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VJ Day: Norfolk commemorates 75th anniversary with poignant lone pipers

PUBLISHED: 15:18 15 August 2020 | UPDATED: 07:38 16 August 2020

The playing of the Last Post. Photo: Mick Howes

The playing of the Last Post. Photo: Mick Howes

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The 75th anniversary of VJ Day has been marked by a series of towering events with lone buglers honouring those who fought in east Asia.

Members of the public gathered in Lowestoft to pay their respects. Photo: Mick HowesMembers of the public gathered in Lowestoft to pay their respects. Photo: Mick Howes

The 75th anniversary of VJ Day has been marked by a series of towering events with lone buglers honouring those who fought in east Asia.

A lone piper played from the top of Great Yarmouth’s Norfolk Pillar at 6am on Saturday August 15, while another musician did the same at the bandstand in Gorleston.

At 11am The Last Post was sounded from the tops of Yarmouth’s Minster tower and at Gorleston St Andrews by a lone bugler.

At Gorleston a handful of people came to witness the event and reflect on the events of 75 years ago when the Second World War ended.

William Kendall, Deputy lieutenant to the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk. Photo: Mick HowesWilliam Kendall, Deputy lieutenant to the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk. Photo: Mick Howes

For Paul Williams, of the Royal British Legion, it was a day to wear his medals with pride.

He said he was grateful to Royal pageantmaster Bruno Peek who was also present to hear Carl Harrison herald the two minute silence and afterwards play Reveille.

The musicians were among hundreds across the globe in 28 countries joining together to mark VJ Day.

Their ages ranged from eight to 91-years-old.

Lowestoft Town Mayor and Councillor Alan Green. Photo: Mick HowesLowestoft Town Mayor and Councillor Alan Green. Photo: Mick Howes

As a finale to events they will again climb the many steps to their lofty locations to play Sunset at 8.18pm.

Mr Peek said organising commemorations had been frustrating due to the limitations of Covid-19 and social distancing.

But, he said it was important to stage anniversary celebrations to honour the VJ veterans.

“The veterans feel they are the ‘forgotten army’ and we want to make sure they are not forgotten,” he added.

Pearl Fowler - a widow of soldier and veteran Jack Fowler - attending the gathering in Lowestoft to commemorate VJ Day. Photo: Mick HowesPearl Fowler - a widow of soldier and veteran Jack Fowler - attending the gathering in Lowestoft to commemorate VJ Day. Photo: Mick Howes

In Lowestoft, the day’s events began at 10.45am and included an address from the mayor and the planting of two new cherry trees at Kensington Gardens.

The Last Post was then played, followed by a two minute silence at 11am. An address was then given by deputy lieutenant William Kendall, and a wreath laid by the newly planted trees.

Pearl Fowler, whose husband fought in the Far East in the 4th Suffolk regiment, said the day was “very emotional”.

She said: “I’m glad we celebrated VJ Day today. My husband, Jack, always said that because they weren’t victorious they were the forgotten army - so it was wonderful to have them remembered today.”

Bugler Carl Harrison plays from the tower of St Andrew's Church, Gorleston, to mark VJ Day Picture: Liz CoatesBugler Carl Harrison plays from the tower of St Andrew's Church, Gorleston, to mark VJ Day Picture: Liz Coates

People in Cromer gathered at the church at 6am this morning to listen to the sounds of local piper player Jacob Millin.

Mr Millin played a chant of peace to start the commemorations of VJ Day 75. They were joined in the grounds by mayor and councillors of Cromer Town Council along with officers of the Cromer Branch of the Royal British Legion.

In Cromer and around the country this was followed by further commemorations including a two-minute silence at 11am, then the laying of wreaths to remember those who died in the Far East.

In Wymondham, a vintage-themed coffee shop marked the day with a two-minute silence to honour those who fought in east Asia.

Carl Harrison played The Last Post from the top of St Andrew's Church in Gorleston in tribute to VJ Day Picture: Moira PeekCarl Harrison played The Last Post from the top of St Andrew's Church in Gorleston in tribute to VJ Day Picture: Moira Peek

As well as decorating throughout, playing music of the era, and dressing as Land Girls, the owners of the Coffee Shop, based on Market Street in Wymondham, spent time listening to stories of those who lived through the war.

Michelle Filby, co-owner of the cafe with Karen Ireland, said: “During the two-minute silence we observed I had a tear in my eye and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”

In Norwich, City Hall was lit up in red, white and blue to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan and in recognition of all those who served in the Far East and Pacific.

Broadland District Council chairman Karen Vincent raised the Union Flag at the council’s Thorpe Lodge headquarters, joined by councillors Sue Prutton and John Ward.

A piper plays on the steps of Nelson's memorial in Great Yarmouth to commemorate VJ Day. Photo: Bruno PeekA piper plays on the steps of Nelson's memorial in Great Yarmouth to commemorate VJ Day. Photo: Bruno Peek

And at South Norfolk Council, council chairman Graham Minshull and councillor Keith Kiddie raised the flag at South Norfolk House.

Japan announced its surrender on August 15, 1945.

The documents were signed on September 2, officially ending the global conflict.

Buglar Gemma Eglington on VJ Day in Lowestoft Picture:  Mick HowesBuglar Gemma Eglington on VJ Day in Lowestoft Picture: Mick Howes

Wymondham Coffee Shop marks VJ Day. Michelle Filby (owner) and Karen kitted out to commemorate VJ day. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANWymondham Coffee Shop marks VJ Day. Michelle Filby (owner) and Karen kitted out to commemorate VJ day. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Wymondham Coffee Shop marks VJ Day. Michelle Filby (owner) kitted out to commemorate VJ day. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANWymondham Coffee Shop marks VJ Day. Michelle Filby (owner) kitted out to commemorate VJ day. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Broadland District Council chairman Karen Vincent raising the flag at Thorpe Lodge, joined by councillors Sue Prutton and John Ward, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day. Pic: Broadland District Council.Broadland District Council chairman Karen Vincent raising the flag at Thorpe Lodge, joined by councillors Sue Prutton and John Ward, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day. Pic: Broadland District Council.

Chairman of South Norfolk Council Graham Minshull (right) and councillor Keith Kiddie (left) raising the flag at South Norfolk House to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day. Pic: South Norfolk Council.Chairman of South Norfolk Council Graham Minshull (right) and councillor Keith Kiddie (left) raising the flag at South Norfolk House to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day. Pic: South Norfolk Council.

City Hall in Norwich was illuminated to mark VJ Day. Pic: Norwich City Council.City Hall in Norwich was illuminated to mark VJ Day. Pic: Norwich City Council.

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