Campaign for new prisoner-of-war flag
A campaign has been launched to raise �1,000 for a flag to represent Norfolk men taken prison of war in the Far East on VJ Day in August. For the past five years they have not been represented with a flag or standard in Dereham after the Far East Prisoners of War Association (FEPOW) standard was laid up in the town's parish church because of dwindling numbers.
A campaign has been launched to raise �1,000 for a flag to represent Norfolk men taken prison of war in the Far East on VJ Day in August.
For the past five years they have not been represented with a flag or standard in Dereham after the Far East Prisoners of War Association (FEPOW) standard was laid up in the town's parish church because of dwindling numbers.
Now, town resident and historian Susan Palmer is hoping to make sure the men are never forgotten.
With the help of Dereham Town Council she is hoping to have a flag made, in the same design as the standard, to be raised on the town's Market Place flagpoles every Victory over Japan Day - August 15.
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But in order to have it ready in time, �1,000 needs to be raised by the end of June to pay for it.
The town council has already pledged �500 towards the cost.
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'The standard was laid up because there was no one young enough to carry it. So on VJ Day there is nothing to show,' said Miss Palmer.
Charles Frost MM, 88, who lives at North Elmham, is one of the few surviving FEPOWs. The former farm labourer was awarded the military medal for his part in battle lasting days defending a post near a Chinese cemetery near Singapore.
His gruesome Far East war in the 5th Norfolks as an infantryman, began just days after landing - being confronted by a landing party of Japanese soldiers.
He was lucky to survive starvation, attack, cholera, swamps and three and a half years brutal years as a prisoner of war carrying out heavy labour, sometimes tasked with burying his own comrades.
His brother, Tom, drowned being transported on a Japanese boat.
He does not like to talk about it too much but said of the flag: 'I think it is a good idea. We were country boys, we had good preparation for it.'
The FEPOW standard was formally laid up on August 11, 2002, in St Nicholas Church. It had been designed by the five men who first set up the Dereham FEPOW Association, the first branch set up in Norfolk.
One of them, chairman Bill Craske, carried it for 30 years.
To donate cash to help buy a flag to represent the FEPOWs on VJ Day contact the town council on 01362 693821 or make a donation in the Dereham Times office in High Street.