Burma veterans head to Duxford
PUBLISHED: 10:17 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:32 31 May 2010
HEROES of the Second World War will be at Duxford Imperial War Museum in their hundreds tomorrow (Friday) to take part in its annual Burma Star Day. The huge event draws war veterans from all over the country, giving them a chance to reunite and share the
HEROES of the Second World War will be at Duxford Imperial War Museum in their hundreds tomorrow (Friday) to take part in its annual Burma Star Day.
The huge event draws war veterans from all over the country, giving them a chance to reunite and share their experiences as well as providing visitors to the museum with an opportunity to hear first hand what the servicemen and women went through at the time.
Second World War veteran and Burma Star Association branch chairman Jimmy Kemp explained the importance of the event.
"This day organised by the museum is the highlight of our year," he said. "During the war we were a forgotten army, fighting on the other side of the world while generations want to know what we did and how the POWs among us survived to tell their story."
This will be the fourth Burma Star Day that 82-year-old Mr Kemp has helped organise. Last year around 400 veterans descended on the museum and he hopes that this year will see an even greater turnout.
"I was 17 when I signed up," he said, "and just 18 or 19 when I was serving in Burma with the 26th Indian Division. We were some of the first into Rangoon and it will be good to get back together with other veterans who shared similar experiences."
The day is a major event in the museum's calendar and promises to be as fascinating to visitors as it is important to the veterans.
Director of the museum, Richard Ashton, said: "The Imperial War Museum Duxford is committed to commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of all those who fought to defend our freedom.
"However, the veterans of the war in the Far East must be singled out for special praise as they fought in the most demanding of environments. Many of them ended up as captives in the most appalling conditions and their survival can only be described as a triumph of the human spirit.
"I urge everyone to come and hear their stories and pay tribute to these brave men and women who fought in the Far East to protect our liberty. All veterans of the war in the Far East will receive the warmest of welcomes at Duxford."
The day promises to be a very special occasion, featuring historic aircraft and a moving march-past at 3pm.
Holders of the Burma Star and Pacific Star will be admitted without charge; for everyone else normal admission rates of £16 for adults, £12.80 for senior citizens and students, £9.60 for disabled adults, £8 for the unemployed and free for under-16s apply.