A PETITION to establish national commemoration for Victory in Japan Day has achieved the number of signatures needed for a response from the Government.

This was supported by Warrington residents Margaret Farmer and John Forde, who sought recognition for their father and over 50,000 other British and Commonwealth servicemen imprisoned in the Far East during the Second World War.

Thomas Ford, from Sankey Bridges, endured horrors inside internment camps during the conflict, with many soldiers suffering aftereffects for the rest of their lives.

But despite exceeding the 10,000 names needed, campaigners say they are unimpressed by the Government’s response which has ‘misunderstood’ their goal.

The petition response states: “It is important to show gratitude to veterans and acknowledge their heroics in the most challenging of environments’.

“The Government recognises the importance of VJ Day and how it was instrumental in bringing an end to the Second World War.”

They go on to say that ‘several key events’ marked the 70th anniversary of VJ day in 2015 and current armed forces members ‘will again be paying tribute’ at the 75th anniversary next year.

The Government conclude by writing: “Whilst an additional bank holiday can help mark particular occasions, the costs to the economy is considerable and therefore there are no current plans to create another bank holiday.”

But campaigners say this is not their ambition and they simply would like a national day to commemorate the brave servicemen who ‘felt cruelly overlooked after repatriation and beyond’.

And with few survivors now left, their contribution is ‘fast disappearing’ from living memory.

In response to the Government, Fearnhead resident Margaret said: “The response from the department did not answer the question asked, which is to establish a national day commemorating August 15, 1945.

“The department appear to have misunderstood the purpose of the petition.

“At no point was it requested or implied that an additional Bank Holiday was the aim as this was not the case, nor was the petition asking for a remembrance day only in 2020.”

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Campaigners have since appealed to the Petitions Committee, who have accepted the Government’s response, and have also tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament.