WW-II veterans pay homage to martyrs at Kohima War Cemetery
KOHIMA, OCTOBER 14
A thirteen-member delegation of the Royal British Legion from United Kingdom, including two World War II veterans, Thomas Taylor and Williams Lavery, visited the Kohima War Cemetery on Monday to pay homage to the martyrs. The war veterans are accompanied by Britain’s military advisor in India, Brigadier Brian McCall, as well as family members of the martyrs of the Royal British Army, on their three-day visit in Kohima as part of the annual Royal British Legion war graves pilgrimage.
A brief remembrance service was held which included prayers, citation of the bravery and courage of the martyrs of WWII in the battle of Kohima, and laying of wreaths at the main War Memorial. The Kohima Epitaph and common prayer were also recited as at every gathering of the Legion members. Personnel of Indian security forces assisted the wreath rituals in full military decorum.
Nonagenarians, Thomas (Tommy) Taylor and Williams (Bill) Lavery are both war veterans of the British Army who had fought in the battle of Kohima and Imphal respectively in 1944 during the WWII. Interacting with media persons here at the Kohima War Cemetery on Monday after the remembrance service, Taylor expressed sadness that he cannot recall the experiences of the war. However, he said he was glad to be here in Kohima to pay homage to his slain comrades.
Group leader, Jon Wort, a retired British Army officer, explained that Tommy belonged to the Cameron Highlanders infantry regiment of the 2nd Division of the British Army who fought alongside Indian Army in the Battle of Kohima (1944) against the Japanese troops during the WWII. This battle saw the first defeat of the Japanese and considered a turning point in the war in Asia.
It was learnt that Taylor supports the educational expenses of Ruguotuonuo, a class-9 student of Khedi Baptist School, Kohima by providing scholarship through the Kohima Educational Trust. The trust is supported by families and friends of war veterans and from the contemporary 2nd Division among other individuals and organizations, as a debt of honour to the Naga people.
The delegation is scheduled to visit the WWII Museum at Kisama on Tuesday, after which they will proceed to New Delhi.