How Harborough and the rest of the county will mark VJ Day

The service in Market Harborough to mark VJ Day has been called off.but the county council has launched a website dedicated to helping people to get involved

Friday, 14th August 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 4:04 pm

The Union Flag will be flown at Leicestershire’s County Hall this weekend to mark 75 years since the Second World War ended with victory over Japan.

The official VJ Day commemorations will begin at 11am on Saturday August 15 with a national moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence.

People across Harborough and throughout the county are being encouraged to mark the occasion from the safety of their homes as we honour the fallen.

Jim and Pam Posnett

And to support the event the county council has launched a website dedicated to helping people to get involved with VJ Day.

You can visit the special site at: www.leicestershire.gov.uk/VJDay75

The county and city councils has united with the Lieutenancy Office, Royal Tigers’ Association and Children of Far East Prisoners of War (COFEPOW) to produce the online resource to salute the courage and sacrifice of all those who fought in the Far East.

The website features a wealth of material.

It includes video messages, in-depth history of the long bitter conflict and emotional personal reminiscences from those involved and their families.

Among the people sharing their stories is incredible 101-year-old veteran Jim Posnett, who fought in the iconic 14th Army’s Burma campaign.

Jim raised the Union Jack at last year’s Armed Forces Day celebration at County Hall.

He’s featured in a short video where he talks to his daughter-in-law, county council chairman Pam Posnett, about his unforgettable memories and emotions.

“It is especially poignant for me to be able to pay tribute to those who fought in the Far East during World War Two, as my father-in-law Jim Posnett, is among those who served,” said Pam.

“He is one of just two surviving Chindits in Leicestershire and I am honoured to be able to help him share his story.

“In 1945, the people of Leicestershire joined in Victory in Japan celebrations, celebrating heroes at home and on the frontline.

"And 75 years on residents across Leicestershire can join in online from their homes to remember those who lost their lives, so that we could live ours.”

The website also contains a link to the virtual service at Leicester Cathedral, which takes place at 5pm on Saturday August 15.

VJ Day 75 was to be marked with a service at the cathedral.

But, sadly, it has had to be drastically scaled back because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mike Kapur OBE, said: “It is impossible to overstate how much we all owe to those men who served in the Far East campaign.

“Those members of the ‘Forgotten Army’, so many of whom lost their lives or spent years imprisoned in brutal camps.

“If it were not for their service and sacrifice, many of the freedoms and way of life we take for granted today would not be possible.”

A service in Market Harborough to mark VJ Day has also had to be called off.

The ceremony was due to have been held at the town’s War Memorial on The Square at 11am on Saturday.

Stewart Harrison, 73, chairman of Market Harborough’s RBL branch, will instead lay a wreath by himself.

“We were really looking forward to this because those heroic lads who fought with the Forgotten Army are no longer forgotten.

“They will be remembered for ever,” said Stewart, of Naseby Square, Market Harborough.

“But we have no choice as the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us.

“But I am asking people both in Market Harborough and across the district to observe the nation’s two-minute silence at 11am.

“It’s the least we can do to show our respect and eternal gratitude for the brave men who fought and died against the Japanese so that we can enjoy our freedom today.”