Wisbech service to honour Far East Prisoners of War

VJ Day service at St Peter's church ANL-150817-080601009
VJ Day service at St Peter's church ANL-150817-080601009
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The men who suffered brutal treatment in Far East Prisoner of War camps were honoured during a special service.

Fenland men who had been captured by Japanese forces and used as slave labour to build the notorious Death Railway were honoured during a service on Friday.

Saturday marked the 70th anniversary since VJ Day, which marked the end of the Second World War.

Fenland District Council organised a service in St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Wisbech.

Richard Whitwell, on behalf of his mother Sylvia, spoke about his grandfather George Seekins, known as Sam, who had survived the camps.

Mr Seekins was a private in the Cambridgeshire regiment and was captured after the fall of Singapore.

Mrs Whitwell, of Whittlesey, said: “It means the world that Dad was honoured in the service.

“He suffered so much and was such a quiet man who would do anything to help others.

“He did not speak much about it but he did say that he never knew if he was going to wake up in the morning.

“They used to eat rice but when they couldn’t get that they were forced to catch rats.

“He used to have lumps in his arms and legs and we never knew what happened.

“It did have an effect on him. He would have bad dreams and cold malaria.

“When he came home, he was back to work within two weeks.

“He could never forgive them.”

A surviving veteran, Geoff Bamber, who is 97 and served with the 2nd Cambridgeshire regiment attended with his son Simon, who also gave an address.

An estimated 175 people attended the service, which was conducted by Fr Paul West.

A council spokesman said: “It was a very moving occasion, made particularly special by the number of veterans and their families who were able to come along.

“No one could fail to be touched by their stories and it was a privilege to share the event with them. We are very grateful to Father Paul West and everyone at St Peter’s for helping to make it such a memorable day.”