Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

The Forgotten Army


Remembering VJ Day

When you go home don’t worry about what to tell your loved ones and friends about service in Asia. No one will know where you were, or where it is if you do. You are, and will remain “The Forgotten Army.” ― attributed to General Slim.

My Mum often told me how hard it was for her, when everyone was celebrating VE Day, not because she wasn’t of course delighted, but because her sweetheart, my Dad was serving in Burma, with the Royal Engineers, and for him the war was not over. So remembering VJ Day is a matter of importance for me.

He’s on the right in the foreground of this photo.

Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 3


This is the letter she sent to Dad, on hearing the news he was coming home, in November 1945, Marian was his older sister.

VJ letter home

The letter arrived too late for Dad, he was on a ship home by the time it arrived. It was sent safely back to blighty,  to his sisters address. I think Mum would be cross with me for posting her letter on the World Wide Web, but then  again she wouldn’t want anyone to forget either.

Dad used to tell just a few war stories, the same ones often!  But  I’m pretty sure they were what he considered palatable,  we never got to hear the full story, he came close once, to telling my brother, but stopped when he became tearful, and he had nightmare throughout the rest of his life.

Fourteenth Army

Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 2Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 3Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 4Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 5Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 6Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 7Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 8Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  Engineers 9Burma Fourteenth Army Royal  EngineersBurma 

My Dad died eighteen years ago, when Joe was just a few weeks old and Tom was two years old, so sadly they have no memory of him. Joe got his A Level exam results on Thursday, and of course it was one of those moments that you want to phone mum and dad and tell them the news:  looking at these photos, maybe it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Joe has chosen to do a degree in civil engineering…  As they say around here ‘what’s in the tree comes out in the branches’.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

8 thoughts on “The Forgotten Army

  1. A heartfelt. and poignant, post. xx

  2. My dad was a U.S.Marine in the war in the Pacific, and after participating in the liberation of Tarawa and Okinawa, he ended up in China. We were fortunate to have him until last year, when he passed at the age of 91. I have read accounts of the battles in which he participated and it does not surprise me that he didn’t talk about it much. They were a generation of men who arose from ordinary circumstances to do extraordinary things. We were blessed that they were able to survive such a terrible war and return to those they loved. So many didn’t.

  3. Just found this post whilst researching my grandads war records. Hope this reaches the author!
    My grandad (Bert Kadwill) was also in 864 ME company, in section 36.
    I read through the 864s war diaries at the national archives on Saturday and have some info (from archives, books etc and photos of my grandad, his co (Captain revell) and Burma. I’m willing to share what I have if it helps or is of interest?
    I’d love to be able to get higher quality scans of the jpeg pics in your article if possible, and any info you may have to add to my records to help me better piece together the 864s war in Burma.
    Hoping you get this message!

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