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KOHIMA Veterans meet HRH Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace
1 November 2012

KET veterans visit Buckingham Place
Veterans of the Battle of Kohima visit Buckingham Palace

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On a beautifully sunny morning on Thursday 1 November 2012 some of the veterans of the great Battle of Kohima, fought in 1944, made their way to an audience with His Royal Highness The Duke of York in the gracious surroundings of Buckingham Palace.

The Duke, recently returned from a wreath-laying ceremony at the Kohima cemetery on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate the 70th year of her reign, had especially asked to meet veterans of the Battle of Kohima.

This major turning-point battle took place in the rugged hills of Nagaland in north-eastern India, where the Japanese invasion of India had been decisively halted, and turned back, between April and June 1944.

His Royal Highness was able to spend time talking with the veterans and listening to their stories.

As the Duke acknowledged to the veterans, it was only when he saw the terrain in which they were forced to fight, and the famous ridge at Kohima around which the desperate struggle was fought, that he realised not just the scale of their gallantry and fortitude, but the strategic importance of that single road over the mountains from Dimapur to Imphal and hence for the defence of India.

In a vote of thanks to His Royal Highness, Gordon Graham, Honorary President of the Kohima Educational Trust, emphasised the importance of linking action with memory – something that the veterans had successfully achieved with the foundation of the Kohima Educational Trust.

Through their hard work and generosity the great battle continued to be remembered not just for its own sake, or for the glorious dead, but for the continuing sacrifice the veterans and their families still make for a better future, through the education of Naga children.

Robert Lyman, KET Chairman

 


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