The Forgotten Army
The Second World War marked the bloodiest period in the bloodiest century of recorded history, with ordinary men and women finding themselves caught up in conflicts often thousands of miles away from their homes.
Allied veterans of the Burma Campaign, often called the Forgotten Army, returned home when the War ended intending to pick up their interrupted lives from where they had left off; but many carried a heavy weight in their hearts. Photographer Wendy Aldiss’s father was one of those young men who fought in Burma. Recognising that the Allied Veterans were nearing the end of their lives, Wendy Aldiss set out to find as many UK based allied survivors of the war in Burma as she could to document their image for the historical record. By combining portraiture with still life photography of each of the Veterans, and a piece of personal memorabilia associated with their wartime service, she captures the personalities behind the conflict.
This work, created in 2015, the 70 year anniversary of VJ day, is the culmination of nine months of travel across the length and breadth of the UK visiting the homes of over 200 Veterans as well as travelling to Burma (now Myanmar) to speak to and photograph members of the Karen Tribe who risked their lives to support the Allied forces.
Wendy Aldiss’s images have attracted huge attention from British veteran organisations including the Burma Star Association and Royal British Legion, and have been displayed in multiple locations across the country in 2016-2017. Wendy Aldiss said:“In both Britain and Myanmar I have been told how important this project is to the Veterans and their families and I feel humbled by the significance they have given it.”
Wendy Aldiss studied Photography at Trent Polytechnic. Her work concentrates on people and the human condition.
all images © Wendy Aldiss