Burma veteran Colin gets his mobility back
- Credit: Archant
A Sidmothian, who is one of just two surviving Burma Star recipients in the town, is celebrating his new-found independence - thanks to help from a collection of military charities.
Colin Scherf, 88, served in the Far East in 1941, retreating 3,000 miles from the British stronghold of Singapore to India, only to be sent back into the jungles of Burma.
The High Meadow resident has recently experienced difficulty in getting around, but with help from the RAF benevolent fund, the Burma Star Association and the Royal British Legion, he has regained his freedom with a smart new mobility scooter.
Colin’s son-in-law, Alan Stone, said that the mobility aid had been a great help.
He said: “He couldn’t get out very much before, whereas now if he needs something from the shops, he can just pop out by himself.
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“It’s done wonders for him and has given him his freedom back.”
Colin added: “It’s lovely because I don’t have to rely on my daughter or son-in-law.
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“It’s great just as long as it isn’t raining!”
Colin lied about his age to sign up for service, aged just 15, and after training with the RAF as air sea rescue crew, he was shipped out to Singapore in 1941.
Unfortunately, his arrival in the Far East coincided with the first of the Japanese attacks on the city, and after a matter of weeks, he was drafted into the army.
“We were on the mainland, not sure what to do, when a major came along and asked us what we were supposed to be doing.” he said.
“We told him we didn’t know, and he just said ‘right, you’re in the army now’.”
Empire forces were forced to retreat all the way to safety in British-held India, but were later ordered back into Burma to drive out the Japanese.
Despite being more than 5,000 miles from home, Colin’s time in the jungle saw him bump into a man he knew from Sidbury.
And although his unit was surrounded by enemy forces at one stage, he managed to evade capture and return home safely in 1944.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” he said.
Colin thanked his son-in-law and Louise Powis from the RAF benevolent fund for their help with processing the application.