Poignant VJ day event held in Chichester – in pictures
Relatives of Far Eastern Prisoners of War were among those who gathered in Chichester on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, Victory over Japan in the Second World War.
Veterans, the mayor and other dignitaries also attended the event at the war memorial in Litten Gardens, where at two-minute silence was held at 11am. A magnolia tree and plaque in honour of the Pacific Campaign in the Far East was unveiled at the moving ceremony. Christine Beer, whose father William Henry Hall spent almost four years as a Japanese prisoner of war and survived the infamous Death Railway, laid a wreath in his memory alongside her 92-year-old mother – read more about her father’s story here. She said the event was ‘very poignant’ and thanked Chichester City Council for ensuring it went ahead despite coronavirus restrictions. “They did us really proud,” she said. Only around 30 people were allowed to attend to ensure social distancing was maintained, but Christine said: “It was a special, personal thing for us in a way.” Christine, who lives near Oving and is part of a group called the Children Of Far Eastern Prisoners of War, said it was ‘lovely’ to have a place where she and other member could gather locally to remember their loved ones. This was especially important because the truth about what happened to men like her father was suppressed for many years. Her father was plagued by nightmares of his time in the camps but it was only after he died in 2001 that Christine learned more about the horrors he experienced. She and other members of the group are determined to ensure their stories are remembered. “They were forgotten, but now they will never be forgotten again,” she said.