Chindit Memorial: WW2 ‘forgotten army’ tribute given listed status

Chindit Memorial: WW2 'forgotten army' tribute given listed status

The Chindit Memorial

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Historic England

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The Chindit Memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens was first unveiled in 1990

A memorial to soldiers in the “forgotten army” of World War Two has been given listed status.

The Chindit Memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens in Westminster will be given Grade II listing to mark 75 years since Imperial Japan surrendered.

The special forces unit fought in modern day Myanmar and helped to turn the tide of the war against Japan.

The government called the memorial a “fitting tribute to all who served in the Far East”.

There will be a range of events held around the world on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day (VJ Day) and the end of World War Two.

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Historic England

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The group were named after Chinthe, a mythical guardian of temples in Myanmar, also seen on their crest

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “As we come together this weekend to mark 75 years since Victory over Japan Day, we must not forget the sacrifices of the Second World War generation.

“We are protecting and preserving sites so that future generations can learn about this important period of our history.”

The group were named after Chinthe, a mythical guardian of temples in Myanmar – at the time known as Burma.

The Chindits comprised of troops from the UK, Burma, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, West Africa and the USA.

They engaged the Japanese behind enemy lines in Burma and specialised in navigating extremely difficult jungle terrain.

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Historic England

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Major General Orde Wingate formed the Chindits for raiding operations against the Imperial Japanese Arm

Soldiers who fought during the Myanmar campaign have often been referred to as the “forgotten army” as their efforts were largely overlooked by contemporary press.

The Duke of Edinburgh unveiled the memorial, a bronze Chinthe statue supported on a stone plinth, in 1990.

On the front plinth of the memorial is the blue enamel crest of the Chindits Association, as well as a portrait of the groups founder, Major General Orde Wingate.

A separate memorial is housed in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Claudia Kenyatta, director of regions at Historic England, said: “Memorials that commemorate the Allied forces fighting in the Far East are surprisingly rare in England.

“We are pleased that the memorial to the Chindit Special Forces in Burma has been listed.”

Grade II listed structures are considered to be of “special historical interest”.

There are strict laws on how to maintain or alter listed structures.

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