September 29th, 2016

Crowds gather for Bromsgrove VJ commemorations

Updated: 10:52 am, May 07, 2015

A POIGNANT service to commemorate the 69th anniversary of VJ Day – ‘Victory over Japan’ – was held at Bromsgrove’s Burma Campaign Memorial in Crown Close.

More than 80 people went along to the event, some from as far afield as Worcester and Stoke-on-Trent.

Regimental and Royal British Legion Standards were also on parade – among them were the Burma Star standards from Bromsgrove and Wolverhampton and a standard from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association – they were paraded to honour members of the 2nd and 7th Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment who fought and died in Burma.

Six remaining veterans from the Burma 14th ‘Forgotten Army’ attended, along with families who came to remember their fathers’ and grandfathers’ participation in that difficult jungle campaign.

A prisoner-of-war of the Japanese also went along to remember and honour those fellow servicemen who never returned from their time in captivity.

Veterans from other post-war campaigns and service also paraded to remember their comrades lost and injured in the service of their country.

The parade was orchestrated by Patrick Smith, the chairman of Bromsgrove Royal British Legion.

And the service itself was conducted by Canon Graham Lyall of Worcester, with special prayers for those currently serving led by Revd Tom Atfield, the Curate of St John’s, Bromsgrove.

Several wreaths were laid – these included one by Roy Hodge, the honorary president of the Bromsgrove Burma Star Association, one by Pam Stubbs, from the Birmingham Association of Far East Prisoners of War (FEPO) and one by Jean Barr on behalf of the Bromsgrove Burma Star Widows.

Members of the Bromsgrove Royal Naval and Royal Air Force Associations laid wreaths for their respective organisations, Coun Helen Jones laid one on behalf of Bromsgrove District Council and Jack McDermott placed down a wreath to commemorate his grandfather who served in Burma.

The Worcestershire Regiment’s plaque was also laid by the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association.

The organisers said they were especially grateful to Bromsgrove District Council leader, Coun Margaret Sherrey, along with councillors Janice Boswell, Caroline Spencer and John Tidmarsh who all attended and gave their valuable support.

The VJ Day commemorations – which took place on August 16 – focus each year on remembering the hard-fought campaign in Burma and to remember the Far East prisoners of the Japanese who endured slave labour, cruelty, disease and death.

The Bromsgrove monument is the biggest one in the country dedicated to the Burma campaign.

Jean Barr and John Lees lay wreaths on behalf of the Burma Widows and the Friends of the Burma Star Association. s

The crowds gathered for this year’s VJ Day commemoration – the 69th anniversary of the conflict. s