Veterans gather at Minster to remember fallen comrades

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A bugler’s Last Post broke the minute’s silence in York yesterday as veterans of a Second World War battle that was a turning point in the south-east Asian conflict, remembered their fallen comrades.

Six survivors of the Battle of Kohima, now aged in their 90s, joined others from the Burma campaign in laying wreaths of poppies in Dean’s Garden, next to York Minster.

John Giddings a Kohima veteran walks  forward to the Kohima Memorial to lay  a wreath in the York Museum Gardens.

John Giddings a Kohima veteran walks forward to the Kohima Memorial to lay a wreath in the York Museum Gardens.

Present-day soldiers from 2 Signal Regiment, based in the city, joined them at the service, conducted by their padre, the Rev Nia Williams, and Canon Peter Moger from the Minster.

Afterwards, the veterans and their families visited the Kohima Museum at York’s Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road, which holds pictures, letters and memorabilia from the period.

The battles of Kohima and Imphal, fought simultaneously by British and Indian forces in India in 1944, are considered among the greatest in British military history.

Five years ago, when they emerged at the top of a list compiled by the National Army Museum, the historian Dr Robert Lyman said: “They showed that the Japanese were not invincible and that they could be beaten, and beaten well.”