PICTURE GALLERY: North Devon’s Burma Veterans mark VJ Day

13:10 15 August 2014

Pictures from the Burma veterans

Pictures from the Burma veterans' VJ Day service on Friday

Archant

Handful of surviving veterans hold remembrance service in Rock Park

Pictures from the Burma veterans' VJ Day service on FridayPictures from the Burma veterans' VJ Day service on Friday

VETERANS of the Burma campaign in the Second World War gathered to mark the 69th anniversary of VJ Day today (Friday).

The six remaining members of the North Devon Burma Star Foundation, now all in their 90s, were joined at the Rock Park war memorial in Barnstaple by family and honorary military members to lay a wreath and recall some of their experiences in the jungles of Burma.

And VJ Day, August 15, is a doubly special day for veteran Alf Turner, who this year was also celebrating his 95th birthday.

“It was quite a celebration in 1945,” he recalls. “I drove all the way to Poona (now Pune, in India) to get gallons and gallons of beer for the battalion.”

VJ Day brought six years of conflict to an end, some three months after the German surrender on VE Day.

However, thousands of British and Commonwealth troops were still fighting in the Far East, and came home several months later to a Britain which had largely forgotten about the war against Japan.

“I think some of the younger generation don’t realise what the war was like,” said Alf. “You here so much about the war in Europe but out there you were miles and miles from home in a jungle and nobody cheered you when you came into villages like they did in Europe.

“We were the forgotten army. I still remember on the train coming out of Burma to Malaysia listening to the wheels on the tracks and hearing a chap with his mouth organ and thinking ‘thank god we’re going away from this place’.

“We’ve got a very good branch here in North Devon but unfortunately we’re fading away year after year.”

Fellow veteran George Rice, 90, said: “It’s still nice to see our old friends and comrades who we’ve been seeing for 30-plus years.

“We’ve had good times and some sad times. The war is one of those things that happened and I was just pleased to get back.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

16:24
The five Peoples' Postcode lottery winners Mike Cooper-Yeoman, Julie Baron, Maurice Dayman, Brenda Budden and Tom Stevens. Picture: Malcolm Rouse.

Families in the same street looking forward to Christmas after winning the Peoples’ Postcode Lottery

Read more
Hundreds lined Pilton's high street to say their final goodbyes to Green Man festival organiser Hamish Patrick

Hundreds of people lined Pilton Street today (Monday) to pay tribute to Green Man Festival organiser Hamish Patrick, who died earlier this month.

Read more
12:18

Man transferred to Derriford following collision with Ford Focus.

Read more
11:51
Jeremy Thorpe's trademark trilby hat on the coffin as it leaves the church. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

‘Wit, zeal and sheer panache’ is how former North Devon MP Nick Harvey described his former mentor Jeremy Thorpe at his funeral on Wednesday.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Subscriptions
Reader travel
Advertise
Photo Orders
Competitions
Facebook
Twitter
North Devon Football League
North Devon Gazette E-edition

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition
North Devon�s trusted business finder