September 25th, 2016

FORMER servicemen and women, representatives from the Royal British Legion, residents and local dignatries turned out at the Plymouth Road War Memorial on Saturday (August 15) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.

A short act of remembrance, along with prayers were led by Rev Richard Clark who also read an extract from the King’s speech which was delivered on VJ Day, back in 1945.

The two minutes’ silence began and ended with the Last Post and Reveille played by bugler Peter Butler.

There were three standards on parade from the Redditch, Astwood Bank and Cookhill branches of the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Wreaths were also laid by members of the RBL, MP Karen Lumley and representatives from Redditch Borough Council.

Organiser Philip Jarvis said: “There was an impeccably marked two-minute’s silence when even the cars slowed down.

“The Plymouth Road Memorial houses the town’s Gardens of Remembrance and is a very peaceful place.

“It provided a fitting setting for people to remember in quiet reflection all those who had fought and fallen.

“I would like to thank bugler Peter Butler, the Royal British Legion branches and standard bearers and everyone who came along to support the commemoration.”

Rev Clark said: “It was a very moving servce – there were some people there who had relatives who had fought in the Far East during the Second World War.

“It was a major theatre of war where there was a lot of damage and destruction and we need to make sure we do not forget that.

“Many made the ultimate sacrifice, while others, who ended up in prisoner of war camps, came back traumatised.

“Those who fought in the Far East also felt forgotten because they were still out there fighting while there were people back here having street parties to celebrate the Victory in Europe.”

Next year, the town will be marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Plans are already under way for a special exhibition and other activities to commemorate this important part of the nation’s history.