Our new podcast, ‘Voices of VJ Day – Remembering the Forgotten Army’, charts the events of the Burma Campaign, which saw a million men from across the Commonwealth unite against the Japanese.

 

Griff Rhys Jones, whose father served in Burma, joins General Sir Mike Jackson, General the Lord Richards, the late Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter Virginia Lewis Jones and a host of Burma veterans such as 100 year old Peter Heppell, 100 year old Charles Mercer, 98 year old John Giddings MBE, 96 year old John Hutchin, 95 year old Herbert Pritchard and 93 year old Joseph Hammond, who recall what it was like to fight the Japanese in the heat of the jungle 75 years ago.

“It was extremely important to them to be recognised. For there to be recognition that they had taken part in a great struggle that had led to victory”

– Griff Rhys Jones, whose father Elwin served in Burma

Cut with live audio footage and popular music from the time, ‘Voices of VJ Day’ focuses on the events leading up to and including the Burma Campaign, from the Fall of Singapore to the battles at Kohima and Imphal. It includes the influence of key figures such as Mountbatten, Slim and Wingate and the great morale raising work carried out by the late Dame Vera Lynn, when in 1944, she travelled up country to the frontline to entertain “our boys”.

Indian soldiers mingle with troops of the 81st West African Division after the latter had arrived in India for jungle training. The first African colonial troops to fight outside Africa, the 81st Division went on to Burma in December 1943. (IWM IND 2864).

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