Motherwell ceremony commemorates prisoners of war

Pictured are those who attended the ceremony at Motherwells Civic Centre.
Pictured are those who attended the ceremony at Motherwells Civic Centre.

The sacrifice of those who died who died as prisoners of war in the Far East during the Second World War was remembered today in a poignant ceremony in Motherwell.

War veterans and members of the public gathered at the town’s civic centre to commemorate the end of the conflict, when Japanese forces surrendered on August 15, 1945.

They were joined at the wreath laying at the war memorial by Jean Jones, Provost of North Lanarkshire, and South Lanarkshire Provost Ian McAllan, local MPs and MSPs.

Provost Jones said: “The war in the Far East was fought on an enormous scale, and although many thousands of miles from the conflict here in Europe, massive loss of life and wholesale devastation were the same.

“Many allied troops were consigned to the unimaginable horrors of Far East prisoner of war camps; 130,000 British and Allied forces were captured and many didn’t see their families for four years.

“For many, liberation came too late. Almost a quarter of all Allied prisoners in Japanese hands died during captivity.

“We are all grateful to them all and we must make sure their sacrifice is never forgotten.

Rev Gavin Black from the Presbytery of Hamilton and Father Bill Bergin from St Teresa’s in Newarthill addressed the ceremony, which included an introduction from Campbell Thomson of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group and the Royal British Legion.