Perhaps a service a Kohima memorial in order
Carolyn Prellwitz’s article of Nov. 15 notes the lack of reporting on the Second World War, South East Asia campaign in Burma, which led the multi-nation Commonwealth forces to call themselves “The Forgotten Army”.
On the afternoon of this last Nov. 11 I travelled to Stoltz Pool, Riverbottom Road, to visit the Kohima memorial erected by the Burma Star Association of B.C. I had previously visited this memorial with my grandchildren when Burma Star veterans were in attendance and we all listened attentively of the tales of riggers parachuting supplies out of aircraft to the jungle below and of radio operators who always carried with them their cyanide pill.
The Kohima memorial this year held two long-stemmed, vibrant red roses, a collection of lapel poppies and a Canadian Legion wreath dedicated to The Forgotten Army who was, and never will be forgotten. There was also a small heart-shaped rock leaning against the cairn base.
Alone, I observed the tranquil scene with the overhanging branches framing the fast flowing river and let the memories of the efforts of the 14th Army under Field Marshall Sir William Slim and Major General Orde Charles Wingate’s Chindits flow through my mind.
I remembered them.
I raised my 1917 British Army Bugle to my lips and let the Last Post ring out over the pastoral setting. I reflected a minute and quietly left. On my way out a pick-up drew alonside me and its occupant said, “Thank you, your Last Post was beautiful,” and drove slowly away.
As a bugle player one does not hear the nuances of the bugle echo playing amongst the trees or wafted by the wind. The reflection and remembrance is in the playing.
At home I gave thought on the Duncan remembrance service in the morning and my visit in the afternoon. I came to the conclusion that perhaps a small gathering and service at the Kohima memorial cairn on a Nov. 11 might be in order with perhaps a scattering of flower petals on the flowing water by cadets or students.
A quiet, contemplative deportive to the car pak and home would make for a meaningful recognition and remembrance of one of the most difficult campaigns of the Second World War.
Kingsley Benjamin Buss