I saw a Facebook post this morning from a guy on the CoFEPOW site that I follow pointing out that there is not a single mention of VJ Day (Victory against Japan) on Aug 15 1945 which marked the final end of WWII. He pointed out that the modern world – in its ingratitude – has simply forgotten the sacrifice made by him and his friends and comrades in the name of freedom. I did a bit of googling to discover that it is true in the UK. In Australia and the US, however, there is loads of stuff in the press.
I suppose with the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics 2012 we have had other things to occupy us and the commemoration of an ‘unfashionable’ and tragic episode in British military history has fallen off the radar. Well I have to agree with Mr Lane – we are all guilty of being ungrateful bastards.
Here is an extract of an interview that my dad gave after the war to army officers during his debrief following his liberation from Omori POW camp in Tokyo:
“From the point of view of food and general treatment while I was a prisoner of war, both were worse in Bunka than I had experienced in other Japanese camps. For one period of 10 months I was not allowed to write any letters home.
“I suffered from beri-beri owing to lack of vitamins. I am still suffering the after effects in both my hands. On or about the 15th of August…we were turned loose awaiting the arrival of the American forces. On the 29th of August we were taken by landing barges by the Americans from Omori to the hospital ship ‘Benevolence’ where we were medically examined, bathed and given new clothes. From there we were transferred into destroyers, all British subjects being taken over by the British aircraft carrier ‘HMS Speaker‘. On this carrier we taken to Manila from where I was flown by British aircraft to England. I arrived in England at the end of September 1945.”
Lt Jack McNaughton, The Loyal Regiment was one of the lucky ones, thank God. But we need to remember all those who weren’t as well as the ones, like Mr Lane who survived.