Fred Holding - Burma veteran

Date: 1st Jul 2018 @ 1:03pm

WW2 'Forgotten Army' Veteran Visits WJS

On Friday 29th June, Year 6 children and staff were privileged to have a visit from 93 year-old veteran of the Burma Campaign (1941-45), Fred Holding.

Fred (or Rocky to his friends) shared many fascinating memories about training for jungle warfare with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in Sri Lanka, being outnumbered and surrounded by the Imperial Japanese army in Burma and even how he was lucky enough to be asked to escort the singing star, Dame Vera Lynn, around the army's camp.

Fred also explained how humour helped his comrades to battle not only the Japanese soldiers, but also disease, hunger and the fiercely hot climate.

"We had to march in single file and couldn't talk for fear of the enemy overhearing - orders had to be whispered from the front of the line to the back. One time, a message that began as: "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance!", reached the last man as: "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance...""

Watch Fred explain about the special relationship that existed between the soldiers (muleteers) and their mules.

                                                                     

                                               The Burma Star medal

See the source image             Muleteers of the British Chindits crossing a Burmese river

See the source image

 

Vera Lynn - the 'Forces Sweetheart' - pictured with Fred (left)

 See the source image

A big thank-you to Mr Blackhurst for arranging the visit