The Hiroshima Stone Memorial is unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum



15 August is always an important day for war memorials as it marks the last day of the Second World War. Of the many people attending events on this day at some of the 240 memorials across the country, over 100 of them gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the unveiling of the Hiroshima Stone Memorial in the Anglo-Japanese Garden, arranged by the International Friendship and Reconciliation Trust. Amongst those in attendance were FEPOWs and families of FEPOWs.

A service in the chapel preceded the Memorial’s unveiling. This included an address from a General, the son of a Far East Prisoner of War, on the importance of including ‘those who were there’, in any reconciliation process. Prayers from a Civilian Internee, from Keiko Holmes of AGAPE, and from the son of the wartime Bishop of Singapore and his chaplain (both FEPOWs) were read by Mr John Farmer (the National Chairman of the Royal British Legion). A sutra from the Reverend Kemmyo Taira Sato and a reading by Mr Katsunori Kojima (Chairman of the East Midlands Japanese Association) also featured in the service.

The East Midlands Japanese Association together with the Midland Japanese Association, sponsored the Hiroshima Stone Memorial, which was unveiled by H.E. Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi in a ceremony after the service, and was widely covered by representatives of the British and Japanese press. The Ambassador spoke of ‘the evergreen friendship’ between Britain and Japan, and of the part played by wartime reconciliation, of which this memorial was a symbol. He and subsequent speakers, Mr John Graham, Deputy Director General of the Royal British Legion, and Professor Nobuko Kosuge of Yamanashi Gakuin University, also paid tribute to Burma war veteran, the late Philip Malins, who conceived the idea of requesting a stone from the bombed ruins of Hiroshima to be incorporated in a monument dedicated to reconciliation.

Ambassador Hayashi greets the guests at the memorial

Phillida Purvis (IFRT), Ambassador Hayashi and Prof Kosuge

The inscription around the memorial’s base reads: ‘This Memorial, the topmost stone of which is donated by the people of Hiroshima from the ruins of their city, destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945, remembers the millions of people who died and suffered in the Second World War. It gives thanks that the world has since been free from world war, with hope that there will never be another, and that the people of Britain and Japan will remain forever united in friendship.’

The service and ceremony were made possible by support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Reports can be viewed at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19262404 and

Phillida Purvis
Honorary Secretary
The International Friendship and Reconciliation Trust