Summer Newsletter July 2014

Worthing Weekend Reunion – June 27-30th

Can you believe that the month of July has already passed us by, since many of us met in Worthing for a weekend Reunion as part of the Armed Forces Weekend. I have been overwhelmed by your letters and cards where the words, ‘wonderful’, ‘special’, ‘fab’, ‘most enjoyable’, ‘splendid’, ‘happy atmosphere’, ‘friendly’, and even ‘best ever’ kept reoccurring. What a joy it was to spend the weekend with over 80 of you from our FEPOW family with such beautiful weather, with 90 of us sitting down for our gala dinner on the Sunday. How lovely to have over 20 new people join us this time, a special thank you to family members who accompanied widows that we had met in Southampton at the Repatriation Memorial ceremony in October 2013. My grateful thanks to the organisers of the Worthing Armed Forces weekend for reserving us seats at the Drumhead Service on the Sunday morning, in particular Janet Goldsbrough-Jones. Our very own Tom McKie, Chairman of the Birmingham FEPOW Association said the Kohima Epitaph. It was particularly poignant for those of us who assembled on the pier on the Saturday afternoon to witness the flypast of the spitfire, a memory that will stay in the thoughts of many of us for a very long time.

plane

Many were able to catch up with Margaret Martin of the Java Club with her husband John on the green outside the hotel manning one of the many stalls on view. What fun we had after our gala dinner where the entertainment was provided by Dean Ager, the Rat pack man. He had us all singing and laughing and a few of you ‘screaming’ at his Michael Buble impression – not mentioning any names of course! Our widows from the London FEPOW Association appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.

The evening concluded with committee member and welfare advisor Alan Mercer leading us in all the old favourite songs and memories of FEPOW Reunions past, with the final Grand March around the ballroom and waving of flags to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘The National Anthem’. Many said it was like the old days at former FEPOW Reunions organised by NFFCA. Our thanks must go to the team at the hotel who didn’t let us down, making it possible to organise everything for you as we wished it to be. I believe there may be a video recording of a ‘conger’ around Steyne Green late in the evening and a disturbance along the corridor of the second floor. Really! Surely not! Oh the confessions of a FEPOW Chaplain!
The sun was so hot on the Sunday morning, we were not able to assemble everyone in attendance for the photograph so apologies to those of you who are missing.

Worthing caption

You were all so generous in bringing prizes for the raffle, we were able to have a tombola with over 60 prizes in addition to the raffle. Thank you so much, your generosity is overwhelming and we managed to raise approximately £420.

Thanks to Peggy Harold for the knitted poppy sales, not forgetting the delicious sausage rolls made for our journey on the way down! I also wish to acknowledge the numerous donations that were received during the weekend for our 2015 VJ Day commemorations appeal. The support for this special event is really overwhelming. The smooth running of the raffle and tombola is down to Lyn and Geoff Scott, thanks to both of you as always for your help and support, and your personal friendship which keeps me in good spirit at all times, knowing you are there at the end of a phone even if at the other end of the country.

We were able to hold our AGM during the weekend, and Bob Hucklesby (FEPOW) our President opened the meeting, welcoming everybody and stressed the importance of the meeting and how delighted he was to see so many in attendance, it must have been the promise of a cup of tea and a biscuit! Bob referred to last year’s most successful Service at St Peter Mancroft Church to commemorate VJ Day and the lunch provided for the FEPOWs, wives and widows, thanking Pauline and the committee for their continued support.

Our accounts forwarded to you in advance of the weekend were approved at the meeting.

Since the Spring newsletter we have been able to pay out approximately £11,000 in welfare payments to our FEPOWs, wives and widows, thanks to the Declaration of Trust which was set up by Bob Hucklesby, our President and the Trustees of the former Central Welfare Fund, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion. It is important for all of you to remember that we have access to this money and that we can help all FEPOWs, wives and widows wherever they might be. Also to note that the figure of £11,000 is only in respect of hospital stays, nursing home, Reunion and travel grants. Far more is spent on mobility grants and such like.

The current officers and committee were re-elected ‘en bloc’, there being no other nominations:-

Chairman                             Mr Tony Burrows

Secretary/Grants Officer  Mrs Pauline Simpson

Treasurer                            Mrs Lynda Burrows

Welfare Advisor                 Mr Alan Mercer

Committee: Mr Gerry and Mrs Lynda Norden, Mrs Lyn Scott and Mr Tony Truett

Examiner of Accounts      Mr Ian Fletcher

Independent Examiner     Mr David Gibson.

We were most appreciative of the comments received from Mrs Karen Woodford on behalf of her father Mr Stan Burridge (FEPOW) and Mrs Susan Fletcher on the work carried out by the Committee on behalf of members of NFFWRA families.

As secretary I gave a report on the activities of the Association, most of which will be contained within this newsletter. It was a privilege to have at this Reunion the President and Chairman of the Birmingham Association, being Mrs Pam Stubbs and FEPOW Tom McKie respectively, along with Bill Marshall President of the Java FEPOW Association and George Housego Chairman of the London FEPOW Association in attendance at the same time.

We sincerely thank you for joining us and hope to see you again, you are all most welcome, do encourage more of your members to join us.

Special thanks to Pam Stubbs in the Birmingham newsletter reminding all FEPOWs, wives and widows that you are all automatically members of NFFWRA with no subscriptions to pay giving you access to all grants that are available to you.

So we now proceed quickly on with the arrangements for the:

October Reunion weekend in Llandudno – October 31st – 3rd November 2014.

Already because of application forms being available at Worthing, I have taken bookings for 50 people, so please if you wish to join us, do get in touch as soon as possible. There will be a full programme of events as usual but with a ‘tinge of the festive season’ to enjoy together and a few surprises up our sleeves! An application form is enclosed should you not have been at Worthing. As usual a coach will be available to those travelling from East Anglia picking up in Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Fen Ditton close to Cambridge. The usual Reunion and transport grants are available if you have not already claimed previously.

This reminds me that some of you who travelled independently to Worthing have still not claimed your transport grants. Finance is available to you so please do come forward to claim. Because of some funds ‘in the kitty’ left over from 2013, there is more available should you attend more than one Reunion. In addition to an Annual Reunion pay out I have been able to fund travel to Wymondham and Buckingham Palace so do check that you haven’t missed out.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015

Again as mentioned in the November and Spring newsletters we will return to: Lytham St Annes on the weekend of April 17th-20th 2015.

Our resident FEPOW in the area is already sorting out a Piper for our service and possibly attending our gala dinner.

Church logoCommemorations for the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day – 15th August 2015 – 11am

Progress continues at a great pace on the organisation of this National Event but as yet it is still early days. You will now have received your invitations and application forms for tickets for entry to the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. I am delighted at the response and the church is already half full and I can confirm that all applications received to date have been successful. Interest for accommodation at the Union Jack Club is also in great demand.

The details are as follows:

You are able to book your own accommodation by calling the Union Jack Club on 0207 902 7379 on Block Booking Reference 12829 – 14th and 15th August 2015.

Following payment for the first night to secure the booking, you will receive an individual booking number and confirmation of your reservation will be sent directly to you.

Should any FEPOW or widow wish me to make the booking on their behalf please let me know, and I will be happy to do so, as I will be dealing with the bookings for those travelling on the coach unless requested otherwise.

The cost is as follows, although there is likely to be a small increase in the New Year.

Single en-suite room with TV £72 per room per night

Double en-suite room with TV £126 per room per night

Twin en-suite room with TV £126 per room per night (twin rooms are limited)

Breakfast is an additional £8.50 per person per day.

You will need to book the supper on the Saturday with me direct at the cost of £15 per person – this includes an evening of wartime favourite songs led by Lauren Simpson.

Supper for FEPOWs, wives and widows is free of charge.

COACH TRAVEL FROM EAST ANGLIA – USUAL PICK UP LOCATIONS

We plan to have coaches both for a day trip only and for a two night stay – dependent upon interest

Travel Grants will be available for FEPOWs, wives and widows, over and above the Annual Reunion Grant.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION

In response to a letter received from a FEPOW, discussions have taken place with a Government Minister regarding media coverage of this event and recognition for FEPOW veterans in keeping with that given to the Normandy Veterans. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have been informed, in order to remind the nation of the thousands of British lives lost or severely damaged in the service of their country as a result of overwork, disease, neglect, and brutality at the hands of the Japanese. I made a pledge at the AGM that I would work towards achieving this National recognition.

NFFWRA starts the countdown to 2015 VJ Day Commemorations following a visit to Buckingham Palace – May 2014

Back in May I was privileged to be invited as the guest of our Patron HRH the Duke of Gloucester, to a garden party held at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the achievements of a variety of charities and organisations up and down the country, which were supported by members of the Royal family. I was able to be escorted by 5 further members of the Association and it seemed appropriate to ask my husband Jerry and our Chairman and Treasurer Tony and Lynda Burrows who without their support, much of my work would not be achieved. I was introduced to HRH by one of the ushers and was able to advise him of the activities of the Association at which he appeared immensely interested and spent considerable time with us, and made it known that he was pleased to be associated with us as its Patron. His Private Secretary promised to keep us informed of the diary of HRH in order if possible for him to attend our 2015 Service. Following afternoon tea and the opportunity to enjoy the gardens, there followed a walk about of the Royal party in which the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Beatrice, Princess Michael and the Duchess of Gloucester stopped briefly to chat with members of the FEPOW party. Joining us were FEPOW Stan Burridge, who enjoyed a joke with The Duke of Edinburgh, with his daughter Karen.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham palace 2014 009

NOT FORGOTTEN ASSOCIATION , BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDEN PARTY      JUNE 26 2014

10 places were offered to NFFWRA this year to enable FEPOWs and carers to attend and I was very pleased to accept. As some of our veterans had already accepted an invitation offered by other ex-service personnel organisations our places were taken by 2 Norfolk FEPOWs and 3 HMS Exeter FEPOWs with carers. With an excess of travel money from 2013 as previously reported, I was able to assist other FEPOWs attending from the Birmingham and Java and London Associations from the former FEPOW Central Welfare Fund.

Norfolk Veterans on parade

Norfolk Veterans on parade

Do let me know if you have never attended or wish to be included for next year – that’s me making assumptions!

FEPOW Service at The Church of our Lady & St Thomas of Canterbury, Wymondham 18th May 2014

It was good to meet up with some of you at this Annual Service, which saw the service take place before lunch, a new arrangement this year, but which seemed to go down very well with more time for chatting. The new Priest Father Michael Ryan took the service with a very emotional address which was very well received.

Cake made by one of the ladies of the parish

Cake made by one of the ladies of the parish

Next year’s service is on Sunday May 17th 2015.

Thetford and Brandon FEPOW Association AGM

One of the wonderful things to come out of organising the service at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich last year was to discover 4 FEPOWs in Norfolk and North Suffolk. It had been understood that the Thetford and Brandon Association had been closed down several years ago, but thanks to the publicity given to this service by the local paper, I was delighted when I was asked for tickets for the service in order for not only 4 FEPOWs to attend but also some widows and their families.

I was very honoured when invited recently by the Association to join them at their AGM followed by lunch. The best news of all is that 2 of the veterans and one widow have been able to benefit from the welfare that we are able to offer all FEPOWs, wives and widows, wherever they might be.

Grateful thanks must go to to David for bringing these lovely gentleman and their families to my attention.

Thetford Association members at their July AGM

Thetford Association members at their July AGM

NEWS FROM MEG PARKES
Researching FEPOW History Group’s 5th international conference, in association with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)

SURVIVING FAR EAST CAPTIVITY AND THE AFTERMATH: 70 YEARS ON
Friday 5 – Sunday 7 June 2015 (registration 1pm Friday)
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA

In alphabetical order, speakers include:
Keith Andrews (research), Jeya Ayadurai (Changi, Singapore), Rod Beattie MBE (Thailand), Frank Cottrell Boyce (scriptwriter, The Railway Man), Jon Cooper (Singapore), Jane Davies (Korea), Professor Geoff Gill (LSTM), Dr Rosalind Hearder (Australian medics), Dr Lizzie Oliver (Sumatra Railway), Meg Parkes (FEPOW medical art), Martin Percival and Stephen Rockliffe (RAPWI and Repatriation), Philip Reed (IWM) – Roderick Suddaby Lecture, Stephen Walton (IWM), Anne Wheeler (Canadian film producer)

Delegate Fee: £120 per person for the weekend

Registrations must be received by 30 September 2014

For full details, booking forms and hotel information go to:
http://www.researchingfepowhistory.org.uk

“To remember them, is to honour them”
Roger Mansell 1935 – 2010

NFFWRA WEBSITE

We are thrilled to let you all know that our website has now gone live and you can access it by going to: http://www.nationalfepowfellowship.org.uk

We are very grateful to Associate member Richard Brown and his son Andrew for all their hard work and patience, particularly with me when I have been so fussy over the content and it’s presentation. It is a work in progress document as Richard says so changes will occur at regular intervals.

THANK YOU BOTH VERY MUCH on behalf of us all in enabling us to reach out to more of our veterans and their families in order to provide information on welfare, particularly grants and the opportunities to get together.

WESTMINSTER POPPY FIELD OF REMEMBRANCE 2014

Hayling Island 2012 079

As the Organiser of the FEPOW plot I have just received instructions from the Poppy factory regarding the ordering of poppy crosses for this year’s FEPOW plot at Westminster Abbey and tickets to attend the opening ceremony in November on the Thursday prior to Remembrance Sunday. We were able to distribute poppy crosses at Worthing in order for names to be placed on them in readiness for George and June Housego who have the responsibility of planting them on the day as they have done previously for many years. If you would like to order a poppy cross for George and June to plant please get in touch with me direct to place the order on your behalf before the end of September. An amount of £1 is considered an appropriate donation. There is also the facility to order online on the British Legion website nearer the time, quoting FEPOW plot as the designated area for planting.

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‘Lest We Forget’

lest we forget poppy

As always, it is sad to know that more friends have left us and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those now departed from us at this time. In particular two FEPOWs whose funerals I have had the privilege to conduct since the last newsletter. Cyril Peck and Dave Blatt. I was also able to read the FEPOW prayer at the funeral of Edward Leslie Spicer. With the passing of Wally Hilling at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, this now only leaves two FEPOW veterans at the hospital whom I am able to stay in touch with and look after their welfare. Also we mourn the loss of Jesse Marriner As I write Frank Clark has informed me of the death of Ivy Finnemore, sister of Ernie Goff who we received such good news of whilst at Worthing, and it was such a shock to receive the sad news of the sudden death of Pam Turner, wife of Arthur Turner. To those and all others known by you, no longer with us, may they now forever rest in peace.
NFFWRA STANDARD ON PARADE design by Nick Roberts and Peter Lloyd with grateful thanks

Standard

We hope you like it and will be able to come along on February 12th 2015 for its dedication at St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich, the home of the FEPOW plaque which serves as a permanent memorial to the East Anglian men who died, or whose lives were shortened by the conditions of their captivity in the Far East. This will be on the Anniversary of the dedication of the plaque in 1987. Times and further details to be advised

News of discounted flights with BA

Following the Worthing Reunion, family member Chris Cole has given me the following information to pass on to you:
FEPOW members, relatives and friends can visit Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
They must pay by Credit (£9.00 surcharge) or Debit (No surcharge) card at time of booking and they will also need an email address and their passport details. At check in they should present the printed itinerary and their passports. They can also check in on-line, 24 hours before the flight departs.

Chris says:“I would urge them to get some quotes from other airlines first.”

“I can offer travel in all the cabins, economy, economy plus, business class and first and I can make the bookings up to a year in advance. I would also insist that everyone has travel insurance too. For anyone who wants a quote they should contact me at my home email address which is; chris@uskwings.co.uk”

Many thanks Chris!

A final reminder of the NFFWRA Reunion dates to put in your diaries:
If you wish to join Eileen Bacon for the Taiwan Reunion on the weekend of 12/13/14 September 2014 please get in touch with Eileen on 0191 4202051 or email eileenjeanbacon@gmail.com

LLANDUDNO REUNION – 31st October to 3rd November 2014

Service of Remembrance at the FEPOW Memorial, Great Yarmouth on Sunday 9th November 2014

The Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich – February 12th 2015 (the dedication of the NFFWRA Standard)

LYTHAM ST ANNES – April 17th – 20th 2015

The Church of St Martin-in-the-Field, Trafalgar Square, London Commemorations for the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day – 15th August 2015. Apply for tickets and details now

Get Well wishes to all those poorly at this time, especially to Noel Price and Cecil Clarke.

Safe travelling to all the FEPOW events planned wherever during 2014 and enjoy the rest of the summer

God Bless

Pauline Simpson
FEPOW Chaplain