THE family of a late Second World War veteran are campaigning for greater recognition of VJ Day in memory of their dad.

Thomas Ford, from Sankey Bridges, was captured as a prisoner of war in Asia during the conflict, as were thousands of other British and Commonwealth servicemen during the conflict.

D-Day and VE Day are rightly commemorated annually, but Thomas' children Margaret Farmer and John Forde believe the same honour should be afforded to VJ Day.

And the family are supporting an online petition in order to lobby the Government on the issue.

“This is a subject we are very passionate about after what our father went through, and we hope to get as many people to support this as possible,” said Fearnhead resident Margaret.

“We believe the contribution of servicemen in the Far East deserves recognition after the horrors that they went through, and we do not want them to be forgotten.

“At present, we are less than 1,000 signatures from receiving a response from the Government and hopefully, if we reach this, we will be a step closer to securing this commemoration.”

VJ Day was the day on which Japan officially surrendered, which in effect brought the Second World War to an end.

Thomas was one of over 50,000 UK servicemen who were held as Japanese prisoners of war, with 25 percent of those prisoners dying in captivity.

Those who returned to Britain after being liberated were ordered not to speak of their experiences by the Government and struggled to deal with the physical and psychological toll of their internment.

“Our father didn’t speak much about his experiences in East Asia because it was just too harrowing and painful for him to revisit,” said John, who lives in Appleton.

“He did mention it briefly on some occasions like when we watched Bridge Over the River Kwai, and he said that it was nothing like what he and others went through.

“When the camps were liberated and it was time for them to return home, they couldn’t sail back to Britain straight away as they weren’t fit enough and had to recover.

“Servicemen did make friends for life while over there through their shared suffering and they held regular meet-ups to commemorate in their own way.”

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The petition has also gained the support of Warrington North MP Helen Jones, after she was contacted by Margaret earlier this year.

Mrs Jones said: “Those who served in the Far East deserve our recognition just as those who served in Europe do.

“One of my uncles was a Chindit, serving in Burma and so I am very happy to support this campaign.

“We should never forget what we owe to those who fought to defend our freedom.”

To sign the petition, go to