I dedicated 2015, the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, to finding and making portraits of Allied Burma Veterans across the United Kingdom. It was a very personal project for me as my father (then 90years old) was part of the 14th Army, 2nd Division in Burma during the Second World War. I also photographed Karen Veterans in their homes in Burma (now Myanmar). Each of these men and women supported the Allied forces in some way.
The British veterans, aged between 88 and 105 years old when I photographed them, served in every branch of the Armed Forces during the Burma campaign. Their portraits, along with images of their wartime memorabilia, pay tribute to the troops, many of whom have felt that their voice hasn’t been heard.
It has been a huge privilege to spend time with these people from such diverse backgrounds but with a common bond. They welcomed me into their homes and were patient with me while I created their portraits.
THE BURMA CAMPAIGN
In January 1942 Japanese forces invaded Burma, forcing British and Empire troops to retreat to India in what became the longest fighting withdrawal in the British Army’s history. Over the following three years the campaign to reclaim Burma saw some of the most brutal fighting of the Second World War, involving every branch of the Allied armed services.