VJ DAY 75 AT THE NMA 15th August 2020
The National Caribbean Monument Charity (TNCMC) was among the honoured invitees of the Royal British Legion in observing the 75th VJ day anniversary at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA). TNCMC representatives, 96 year old WWII veteran Albert Jarrett and wife Shirley Jarrett, along with RAF veteran Donald Campbell and wife Barbara Campbell were present for the auspicious occasion.
We arrived to cloudy skies and a touch of breeze, however the mood soon lightened as numerous WWII veterans cautiously alighted from their various transport modes. Greeting each other like long lost brothers and sisters, they were instantly united by their shared historical camaraderie and the atmosphere immediately filled with stories of nostalgia.
Meeting of comrades, Army, Royal Air Force & Royal Navy
Left to right: Philippa Rawlinson, Managing Director NMA, Lt Col David Whimpenney, Chairman NMA, Donald Campbell, Chairman TNCMC, Mrs Shirley Jarrett & Mr Albert Jarrett, members of TNCMC.
Comrades, age 96 & 97
Comrades, all 96 years old
The doors were open so registration took place and the programme began promptly.
Plot No 8 is also the allocated area for TNCMC Monument
Mr Albert Jarrett, 96 year old WWII Royal Air Force Veteran, standing on the allocated plot for the Caribbean Monument
Let to right: Barbara Campbell, Donald Campbell, Albert Jarrett & Shirley Jarrett, members of TNCMC, standing on the plot allocated for the Caribbean Monument
We were thrilled to discover the ceremony being staged in the vicinity of TNCMC’s designated plot (No 8). This golden photo opportunity allowed us to promote and champion the Charity’s campaign to the distinguished gathering.
The extremely well organised event ran like clockwork with the various dignitaries such as HRH Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Hon. Boris Johnson seamlessly performing their various duties, including laying of wreaths
Members of TNCMC laying their wreaths
Prime Minister Boris Johnson & Prince Charles conversing with the crowed after the official ceremony.
TNCMC Members meeting Air Marshal Sir Julian Young
Air Marshal Sir Julian Young being introduced to TNCMC allocated Plot by Donald Campbell, Chairman TNCMC.
Yours truly was pleasantly surprised to reunite with Sir Julian Young who currently serves as Chief of Materiel – Air Defence Equipment and Support. Sir Julian and I were stationed at RAF Cosford 2002-2003 and immediately engaged in some nostalgic banter of our own. Our chance encounter at such a notable event as VJ DAY 75 was an added bonus. Sir Julian was also very keen to hear and learn more about TNCMC’s campaign. He felt honoured to record the occasion with a photo taken on the designated plot for the monument. Sir Julian has already visited the charity website and pledged his support to promote TNCMC, stating that “he and I are bonded by culture”.
The day ultimately belonged to the WWII veterans reminiscing and sharing their stories: Lest We Forget. The venue, dignitaries, and attendees provided a fitting tribute to them all. It was good to see celebration proceeding despite the disruptions of Covid 19
Left to right: Donald Campbell, Chairman TNCMC, Mr Albert Jarrett, age 96, WWII Veteran, Prime Minister Boris Johnson & Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP
Mr Albert Jarrett was delighted to participate in this event. He met Royals, laid a wreath on behalf of his fellow WWII comrades, and related his experience of the day the War ended with Prime Minister Johnson and the Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP. Most importantly, Mr Jarrett’s presence was a demonstrable reminder of the undeniable contribution made by men and women of the Caribbean to Great Britain in her time of greatest need. TNCMC could not have planned a more compelling living symbol at such a dignified pertinent occasion in such a perfect location.
Blog by Don Campbell