VJ Day and nobody seems to care

Keijo, Christmas 1942.My dad Lt Jack MCNaughton is 1st on the left, 1st row from the back.

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.

12 thoughts on “VJ Day and nobody seems to care”

  1. Dear Mr Parvus,

    I was very excited to stumble upon this article. My Grandfather is in that photograph, and he kept a diary whilst prisoner in Keijo. In the diary he mentions Lt McNaughton and the shows he put on to entertain the prisoners. Please do email me if you like.

    With kind regards

    1. Hi Helen

      Thank you very much for getting in touch. I will drop you a line as it would be very interesting to have a look at that. I know that my dad was involved in shows at Changi before being moved to Keijo – but I hadn’t found any information about shows at Keijo.

    2. Dear Helen and Mundus Parvus

      My father is also in the photo, Lt George Baker. I am researching Keijo camp for a dissertation on propaganda I am doing at Oxford as a mature student. I have copies of about 60 photos of the camp, and a fair amount of information. If anyone would like me to see if I have any infomation about their family members, please let me know and I will be happy to share what I have. I would be very grateful also to receive any info anyone has about Keijo. Are there any typescripts of diaries available or diaries I can come and read?
      My focus is on how the camp was used for propaganda.

      best wishes to all those whose family members were in the camp.

      Richard Baker

  2. Hi.
    I have a copy of this photo too. My grandfather is top row far right. Lt Charles F Mummery. I also have a cartoon drawn by Kingsley depicting all the officers of the Loyal Rgt. at Keijo at Christmas 1944. Your father is depicted wearing tails and holding a top hat and waving a cane with a banner saying ” with you in spirit”.
    I have other photos and items from Charles’ time at Keijo too.

    1. Hi Peter
      Thanks for getting touch. I would be very interested to see that cartoon and any other photos etc that you might have – if you have some time to scan them and email them? I’m still trying to complete research into the Loyals at Keijo and Omori so it would be really helpful to have a look at them.

      I am hoping to post some more on this blog in the ear future.

      My email is johnahoward@talktalk.net

    2. Dear Peter

      I have numerous photographs which I think include your father. If you’d like me to send copies, would be happynto.


      Richard Baker

  3. Hi My Grandad was in The Loyal Regiment and was in Changi then Keijo, Kawasaki, then Fukuoka #26 and #27 he was a warrant officer class II. I do have a few photos too if anyone has any info I would be happy anf grateful. Thanks Cathy

  4. I am working on a collection of P.O.W. mail for an auction in Hong Kong in January and have two cards from America addressed Jack McNaughton. Happy to supply more information if required. Regards,

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