The 1939-45 war's end...

VJ+75-Day. VE had come and gone but of no lesser importance was this day, 15th August, this year of 2020 on a Saturday.                            

However, it does always seem to take a bit of a back-seat, probably because that “forgotten war” was so far away. It did end with one hell of a big bang though! Now that made everyone sit-up and take notice, the repercussions of which shaped the world scene for many years afterwards, and still echoes today.

Here we were still restricted by that virus, an edict from on-high limiting any gathering to a maximum of thirty people, all socially distanced. The national feeling was nothing like those precipitating the extensive VE-Day celebrations described elsewhere on this site, and with our Village Halls still suffering from severe limitations imposed by insurance and other institutions, all because of virus Covid-19, tea and tab-nabs were out of the question. In our very rural District, we were however able to muster a few, with wreath laying ceremonies taking place in the villages of Byfield, Chipping Warden and Culworth. A short service was conducted by our Vicar Rev. Stevie; she, sadly, is retiring. Our Member Father James was also in attendance; regretably, he too is moving-on. The Exhortation was given, The Last Post sounded, two minutes silence was observed and Revellie played, and the very appropriate Kohima epitaph was recited; those apt words are now delivered at all RBL Meetings.

                                                  Then the church bells rang-out to celebrate a record seventy-five years without physical conflict between European nations.

Eydon's celebration "ring" was, like many others, limited by "social distancing". Three ringers in Eydon's St. Nicholas Church peeled a course of Plain Hunt, with some additional call-changing. They joined thousands across the UK on that day for a full fifteen minutes. Eydon's team gathered beforehand and observed the two minute's silence at 1100, before all ringing-out across the land in unison at 1105. If you look-up Plain Hunt, you'll immediately recognise bellringing isn't just pulling a rope, it's an artform of mutual cooperation! Although our Bell Captains inform us "it's the simplest of rings", I'll not even try to describe it here.

The Kohima Epitaph is particularly relevant here because it emphasises sacrifices made in that distant campaign to gain the salvation of others. In this case in the spring of 1944 a relatively small number of British Empire troops held back an overwhelming invasion force of up to 15,000 very determined soldiers for more than two months, eventually prevailing, preventing the enemy occupation of the Sub-Continent. Initial artillery engagements ended-up in hand-to-hand combat of the bloodiest kind; the sacrifices made shouldn't be forgotten. The actual words date back to antiquity but are particularly apt and are immortalised on the memorial for the 2,337 dead defenders of Kohima, Nagaland, India. The images below, thanks to are of Kohima, today.



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