Britain's 'forgotten war' in the Pacific remembered

Tens of thousands of British troops fought against retreating Japanese army months after World War II ended in Europe.

    Even after the Allied Forces declared victory in Europe in World War II, the battle to wrest control of Asia and the Pacific from the Japanese continued.

    Britain deployed tens of thousands of troops to the region, and the so-called "forgotten army" fought the retreating Japanse Army for months until the final surrender on August 15, 1945.

    In Britain, the Queen will lead surviving veterans at events on Saturday to mark the occasion and honour those who fought and died in the war.

    Vic Knibb, now 90, was shipped to what was then Burma, at the start of 1945, to defend the then-British colony from the Japanese.


    Photo Essay: How Britain deployed 1000,000 African troops to fight the Japanese in colonial Burma


    The 70th Anniversary will be the last significant one with veterans like Vic Knibb.

    Recalling his experience in the war, Knibb said he feels no bitterness towards the Japanese.

    But for many, the war left a complex legacy which still lingers. In particular over the treatment of prisoners of war, and the seeming reluctance of Japan to apologise, that created resentment which has taken years to overcome.

    Of 50,000 British troops captured more than 12,000 died of starvation and disease. Many were forced into slave labour. It left deep physical and emotional scars.

    Victory over the Japanese never had the triumphalism of that over Nazi Germany – it wasn’t seen as a fight for national survival - it fought in far off colonial outposts in defence of imperial possessions.

    Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor Wood reports from London.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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