Our brave Second World War soldiers are remembered on VJ Day
The day the Allies gained victory over Japan 70 years ago was marked with “poignant” services in Suffolk.
VJ Day on Saturday commemorated when Japan surrended on August 15, 1945, after two atomic bombs were dropped on the country, ending the Second World War.
The market town of Bury St Edmunds held a parade, civic procession and service on Angel Hill to remember all those who died and to make a commitment to continue the work of building peace.
Crowds solemnly watched on as contingents from RAF Honington and RAF Lakenheath were joined by civic dignitaries, representatives of veterans’ associations and cadets for the event.
After the service, Ernie Broom, who was representing the Bury St Edmunds branch of the RAF Association, said: “We must remember them. I don’t think we realise just what they went through for us. We are here today because of them.
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“I don’t glorify war at all, but I’m proud of my country and I’m proud of the RAF and the time I served in the RAF.”
Mayor of St Edmundsbury Patrick Chung said victory over Japan was “more than a victory”.
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“A war which had lasted six years was now officially over. Having grown up in Hong Kong when it was under British rule I know of the hardship my family and others had to endure living through the war and that only makes me more grateful that the British and our Allies stood with us side by side.”
The VJ Day service at the Leiston Long Shop Museum was a “very poignant Leiston occasion,” John Richardson, president of the Suffolk Regiment Old Comrades Association of Leiston, said.
He had the privilege of reading the exhortation 70 years after his grandfather did the same.
Mr Richardson said: “On this day 70 years ago there was a very big thanksgiving service in Leiston Church with something like 700 people present and my grandfather, Colonel Sir Frank Garrett, read the exhortation and I was privileged to do so again.” He said the union flag at the museum, which formed a backdrop to the service, had been used as an altar cloth in the prison where so many Suffolk men were held by the Japanese.
“It was a very, very poignant thing,” he said. “The wreath was laid by Ted Bailey whose father brought the flag back from the Far East all those years ago.”