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'We must never forget'. West Norfolk marks 75th anniversary of VJ Day




Communities across West Norfolk have joined together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

Events took place in towns and villages around the area on Saturday to mark the moment when the Second World War finally ended in August 1945.

For many, it was a poignant occasion to reflect on the sacrifices of their loved ones in the conflict against Japan.

Eileen and Peter Haynes mark VJ Day at their home in Watlington.
Eileen and Peter Haynes mark VJ Day at their home in Watlington.

Among them were Eileen and Peter Haynes, who flew the Union Jack outside their home in Watlington.

One of Peter's uncles lost an arm during the conflict, in which he was captured by Japanese forces and held in a prison camp.

Mrs Haynes said: "It's so often referred to the people who were in the Far East as the Forgotten Army and we decided they won't be."

Snettisham Parish Council chairman Alf Todd, borough councillor Ian Devereux and Royal British Legion branch chairman Phil Smith at the commemoration event in Snettisham (40767957)
Snettisham Parish Council chairman Alf Todd, borough councillor Ian Devereux and Royal British Legion branch chairman Phil Smith at the commemoration event in Snettisham (40767957)

The anniversary also saw two new tributes to the fallen revealed in West Norfolk villages.

A new plaque commemorating the men of Snettisham who fell during the Second World War was unveiled at the village's pavilion.

It was a particularly poignant occasion there following the recent death of Walter Grief, the village's last survivor from the Far East campaign.

The tribute cost around £1,100, which was funded by the village's parish council and a West Norfolk Council grant intended to help communities mark the anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Opening and Dedication of the West Winch and Setchey Memorial Peace Garden at the William Burt Centre, officials and guests with Borough Mayor Cllr Geoff Hipperson with Mayoress Rose Hipperson, also in pic (right) is Rector Raiz Mubarak Vicar of the Middlewinch Benefice at the dedication.. (40566784)
Opening and Dedication of the West Winch and Setchey Memorial Peace Garden at the William Burt Centre, officials and guests with Borough Mayor Cllr Geoff Hipperson with Mayoress Rose Hipperson, also in pic (right) is Rector Raiz Mubarak Vicar of the Middlewinch Benefice at the dedication.. (40566784)

Wreaths were laid by the parish council's chairman, Major (Rtd) Alf Todd, borough councillor Ian Devereux and Phil Smith, chairman of the village's Royal British Legion branch.

Plans to hold a much larger commemoration event had to be scrapped because of the coronavirus, though a socially distanced group of villagers did gather to mark the occasion.

Elsewhere, a memorial peace garden was officially opened by West Norfolk's mayor, Geoff Hipperson, in West Winch.

Opening and Dedication of the West Winch and Setchey Memorial Peace Garden at the William Burt Centre...Borough Mayor Cllr Geoff Hipperson with Mayoress Rose Hipperson, open the Peace Garden, also in pic is Parish Council Chairman Cllr Terry Gibson. (40566875)
Opening and Dedication of the West Winch and Setchey Memorial Peace Garden at the William Burt Centre...Borough Mayor Cllr Geoff Hipperson with Mayoress Rose Hipperson, open the Peace Garden, also in pic is Parish Council Chairman Cllr Terry Gibson. (40566875)

The plaque at the site, near the William Burt Social Club, honours "all local people who fought abroad or toiled at home to bring peace to the world."

The project was funded by the parish council which serves West Winch and Setch, which thanked other donors including the borough council, the Norfolk Armed Forces Covenant Fund, the Orange Tree Hair Salon fundraisers and village resident Chris Ely.

Earlier in the day, Mr Hipperson led the borough's main commemoration event at Tower Gardens in Lynn.

Group Captain James Beck laid a wreath during the service.. (40557424)
Group Captain James Beck laid a wreath during the service.. (40557424)

Military service personnel, police and representatives of veterans' groups were also among those who laid tributes at the site's memorial.

A similar event was also held at the war memorial in Swaffham, led by the town's mayor, Jill Skinner.

Sgt Darryl Grief laid a wreath during the service.. (40557427)
Sgt Darryl Grief laid a wreath during the service.. (40557427)
VJ Day Service of Commemoration in King's Lynn.. (40557524)
VJ Day Service of Commemoration in King's Lynn.. (40557524)
Christine Hudson, representing the Far East Prisoners of War, laid a bouquet of flowers on the memorial.. (40557430)
Christine Hudson, representing the Far East Prisoners of War, laid a bouquet of flowers on the memorial.. (40557430)
75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in Swaffham on Saturday August 15th.LtoR, Barrie Thorp, chairman of the Swaffham branch of the Royal British Legion, Swaffham Mayor Jill Skinner, Town Cryer Nigel Wilkin at the memorial.... (40566887)
75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in Swaffham on Saturday August 15th.LtoR, Barrie Thorp, chairman of the Swaffham branch of the Royal British Legion, Swaffham Mayor Jill Skinner, Town Cryer Nigel Wilkin at the memorial.... (40566887)
75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in Swaffham on Saturday August 15th..2 minute silence. (40566884)
75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) in Swaffham on Saturday August 15th..2 minute silence. (40566884)


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