Saturday 29 June 2013

Armed Forces Day 2013

Today is UK Armed Forces Day 2013, when we celebrate Britain's armed forces past and present. Fortunately my son-in-law is once again safely at home this year (hopefully decorating after being promoted to Lieutenant Commander and receiving an upgrade of house!).

Last year I looked at some of my relatives who served (and sadly in the case of one died) in the First World War. I did at the time mention a Corporal Albert Blease who may have been a relative who served in the 13th Battalion The King's (Liverpool) Regiment and died in Burma in 1944. A bit of investigation shows him to be a relation, albeit more distant than Charles and George. 

The Support Platoon en route to Burma
Ironically it has proven easier to find out about Albert's service in WW2 than it was about his birth and parents, mainly due to the excellent Operation Longcloth site by Steve Fogden. Albert served as a machine-gunner in the Support Platoon of the Chindit 5th column. He was part of the 1st Chindit Expedition fought in the Battle of Hintha but was captured in April 1943 during the retreat suffering badly from malaria and dysentery despite having made it across the Irrawaddy in a water-logged boat. Unfortunately he died in Block 6 Rangoon Jail of Beri-Beri in January 1944.

Corporal Albert Blease's grave, Taukkyan War Cemetery, Rangoon
There is something that causes you to pause and think, just that little bit more, when you see your surname on the grave of a brave man who died in the service of his country. It is fitting to remember, today, the likes of Albert and others who served and continue to serve their country in distant lands.

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