97-year-old recalls time in army in lead up to VJ Day anniversary

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan - VJ Day.

But every year, there are fewer ex-service people alive who remember the event.  

97-year-old Felicity Medland, who lives on the Isle of Wight, was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the same regiment in which the Queen served, which was later named the Woman's Royal Army Corp.

Felicity joined the ATS when she was 18 years old.

At the start of the war, while still a schoolgirl, she lived with her family in Balham, South London.

She remembers the night a bomb landed on the local underground station and caused a bus to drive into the crater.

After she signed up, Felicity worked as a projectionist at Arborfield training centre in Berkshire. 

She remembers the time as the best years of her life, especially after the American's arrived. 

One of the films she projected was about water proofing vehicles ahead of the D Day landings, and she got a chance to join a test drive through a water tank. 

"I was driven through this tank and up the ramp on the other side but it was a bit frightening seeing all that water come up the sides of the Jeep."

There were celebrations across the country on VJ Day. Credit: British Pathe

Although there were huge celebrations on VJ Day, Felicity remembers there was also concern about the troops still stuck in the far east.  

"I think at that time all we were interested in was getting our troops back from Burma and the Japanese prison camps. I think that was the main thoughts in people's minds on that particular day."

For many years Felicity was a member of the Woman's Royal Army Corp Association, which this year has had to re-think the way it's celebrating VJ Day. 

Amanda Foster from the WRAC Association says: "For VE day the Association did have a virtual VE Day party, we waved our flags and sang and things like that, just generally reflecting and that's what will happen on VJ Day. We are reflecting people who might not have been directly involved, but were around at that time, and their memories because they will, like me, maybe have memories of their partners who were POWs at that time."

After the war Felicity worked with her father, Harry Edwards, who was a well known spiritual healer. 

She also became quite well known herself as a local artist, but some of her fondest memories are from the days when she served during the war.