Bbc Burma MyanmarMyanmar Bbc Burma
In search of Burma's lost World War II hero
People in Burma (now Myanmar) who were fighting for Britain during World War Two were often referred to as the Lost Armies, but the Burmese who were part of that force were really forgot by Britain in the postwar years. It is 1944 and it is dark in the dense jungles of the east of Burma.
However, Britain did very little to pay back this allegiance. He was raised in tales of Burma. First of all, not to Burma itself - which was trapped for years under a oppressive army jungle - but to Thai refugee camp where Burma's decades-long civilian conflicts have left for security.
He had been enlisted into the Burma rifles of the UK army more than 50 years previously and had then been a proud fighter for Britain during the Second World War. In her opinion, as a UK army vet in his period of need, he must certainly be eligible for some kind of UK assistance.
At the beginning of the 2000s this began to shift - Burma began to open up to the outside community. In 2007, 19 years after she met Saw Joshua, she established Help for Allies, H4FA for short. "If the Japanese had gotten to you, what would have happened?" asks McLean. Later, another 91-year-old vet arrives on a motorcycle.
Small yearly subsidies of around 120 and H4FA assistance for emergency health services can be life-changing for the old men and their wards. It' not just about the cash - it' s the personality that matters, says Mitchell. "Sally McLean and Peter Mitchell travel through Chin State, Duncan Gilmour - another member of the H4FA crew - is on his yearly trip to Kayah State in East Myanmar to see veteran athletes.
Turns out Saw Tun Thein knows where the retiring Japons threw a large amount of weapons into a near-by stream, and despite his years of progress, he's very interested in getting hishand of them. Although this is a trip he has made several dozen visits, Duncan is always touched by the warmness of his encounters with vets and his allegiance to Britain, which has lasted for more than seventy years.
"Never old men ever perish. "Whatever the true nature of this saying, H4FA has plenty of proof that even these old men will finally perish. Every year the number of known vets who have been fighting with UK troops is shrinking. Drawing on his beliefs to keep the hopes alive not only for Burma's own futures, but also for his old UK comrades.
"Everyday I am praying for Britain, for all the English nation.