FIRST PUBLISHED MAY 9, 2014
Charles is a 90-year-old veteran of the 14th Army in Burma in WWII. It was a privilege to meet him today on the Battersea Fields Estate.
He was keen to talk about the role of the ‘forgotten’ 14th Army in Burma where he served 70 years ago.
Battersea boy Charles says he was “bloody lucky” when he was shot. Listen to him explain how he had friends who were less fortunate:
“The last I saw of him he was shot through both legs. I never saw him anymore. That would make sense, because we would still push on and the bearers would come up and cart him off somewhere – God knows, he never came back to battalion. I don’t know how bad it was but he got shot in both legs.
My little friend by the side of me, just a little bit behind me, he got killed. Got his side shot out by a machine-gun burst. I got shot through the arm, fortunately it never hit anything. Went straight through, never touched a bone or anything. Bloody lucky really.”
Charles told me he’s the soldier leaping from the boat on the front cover of “Forgotten Voices of Burma”
In the recording below he tells me he didn’t know the photographer was there and very nearly shot him!
It was extraordinary to meet Charles and hear his vivid memories of the things he went through when he was just 19 and 20 years old. I will remember him.