Thursday, August 13, 2015

Remembering the sacrifices in the Far East

70 years on from victory in the Far East and the end of the Second World War, the Royal British Legion is working to raise awareness of the sacrifices that soldiers and civilians in the east had to make, for a long while after Europe had seen the end of the fighting. In the months following the celebrations around Victory in Europe (VE) Day, fighting continued in Burma, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines & Singapore – in the longest campaign of the Second World War. 300,000 prisoners of war in the East lived through these celebrations in captivity, and 100,000 died before victory was announced. 

The efforts and sacrifice of almost 2.5 million Commonwealth army personnel who fought in the Allied campaign in the Far East are often almost overlooked, and general awareness of the struggle in the East sadly remains low. 

On the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, The Royal British Legion has released a video to highlight the plight of Allied Troops and civilians in the Far East, and to ensure the memory of their legacy lives on. The video’s participants, reading facts from an autocue for the first time, are shocked to learn the fate of all the brave men and women who were at the centre of the long campaign in the asian theatre. The video captures their reactions

Its publication is intended to highlight the plight of Allied Troops and civilians in the Far East, and to ensure the memory of their legacy lives on.

The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation's biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy.


  1. Hi Gabby. This relates to your French army post back in May. Some info on au contact is now up on French MOD website

    I'm unclear as to whether it's just describing 2016 changes or those overall, but the main changes appear to be 13DBLE is based in France, various small changes to French artillery and engineers, some HQ changes, and French armoured and infantry units are strengthened.

    I find the way the French structure their infantry and armoured units (about 1000 men with armoured vehicles in each one) very interesting when you compare them to all the little battalions we have. I guess both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses.

    1. Yes, i've seen that document and collected some other details from other sources, but not all is clear yet on Au Contact. Not all regimental moves have been detailed yet, for example, so there isn't yet a full list of the new brigade structures.

    2. Hi Gaby

      You may already know this, but latest from Condottiere and Fantassin on arsse:

      Condottiere said: ↑

      I have read on a Foreign Legion Association website that 13 DBLE will be part of the 6eme BLB (6th Light Armoured Bde) in the new force structure of the French Army about to be officially presented at a military demonstration. I'm sure @fantassin will have more news.

      This will mean that 6eme BLB will have four Legion Regiments allocated to it.

      Yes, the CEMAT (French CGS) will present the new organisation in Sissonne on 23 September. Among the news are the fact that some regiments will now be allocated to the newly created "divisions" as "divisional regiments" i.e units whose assets can be dispatched to all the units composing the said divisions.

      In the first division you should have, if my info are right:

      -1er RA (LRU lance roquette unitaire or MLRS in English...)
      -19e RG (Engineers)
      -132e BCAT (K9)

      In the other division:
      -2e RD (CBRN)
      -31e RG (Engineers)
      -54e RA (ADA)

      The regiments that used to be part of the 3e BLB will be thus dispatched:

      1er RIMA and 126e RI will be part of the 9e BIMA (Amphibious Bgde)
      92e RI of the 2e BB (Armoured Brigade)
      68e RAA to the 7e BB

      And yes, the 13e DBLE will "densify" the 6e BLB, confirming the reputation of this brigade as the FFL's brigade....I don't know yet if they will ride on VBCIs or if they will get VABs waiting for the future VBMR

    3. Edit to the above post: the source is here

    4. Yes, i have tracked the latest documents and news, so i have a pretty complete list of where everything is going to be. Thanks.

  2. Gabriele, sorry this is hardly relevant to this post but I was wondering if you knew anymore regarding the "MARS" requirement the MoD issued a while ago? Did anything come of it? I've only just noticed that last year FN took over Manroy Engineering in the UK and was wondering if this may be connected? Manroy already manufacture a number of small arms for the British Military among others as I'm sure you know. Also, I was under the impression that H&K produce the L7 for the Military now, is this still the case? Or are FN back to manufacturing it, potentially through Manroy?

    1. Literally never heard a word again about the MARS rifle requirement. I think Manroy supplies machine guns to the army, but i'm not sure what is the current arrangement.

  3. Hi Gabriele, the Apache contract news, seems a very high figure?, is this being done at Westlands now?. I ask this because the South Korean army brought 36 new build aircraft for a lot less, which also included Hellfires and rockets?. Do you know if this 3 Billion figure also includes munitions?. Many thanks.

    1. No, the request would see the Apache rebuilt at Boeing. No Westland involvment. It is not yet a done deal: main gate is only expected early next year, and that's when a final contract will (hopefully) be signed.

      The South Korea order was for 36 new helos for 3.6 billion USD. It did include a significant weapons order including rockets, Hellfire and Stinger, but still. It wasn't really cheaper: the last time the UK bought Hellfire missiles, it cost 95 USD million for 500. The 400 Hellfire, the similar number of Stingers and all the Hydra rockets in the ROK order can be expected to make up a relatively tiny part of the 3.6 billion bill.

      The british request does not specify if missiles / rockets would be purchased. The request mentions "ammunition", but there is no detail of what it includes. It might be related to the fact that british Apache use the CRV-7 rocket instead of the US Hydra, and that hopefully will be maintained. Looking at the two requests, the british request includes a greater number of spare components, a more complete DAS suite, Link 16 and Manned-Unmanned Teaming kit which do not appear in the ROK request. There will likely be differences in the Support agreements too although they are not detailed. Finally, the Korean request dates back to 2012: inflation and foreign exchange ratios have an impact too.

  4. So how big is your new LHD Gabbi, is it over 30,000 tonnes?, it sounds very impressive, does it have a well deck. Thanks

    1. Not sure yet how many tons it will actually displace, the number is still moving back and forth a bit. It will for sure have a well deck, yes. A 50 meter one, LCAC compatible. Along with the LHD, the Navy should (finally) gain four more capable LCUs, which will help the amphibious force a lot.

  5. Hi Gabriele,
    Completely off topic question, but will being parked on the flight deck of a Nimitz or QEC affect the F-35's stealth coating?

    In the future will the USN "chock and chain" the vast majority of their JSF on the flight deck? as they do now with the Hornets/Super Hornets.

    As a poster on another blog was arguing that all the F-35s would have to be parked in the hangar, but surely with the size of a Nimitz/Ford's air wing, even just including the JSF, they would not all fit inside?

    Just as the QEC are designed to carry 36 F-35s, but only around 18 can be accommodated in the hangar.

    1. They will definitely be parked on deck. They will be washed more frequently than legacy aircraft to prevent salt from accumulating, and that's about it.

    2. Thought so, thanks for confirmation.



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