In January 1946 at Leicester train station a soldier got off a train weighing less than seven stones, having spent his last three years in captivity in Changi Jail under the brutal regime imposed by General Hirohito, building a railway, latterly known as the death railway due to the large number of British Soldiers who died building it.
That man Douglas William Kemp was my Grandad. He was the kindest man who had a big heart and he never spoke of what he endured and I don’t think I understood the extent of his WW2 experience until after he had passed away. Feeling like I wanted to know more I joined the COFEPOW (Children of Far East Prisoner of War Association) and this has given me an insight into all those men that did and didn’t return.
The National Arburetum in Staffordshire has a wonderful area showing everything to do with WW2 in the far east from a hut, to parts of the original railway and the original lynch gates from Changi jail.
VJ day is often overlooked, misunderstood and many think the war ended on VE day which only meant the war ended in Europe.
Myself and Jackie at the Cauda Equina Charity Shop in the town square have put together a window to help people understand VJ day just a little better.