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21st Oct, 2021

Moving moments as crowds gather for Bromsgrove's annual VJ Day parade

Tristan Harris 15th Aug, 2021 Updated: 15th Aug, 2021

CROWDS gathered for a special parade and service in Bromsgrove today to mark the 76th anniversary of VJ Day – when the Second World War ended.

Picture by Geoff Hawkesworth. s

Having the public back at the first ceremony since all Covid restrictions were lifted made it even more memorable.

The parade began with a lone piper leading 13 standards to the Burma Memorial – the national one for that individual campaign.

After an announcement by Bromsgrove Town Crier Kevin Ward and the town’s Royal British Legion Chairman Patrick Smith started the parade.

Rev Ray Khan, vicar of St John’s Church and the Bromsgrove Royal British Legion Chaplain, said prayers and a reading before Last Post, two minutes’ silence and Kohima Epitaph.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove District Council, the town and county’s Royal British Legion, the Burma Star Association, Far East Prisoners of War, the Ex-Service Association, the Royal Artillery Association, Royal Army Medical Corps, the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), the Yorkshire Regiment, Army Cadets, the Court Leet, the Bromsgrove Society and the Guild of Town Criers.

A reading was given declaring to ‘remember the prices paid – not just in November’ and Rev Ray Khan asked those gathered to vow to ‘strive for peace, heal the wounds and work for a just future for all humanity’.

Picture by Geoff Hawkesworth. s

The parade ended with closing words from the RBL Chaplain and the standards parading off back up the hillside to the poignant sounds of the piper.

Among the 13 standards on parade were the Bromsgrove Royal British Legion, the Bromsgrove Union Standard and the town’s Burma Star Association.

From Birmingham, there was the Federation of Ex Service, Royal Artillery Association and from Wolverhampton, RAFA, the Far East Prisoner of War, Normandy Market Garden Association, the National Service, Veterans Association and the Federation of ex-service Associations.

There are two Burma veterans left in Bromsgrove and around 100 around the country. Many of the Burma Associations have been disbanded but Bromsgrove has vowed to continue its group.

Afterwards Patrick said: “It was outstanding – so lovely to see the people of Bromsgrove continuing to support the Royal British Legion and all the events it put on.

Picture by Geoff Hawkesworth. s

“It was amazing to see so many standards and people come out – I think it is one of the biggest turn-outs we have had for VJ Day.”

Bromsgrove District Council chairman, Coun Rod Laight, echoed those words, adding: “It was fantastic to see so many people pay their respects.”

And Rev Khan added: “We had more wreaths than usual and it is great so many people came out to remember the fallen.”

We broadcast the parade live on our Facebook page. Click here to watch it.

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