A veteran of the Second World War conflict against Japan will be one the survivors of the Pacific conflict to join with Prince Charles for a national memorial on VJ Day tomorrow.
Roy “Doug” Miller, 96, from Croydon, joined the Navy in 1940 as a 15-year-old having lied about his age.
“It was my duty,” he said. “We had no idea what to expect and nothing could prepare us for what we would witness over the next five years.”
At the beginning of the war, Doug was involved in the Russian convoys on board the Halcyon class minesweeper HMS Bramble.
But he counts himself as one of the lucky ones. He was transferred to the Illustrious-class aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable which was able to handle 48 aircraft, just before Bramble was sunk in December 1942, with the tragic loss of all lives.
Doug was on active duty as a Ship’s Gunner in the Far East for three years on board HMS Indomitable.
On May 4, 1945, the Indomitable was hit by two Kamikaze. But her armoured flight deck saved her from serious damage.
In August, with the war ending, Indomitable supported the liberation of Hong Kong and the Japanese surrender.
Her aircraft flew the carrier’s last combat missions of the war against Japanese suicide boats which were attacking British forces.
Doug remembers vividly that the Japanese did not want to surrender, and the ship’s crew were warned that many Japanese aircraft had not surrendered – and to be alert and ready to shoot them down.
During the week after VJ Day, Doug helped guard government buildings in Hong Kong before the Indomitable returned to Sydney.
Doug will be one of the surviving veterans of the Far East campaign at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember fallen comrades.
The Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the UK in a national moment of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who served in the Far East.
Prince Charles will lead a two-minute silence at 11am.
Doug will be among veterans paying their respects to their fallen comrades and will represent the surviving veterans of the war in the Far East still alive in the UK today.
The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans has had a commemorative VJ Day tin specially designed for veterans for the 75th anniversary.
The tins will be delivered to veterans by volunteer London Cabbies and the tins for those who live further away will be posted.
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “With most VJ Day events having to be cancelled it is our way of letting the veterans know we are thinking of them on this very important anniversary.”
Victory over Japan Day – also known as V-J Day or Victory in the Pacific Day, V-P Day – will be marked on August 15, the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in 1945, bringing the war to an end.
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