A campaign to secure recognition for Second World War veterans who served in Japan and the Far East by commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day has been raised in Parliament by local MP Mark Pawsey.
Bulkington resident Ron Mockford, now 94 years old, was deployed to the Far East and was captured in 1942 by the Japanese in Java. Whilst a PoW he was forced to construct part of the Thai-Burmese railway – an event which was immortalised in the film Bridge on the River Kwai starring Sir Alec Guinness. Ron and his fellow veterans and PoWs are now calling on the Government to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day.
After being made aware of Ron’s experiences through a story in the national media, Mark visited him to hear about his experiences during the second World War and to find out more about what many consider a forgotten part of the conflict. After speaking with Ron, Mark wanted to support the campaign for VJ Day to be more widely commemorated.
On Thursday 18 July, Mark raised the campaign with the Leader of the House, Mel Stride MP during business questions and asked for a statement from the Government on the plans they have to support the campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, which Mark described as a ‘reasonable and sensible appeal’. The Leader of the House of was able to confirm that the Government, along with the Royal British Legion, were working to commemorate VJ next year in the appropriate way.
Speaking after meeting with Ron, Mark said:
“I was very moved by what I heard from Ron and I think it’s really important that as a country, we remember the sacrifices made by those to keep us safe and free. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and whilst I am pleased that the Government has committed to commemorate VE Day by moving the May Day Bank Holiday to 8th May, veterans who served in the Far East are concerned their contribution might be lost as Victory over Japan Day comes on August 15th.”
“That is why I have called on the Government to make a statement setting out their plans to honour the sacrifices of Ron and the other veterans who served alongside him. I am delighted that the Leader of the House confirmed that the Government is working with the Royal British Legion to ensure that the 75th anniversary of VJ Day gets the recognition that those who fought in the Far East deserve.”