Connectivity

Today, the 15th August commemorates the 75th anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) day. My own family tree has three uncles, a father in law and at least one cousin who served in the Pacific.
They were quite reticent about their services. So, instead of celebrating my late near relatives I would like to recollect Ray Dunningham who lived in Raydon, Suffolk and who was taken a prisoner of war in Singapore in 1942. With the end of the war he was repatriated to England and because many of the FEPOWs’ physical condition was so atrocious they were sent home via the Pacific and the United States so that they could be “fattened up” before they reached England.
They crossed the U.S. by rail and every evening they were looked after by the residents of the towns.
One evening Ray’s host asked him where he came from.
“From England” – “I know that but where?”
“You wouldn’t know it, but it was near Colchester” – “But where?”
“You wouldn’t know it, it was a small village” – “But where?”
“You wouldn’t know it, it is very small – I’m from Raydon” –
“I know it, you have a very fine airfield there.”
“Ain’t no airfield in Raydon!” – “There is now, because I built it!”
Such was the connectivity of the world and the changes it wrought even to the small communities of Suffolk
Even now the village has a population of less than a thousand. The village wasn’t helped by the closure of the railway station and railway.
Ray’s memory lives on in his legacy to the Masonic Lodges in Hadleigh which provided for the Master’s & Senior Warden’s chairs.
And the purpose of this anecdote?
To highlight the debt we all owe to all to those who participated in the theatres of war. Like our hero, many of them came from yeoman stock salt of the earth families and their worlds like ours were changed for ever.