RBL VJ Day web

Bridgwater legion to remember Victory in Japan day

VICTORY in Japan (VJ) Day will be commemorated by the Bridgwater branch of the Royal British Legion on Sunday, August 15 with a short ceremony in King Square, starting at 10.50am.

VJ marks Japan’s unconditional surrender in World War II, thereby bringing an end to hostilities.

A spokesperson for the Bridgwater branch said: “The war was fought both in Europe and also in the Far East (the Burma Campaign) but the veterans of the Far East feel they are the ‘Forgotten Army’, having never received the same acknowledgement as those in Europe.

“They battled tropical diseases and humidity as well as warfare.

“Those who fought in the Far East were comprised of the British Commonwealth and its Allies, demonstrating the diversity of countries within the Commmonwealth at that time.”

Syd photo RBL web

Sydney Albert Merryweather, ‘Syd’, was one of the last VJ veterans, dying on June 13, 2020.

BORN in December 1922, Syd was 16 when the war broke out.

By 1941 he was in a reserved occupation but fed up with factory life, almost on impulse he visited the RAF recruiting office.

After passing the medical by a hair’s breadth he was accepted and  entered basic training at Weston-super Mare.

From there he joined the flight mechanic’s course at St Athan and was posted to Duxford in March 1942 with 56 Squadron. Syd volunteered for overseas service and arrived in Bombay.

From there Syd joined 138 MSU in Allahabad (spending much of his time dismantling rather than repairing aircraft) and then was posted to 215 Squadron in Jessore, servicing Liberators.

After six months a further posting found Syd in Burma by which time the war in the Far East was coming to a close.

Syd was awarded the Burma Star and demobbed in late 1946.

A career in industry and education followed with Syd retiring in 1986.

During his later years Syd remained active, still building and fixing things and relying on his RAF engineering skills.

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