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VJ 70TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIONS

Click on the link below to go to the specific commemoration review or to read the whole report scroll down.

15TH AUGUST 2015 - ST MARTINS IN THE FIELDS

Pauline Simpson.

After 3 years of hard work by the FEPOW Chaplain, Pauline Simpson of NFFWRA, the morning service at St Martins in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, could not have gone any better. The NFFWRA Patron HRH The Duke of Gloucester and our Patron TRH The Countess of Wessex and her husband The Earl had already agreed to come, when it was announced just a few weeks before that Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would also be attending, along with the Prime Minister, and it would be fully televised - what recognition and a fabulous honour for our FEPOWs!

The seating at the church was already full and the tickets allocated, but of course there was then even greater interest, so much juggling had to be done to accommodate the Royal parties, television cameras etc and sadly most new applicants had to be disappointed.

The security was obviously tight, there had been many threats in the lead up to the big day but thankfully nothing came to fruition and Prince Philip was heard to comment afterwards "so, they didn't blow the roof off then!" - Wonderful!

Lesley's group.

In the service, Lesley's group - Eric Adie, Flora Winter, Bob Boocock, IOM Burma Star Secretary, Burma Star veteran James Fenton and William Mundy.

The choir, the organist, the Royal Gurkha Rifles piper and the Artillery Company band all sounded marvellous, especially with the acoustics in the church, and a wreath was laid at the FEPOW Memorial inside St Martins in the Fields by Lt Col Slater, President of the Royal Anglian Regiment Association & Cambridge Regiment Association.

Lesley was due to read a poem during the service, but the time had to be cut down for the BBC coverage and to accommodate other groups becoming involved, so it was withdrawn, for which she was greatly relieved. As you know she's not shy, but to speak on national television in front of millions was very daunting, so she was pleased to be semi-quiet for a change!

The service was attended by many dignitaries, civilian internees, widows and family of FEPOWs, Burma Star veterans and family, and of course the FEPOWs. Our members Eric Adie, Tom Boardman, Bob Boocock, Bill Frankland, Douglas Hassall, Bill Macaulay, William Mundy, Maurice Naylor, Eddie Peak, Ken Pett, Vic Pugh and George Reynolds were there, alongside other FEPOW friends Cliff Burgess, Jim Crossan, Bob Hucklesby, Jack Jennings, Tony Lucas and Gordon Smith [sorry if we missed anyone we don't have a definitive list and sadly there was no time to get a group photograph]

HM The Queen & George Reynolds After the service Pauline presented George Reynolds and Bob Hucklesby to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, whilst Lesley was honoured to present William Mundy and Bob Boocock to The Earl and Countess of Wessex. The Prime Minister and Duke & Duchess of Gloucester then also worked their way along the line up chatting to everyone.




HRH Duke of Edinburgh & George Reynolds.

Above, HM The Queen having just spoken to George Reynolds.

Right, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh talking to George.









Below, TRH The Countess of Wessex with Bob Boocock and The Earl with James Fenton.

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LONDON - 15TH AUGUST 2015 - HORSE GUARDS PARADE & TEA PARTY

HRH Prince of Wales.

Despite being put together in just 6 months and ticket qualification criteria constantly changing we tried to keep you all informed about the Drum Head service in Horse Guards Parade, and thankfully those who had been at the morning service were joined by many others for the afternoon. Also in attendance were TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall along with David Cameron.

The service commenced with a fly past of a Dakota and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight joined by a Swordfish from the Royal Navy and a current RAF Typhoon in spectacular style. There was music by 3 Armed Forces Bands, Pipes and Drums from the Royal Regiment of Scotland and a Lone Piper from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, alongside the London Welsh Male Voice Choir and Gwalia Male Choir.

An extract of Field Marshal Viscount Slim's memoirs was read by the current Viscount Slim, President of the Burma Star Association, and 'Mandalay' by Rudyard Kipling was read by Charles Dance. The FEPOW Prayer was read by our member Barbara Anslow, a civilian internee and the Kohima Epitaph by Viscount Slim.

Wreaths were laid by HRH The Prince of Wales on behalf of the nation, the Prime Minister on behalf of Her Majesty's Government and the RBL Chairman on behalf of veterans.

The programme included this message from the Countess Mountbatten of Burma ..

I am really pleased on this actual 70th anniversary of VJ Day to be able to give a warm message to so many veterans here, and especially to those who fought under my father, Lord Mountbatten, who was the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, and many were his much admired and loved Burma Stars.

They and many others had to continue the relentless Second World War in terrible conditions for a further three months after the war in Europe eneded on VE Day, 8th May 1945.

This meant a further burden for their families at home. We also think of the wretched Far East Prisoners of War and the many civilian internees who also suffered.

This 70th anniversary of the real end of World War Two is a good time to show our renewed, sometimes belated, gratitude for what was achieved in South East Asia as well as in Europe.

I would like to add my own, and my family's, warmest wishes and admiration for all the veterans and their families gathered here in commemoration.

This was followed by a parade along Whitehall, past the Cenotaph accompanied by many marching bands and the procession lined with representatives from many different forces, including the Gurkhas.

bob_boocock
Bob Boocock & Flora marching along Whitehall
bill_frankland
Bill Frankland walking all the way at 103 with Susie Browne

The November Remembrance Sunday parade is normally quite sombre and reverent, but the mood on this day was a lot more jubilant, with thousands lining Whitehall clapping and cheering, thanking and honouring the veterans and families as they marched. Lesley spoke with some of our FEPOWs during the walk and they were incredulous at the acknowledgement and appreciation that they, and their lost comrades, were receiving - especially having always thought of themselves as the 'Forgotten Army'! It was a very emotional and special time for everyone.

Lesley laid a Java FEPOW Club wreath at the Cenotaph and the procession continued around Parliament to College Gardens in Westminster Abbey, where an afternoon tea had been laid on by the RBL. There was a lovely marquee with beautifully decorated round tables and a box of food including finger sandwiches, scones etc was given to everyone, along with tea, coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks. Also lovely 'goody bags' with a photo frame with 'VJ Day 70' engraved on them and books of remembrance poems along with individually handwritten notes to the veterans thanking them for their service and sacrifices for us.

Duchess_of_Cornwall.

There was a band playing everything from wartime tunes to a medley of Beatles hits - you may have seen The Duchess of Cornwall dancing with one of the veterans in the press. The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and David Cameron casually circulated the tables talking to many people, including Tom Boardman seen here with The Duchess.









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15TH& 16TH AUGUST 2015 - STAFFORDSHIRE - LICHFIELD & ARBORETUM

Our members Louise Hopkinson& her mum, FEPOW widow, Gill attended Staffordshire commemorations, she told us .

Lichfield Cathederal.

COFEPOW held a very moving service at Lichfield Cathedral on Saturday 15th August in commemoration of VJ Day. Civic representatives in attendance were Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE and his wife Jane. Some wonderful, stirring music was provided by the Salvation Army Divisional Fellowship Band and also the beautiful singing from 'Vivat!' really added to the atmosphere. It was an awesome sight to see the clergy procession arrive at this beautiful cathedral, followed by the Standards of the Royal British Legion and FEPOW.

The service was given by the Dean of Lichfield, and the Blessing by the Bishop. The FEPOW Prayer and Kohima Epitaph were read by Carol Cooper, the founder of COFEPOW. There were readings from Commander David Childs CBE (Rtd) Founder of the National Memorial Arboretum, Reverend Prebendary Tony Wood and then an Address from Terry Waite CBE. FEPOW John Baxter supported by his son John Baxter Jnr, laid a wreath before the altar. It was really lovely to be there for such an emotive and inspiring service, the cathedral was packed to the rafters and when we all came out into the bright sunlight I think everyone had a tear in their eye but a smile on their face.

On Sunday 16th August at the National Memorial Arboretum, a service was held at the FEPOW Memorial Building/FEPOW Grove. This was followed by the Blessing and re-dedication of the Memorial Building and the opening and dedication of the new FEPOW Garden, a new memorial to the Hellships and to the Far East Cemeteries.

Readings from a letter written on the battlefield at Bataan in 1942 by Henry G Lee (a Hellship victim), poetry and an extract from the Recollections of Forrest Knox, a prisoner on the Hellship Hokusen Maru, really did melt the heart. The FEPOW Prayer and Kohima Epitaph were read by FEPOW Ron Needham and wreaths were laid. The finale was a fabulous RAF fly-past, a Dakota DC-3 transport plane flew by four times to everyone's delight (seen here over the FEPOW building).

My Mum and I managed to have a good look around the Memorial Building and Grove for the first time and they are marvellous tributes. What with the lovely services, the great food and the entertainment laid on for that very special weekend, all in the glorious sunshine, we had a really unforgettable time as I think did everyone. Thanks to all at COFEPOW who were involved in organising all of this to mark such an important date. It was a fantastic way to 'remember them'.

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15th AUGUST - PLYMOUTH

Dave Hutson kindly sent us this report and photos of their events which included FEPOW Ken Shipsides and Civilian Internee Arie Den Hollander .

Right - Ken Shipsides seated & Arie Den Hollander

A bright August morning heralded three events in Plymouth to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Japan in 1945. This day in 1945 saw the cessation of four years bitter fighting at Sea, on Land in the Air and ended the terrible loss of life, suffering and captivity endured by the tens of thousands of Service Personnel and Civilians held by the Japanese in these dark years. Today whilst we celebrate the Victory we pay tribute to each and every one from every country involved in bringing this terrible war to a final close.

Our first event was a simple service held at the Rowan Tree memorial to the Far East Prisoners of War, who were Servicemen and Civilians from ourselves our allies in this war. The turnout was impressive with upwards of a hundred people. Groups attending included two former FEPOW, Widows, Children and Families of FEPOW with the guest of honour Mr Ken Shipsides, a Plymouth resident at the tender age of 100, a former Royal Navy man who was captured at the fall of Hong Kong . We were also joined by members of the HMS Exeter Association, representatives from the Federation of Plymouth Ex Service Associations, The Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and General Public.

The service was conducted by the Devon and Cornwall FEPOW Chairman Mr Arie den Hollander and on completion Poppy Wreaths, Floral Tributes and Poppy Crosses were laid in Remembrance

The second event was held at the Belvedere Memorial Garden on Plymouth Waterfront by the Burma Star Association. This again was well supported by the Burma Star Veterans, Families, Representatives of the Federation of Plymouth Ex Service Associations and the General Public. The service was attended by Fourteen Military Association Standards. This was to be the last parading of the Burma Star Standard before it is laid up in the Minster Church of St Andrews in September.

The third event was held in St Andrews Church and was a joint commemoration by Devon and Cornwall FEPOW Association and we were privileged again to have the presence of Mr Ken Shipsides. Dignitaries included the Lord Mayor Dr John Mahoney and his Companion, the Chairman of the Federation of Plymouth Ex Service Associations, Representatives of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the HMS Exeter Association, Ex Service Associations and the General Public. Standards were paraded by the Ex Service Associations of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

A moving service was conducted by retired Royal Naval Chaplain, the Reverend Peter Warland. FEPOW prayers and poems were read by Children and Grandchildren of FEPOW [COFEPOW]. Members of the Clarion Choir lent their voices to that of the congregation. The Last Post was followed by the Silence and Reveille played by RM Cadet Force Bugler Tim Healy and RN Volunteer Band Bugler Steve Benwell.

On completion of the Service invited guests retired to the Mayor's Parlour for a Buffet Lunch which was an overwhelming success with the highlight being the cutting of the cake which had been donated by HMS Raleigh [Royal Naval Training Establishment Torpoint] and baked by Mr Phil Thomas to the recipe used for Prince William and Katherine Middleton's Wedding Cake.

This concludes the report of events in Plymouth but as a footnote I would like to pay tribute to the Organiser of the City of Plymouth Event, Miss Lisa De-Lar of the Devon and Cornwall Far East Prisoners of War Association, who worked tirelessly with her mother Mrs Betty De-Lar and other Organisations to make this 70th Anniversary a resounding success.

The local paper also announced Ken Shipsides' attendance - though forgot to mention his name!

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16th AUGUST - CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

The annual service was held at Caterbury Cathedral attended by the Japanese Ambassador. George Housego, Chairman of the London FEPOW Remembrance Social Club, normally held the honour of making the reading at this service, this year Bill Frankland read it on his behalf, seen here with the late George's partner June Elkington.









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16TH AUGUST - LANARKSHIRE

Campbell Thompson tells us of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group's commemoration ..

The ecumenical service held on Sunday 16th August at the St Brigid's Centre, Newmains, Lanarkshire, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day and the end of the Second World War drew a large attendance of visitors from all over Scotland. From Orkney in the North to Penrith in the South [or,to be precise, the North of England!] they gathered to remember the service and sacrifice of loved ones who have often been regarded as the 'Forgotten Army'. On that Sunday it was very much the reverse.

Sister Maria Goretti, Pastoral Assistant at St Brigid's RC Church, opened the service with a very appropriate prayer of remembrance and she was followed by the Rev Paul Grant of St Ninian's Parish Church, Stonehouse. Paul is well known in Far East Prisoner of War circles for his sensitive and caring approach to the men and their families - his involvement in the service brought great comfort to all those present.

He was followed by Agnes Dougan, whose father, John McEwan, a member of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry from Wishaw, had been held as a POW in the notorious Kinkaseki Copper Mine on Taiwan. She read a very moving extract from To End All Wars, a book by fellow FEPOW, Ernest Gordon , an officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which told the poignant and moving story of the death of a young Scot's soldier while a POW on the Death Railway. Following the harrowing account which brought nearly all the audience to tears, those present were invited to light individual candles in memory of loved ones during which Catherine Friel, the grand daughter of Lanarkshire Yeomanry gunner, William Burns, sang the classical pieces Pie Jesu and Ave Maria

A further prayer, composed by three members of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry while held as POWs in Changi, Singapore, in April 1942, was read by Campbell Thomson of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group. The service ended with a minute's silence followed by the Kohima Address given by Ian Forsyth of the Royal British Legion Scotland. The haunting lament, Flowers of the Forest, was played by piper David Stark of the Cameronian's [SR] Association

The liberation of a young Lanarkshire Yeomanry gunner, Dick Gwillim from Dumfries, who was held at Changi was then recounted from his memoirs by his granddaughter, Helen Caldwell, and it was poignant that Dick's widow, Betty, was present to hear his description of his meeting again with 'the girl he had left behind'. Dick had been seriously wounded during the Malayan campaign and was unfit for forced Japanese labour, something which probably saved his life. He was conscious of this all his life and he and Betty were great supporters of the FEPOW movement.

A different slant to the presentations was the account by Jenny Martin of the plight of the females interned by the Japanese following the invasion of Malaya. Jenny's mother was among this unfortunate group and Jenny has the dubious distinction of having been born in Changi Jail. Her father, who had been taken away to labour for the Japanese, did not see her until near the end of the war.

The daughter of another Lanarkshire POW, Johnny Kane from Wishaw, told of a recent visit to Taiwan. Kathleen Kane had made the long journey to follow the footsteps of her father who, like his close friend, John McEwan, was forced to labour deep in the depths of the evil Kinkaseki Copper Mine.

The final speaker was Gill Friel, daughter of Lanarkshire Yeoman William Burns, who had been held on the Death Railway in Thailand and later in Funatsu Nagoya in Japan. Gill had featured in a BBC Radio Scotland programme a few days previous during which she had recounted the story of the courage of a young Scottish soldier who had refused the allow the POWs under his command to comply with a Japanese order to beat a fellow POW. As a result, the officer, Lt David Orrock of the Signals Corp had been severely beaten. This incident had been inscribed in the memory of her late father and was something he never failed to mention on the rare occasions when he spoke about his time as a POW. By one of these coincidences, not unknown in the experience of the families of FEPOWs, Gill's story had been heard by Robin Orrock, the son of the brave Signals officer and on hearing of the Service at Newmains on the Radio, he had been present to meet with Gill and her family. It was a moving occasion.

On his return from his hell as FEPOW, David Orrock, so changed by his time in the Far East, had become a committed Cristian and was ordained as a Minister in the Church of Scotland.

What had proved a memorable day was brought to a close by Provost Eileen Logan of South Lanarkshire Council. Eileen has a strong affection for the memory of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry and its men and her words were, as always, warm and appropriate.A buffet was the served in the small hall which afforded an opportunity to meet and chat with old- and new- friends.

Later in the afternoon, groups visited the Lanarkshire Yeomanry memorials at Carluke and Wishaw where wreaths and personal tributes were laid in memory of the Men of the Regiment. At Wishaw Agnes Dougan and Kathleen Kane, daughters of men of the Yeomanry, spoke and read an appropriate service after which the Lanarkshire Yeomanry wreath was laid by John Marshall, whose late father, also John, was held as a POW at Kinkaseki. Meanwhile at Carluke, after a short service by the Rev Paul Grant, Bill Brown whose brother George died from starvation and dysentery while a POW at Kinkaseki, laid the wreath at the Yeomanry Memorial. A personal tribute on behalf of Dick Gwillim and Jim Fergusson, Dumfries members of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, was laid by the son and daughter of Jim Fergusson during which the lament, Flowers of the Forest, was played by David Stark. Provost Eileen Logan of South Lanarkshire laid a wreath on behalf of the Council.

They should not be forgotten!

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SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST 2015 -HAVANT, PORTSMOUTH

Bill Marshall and Govan Easton were invited to attend the service at St Faith's, Havant, Portsmouth. Bill tells us .

"The church was packed out, we were given front seats with the dignitaries, there were 8 Standard Bearers from the RBL and the Royal Naval Club also joined us. I was honoured to read the FEPOW Prayer and laid the Java FEPOW Club poppy wreath. Afterwards Havant Council laid on a reception for us. My daughter Mary and Paul & Gina Davidson (past auditors and Honorary Members) took me and although I was in some pain from a small fall, it was a most enjoyable day. It's so great to know that we are not forgotten after all."

FEPOW Govan Easton is member of St Faith's church congregation and the hymn 'The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended' was included in the service at his request, as being a hymn sung in prisoner of war camps - reminding the prisoners of their continuing though distant connection with the rest of the world.

The local paper covered it thus .

SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE TO MARK 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF VJ DAY

'War is a terrible thing and I don't want anything like that to happen again.'

Those were the poignant words of Second World War veteran Bill Marshall.

The 97-year-old attended a commemoration service for Victory over Japan Day, in St Faith's Church, West Street, Havant.

He fought in the war from the start in 1939, but then spent three-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in the Far East.

Although Victory in Europe took place in May 8, 1945, the fighting did not officially end until the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945.

Mr Marshall, who is president of the Java Far East Prisoners of War Club 1942, said: 'The remembrance service was excellent and it was good to see dignitaries attend. There were many sacrifices made during the war and we must not forget them. War is a terrible thing and I don't want anything like that to happen again. I was a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years and it was awful.'

During the ceremony Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: 'Often those associated with VJ Day feel they have never had the same status of remembrance services and hopefully this has put this right.'

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SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST 2015 - EASTHILL PARK, PORTSLADE, SUSSEX

Margaret tells us of her commemoration service..

The weather proved to be very kind to us and, although cloudy, remained dry.

We were honoured by the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and his wife, The High Sheriff of East Sussex, The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, The local MP, local councillors, about 20 representatives of the Java FEPOW Club, a representative from the RAF and another from the Royal Navy and many veterans from across the services. We also had 3 Chelsea Pensioners attend, though sadly not our FEPOW Chelsea Pensioner, Douglas Hassall, who had been at the London events the day before.

We flew the FEPOW Flag, on permanent loan to us by FEPOW Bill Welch and it is known to so many of us because we display it at our AGM, Grand Dinner and the Service at the War Memorial on the Sunday at Stratford Upon Avon plus, on a sadder note, it has accompanied many a FEPOW on his last journey. It fluttered against a grey sky and that was very poignant. The RAF serviceman dipped and raised it at the appropriate points of the service.

I had been begging for a fly-past for months, but had to tell everyone that I spoke to that I had no money; the funds in the Java FEPOW Club go to support our members, and nobody could give me an answer but, just as the Lord Lieutenant was reading the first Lesson, over flew my fly-past! We had a Blenheim and a Spitfire. We were all so thrilled to see them.

Java Club FEPOW Bob Morrell read the Kohima Epitaph and another FEPOW, Fergus Anckorn, laid the wreath on behalf of the Java FEPOW Club.

After the service the Lord Lieutenant and other VIPS inspected the Standard Bearers. It is normal practice for the Bearers to be given a small badge as a memento of the occasion so we were delighted that the Lord Lieutenant handed to each of them a Java FEPOW Club triangle and we told the story of that triangle, originally carved from wood by our very own Reg Beck in Boie Glodok camp.

We all then repaired to St. Nicolas Parish Centre for refreshments. Local shops donated food, the florists gave us a good price for the flowers that were arranged by a local lady and another family made and decorated our FEPOW cake that was cut by Fergus. (Bob had been overwhelmed by the Press so was tired and went home.) We were also honoured by one of our Civilian Internees, Paul Werleman, who brought along some books to show me (one had a photo of Paul in the camp) but sadly I didn't have time to talk properly with Paul (I do apologise, Paul!).

We were so fortunate in that our local council were extremely helpful and, indeed, they obtained a sum of 600 from the MOD for expense plus another councillor gave me 100. (I spent the lot!) We all returned home, tired but so happy!

[Well done Margaret, ably assisted by John as always - such a fantastic job and well worth all your hard work! Thank you for all that you do, all year too!! - Lesley xx]

With widow member Brenda Crowsley
Widow member Pauline Peach and her daughters

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2ND SEPTEMBER 2015 - BIRMINGHAM

Pam Stubbs, President of the Birmingham FEPOW Association invited Margaret and John for the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Signing of the Surrender (2nd September 1945).

They stayed in Bromsgrove and met up with Pam, her sister-in-law Barbara and Pam's daughter, Linda, who kindly drove them all into Birmingham where the event was held at the Holiday Inn. Margaret tells us .

It was a delight to meet old friends (including Java FEPOW Club's member Ron Mockford, who is now Chairman of the Birmingham FEPOW Association) and to put faces to those only known previously by their names. After initial meeting and chatting we moved into the dining area. NFFWRA standard bearer Nick Roberts called us to order and outlined the coming event for us. Pam greeted everyone and FEPOW Chaplain, Pauline Simpson, said a few words and an opening prayer. We then sat down to a sumptuous repast. After this there were speeches by Keith Andrews, who spoke about the events on this day 70 years previously.

Phil Beynon then spoke about his project at the NMA where he is asking for photos and some details of the FEPOWs so future generations can see the faces of our FEPOWs. [We have previously covered this and asked for you to send a short synopsis and photo, he is doing well as he has 900 photos already but we do need to help him with more please if you have not done so already speak to Margaret.]

Phil has recently found out about the City of Canterbury so is keen to find out more about that. [Margaret is on the case contacting FEPOW Jack Snow, Margaret Holmes & Tony Spero for help.]

After these speeches, Ken Coy (Vice Chairman/ Treasurer) awarded some of uswith commemorative medallions. [Right: including Margaret in recognition of her sterling welfare work!]

The Birmingham FEPOW Association are generously giving 300 medallions and will be sending one to all surviving British FEPOWs we know of. [So please, if we don't know of your FEPOW friend, let Margaret know! He doesn't have to join any Club to receive his medallion but we want to ensure he receives it! And perhaps also tell him about the FEPOW Welfare Fund.]

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FORCES TELEVISION COVERAGE FOR VJ DAY

As Bill mentioned a programme maker for Forces Television contacted us and came along to our reunion to film our service and some interviews for showing in short pieces in the week before VJ Day. You can view some of these on their web site Forces TV VJ Day

Some of our members are regularly interviewed but we were asked for those whose stories are not often told, so they recorded Bill Marshall, Harold Pleasance, Bob Boocock and Bill Macaulay in the garden at the RBL club after our service. Sadly there was a camera malfunction for Bill Macaulay's interview so it was not included.

Right - Bob being interviewed by Tim Jones

There are many interesting short pieces about the War in the Far East with interviews at the Imperial War Museum and with Burma Star veterans, but please be sure to check out the following .

'POW families call for more awareness ahead of VJ Day' shows some of our memorial service at Stratford upon Avon and can be seen at - Forces TV Memorial Service

'VJ Day: The Hell Ship survivor' interview with Bill Marshall - Forces TV Bill Marshall Interview

'VJ Day: Working on the Death Railway' interview with Harold Pleasance - Forces TV Harold Pleasance Interview

'VJ Day: Working the mines' interview with Bob Boocock - Forces TV Interview with Bob Boocock

'VJ Day: The POW' interview with Frank Williams who has written a book of his father, Ron's recollections entitled 'Jungle Journal' - Forces TV Interview with Frank Williams

If any of our Associate Members are able to put these and other interesting pieces from the Forces TV VJ Day coverage onto DVD for our boys please let us know.

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BBC RADIO 4 - BILL FRANKLAND ON DESERT ISLAND DISCS

At the beginning of AugustKirsty Young's castaway was 103 year old Dr Bill Frankland who was with the Royal Army Medical Corps for 6 years, 3.5 years of which was as a FEPOW on Singapore.

During the fifties he served as a registrar to Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin back in 1928. He has treated high profile patients including Saddam Hussein and given evidence in court - possibly the oldest expert witness to do so. He continues to work in a private practice and has remarked, "I really don't know what people do when they retire at 65".

Listen to this interesting programme on BBC iPlayer online or download an MP3 of it at - Bill Frankland

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MESSAGES FROM OUR PATRONS FOR VJ DAY 2015

Both our lovely patrons sent us messages, and Terry Waite too .

Dame Vera Lynn D.B.E. LLD, M.Mus was invited to the Portslade event and wrote in reply

".thank you for your kind invitation on 16th August, but unfortunately I do not attend any public functions anymore. Please give my kind regards to everybody and I hope you have a wonderful day."

And Terry Waite CBE wrote:

"For many years now I have been privileged to be associated with former Java prisoners and have formed many close friendships with those who suffered so terribly during the War years. Alas the years ago by so quickly and each year we bid farewell to those who we have got to know and to care for. I very much regret that I will be unable to be present at the events on Sunday 16th August in Portslade but I shall be very much with you in spirit and would like you to know how much we continue to respect and honour those who suffered so much that we might have the freedom that we enjoy today. Many years have passed since those terrible events but we are filled with gratitude to those who gave so much for the sake of their country and all its people."

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