LETTERS: Remember the Merchant Navy on VE Day

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From Mr J. E. Whitaker

Sir: It was good to be alive on VE Day (Letters, 3 May). So it was. Just, with thousands of other POWs on the River Kwai and elsewhere in the Far East. It was just an ordinary day. No different to any other in the previous three years. Burying a few more of our dead. Defending unbandaged ulcers against swarms of flies. Searching for suitable leaves as toilet paper substitute, to cleanse the mess of diarrhoea. Scorching our bamboo bed slats to kill bed bugs. Hoping Liberator bombers would not hit the camp again on their next visit. Hoping the next monthly bout of malaria would be the last, (that had two meanings). Hoping our families were safe at home. Hope seemed all that was left.

For those at home on VE Day it must have been wonderful. Was it as exciting on VJ Day? Will 15 August 1995 be celebrated with the same vigour and ceremony as 8 May?

Perhaps not, but during those moments of silence on Monday next please spare a thought for those for whom it was not over, and never will be.

Yours sincerely,

J. E. WHITAKER

Porthcawl,

Mid Glamorgan

3 May

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