Recent mention of Burma Star Association veterans prompted Doreen Turnbull to search through her photograph albums. Jane Goddard reports.
REGULAR visits to Derby’s Burma Star Association Club were part and parcel of Doreen Turnbull’s life.
Doreen, nee Wilkins, and her eight brothers and sisters would be taken to the club on Charnwood Street by their dad, George.
George, a Second World War veteran who served in Burma, was a drummer who played at the club along with a pianist whom Doreen thinks was called Ken.
Doreen, of Spondon, said: “My dad took me for many years. We would all have a great sing-song.
“Then, later in life, we all still went with my dad and took our own children with us.
“They are all grown up and married now, with children of their own, but they still remember our visits to the club.
“One of the names that stands out from those days was Arthur Mellor. He was a close friend of my dad’s.
“There was also Jack and Florrie Beech, from the West End of Derby, and Danny Barlow and Bill Belchere.
“My dad often talked to us about his time in Burma when he returned home from the war.
“He told us what they had all gone through out there. It must have been terrible, especially for the ones who came back without their comrades.
“He told us that he had a pet monkey in Burma, which he called Nelly. We wanted him to bring it back with him but he said he couldn’t because the monkey wanted to stay with its family.
“My dad caught malaria while he was out there. He had bouts of it when he came back and I remember how awful it was seeing his suffering.
“But it must have been heart-breaking for people whose loved ones never returned. They will always be remembered.
“My older sister and myself got a white sheet to put up at the window for dad for when he came back saying ‘Welcome Home Daddy’. Of course, the day he came home, we hadn’t finished the embroidery but he still said it was beautiful.
“Before dad went to Burma he would tell us to get under the table when the air raid sirens sounded.
“He would tell us the siren was warning us that the German planes were saying, ‘We are coming, we are coming’.
“Then the all-clear would sound and he would say, ‘The enemy is saying we are going, we are going, you can come out now’.”