Registered Charity No 1043040
The Burma Star Association was officially founded on the 26 February 1951 with 2,000 founder members. At its peak it had some 24,000 members in the late 80’s to the mid 90’s. The broad aims of the Association were, and still are, to promote the comradeship experienced during the bitter fighting in the jungles and hostile terrain of Burma, and to relieve the subsequent need, hardship and distress that veterans of the Burma Campaign of the 1939-45 War and/or their widows/widowers and may be suffering.
The Burma Star Association is Tri-Service and for members of The Merchant Navy who hold the Burma Star and is strictly non-political and non-sectarian, with permanent representatives from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Royal British Legion on the National Council. To become a full member of the Association, an ex-Serviceman, ex-Servicewoman or Nurse must have been awarded the Burma Campaign Star for service in Burma during World War II for the necessary qualifying period or the Pacific Star with Burma Clasp.
The badge of the Association incorporates a replica of the Burma Campaign Star. Permission to take advantage of this singular honour was supported by His Majesty King George VI in consultation with Earl Mountbatten and Field Marshal Viscount Slim and the badge and title were accepted by the College of Heralds. This fact recognises the rigorous nature of climate, topography and the extremely debilitating conditions in which to wage a successful campaign against a determined and fanatical enemy, thus making this Association unique among post war ex-Service Associations.
The first Remembrance Parade took place on Horse Guards Parade, followed by a service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London, on 12 October 1958 and continued with great support, up until the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association in 2001. Now, wreath laying ceremonies are held at the Memorials to Lord Louis Mountbatten and Field Marshal Slim early in September in London.
The first President of the Association was Field Marshal Viscount Slim (Uncle Bill) who held this position until his death on 14 December 1970. His son, The Viscount Slim (John) took over from his father and is still the National President. Earl Mountbatten of Burma was the Association’s first Patron, and held this position until his tragic death on 27 August 1979. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh succeeded him, and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Earl Mountbatten’s elder daughter, became Vice Patron.
Since undertaking benevolence work the charity has distributed over £3 million to people throughout the United Kingdom and war time allied countries. Assistance takes many forms including: Residential, Care and Nursing home fees; respite care; building repairs and maintenance; paying removal expenses; provision of powered wheelchairs, riser/recliner chairs and stair lifts; payment of debts and the provision of specialist medical and domestic equipment. These are just some of the ways in which the Association’s benevolence operates.
Today the Association still has some 1,700 members World Wide, with 28 Branches functioning in the UK and 4 overseas.
DEKHO! the journal of the Association, continues to be produced three times a year to help all those, who are unable to get out and meet their former comrades, to keep in touch with what events are going on in the Burma Star Association.