On Thursday morning at 10.30am the Preston and District Veterans Council gathered at the Preston Cemetery War Memorial to commemorate the 68th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day).Advertisement
Fortunately, not only did the weather stay dry but the sun shone brilliantly over the occasion. The ceremony commenced with the standard bearers marching towards the War Memorial with the standards held high. Colonel Bernard Stam then formally spoke of the suffering and lives lost in the Far East War battlefields and expressed how we should not forget their sacrifice. Then Father Timothy Lipscomb gave a brief service of remembrance, which included the participation of the Lord’s Prayer by all present at the ceremony.
The laying of the wreath was performed by Colonel Bernard Stam, the president of the Preston and District Veterans Council, followed by a rendition of ‘The Last Post’ and a minute of respectful silence.
Left to right: Father Timothy Lipscomb, George Stirland, Harold Robinson, Arthur Grizedale, Eric Norman, Councillor Tom Davis, Jack Kendall, Steve Allen, Terry Byrn, Harry Cooke, Francis Jeffery, Colonel Bernard Stam (President of the Preston and District Veterans Council).
This ceremony held each year commemorates the hundreds of thousands of British troops who fought in the Far East during World War II. It is the only event in Preston which marks both the end of the war against Japan and the final end of World War II.
It seems to be a great pity that this ceremony goes almost without notice in the City of Preston and the surrounding areas, as it is from this region that many men served, suffered and too often died, and it should go without question that more of us should acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice by affording thirty minutes or so to attend the ceremony. Let us hope that in future years more people will attend this very worthy occasion.
One of the veterans remarked that “there might well be survivors still alive today who were involved in that war, although they would probably be in their late eighties or even over ninety years old”.
Paul D. Swarbrick & Gillian A. Lawson
Do you think you may know someone who is alive today and a veteran of the Far East War? Let us know in the comment boxes below.