September 25th, 2016

Crowds turn out as Bromsgrove marks VJ Day at Burma Memorial

Updated: 3:47 pm, Aug 21, 2015

THE CROWDS came out in Bromsgrove on Saturday (August 15) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Japan (VJ) Day with a special service and two-minutes’ silence.

Residents from across the district, veterans, from all over the country and local dignitaries were among those gathered at Crown Close, which features the biggest memorial in the country to the Burma conflict in the country.

The sun shone down during the event which marked the full and final end of the Second World War.

Burma Star, Royal British Legion and Regimental standards were piped onto parade by Major(Retd) Robert Gardner TD.

The commemoration service was given by Canon Graham Lyall and Rev Ray Khan.

Prayers for those servicemen and prisoners of war that never came back from Burma were said as well as for those who returned safely.

Special prayers were also said by the Rev Khan for our serving armed forces.

Rev Ray Khan blew a played the perfect last post and reveille on the bugle either side of an impeccable silence.

MP Nigel Huddleston, laid the first wreath on the memorial on behalf of the Government, followed by Coun Caroline Spencer on behalf of Bromsgrove District Council.

Other wreaths were laid by Bromsgrove Burma Star President Roy Hodge represented the branch and Dr Alexandra Hyde laid a floral bouquet on behalf of the ladies and widows of the Burma Star Association.

Several veterans and relatives of veterans laid their own wreaths, pausing to reflect on their memories of lost comrades and fathers no longer with us.

Wreaths were also placed on the Worcestershire Regiment’s plaque by their Regimental Association.

The Far East Prisoners of War were represented by Pam Stubbs whose daughter laid a wreath to her late father Les Stubbs.

The service concluded with the National Anthem and a blessing.

The standards were piped off parade to the strains of ‘It’s a long Way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’ which surly poignantly reminded those gathered of those husbands and sons that marched off in 1939 and fought the long Burma Campaign from 1941 to 1945.

At tea and refreshments in Amphlett Hall following the service, Coun Spencer addressed the assembly by stating how proud the district council was to be associated with the Burma Star Association and that the memorial was a treasured symbol of remembrance set in a correspondingly tranquil corner of the town.

She said it reminded Bromsgrove residents of the sacrifices made in those far off lands so people could live in peace and with freedom.