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Council plans VJ Day tribute to service veterans

In a break with recent tradition, Fenland District Council is organising a special event in August to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

VJ Day plaque

It is taking the place of the commemoration that the council has held in June over the past few years to mark Armed Forces Day.

This year's tribute to service veterans will be on August 14, the day before the UK's official VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, which marks the Japanese surrender in 1945.

Details are yet to be finalised but it will be hosted by FDC chairman Councillor Carol Cox.

She said: "We decided to do something different because of the special nature of this anniversary.

"On August 15 it will be 70 years since the Japanese surrender which finally brought the Second World War to an  end - a day celebrated then and since as VJ Day.

"It is a day that is often eclipsed by VE Day, when victory in Europe is celebrated. For many who fought in the Far East and their families, that is a matter of deep sorrow and indeed often anger.

"This year we wanted to give special recognition to all those who fought in Singapore, Burma and Thailand.

"We felt it was particularly appropriate because of the special relationship that Wisbech has with the Singapore Club - something recognised in the memorial on the wall in St Peter's Church."

The white marble and black slate plaque in the church  was donated by the Singapore Club Wisbech. It is dedicated "to the memory of the men of this area who were killed in action or died in captivity in the Far East". Designed by Brian A Krill, it was unveiled 30 years ago, in 1985.

Veterans from the Far East are often referred to as The Forgotten Army.  They were still fighting in Burma, Singapore and Thailand when Britain was celebrating VE Day in May 1945.

Two battalions of  the Cambridgeshire Regiment were in Singapore in 1942 at the time of its surrender to the Japanese. Those who were taken captive subsequently suffered terrible hardships as prisoners of war.

The campaign in the Far East was the longest of the war. Continuous fighting raged for three full years from 1942 to 1945, during which time service personnel had no home leave.

·         A special flag will be raised at Fenland Hall during the week of June 22-27, leading up to the official Armed Forces Day on June 27.

Article added June 16, 2015