CAMPAIGNERS seeking to ensure that VJ Day has the recognition it deserves say they are ‘disgusted’ with planned commemoration events.

This is in response to a programme of ‘Covid-secure’ events organised in the town centre on Saturday to mark VJ Day’s 75th anniversary.

The Second World War did not end on VE Day in May 1945, as although fighting ceased in Europe, there was still the ‘forgotten army’ in the Far East.

It was only after Japan officially surrendered on August 19, did the war come to an end.

And while they are happy to hear that Warrington will be marking the milestone occasion in some form, the events do not go far enough for campaigners.

Instead, they are planning their own two-minute silence attended by war veterans at Warrington Cenotaph to ensure that those who served in the Far East are honoured for their dedication to their country.

Warrington Guardian:

Julie Francis, who set up the War Memorial and Cenotaph Campaign group, said: “We know that coronavirus is a big issue, but with many VJ Day events planned online, older veterans and people who lived through the war as kids do not have the internet and cannot access them.

“What has really got a lot of people is what a DeLorean car has to do with the war. The council had a grant of £9,900, but what is planned can no way cost that amount.

“They could have installed a metal bench like the ones at the cenotaph specially to commemorate VJ Day 75 years on, but nothing is planned at the actual war memorial, which is disgusting and wrong.

“Fair play to the people who have put the effort in such as the knitting group – it is the person in charge of the funding that has not thought about it. Coronavirus does not stop a bench being made.”

Last year, Fearnhead resident Margaret Farmer and her brother John urged the people of Warrington to sign an online petition lobbying the Government to afforded to same honour to VJ Day as is given to VE Day.

Their passion for the movement stemmed from their father, Thomas Ford, who was captured as a prisoner of war in Asia during the conflict.

Warrington Guardian:

Thomas (left) in active service during the Second World War

Despite the petition acquiring enough signatures to get a government response, it was not the response that they wanted, but Margaret believes that it made a great many more people aware of the day’s significance.

On Saturday’s planned events, she said: “I am delighted to see Warrington will be commemorating VJ Day on Saturday, but I would have liked to have seen the Cenotaph included and more events relevant to VJ Day itself.

“The treatment of nearly 140,000 allied military personnel in Japanese prisoner of war camps was brutal, and more than 30,000 died from starvation, disease and cruelty.

“My father survived, and like many others, he rarely spoke of his experiences.

“I have ordered and will be laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Saturday.”