Zed Nelson
Disappearing Britain
World War II veterans

I photographed these war veterans on VE Day, 50 years after the end of the Second World War. These people are heroes, but also victims. Many spoke of camaraderie, and a belief that they took part in a just and necessary war. But just below the surface, beneath the pride, pomp and ceremony, lies a reservoir of pain.

One man recounted his experience of being bombed by his own air force. Another broke down in tears remembering the day his best friend drowned under the weight of his own equipment as he waded ashore on the D-Day landings. I met a group of war veterans still suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. After 50 years of nightmares, tearful breakdowns, and anxiety attacks, their condition had only recently been recognised and help offered.

The war is over. Fewer and fewer who fought in it remain alive. But for those who survive, the memories live on.