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VJ Day 70 Souvenir CD Available

NFFWRA VJ Day 70 Special Purchase for funds and memories of our VJ Day 70 Evening Supper at the Union Jack Club

Those of you who attended the supper at the Union Jack Club following the day’s events at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Horse Guards Parade and the Westminster Abbey gardens, will remember the tribute to the 1940’s cabaret performed by Lauren, the daughter of NFFWRA Secretary Pauline Simpson. It was touch and go whether Lauren would be on leave from her cruise ship the MS ‘Astor’ where she works as a singer/dancer/pianist, in time to perform for you. Luckily with only a week to go Lauren was able to make it. During the evening many of you asked Lauren if she had a CD that they could purchase and unfortunately for this particular cabaret she had not yet recorded one. Whilst she has been home she has been to the recording studio, designed a cover and the CD is now available for you to purchase. Proceeds will be paid into our funds following the expenses involved in paying for the time in the recording studio,  printing the cover and purchasing the CD sleeves.  The CD costs just £10 incl. Postage and can be ordered by email to enquiries@nationalfepowfellowship.org.uk. You will then be asked to send a cheque payable to FEPOW Group A/C.

 

It was great to see our new pin badges being worn on VJ Day in London. If you have not yet managed to get hold of one please get in touch with Tony Burrows, our Chairman, via email enquiries@nationalfepowfellowship.org.uk.

Comments from veterans and their families attending the VJ70 Day commemorations

Here are just some of the many comments received from veterans and their families attending the London commemorations

The Service at St Martin-in -the Fields – “The highlight of the day – a beautiful and fitting location with different perspectives of remembrance, the beautiful voices of the choir, the veterans great grandchildren lighting the candles, so symbolic of keeping the memories of the fallen but also, keeping alive the horrors of war and the need for prevention”.

“Beautiful, appropriate and well organised and we appreciated the presence of the Royal family and the Prime Minister”                                The beautiful hymns, the combination of the choir and the band was electric.

Thank you for such a wonderful service, it just hit the right note.
I thought the whole day was wonderful….  the simplicity and intimacy was very touching and moving. It was brilliant that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were there. A real credit to you and all the veterans.

“The continued feeling of camaraderie – the buzz of conversation among the veterans and their families – so many meaningful conversations about the fallen, war, life and spirit.”

The glint in the veterans eyes, recognising that same spirit that sustained them through the horror of the camps and which has led to the ripe old age of so many.

The walk down Whitehall was exhilarating – the clapping and cheering – people came to cheer the veterans and pay their respects and gave the veterans the welcome they had waited 70 years to receive.

Veterans skipped and made contact with the crowd, kissed each other and hugged over the barriers. There was much laughter and smiles stretched from ear to ear.

It was incredible, something which we will never forget……..We no longer feel “The Forgotten Army”

An incredible spectacle!                                The crowds were amazing, my father had the time of his life!

A very tiring but unforgettable day…….. Many thanks for organising such a wonderful event

I was privileged to attend the events on VJ Day 70 in St Martins then Horse Guards, Reception then dinner at the UJC

As stated to Pauline Simpson, it was an amazing day, a lot of hard work and stress in her part but I’m sure she will be proud of it all

I will ever be grateful for the experience…………………..completely different from the 50th Anniversary at Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards the following day.

My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed it all, our stay at the UJC, Church service, fellowship, dinner etc etc….so much to remember…and so many lovely people.

Quote from a daughter of a FEPOW

I want to write to thank you for all your help in acquiring tickets for the FEPOW / VJ Service last Saturday. It was such a special day in so many ways & Dad really enjoyed it all. I was quite nervous about the ‘expedition’ as it was not without the complications you would expect with a 96 year old, but it could not have gone more smoothly. We had marvellous seats during the service, and were very touched by Bishop Nigel’s sermon. Dad particularly loves music and hymns and was quite moved by the fanfares & drum rolls. A kind person in a high-vis jacket escorted us across Trafalgar Square, and then we had excellent seats for the Drumhead Service. I will never forget the seemingly never-ending applause as we wheeled him down Whitehall. He was a bit overcome at that moment – weren’t we all? He could not quite understand why people kept coming up to him and shaking his hand and saying thank you – or ‘you are a real soldier’. He has never really dwelled on what happened in the war, and just moved forward.  Saturday was such an eye opener for him, to be amongst other people with similar experiences and stories.
They really are a strong generation and an inspiration to us all.

The whole day was so well organised, and so well supported by all the Service personnel and the volunteers it took away all my worries. I felt so proud of Dad, and to be British and take part in a unique and very British occasion. Thank you for your help in making it come together.

 

 

 

A Message from our Patron HRH The Duke of Gloucester

This message was kindly received from the Patron of NFFWRA:

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester thank you most sincerely for your hospitality and organisation in arranging their attendance at the Service to Commemorate the Seventieth Anniversary of Victory in Japan day at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 15th August, 2015.

Their Royal Highnesses were honoured to be part of such a special occasion and were extremely moved by the fitting tribute made during the Service. The Duke and Duchess would wish to pass on their thanks and appreciation to all those involved for such a special and memorable occasion.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester would like to convey their very warmest regards to Pauline (Simpson) and everyone at the NFFWRA and they look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.

Researching FEPOW History Conference June 2015

Liverpool Conference June 5-8 2015 by Pauline Simpson

Despite it being her wedding anniversary I made my way unaccompanied from Norfolk to Liverpool to attend the FEPOW Researching History Conference not really knowing what to expect. Looking out for me on my arrival was our President Bob Hucklesby whose company it is always a pleasure to be in.

Without even time to check in to the hotel, the conference started promptly and from there on in from Friday through to Monday a series of illustrated talks from a brilliant array of speakers were a delight to behold. I could fill this newsletter with all the details of an exhilarating weekend. With the VJ 70 preparations so uppermost in my thoughts it was so great to put faces to names of those that I recognized from application for tickets to St Martins. It was wonderful to meet and make new friends with so many with like-minded interests and I do urge you to take the opportunity in the future should there be another conference to attend. It was a privilege to meet Jeya Ayadurai (Changi, Singapore), Rod Beattie MBE (Thailand) and Jon Cooper (Singapore) with my forthcoming trip to Singapore and Thailand this Autumn.
I even indulged myself and purchased a number of books, one of which I completed reading on my train journey home. I do so thoroughly recommend that you read this book, ‘The Changi Cross’ by Louise Cordingly, daughter of Eric Cordingly, an Army Chaplain in the Far East who was to become Bishop of Thetford, a town situated in the Norwich Diocese where I work as a Minister and who also knew my father. Imagine my delight in finding a name familiar to me within the pages of this book and discovering that Tim Hemmings, a comrade of my fathers in the 560th Field Company was still alive. I do hope to catch up with him in 2016.
I also purchased Meg Parkes’ book written with Geoff Gill, ‘Captive Memories’ and can’t wait to read this now that I have time on my hands!! Unashamedly I also confess to have come away with a print of a painting by Sally Gumbridge called …. ‘And the sun went down’, based on a journey by Sally to the Far East to piece together her father’s story as a FEPOW. There were a number of paintings and prints to choose from but I was particularly taken with the words from a saying by Sally’s father that read, “The sun went down like a blazing furnace in which a new world was cast.” Perhaps with the fall of Japan and the end of the war, a new world had been cast. We may not forget but we can move on. The painting depicts the railway line with the blazing sunset going down in the background. As yet it has not been mounted on the walls of my home, a DIY decorating project for the winter! Should you attend a conference, hopefully in the not too distant future, if you are a lover of books and paintings, it is imperative that you take your plastic cards with you!

Joining ‘our’ Bob were Tom Boardman and George Reynolds, Merle Hesp (widow of Harry), and civilian internees, Els and Connie Suverkropp, Romee Hindle and Olga Henderson. I was delighted to persuade and arrange for Olga to come to St Martin-in-the-Fields on VJ Day. Thank you and congratulations to Meg Parkes and the Researching FEPOW History team for making this such a worthwhile journey despite leaving my husband Jerry to celebrate our wedding anniversary on his own!

 

 

 

VJ Day 70 – The Chairman’s View

 

VJ Day 70 London – The Chairman’s view

On August 15th 2015 the day started very early for some of us, but not as early as NFFWRA Secretary and FEPOW Chaplain Pauline Simpson’s, who was being interviewed by the BBC before breakfast in Trafalgar Square. Pauline would say ‘what breakfast?’, then got on with the business at hand and her day got busier and busier up to and including the wonderful Church Service at St Martin-in-the-Field. What a beautiful Church to hold this very important Service of Remembrance, with the bells of St Martin’s, being joined by those at St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey ringing out a warm welcome and alerting London to the forthcoming events of the day.

This alone took over three years to bring to fruition and out of the blue for Pauline to get a call from Buckingham Palace asking whether she would accept the proposal of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who wished to attend was the biggest surprise, but what an honour for both Pauline and the Veterans.

On the big day I must thank the Committee and Associated members for their time helping the Stewards of St Martin-in-the-Field with Security, and seating the congregation within the Church at times under pressure, but with professional decorum as St Martin’s became full to bursting. Everybody was seated on time, with the FEPOWs, wives, widows and Civilian Internees close to the Royalty in attendance.

Amongst the congregation, special guests were in attendance by invitation of NFFWRA, these included representatives of the 1942 Infantry Division, Ambassadors from the Commonwealth, the Military and the Royal Commonwealth ex servicemen’s league. We were delighted that Viscount Slim and the Countess were able to join us and that Viscount Slim read a lesson at the Service and of course the Prime Minister was also in attendance.

Her Royal Highness the Queen, and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived with our Patron the Duke of Gloucester and the Duchess of Gloucester, and were introduced first of all to Pauline followed by the Senior Clergy before entering the church.

Your views and comments on the service are included in the post below

At the end of the Service Pauline escorted the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to the Portico of the Church to introduce Bob Hucklesby, our President, and other veterans and dignitaries to Her Majesty who was very interested in talking to everybody, and spent more time than was planned with them. The Royal household were getting worried about the time this was taking but The Queen was not to be rushed.

I met and introduced TRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Prime Minister and Viscount Slim to Eric Adie and Jack Jennings (Pacific Star veterans) and also to Vic Nibbs (Burma Star veteran).

Leslie Clark the Chairman of the Java 1942 FEPOW Club introduced the Earl, and the Countess of Wessex (the Java Club Patron) to her group of veterans and dignitaries.

Outside, Trafalgar Square was packed with the general public cheering the Queen and the Royal family as they departed, not worrying about the veiled threat against them, in fact the Duke of Edinburgh said ‘well the roof of the Church didn’t get blown off did it!’ The cheering continued as the Veterans left the church to attend the service in Horse Guards Parade with the Bells continuing to ring out over London.
After the service at Horse guards, the Veterans marched (or was it strolled) down Whitehall. Some were even seen dancing! The crowds, in their thousands, cheered and clapped the veterans all the way to the Abbey gardens at Westminster where they gathered together for tea and goodies in the company of HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who enjoyed their time so much they left much later than planned.

As many of you are aware accommodation had been arranged by Pauline for as many of us as possible to stay at the Union Jack Club close to Waterloo Station, so we were able to meet up with friends both old and new on the Friday and Saturday evening. Anna, Pauline’s daughter arranged for the free taxis to transport the veterans from the Union Jack Club to St Martins and again they waited at Westminster Abbey to transport people to their destinations. Some I believe were even taken home!

A special supper was laid on by NFFWRA at the Union Jack Club for 144 people on Saturday evening. A three-course meal with tea or coffee, all free for our FEPOWs wives and widows. We are extremely grateful to our Members and Associate members who for the past three years have been supporting our fundraising events to finance this event. We were sorry that the size of the banquet room did not accommodate more than the 144 who attended as we could have doubled the attendance. Pauline’s daughter Lauren, a professional singer, appropriately dressed in a military uniform and her grandfather’s medals sang many old 40’s songs with union jacks waving and hearty singing by all which made the evening very special. A boozy fruit cake made by a friend of Pauline’s eldest daughter Anna was cut by Pauline, and everybody had a slice on a Union Jack napkin, with more jolly singing and some dancing. A great end to a very emotional but happy day.

I am sure you would all like to join me in thanking Pauline for the magnificent Service, her family, committee and others for all their help and support to enable this special day to take place.

As you can imagine, Pauline’s postman has been extremely busy delivering cards and letters of appreciation, even from the Royal Household, and rightly so!

An amazing £3200 was raised at the collection taken at our VJ Day Service. An amount of £1600.00 has now been sent to Combat Stress – The Veterans’ Mental Health Charity and £1600 to NFFWRA as advertised in our Order of Service. Thank you most sincerely for your generosity.

On behalf of everyone, a big ‘Thank you’ to Pauline.                             Tony Burrows

Birmingham FEPOW Association 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Surrender

NFFWRA Secretary Pauline Simpson and her husband Jerry were delighted to be invited by Ken Coy, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Birmingham FEPOW Association, to a lunch at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham on 2nd September 2015, commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Signing of the Surrender of the Japanese. As the FEPOW Chaplain, Pauline was invited to say grace and also to talk about the VJ70 Day Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 15th August 2015. Pauline and Jerry was delighted to meet up with friends not seen for a while, especially Pam Stubbs, Secretary of the Birmingham FEPOW Association, and to make new acquaintances.

medallianIt was a great surprise for Pauline to be presented personally with a medallion commemorating this Anniversary by Nick Roberts, the NFFWRA Standard Bearer, along with FEPOWs and other selected guests.

As many will know from a previous newsletter NFFWRA gave their support and offered financial assistance to the Birmingham Association to produce this medallion which was being offered to every FEPOW. The medallion with a brass plate could be engraved with the FEPOW name and number and came with a booklet and CD on the final days of the Japanese’s occupation resulting in the dropping of the atomic bomb with the surrender being signed on the 2nd September 1945 in Tokyo Bay.

The medallion was the idea of FEPOW Tom McKie who made it possible for it to be produced in memory of his wife Jean. As a result of the support of NFFWRA, Ken very kindly allocated us some medallions to distribute in a way appropriate to our Association. Pauline  has presented medallions to those who are family members of FEPOWs who took part in the VJ70 Day service at St Martin-in-the-Fields.  A number were presented to key people involved in the October/November 2015 trip to the Far East organised by NFFWRA Committee members Gerry and Lynda Norden under the umbrella of the Royal British Legion.

Pauline  received a number of orders for the medallion. Just to confirm that all FEPOWs will receive a medallion in due course.

Anyone else wishing to order a medallion, please email: enquiries@nationfepowfellowship.org.uk