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Tickets are free and allow a 2 hour visit of the Exhibition. Please choose your preferred date (between 2 and 15 August 2016) and time slot (choice of 4 timed visits per day, except Sundays when there are 3 timed visits during the day).
The Burma Veterans Exhibition is sponsored by the Burma Star Memorial Fund , the British Legion and The Soldiers' Charity.
'The Burma Star Memorial Fund is proud to sponsor this exhibition ‘Burma Veterans: Unforgettable’ as the Fund aims to ensure that the historical significance of the Burma Campaign 1941-1945 and the sacrifice of so many individuals in this Campaign is not forgotten.’
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
During 2015, the year which marked the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, photographer Wendy Aldiss photographed over 200 allied Burma Veterans in the UK and in Burma (now Myanmar). Wendy’s father was part of 2nd Division in Burma during the Second World War.
For the first time, these photographs will be displayed at the Army & Navy Club in London from 2 August to 15 August 2016, which will coincide with V-J Day 2016. The exhibition will be curated by Karen Holbrook.
Burma veterans will also attend every day of the Exhibition, which will provide a rare opportunity for visitors to hear the veterans of the 'Forgotten Army' speak of the Burma Campaign.
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION
Wherever possible, for each UK veteran, Aldiss created a set of three images consisting of a formal portrait, an informal portrait, and a still life of their wartime mementos. For some the full set could not be shot due to age and the passing of time but each Veteran has a portrait and a note of their involvement in Burma (now Myanmar) and every one is represented in some way at this exhibition. The Veterans belonged to all regiments, squadrons, columns, units and fleets in that region, some of which have been disbanded long ago.
In addition to the Exhibition, a series of five evening lectures presented by well-known authors and journalists will be hosted by the Army & Navy Club.
For details relating to these lectures, please click below for more information and how to book tickets:
Tuesday 2 August - Ethics and Photography, A talk by Mark Neville
Thursday 4 August - Orde Wingate, A talk by Dr. Simon Anglim
Tuesday 9 August - Perspectives on Leadership in WW2 in the Far East, A talk by Dr. Robert Lyman
Thursday 11 August - African Veterans of the Burma Campaign, A talk by Barnaby Phillips
Monday 15 August - War in the Wilderness: The Chindits in Burma, A talk by Tony Redding
THE FORGOTTEN ARMY
British and Allied forces who fought in the Burma campaign during World War Two were up against a formidable enemy in the Japanese. They were also up against the jungle, the heat, lack of rations, antiquated equipment, the monsoons, malaria and other illnesses. Many were between 18 and 21 years old. Casualties on both sides were in the hundreds of thousands. When the ‘victors’ returned to Britain their achievements were always in the shadow of those who had fought in the European campaigns and they were dubbed "The Forgotten Army”.
Wendy Aldiss says: “As I’ve travelled through the UK and Myanmar I have been welcomed into the homes of a wonderful set of men (and in a couple of cases, women). Coming from diverse backgrounds they are all linked by the common bond of having lived through the conflict in Burma and now being at least 90 years of age. The mementos they show me are fascinating. Small artefacts like a special issue morphine set, dog-eared photographs of wartime pals, a monsoon cape or a commando knife resonate with history. More importantly for me is being able to meet and then honour the remaining members of ‘The Forgotten Army’ by creating their portrait.”
Wendy goes on to say: “In both Britain and Myanmar I have been told how important this project is to the Veterans and their families and I feel humbled by the significance they have given it. To be able to photograph some of the Karen people in their homes was very special. It has also, of course, given me a huge sense of responsibility and I feel it vital that an exhibition is held in 2016.”
The body of work she has produced will be a tribute to an important theatre of war which still remains largely overlooked in the public memory.