25 May HRH Prince of Wales meets VJ Day veterans
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales meets Burma veterans in 75th anniversary year of VJ Day
On Monday 2nd March, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a reception for the Burma Star Memorial Fund at Clarence House, during which His Royal Highness met some of the last surviving Burma Star veterans. Present at the reception was our oldest subscribing member, E. Comp. Roy Miller, of Stoneleigh Coronation Chapter no 5699.
In acknowledgment of the important role that the Burma Star Memorial Fund plays in preserving the legacy of those who served in the Burma Campaign, The Prince of Wales has recently taken on the role of Patron of the Fund. His Royal Highness follows in the footsteps of both his great-uncle, Earl Mountbatten, who was Patron of the Fund’s connected charity, the Burma Star Association, from its inauguration in 1951 and his father, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who succeeded Earl Mountbatten as Patron in 1979.
The Burma Star Memorial Fund is determined that the enormous sacrifices of those who served in the Far East will not be forgotten. Set up by the grandson of Field Marshal Viscount ‘Bill’ Slim, Commander of the 14th Army, the Fund has embarked on an ambitious project to ensure that the achievements of those who fought in the 14th Army will always be remembered.
The Memorial Fund has created a new, interactive website, which allows veterans and their families to create a digital record of their war-time experiences. Alongside this, there is a rich repository of all back copies of Dekho! – a magazine chronicling the experiences and memories of Burma Campaign veterans – which is available free of charge on the new website. The Memorial Fund has also launched the ‘Burma Star Scholarship Programme’, in partnership with University College London (UCL). Postgraduate students resident in any of the Allied countries that made up the 14th Army, of which there were over 20, will study subjects relevant to the many challenges successfully overcome by the Allies during the Campaign, namely engineering and global health. These globally-minded young men and women will keep the spirit of the Burma Campaign alive as, just like those who served in the 14th Army, they strive to make the world a better place.
During the reception, The Prince of Wales also met the inaugural Burma Star scholar, Akaraseth Puranasamriddhi. A Canadian resident, Akaraseth embodies the spirit of the Burma Star veterans. Studying for a Masters in Engineering for International Development at UCL, he said: “The Burma Star Scholarship relieved me from financial obligations, enabling me to study at UCL in London. I am fully aware of the honour and responsibilities that are associated with the Burma Star Scholarship Programme and I am confident that the 14th Army’s legacy will flourish through this programme”.
Viscount Slim welcomed guests at the reception: “We believe the best way to remember the legacy of the almost one million men and women who served alongside my grandfather is to create a living memorial; a network of scholars from around the world whose learning and achievements will keep the spirit of the Burma Campaign alive. As my grandfather said in his Last Order on 2 December 1945: ‘Many races fighting and working in comradeship learned to appreciate one another’s values.’ Carry that mutual respect into the future, wherever you may be called.”
Carry with you too, qualities that made the 14th Army what it was. “This is and will remain the vision for the Memorial Fund going forward”.
When you go home tell them of us and say: for your tomorrow we gave our today
The Kohima Epitaph
Press Release following the event on the 2nd March 2020, photo by Paul Burns photography