‘Forgotten army’ who fought Japan behind enemy lines in WWII given ‘fitting tribute’
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 13/08/2020
A Second World War memorial to a group of soldiers known as the “forgotten army” has been given listed status to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day.
The Chindit Memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens, central London, has been given the special protection by the government on the advice of Historic England.
The Chindit Special Forces fought in Burma – now known as Myanmar – in 1943 and 1944 and are credited with helping to turn the tide of the war against Japan in the Far East.
Named after a mythical beast that stands guard outside Burmese temples known as a Chinthe, the force was made up of men from the UK, Burma, Hong Kong, the US, West Africa, India and Nepal.
The soldiers were trained to navigate through jungles and engaged the Japanese army behind enemy lines in Burma.
The force was formed by the Indian-born Major General Orde Charles Wingate, but was later disbanded in 1944 when he was killed during active service.
The plinth in London, which was unveiled by Prince Philip in 1990, bears the blue crest of the Chindits Association, alongside a portrait of Major General Wingate and various inscriptions.
Another memorial to the group also stands in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Victory over Japan (VJ) Day marks the effective end of the Second World War on 15 August 1945, when Imperial Japan surrendered following the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A wreath will be laid at the Chindit Memorial to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day by a military delegation, as part of a series of commemorations across Whitehall to honour those who served in the Far East during the Second World War.
Heritage minister Nigel Huddleston said: “As we come together this weekend to mark 75 years since VJ Day, we must not forget the sacrifices of the Second World War generation.
“It is a fitting tribute to all who served in the Far East that we are protecting and preserving sites so that future generations can learn about this important period of our history.”
Claudia Kenyatta, director of regions at Historic England, said: “We are surrounded by surviving physical evidence of the Second World War, from former air raid shelters to statues and plaques; however memorials that commemorate the Allied forces fighting in the Far East are surprisingly rare in England.
“We are pleased that the memorial to the Chindit Special Forces in Burma has been listed. Seventy five years on, it’s important that we remember them.”
© Sky News 2020