Remembering the forgotten men

By Danielle NuttallWAR veterans and children planted a sea of crosses on a memorial lawn to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day.Scores of former servicemen and women and their families gathered at Christchurch Park, Ipswich, yesterday morning for an emotional remembrance service to the soldiers who served in the Far East during the Second World War.

By Danielle Nuttall

WAR veterans and children planted a sea of crosses on a memorial lawn to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day.

Scores of former servicemen and women and their families gathered at Christchurch Park, Ipswich, yesterday morning for an emotional remembrance service to the soldiers who served in the Far East during the Second World War.

The event was organised by the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion and saw 30 veterans and the same number of children plant crosses on each side of the path leading up to the Ipswich War Memorial.


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Bill Wright, Ipswich mayor, representatives from the Far East Prisoners of War Association and members of the Royal British Legion also laid wreathes.

Peter Thompson, chairman of the Ipswich branch, said: "The whole idea was to remember those people who served in the Far East because they were forgotten after the war and the ones we have got left still suffer with what they went through.

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"I think it's nice to remember them because you would never want it to happen again. Some of the stories they tell you are unbelievable.

"I'm very pleased with how it went. I spoke to a few of the Far East former prisoners and they thanked me. They joined up to the Army, Navy, or RAF and a lot of the friends they went to school with never came back. It was very emotional."

There was also a parade of ex-servicemen, youth groups and civic leaders through Beccles yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of VJ Day - Victory over Japan.

More than 200 people took part in the parade, which raised a salute as it passed three former prisoners of war who were held captive in the Far East, before a commemorative service was held in St Michael's Church.

Geoffrey Richards, chairman of the Beccles VE and VJ committee, said it was important to remember VJ Day, which is not as well known as VE Day.

"We felt that VJ Day is always forgotten. They still carried on fighting out in Japan and Burma right until August," he said.

Huge crowds gathered at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, yesterday for a special VJ victory day, where the highlight was a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

There were also exhibitions by the Bawdsey Radar Group, US Air Force, Ipswich Museum and the Royal British Legion, while a brass band and 1940s-style dancers provided the entertainment.

About 80 Second World War veterans were VIP guests at Halesworth (Holton) Airfield Museum yesterday in an event organised to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day.

The veterans, many aged in their 80s and at least one in his 90s, gathered at Holton Airfield, near Halesworth, where a special display of military vehicles was staged.

They were joined by Urban Sweeney, a former US airman who had been stationed at Holton Airfield during the Second World War, and watched a flypast by a Mustang aircraft, piloted by Maurice Hammond, from Hardwick, near Diss.

A Harvard aircraft, also owned by Mr Hammond, also flew past, despite the low cloud. Richard Pymar, one of the event organisers, said it had been a successful day and added: "The flypast was breathtaking and we owe a great debt to Mr Hammond."

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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