Carluke’s commemoration of VJ Day

Tribute...Carluke's Bill Brown turns away after laying the Lanarkshire Yeomanry wreath. His 'big' brother, George, died aged 23 of starvation and dysentery as a Japanese POW
Tribute...Carluke's Bill Brown turns away after laying the Lanarkshire Yeomanry wreath. His 'big' brother, George, died aged 23 of starvation and dysentery as a Japanese POW

Clydesdale veterans gathered with old comrades from throughout Lanarkshire and beyond on Sunday to mark the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day and the end of the Second World War.

The members of what was termed ‘The Forgotten Army’ came to remember together at a service at St Brigid’s Centre, Newmains, before dispersing to hold their local wreath-laying ceremonies,with Clydesdale’s main one being at Carluke.

With a locally-raised unit of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry being Japanese prisoners of war for three hellish years, the ceremonies stirred very personal, painful memories for many attending.

The Newmains gathering heard readings from the descendants of Yeoman POWs and a special prayer, composed by three members of the Yeomanry while held as POWs in Changi, Singapore, in April 1942, was read by Campbell Thomson of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group.

The service ended with a minute’s silence followed by the Kohima Address given by Ian Forsyth of the Royal British Legion Scotland. The haunting lament, Flowers of the Forest, was played by piper Ian Stark.

This part of the commemoration was attended by South Lanarkshire Provost and Carluke councillor Eileen Logan, who was also ‘on duty’ later in the day at the local wreath-laying ceremony at the recently-created Yeomanry Memorial at Carluke’s Market Square.

Here, and at a ‘sister’ memorial in Wishaw, wreaths and personal tributes were laid in memory of the men of the Regiment.

Perhaps the most moving part of the whole day came at the Carluke memorial when Bill Brown, of the town’s St Luke’s Avenue, laid the wreath.

His right to do so was indisputable, his brother George having died alongside many of his comrades from starvation and dysentery while a POW at the notorious Kinkaseki camp.