A PENSIONER couldn’t believe his eyes when he spotted himself celebrating the end of the Second World War in Europe – 75 years after the classic film was shot.

Tony Lister, 80, of Windmill Road, Halstead, was shocked to stumble across historic footage of himself from when he was just five-years-old.

The octogenarian was looking back on the filmed celebrations of VE Day on May 8, 1945, when he made the amazing discovery.

In London, huge crowds had gathered in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace.

In an old recording of the BBC filming from the historic day, Tony can be seen clinging to the railings at the gates of the palace.

Tony said: “I was born on February 28, 1940, during World War Two.

“My mother and grandmother took me to London on VE night in 1945 and we got to the railings of Buckingham Palace amidst the celebratory crowds.

“I remember cheering when the King and Queen came out on to the balcony.

“For the last 40 years I have watched the films of the VE night celebrations on the television and this year I happened to record the BBC programme.

“After watching for about five minutes I suddenly realised there I was on the television screen.”

Tony stopped the programme and managed to grab a picture from the recording.

He can be seen as a small boy clinging to the railings of the palace gates and wearing a paper hat.

To his left is his grandmother and to her left is Tony’s mum, Esther.

VE Day commemorates the formal acceptance of Germany’s surrender to the Allied forces at the end of the Second World War.

The war was a long and bloody conflict and claimed an estimated 450,700 British civilian and military lives.

Celebrations in the capital were jubilant as the Allies accepted Germany’s capitulation.

Queen Elizabeth II’s father – King George VI – announced Germany’s surrender on the radio.

Tony’s family had been bombed out of their east London home by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz and were moved to Rustington in West Sussex.

Tony’s dad Dennis also served in the RAF during the war.

Tony said he can remember the war well and recalled a time when he woke to find hundreds of Canadian troops in the fields outside his house.

Two days later, on June 5 1944, the soldiers left to take part in the Normandy invasion and liberation of France.

The next day, on D Day, Tony watch with his grandmother as thousands of planes and gliders flew overhead bound for German-occupied France.

Tony also remembers seeing German doodlebug flying bombs on their way to attack London.

He said if he heard the engine cut out, he would run for cover in the air-raid shelter.

After the war, the family moved to Halstead where Tony attended Earls Colne Grammar School in 1953.

Tony later joined the Merchant Navy in 1957, serving first on the famous ocean liner Queen Mary on trans-Atlantic crossings.

Tony moved on to other ships, travelling the world and sailing to countries including Jamaica, America, Canada, Panama, Australia and New Zealand.

He met his wife Rosemary at the Halstead Empire Cinema and they were married during a snowstorm in 1969.

They were married for 44 years until Rosemary’s death from cancer in 2013.

They had two children – Sandra and Christopher – and four grandchildren.

Tony is a life-long supporter of Halstead Town FC and was also was made chairman of the club in the 2000s.

He can still be found there helping out with the grounds off season and selling raffle tickets on match days.

He has now decided to get the VE Day picture enhanced and blown up to a bigger size.