Charles’ trib­utes to war he­roes

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

BRITAIN’S war dead buried in a for­eign field were hon­oured by the Prince of Wales as he re­mem­bered a Sec­ond World War pi­lot awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross.

Charles paid his re­spects when he vis­ited the Taip­ing Com­mon­wealth War Graves Ceme­tery in north­ern Malaysia and stopped to view the head­stone of Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf.

The prince was given a walk­ing tour of the im­mac­u­late graves by Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sioner Paul Price and Colonel Stephen Hall, Bri­tish de­fence ad­viser to Malaysia.

Col Hall said the prince had paused at the grave of the air­man, lis­ten­ing to the story of how he won his VC at the age of 28 and “mar­vel­ling at his hero­ism”.

The of­fi­cer was posthu­mously awarded the high­est mil­i­tary gal­lantry award for car­ry­ing out a solo bomb­ing raid on a Ja­panese air force base in Thai­land on De­cem­ber 9, 1941.

As he be­came air­borne from RAF But­ter­worth in Malaya, he watched a sur­prise at­tack by en­emy air­craft that di­ve­bombed and de­stroyed or dam­aged RAF planes on the air­field which were about to take off and join his raid.

Against the odds, and vastly out­num­bered, he con­tin­ued his mis­sion to Sin­gora and com­pleted it, mak­ing a forced land­ing just over the Thai bor­der in Malaysia at Alor Se­tar, but he was mor­tally wounded.

Among the nurses work­ing fran­ti­cally to save his life at the lo­cal hos­pi­tal was his preg­nant wife, who do­nated her own blood in a last-ditch bid to help, but her ef­forts were un­suc­cess­ful.

Soon af­ter his death she lost their un­born baby.

On ar­rival, Charles was greeted by a mil­i­tary piper from the Royal Gurkha Ri­fles Brunei and first walked to the Mus­lim ceme­tery, lay­ing a wreath at the Stone of Re­mem­brance and bow­ing his head in ac­knowl­edge­ment of their ser­vice.

He then crossed a dusty road to the Chris­tian ceme­tery op­po­site, where he paused at the grave of Squadron Leader Scarf and then laid a sec­ond wreath at the Cross of Sac­ri­fice, again bow­ing his head to re­flect.

A card on the wreath read: “In grate­ful re­mem­brance of your ser­vice and sac­ri­fice.”

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