Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

WWII Royal Navy veterans return to the Far East

World War II veterans who served with the Royal Navy in the Far East have been given funding to make a final official trip there.

A total of 58 veterans and their spouses and carers from the South East and across England will travel to Singapore and Malaysia.

The veterans served with the British Pacific and East Indies Fleet.

Their trip on 28 January is being funded by the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return 2 programme.

Alfred Lonsdale, 85, said it was important to remember lost comrades.

We lost lots of shipmates and friends out there and it is important that we remember them
Alfred Lonsdale

Mr Lonsdale, of Horley, Surrey, was 17 years old when he joined the Royal Navy in 1942, and served as part of the British Pacific Fleet towards the end of the war.

He said: "We were actually out in the Pacific when the atomic bombs were dropped and following that we were one of the first ships into Japan.

He added: "Due to many of the veterans now being in their late eighties and nineties this trip is the last official trip that will be made and the veterans intend to make the most of it.

"I think it is important to make the trip back and we will be holding memorial services including a service at Georgetown in Penang, Malaysia.

"We lost lots of shipmates and friends out there and it is important that we remember them."

'Fallen comrades'

William Traynor, of Southampton, who joined the Royal Navy in 1943, said: "I'll be making the trip back with my wife and we've just celebrated our Diamond wedding anniversary.

"It is the last trip we'll be making back there and we will be attending memorial services to remember our fallen comrades."

The Heroes Return 2 programme has already helped thousands of veterans, widows, spouses and carers.

Grants of up to £5,500 are available so that people can honour the comrades who lost their lives between 1939 and 1945.



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