Remembering the war, Russian style

Harry Derrent and his wife Lavinia during the march.
Harry Derrent and his wife Lavinia during the march. / E.K.
  • A British WWII veteran was special guest at Victory Day celebrations in Marbella

The Russian community in Marbella got together on Wednesday for the annual Victory Day events to commemorate the end of World War II. Around 250 people took part in the Costa del Sol's own Immortal Regiment march - similar to those attended by millions in Russia and around the world every 9 May - organised in the boulevard in San Pedro by the Taiga association.

Some participants carried photos of their loved ones who were among the millions of Russians who were killed in the war. Others dressed in uniforms from the period and carried old regimental flags.

At this year's event the Russian community was joined by British World War II veteran, Harry Derrent, who has lived in the province of Malaga for the last seven years.

The 94-year-old was accompanied by his wife Lavinia and friend Craig Davies. Derrent, who is originally from Cornwall, served in the Royal Navy on the HMS Inconstant stationed in Devonport, Plymouth, and as part of the anti-aircraft crew. Some years ago, Derrent was awarded an Atlantic Star by the United Kingdom for his work in the Royal Navy.

“The medal was was sent over to Spain in a jiffy bag,” his wife Lavinia told SUR in English.

Shortly afterwards, Derrent was also presented with an Arctic Star Medal from Russian authorities at his Costa del Sol home.

The World War II veteran was part of the British forces who, faced with freezing conditions, guarded the convoys which transported food to Russian citizens.

According to his wife, the Taiga association is very grateful to Derrent for his service, explaining that the organisation brings flowers to their home each year.