WWII veteran Roy “Doug” Miller, a regular on trips with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, spoke to Taxi about the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Japan, known as VJ Day, that ultimately led to the end of World War II.
"It Was My Duty"
Now 96 years young, Doug joined the Navy in 1940 as a fifteen-year-old having lied about his age, “It was my duty” he said. “We had no idea what to expect and nothing could prepare us for what we would witness over the next five years.”
At the beginning of the war, Doug was involved in the Russian convoys on board the halcyon class minesweeper, HMS Bramble and counts himself as one of the lucky ones. He was transferred to the illustrious-class aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable, which was able to handle 48 aircraft - just before HMS Bramble was sunk in December 1942, with the tragic loss of all lives on board.
Doug was on active duty as a Ships Gunner in the Far East for three years on board HMS Indomitable. On the 4th May 1945, the Indomitable was hit by a Kamikaze, but her armoured flight deck saved her from serious damage. In August, with the war ending, Indomitable supported the liberation of Hong Kong and the Japanese surrender. Her aircraft flew the carrier’s last combat missions of the war against Japanese suicide boats which were attacking British forces.
Doug remembers vividly that the Japanese didn’t want to surrender, and the ship’s crew were warned that many Japanese aircraft hadn’t surrendered and to be alert and ready to shoot them down.
Eight Campaign Medals
During the week after VJ Day Doug helped guard government buildings in Hong Kong before the Indomitable returned to Sydney. Doug served in the Navy for 15 years and went into advertising after the war. He has eight campaign medals including the Burma Star with Pacific Clasp, and is an active member of the Burma Star Association.
This August, the 75th anniversary of VJ Day was to be commemorated by the Burma Star Association before it was wound up and would become the Burma Star Memorial Fund and continue in perpetuity to support the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. It is so sad that Doug and the other special men who fought on in the Far East after VE Day will not have the opportunity to celebrate this major anniversary due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Taxi Charity Camaraderie
Doug is a regular on Taxi Charity trips throughout the UK and has been with them to France for the D-Day remembrance services and to Holland for the Dutch Liberation commemorations. His regular driver is Dougie Wright, a London Cabbie and a Taxi Charity volunteer. He speaks fondly of Doug, “I have been a volunteer with the Taxi Charity for several years and thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie we share between the cabbies and the veterans on the organised events. I have escorted Doug on many trips including the annual summer trip to Worthing and to Normandy and The Netherlands. Doug is a super guy and we have become great friends over the years. It is so sad that the events planned to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day have had to be cancelled and he will not have the opportunity to commemorate this special date with fellow veterans.”
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said, “Doug Miller is a very popular veteran who has joined the Taxi Charity on many of the free trips we arrange for veterans of all conflicts. These events give the veterans the opportunity to pay their respects to comrades they have lost at commemoration and remembrance services or to join us for
social events in the South East. Doug has been a very active member of the Burma Star Association and proudly wears his Burma Star with Pacific Clasp with his other medals which include the Atlantic, Arctic and Italy Stars. Doug was also Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD) in Burma. In this very important year, it is so disappointing that he will be unable to mark the important 75th anniversary of VJ Day at the National Memorial Arboretum, just outside Tamworth in Staffordshire, due to the pandemic restrictions.”
Click here for the full 14 July 2020 issue.