helped everywhere. In East Cowes, Mrs Hann, WVS, died serving tea to the firemen during raids in May 1942. After the war a memorial was set in East Cowes churchyard naming her and all the local Civil Defence men who died. It has an ARP helmet and a shaded torch carved in the stone.

Many ordinary people of the towns who died are remembered annually at services in Cowes and East Cowes. Their names were read out again at the graveside even this year, and flowers laid.