VJ Day 15 August 1945

On this, the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Japan, we look at the part played by Green Howards soldiers in the Far East during the last months of The Second World War. 

PH-2-1945-2_briefingThe men of the 2nd Battalion had arrived in north-west Burma in September of 1944.

The Japanese forces were withdrawing following defeats at Imphal and Kohima, towards Mandalay.

The 2nd Battalion, as part of the 26th Indian Division, took part in a seaborne hook to capture Ramree Isaland and then the mainland behind Japanese lines.

They celebrated VJ day at Meerut in India, having left Burma on 28h June 1945 to make the long journey home.

PH-2-1945-3B_VJLieutenant Basil Watson was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his part in the campaign.Weston VC

On 3rd March 1945, Watson was killed as he disabled an enemy position.

Already wounded at the entrance of a bunker, he pulled the pin of the grenade which was in his hand and rolled it inside.

Later, under cover of smoke grenades, platoon Sergeant Fenwick recovered Watson’s body.

He is buried in Taukkyan War cemetery in Burma.

The 1st Battalion were to be back in the region just four years later.