John Keynes remembers VJ Day

John Keynes was only 19 years old when he was told that he would be deploying to the Far East.

At the time he was serving in Germany with the Royal Scots Fusiliers performing peace-keeping duties and VE Day had only just happened.

“I was born and brought up on Salisbury Plain with the sound of the guns. Joining up seemed to be some way of saving the world. When you’re young you do these things.”

With VE Day only just over John wasn’t particularly pleased at the thought of deploying in the Far East.

“I had heard quite enough about the Far East to put me off for life. We had men out there who had served there and they never spoke fondly of it, and they did not paint a pretty picture."

"We were told that the Japs didn’t fight fair. They fought until they died. They never put their hands up. They fought to the last man.

“They didn’t say a lot about the fighting though, the conditions were what was constantly on people’s minds. They told us that bugs and flies got in your eyes, the conditions were awful.

However, VJ Day would come before John was sent out there, his bags were packed and he was waiting on the detail by the time the news came through.

“When we heard it [the war] was over [on VJ Day] we were relieved. We were relieved that we weren’t going to be sent to the Far East, and indeed that the war was finally over.

“We didn’t have radios back then. I presume we were told. I do know that it was not met with a cheer, more relief.”

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