Letters: Don’t forget war heroes who fought on in Far East

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IT has been a privilege to have watched the VE Day commemorations over the last few days and to have been able to share with some of the few surviving veterans of the 156th (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA, their experience of the war in Sicily, Monte Cassino, Anzio and later in northern Europe.

They and the others who fought throughout Europe were brave men who thoroughly deserve our thanks and recognition.

However, I remain a little troubled. It would appear there seems to be a perception among many that VE Day marked the end of the Second World War.

I really hope that the same commemoration will be made to those who continued the fight in the Far East long after VE Day.

It was not a time of joy and happiness for all; there were countless families in Britain who worried and feared for relatives who were still fighting and dying in Burma and elsewhere in the Far East.

For them the celebrations of VE Day were bitter sweet. And for the families of the men of the 155th (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment – the sister regiment to the 156th – there was perhaps an even greater fear: what was happening to their loved ones who were being held as POWs of the Japanese?

Today we know what that hell actually was and I seriously hope that on 15 August, the 70th anniversary of VJ Day and the real end of WW2, a grateful nation will similarly remember their sacrifice.

Campbell Thomson, Lanarkshire Yeomanry Memorial Group

Mary Barbour deserves our honouring of her

I was delighted to learn that former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has elected to honour his roots and pledge £5000 to the campaign to erect a statue in honour of social reformer Mary Barbour in the city of Glasgow.

Like Sir Alex, Mary Barbour came from Govan and is quite rightly regarded as one of the most important social reformers of the last century and an Outstanding Woman of Scotland.

At the Saltire Society we work to ensure that the legacies of iconic Scots like Mary Barbour are remembered and celebrated both now and in the future and as a result Mary Barbour was one of the first women to be celebrated in our Outstanding Women of Scotland social media campaign.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015 back in March, we welcomed the first ten inductees from the contemporary fields of science, law, politics and the arts into our inaugural Outstanding Women of Scotland list. It was notable that inductee First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cited Mary Barbour not only as an inspiration, but as a personal hero.

Mary Barbour was a pioneer who dedicated her life to improving the lives of others and it is truly fitting that the City of Glasgow is looking to honour her legacy. I wish them every success in their campaign.

Jim Tough, Executive Director, Saltire Society, High Street, Edinburgh

What is Trident for in the modern age?

Perhaps the most important question to be asked before renewing Trident is, at whom are those weapons of mass destruction pointed?

One would assume they are not pointed at Argentina, Iceland, Bosnia, Iraq or Afghanistan, as no use for them could be found during those conflicts.

Who are the people, who hold the government in such terror, that we point those obscene monstrosities at them, those devilish weapons which slaughter not only soldiers but women, children, infants, embryos and indeed fleas?

The public is entitled to clear details of who and why.

Would it not be better to enter serious and continuous negotiations to resolve our differences? Surely the problems cannot be insurmountable?

Even that old warmonger, 
Churchill said, “Better to jaw, jaw, than to war, war.”

Would negotiations cost more than £100 billion? I doubt it.

Joseph G Miller, Gardeners Street, Dunfermline

Begging the question on Princes Street

I do fear for the future of our country. In Princes Street on Tuesday I observed so many beggars who should be moved on.

At M&S’s door there was an individual lying on the pavement sleeping. I came out about 2pm and there was this individual doing the toilet. She then stood up and sorted her clothing.

We are supposed to have an improved police service but I cannot remember the last time I saw the police on foot parading Princes Street.

Mrs F Rutherford, address supplied, Edinburgh

SNP hamstrung over austerity pledge

Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly tells us that her number one priority is to put an end to austerity.

The much respected and independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that the SNP’s manifesto will mean Scotland will suffer deeper cuts for a longer period under the SNP than under the Conservative or Labour parties.

Either she has not been telling Scottish voters the truth about SNP budget plans or she didn’t know the implications of the plans, which would point to a high degree of incompetence.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian