Far East veterans salute VJ Day
PUBLISHED: 12:05 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010
VETERANS from the war in the Far East gathered on Tuesday to commemorate Victory in Japan (VJ) Day. In conjunction with the Burma Star Association, the Duxford Imperial War Museum held a memorial day to honour the men that put their lives on the line and
VETERANS from the war in the Far East gathered on Tuesday to commemorate Victory in Japan (VJ) Day.
In conjunction with the Burma Star Association, the Duxford Imperial War Museum held a memorial day to honour the men that put their lives on the line and fought a war thousands of miles from home.
More than 250 veterans from across the country came together and marched around the Duxford airfield after Typhoon and Hurricane planes took to the skies in an aerial salute.
Far East veteran Jimmy Kemp, 81, of Duxford, said: "This event means a tremendous amount to us.
"During the war we were the Forgotten Army fighting on the other side of the world. Later generations know little, if anything, about the war in which we were part of. "
Mr Kemp served in both the Royal Warwickshire and the Royal Leicestershire regiments. On August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered to the Allies in a move that ended almost six years of war.
The Burma campaign was one of the most important in the Second World War. To contain the Japanese in south-east Asia was paramount.
Chindit re-enactor, Bill Smith said: "These brave men are often neglected, despite playing a vital role in the war."
The Chindits were the largest of the Allied Special Forces who operated behind enemy lines in Burma.
"My father was a Chindit and it's been nice to chat with men who possibly fought alongside him. He was my hero and we need to appreciate what they went through.
"They are a dying breed and when they have gone their stories will go with them. That's why it's imperative that they pass on their experiences now."
Les Norris, 80, an association branch social secretary, who was part of the Royal Corps Signals, said: "We will always be remembered for fighting in the Forgotten War.
"We didn't even get the correct equipment as the war in Europe took precedence. We were thousands of miles away and nobody gave us a thought.
"But what we are now doing is making the younger generation more aware and events like this are important."
Ellie Gittos, of the Imperial War Museum, said: "It was an unbelievable turnout. Some of them were meeting for the first time in 60 years.