Over 120 veterans and their families were treated to a trip down memory lane and an afternoon of entertainment during a special concert to commemorate VJ Day held at the magnificent Danny House, Hurtspierpoint on Sunday 16th August.
Organised by The Not Forgotten, a British Armed Forces charity for serving and ex-service men and women the event was part of a nationwide outdoor concert tour to entertain, boost morale and lift lockdown spirits by reaching 1000’s of veterans across the country.
Sussex resident and long-time supporter of The Not Forgotten, Virginia Lewis Jones, Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter, attended the concert with her husband Captain Tom Jones, her daughter, Chesney Jones and granddaughter, making it a real family affair.
Brigadier James Stopford, CBE, CEO of The Not Forgotten said: “Sadly, events to commemorate VJ Day could not take place properly this year, so we were determined to help WWII veterans and those who have served their country mark this important day by bringing the celebration to them at Danny House.”
The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans arranged for volunteer cabbies to drive 25 veterans from all over London and the south east, so they didn’t miss out on the poignant commemoration.
The WWII veterans that the Taxi Charity took to the event included:
Tom Schaffer, 94, who was in the 13th Battalion Parachute regiment was driven to the event by volunteer cabbie Austin Levens. Tom saw action in the Ardennes and then set off for Japan, but his regiment got called back when the Japanese surrendered ending the war.
Cyril Banks, 95, was in the Royal Navy on HMS Ready. During WWII he was involved in the Arctic Convoys, then D Day before going out to the Far East.
Ernie Davis, 94, was on HMS Cotton, a minesweeper and he saw action in both the Arctic Convoys and clearing the mines for D Day.
Dickie Forrester, 94, was in the Rifle Brigade and saw action in Northern Europe.
Albert Holmsure, 96, was in the REME attached to the 7th Field Regiment Royal Artillery. He saw action in North Europe and was part of D Day. Before D day his regiment was assembled at Bolney just two miles from the event at Danny House. Danny Shelton the cabbie who drove him to the event took him back to Bolney on Sunday so that he could see the village again after 76 years.
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said, “The WWII veterans that the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans supports have had a very disappointing few months; unable to go on the charity’s annual visits to Normandy or The Netherlands and spending the anniversaries of D Day and VE Day in lockdown. The Not Forgotten event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day is a day that our veterans and volunteer cabbies, will not forget.”