WATCH: Suffolk commemorates VJ Day and pays tribute to veterans
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Villages and towns in Suffolk have today been marking the 75th anniversary of VJ Day – when World War Two ended with Japan’s surrender.
Suffolk fell silent at 11am this morning as part of a remembrance service to pay tribute to those who fought in the Far East during the Second World War.
At St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds, a gathering of 65 people assembled to pay their respects in line with coronavirus restrictions.
In attendance was the organiser of the service, Lady Clare, Countess of Euston, and Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk.
They were joined by the Vice-Lord, Robers and Teresa Rous, representatives from the county’s armed services, veterans from the Royal Air Force Association, The British Legion, the Australian High Commission, Suffolk civic dignitaries, Far East Associations and Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore.
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Elsewhere in Suffolk, soldiers were remembered in Needham Market, Capel St Mary, Hadleigh, Felixstowe and at Christchurch Park in Ipswich.
The Ipswich Branch of the Royal British Legion held a small spoken service in memory of the 500 men and women lost.
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99 Ipswich men perished in Japanese POW camps with a further 22 who died fighting in the Far East.
In Felixstowe, a remembrance event was held at 2pm ,which was the same time as the War Memorial was unveiled 100 years ago.
The 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, a Regular Army formation, served with the 5th Indian Infantry Division in 1944, being flown to Imphal to clear Japanese positions.
The 4th/5th Battalions, Suffolk Regiment were Territorial Army units. They were assigned to the 18th Infantry Division and in 1941 were switched from a destination in Egypt to Singapore, arriving just in time to fight briefly in the defence of Singapore before the surrender. Men from the two battalions were among those who were forced to participate in the infamous construction of the Burma Railway. Others perished as forced labour in the Japanese coal mines of Formosa.
None of these men regretted the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which forced the
Japanese Emperor to concede defeat.
Although VE Day marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, thousands of Armed Forces personnel were still fighting in the Far East.
VJ Day marked both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War.
In Suffolk, the bravery of its soldiers will be remembered today, as will the terrible price they paid.
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