THE Thurrock Branch of the Burma Star Association has been granted the Freedom of the Borough.

A special meeting of the full council unanimously agreed the honour on Wednesday November 26.

Opening the debate, Councillor Carl Morris said: “The Thurrock Branch was formed in 1961 and has provided great support to its members since that time.”

He added: “To be a member you must have served in Burma between 11 December, 1941, and 2 September, 1945. There are an ever-dwindling number of veterans and over time it will cease to exist.

“In the words of King George VI no army ever had to encounter such a vicious and fanatical enemy or a hostile environment, rife with all kinds of debilitating diseases.

“This honour for the Burma Star Association is long-overdue. I believe its right for this council and borough to record our gratitude for the sacrifices they made for our nation. I very much hope we will now honour all of our local veterans of all conflicts in a similar way.”

Coun Eddie Hardiman said those who fought in Burma during the Second World War were known as “the Forgotten Army”, adding: “It’s wonderful that we can honour them and remember them in this way.”

Coun Barrie Lawrence added he knew “several people who hold the Burma Star campaign medal, and there’s no greater tribute we can offer them than to do what we are doing here tonight.”

Barry Palmer also spoke for the motion and Coun Morris summed up, saying: “I’m delighted the Council has seen fit to bestow this accolade on the Thurrock Burma Star Association because it demonstrates our gratitude for the tremendous sacrifices they made.

“In the words of the Kohima Epitaph: ‘When you go home tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today’.”

After the meeting, Albert England, president of the branch and his wife Win, made an appeal to all holders of the Burma Star medal - which was presented to everybody who served a day or more during the campaign, Army, Navy, RAF and many ancillary services - whether or not they are a member of the branch, to attend the presentation ceremony when it is arranged.