A commemoration to mark the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore took place at Worthing Town Hall earlier today (February 15).
Janet Goldsbrough-Jones, chairman of the Worthing branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), organised the intimate commemoration which took place at the War memorial outside the town hall in Chapel Road at 2pm.
The chairman, who has lived in the town for 69 years, believed it was not being commemorated anywhere else in Sussex.
She said: “I didn’t see why we shouid not do something in Worthing, It has been very small but we have managed it and we have marked it.”
Margaret Martin, secretary and welfare officer at the Java Far East Prisoners of War Club (Java FEPOW Club), said it was a ‘joy and honour’ to help FEPOWs (Far East Prisoners of War).
The secretary’s father was a FEPOW and fortunately returned home.
She said: “My father escaped with so many of the RAF in a ship which went over to Java so he was spared those early atrocities.
“He was then sent from camp to camp and ship to ship. So we were fortunate that he came home and he spent his last years in Brighton.
“It is a great honour to serve these lovely gentleman. I do for them what I can’t do for dad anymore. It’s lovely – they are such special people.”
Surviving FEPOW, Bob Morrell, 95, was brought to the commemoration by his carer from The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home in Boundary Road.
Speaking emotionally after the commemoration he said it felt ‘horrible’ to remember and burst into tears – but said the Java FEPOW Club and Combat Stress, the Veteran’s mental health charity, had been ‘marvellous’.
“So many men lost their lives,” he added.
Wreaths were laid at the commemoration to remember those who suffered in the ‘worst disaster’ in British military history, decribed by the British Prime Minister at the time, Winston Churchill.
It resulted in the Japanese capture of Singapore and the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history.
To find out more about the Java FEPOW Club click here.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.