September 30th, 2016

Crowds gather at Bromsgrove’s annual VJ Day commemoration to remember those who fought in Burma

Updated: 11:13 am, Aug 17, 2016

REPRESENTATIVES from the Armed Forces and residents turned out to the annual VJ Day commemoration held at Crown Close on Saturday (August 13).

The short and poignant service to mark Victory in Japan took place at the Burma Memorial, the main one in the country for that particular conflict. Japan finally surrendered on August 15, 1945, bringing an end to the Second World War.

Among those gathered on Saturday were service veterans, along with widows and relatives of those who fought in Burma.

Burma veteran Eric Davis (RAF) laid a wreath on behalf of all the survivors of the campaign and Coun Chris Scurrell laid one on behalf of Bromsgrove District Council.

A wreath was also laid to the soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment who fought long and hard in Burma.

The parade was marshaled by Bromsgrove Royal British Legion Chairman Patrick Smith and the lament was played by piper Robert Gardner (REME{V}).

Mark Haggart carried the Bromsgrove Burma Star Standard in remembrance of his grandfather and the standard from the Kidderminster branch of the Worcestershire Regimental Association was also paraded.

Pam Stubbs of FEPOW (Far East Prisoners of War) laid a wreath to remember her late husband Les a former prisoner of war.

Mrs Dean and the son of Bert Dean laid a wreath to Bert who fought at Kohima but sadly died in June this year.

Rev Ray Khan, the vicar from Bromsgrove’s St John’s Church and Padre to the town’s RBL, led prayers for servicemen and women both of the Burma campaign and other conflicts. Prayers were also said for lasting world peace.

A faultless and superb Last Post and Reveille was also blown by Rev Khan on the RBL’s solid silver bugle that was used in the Somme in 1916.

It was originally feared the annual service for VJ Day would not be taking place in Bromsgrove this year following the folding of the Burma Star Association earlier this year.

But, with the memorial at Crown Close being the biggest one in the country to the Burma conflict and with people travelling from all over the UK in previous years to commemorate the occasion, an 11th hour meeting was held between Rev Khan and Patrick Smith to ensure a service went ahead this year.

Mr Smith said: “I think the commemorations went pretty well, taking into consideration it was planned at the last minute.

“There were not as many people as usual but now we know the Burma Star Association does not exist anymore, the RBL will take it on and be able to get it back to where it was.”

Anyone wanting more information on the Royal British Legion or the VJ Day commemoration can call Patrick Smith on 07949 789841.