By Keith Lievesley

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VJ Day Commemorations

On Saturday 15 August at 18.00 the  Barnack and District Branch of the Royal British Legion held a very well-attended VJ Day Commemoration Service in St.Andrew’s Church at Ufford, the first service there since its reopening in July. On a beautiful sunny summer’s evening the Branch piper, Cameron Park, played as the congregation entered the church, with sunlight streaming through the windows.

The Rev. Dave Maylor welcomed everyone and the service began with the singing of “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven.” Following a bible reading by Peter Hudson, Elizabeth Young explained the little-known origins of The Kohima Epitaph which has become a familiar feature of annual Remembrance Day services. In his address Dave Maylor reminded the audience of the sacrifice made by the “forgotten army” in the Far East and of the responsibility of subsequent generations, including our own, to ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain and to strive for a better and more peaceful world.
Charles Clark of the British Legion revealed that his studies had only revealed four men from the Barnack area who had been involved in the Far East campaign, Sid Tuck being the best known because of the re-telling of his experiences in the History of Barnack. Charles recalled how two of the four, including Sid, had been scheduled to be involved in the proposed attack to re-take Rangoon before it was cancelled with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. He reflected on how his view on the morality of dropping the bombs had changed as he got older and how views generally of the Japanese people had changed over time and how he now enjoyed spending time with several Japanese friends.
Dave Maylor then offered prayers in memory of those who had fought and died in the Far East and in hope for a better world looking ahead.  After the congregation had sung “Who would true valour see,” Cameron Park played the lament “Pibroch” followed by a minute’s silence. Max Sawyer read the Kohima Epitaph and the branch standard was retrieved from the chancel steps and the standard bearer left the church followed by the piper.
The congregation then assembled outside to watch a fly-past of a Tiger Moth and two Austers – the pilots were Ray Guess (Pilsgate), Peter Grist (Ufford) and Phillip Shotbolt (Careby) – before being piped down to the White Hart where everyone enjoyed an evening of food, drink and convivial conversation with friends.  All who attended would like to thank The Barnack and District British Legion for all their efforts in organising such an excellent commemoration of the real end of the Second World War.

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