From the frontline
having a radio, of still hoping to hear the July 1945 General Election.
And on August 12, 1945, with the end of the war drawing ever closer, Jack writes: “Today there have been rumours galore flying round the neighbourhood regarding the acceptance of surrender by Japan. To date, of course, nothing is official but I am sure the news we are all awaiting will not be long delayed.”
Dorothy, who has researched the conflict, said: “When I read dad’s letters I wondered what had happened in 1944 when there was a gap in the letters so I did some research.
“I found out that the turning point of the war in Burma was the Imphal/ Kohima campaign of 1944. According to Major General Ian Lyall Grant MC ‘for four months there was intense and savage fighting in many places but the heaviest fighting of all was along the road leading from Tiddim to Imphal. After three weeks the Japanese were not only defeated but virtually annihilated...the door to Burma was now undefended and General Slim’s Fourteenth Army flooded through it to win the great victories of 1945’.
“These were the men, including my dad, who marched through Burma and who, with their comrades, marched in the Victory Parade in Rangoon.
“They fought, they won, they never forgot. On the last day of his life he spoke of it, though I believe he bore no ill will toward present day Japanese.
“As the supreme commander Field Marshall Sir William Slim unveiled in his book ‘Defeat into Victory’ the war in Burma was a soldiers’ war.
“It rested on their courage, their hardihood, their refusal to be beaten.”
It was 1946 before Jack returned home to Regent Street, in the Royal Burgh Rutherglen, and to his job as a hospital engineer at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.
He met Eileen Kelly from Victoria Street, Rutherglen, a supervisor in Woolworths in the Main Street on Hogmanay 1947.
They were married on Hogmanay the following year.
The couple had a son, John, born in 1950, who was also a heating engineer, and a daughter, Dorothy, born in 1953, a journalist and lecturer. Jack died in 1990 with Eileen passing away in 2010.
More memories of Rutherglen during the Second World War are contained in ‘Home Town Tales’ by Jack’s daughter Dorothy and is on sale in Rutherglen Library.