Ahead of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the Taxi Charity are sharing stories from Veterans who served in WWII.
Roy “Doug” Miller 96, from Croydon, joined the Navy in 1940 as a fifteen-year-old having lied about his age.
“It was my duty” he said. “We had no idea what to expect and nothing could prepare us for what we would witness over the next five years.”
At the beginning of the war, Doug was involved in the Russian convoys on board the halcyon class minesweeper HMS Bramble and counts himself as one of the lucky ones. He was transferred to the illustrious-class aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable which was able to handle 48 aircraft, just before Bramble was sunk in December 1942, with the tragic loss of all lives.
Doug was on active duty as a Ship’s Gunner in the Far East for three years on board HMS Indomitable. On 4 May 1945, the Indomitable was hit by two Kamikaze, but her armoured flight deck saved her from serious damage. In August, with the war ending, Indomitable supported the liberation of Hong Kong and the Japanese surrender. Her aircraft flew the carrier’s last combat missions of the war against Japanese suicide boats which were attacking British forces. Doug remembers vividly that the Japanese did not want to surrender, and the ship’s crew were warned that many Japanese aircraft had not surrendered and to be alert and ready to shoot them down.
During the week after VJ Day Doug helped guard government buildings in Hong Kong before the Indomitable returned to Sydney.
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said,
“The Taxi Charity has had a commemorative VJ Day tin specially designed for our veterans for the 75th anniversary. The lid of the tin features a work by war artist Thomas Dugdale. The tins will be delivered to local veterans by volunteer London Cabbies and the tins for those who live further away will be posted. With most VJ Day events having to be cancelled it is our way of letting the veterans know we are thinking of them on this very important anniversary”
Veterans of the Far East campaign will be present at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember fallen comrades
The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the UK in a national moment of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who served in the Far East. His Royal Highness will lead a two minute silence at 11am at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a special televised service on the BC.
A number of veterans, including Roy Doug Miller who served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Indomitable, will be present at the service to pay their respects to their fallen comrades and will represent the surviving veterans of the war in the Far East still alive in the UK today.
Music at the service will be provided by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part in a flypast following the two minute silence.
If you know of a veteran whose life might be enriched by joining the Taxi Charity family, please visit www.taxicharity.org