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Doug Temple Article.pdf

VE Day didn't happen for everybody.  While they danced in the streets back home, for those of us posted in the Far East the war continued as normal.  I came from an RAF family and signed up in 1939, aged 16, initially to begin training as an aircraft engineer. However a year later I was sent to Canada alongside my brother Alwick to train as a pilot.


On finishing my training, I returned to the UK, but before my feet could touch the ground, I was sent to join 120 Squadron in the Battle of the Atlantic.  Our responsibilities were to protect our waters, stopping the Germans advancing by sea.  We flew day and night looking for U-boats.  In 1943 we suffered tremendous losses and pilots got moved around to meet the demand. Eventually l was selected for an unenviable transfer to Asia to fight the Japanese. From the end of 1944 I was stationed in east India, surveying and protecting the coastline of Burma and Japanese Pacific Waters. When I arrived there I heard a lot of terrible stories about how the Japanese were treating British prisoners of war - all sorts of horrible things.  I couldn't believe my ears.

I bought myself a kukri knife in case I crash-landed and had to cut my way through the jungle as I had no intention of being captured.

I don't remember anything special about VE Day.  We were still at war.  I was transiting aircraft across different bases from India. There were some dark moments knowing that the War had finished for so many people but it hadn't finished for us.  In any case I didn't take much glory in winning the war.  I was only pleased to see the end of it.  I came back for leave on 25 June 1946, and there was no ceremony or anything special - well, apart from one thing.  My navigator and I decided to make a trip to a local cinema and a woman called Joan was working at the ticket booth.  We made a date to meet again and married three months later.

To mark the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day the Royal British Legion is calling on communities moss the UK to pay tribute to the entire Second World War generation and all that they sacrificed in the defence of our freedom:

Doug Temple with his flight crew in 1945

Click the picture of Doug to see the original article