On the 8th May 1945, Victory in Europe was declared (VE Day). To most the war was over and cause for celebration. Little thought was given to the war that was still going on in the Far East. They were known as the “Forgotten Army”.
In early 1942 130,000 British troops and their allies from campaigns in Burma, Malaya and Singapore, had been captured and made Prisoners of War. They remained as prisoners until the Japanese surrendered in 1945.
They were kept in the most appalling conditions and were subject to brutality and degradation, injustice and maltreatment of every sort. Those who survived emerged from the camps often broken in health, some permanently, with memories that included comrades that sadly didn’t make it.
Those who did survive were brought back during September and October of 1945. All were desperately malnourished and in poor health but the prospect of freedom and seeing loved ones gave them renewed energy and lust for life.
30,000 of the POWs came back to Southampton and 20,000 disembarked in Liverpool where they are greeted by family and friends. Their ordeal was over but would never be forgotten.
See the POW accounts below and “Search” WW2 for more wartime accounts
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Donation & Membership
Highnam Heritage would be interested in hearing from anyone who has archive material relating to the Parish. You can have it scanned and made available for the web-site, or it could be stored for you as we have safe and secure facilities. If you have memories that you are happy to have recorded then let us know.