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Burma Star holder Bert Logie (93) from Forres invited to National Memorial Arboretum

By Garry McCartney

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Bert and his proud daughter Fiona from Alford.
Bert and his proud daughter Fiona from Alford.

A SECOND World War veteran was invited to the televised National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) event on the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day.

Popular Forres in Bloom volunteer, Bert Logie (93), of Bogton Road, spent most of his Royal Navy service from March 1944 to November 1947 in the Indian Oceans aboard the Destroyer HMS Redoubt, a time that earned him The Burma Star ... and more recently an invite to the NMA at Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Bert, who attended with his daughter Fiona, said: "We were given poppies to lay on a memorial of our choosing and shown to our seats to witness a very moving service and programme."

"I was the youngest one there but for one other! There was no chance of meeting any of my shipmates who served with me, I could only think of them."

Fiona said: "Dad laid his posy at the Burma Star Memorial in the Far East corner of the National Memorial Arboretum. He told me they all had various jobs including particular action stations roles."

Laying a wreath at The Burma Star Memorial.
Laying a wreath at The Burma Star Memorial.

Part of the Royal British Legion, the NMA exists to ensure that: the unique contribution of those who have served and sacrificed is never forgotten; the baton of Remembrance is passed on through the generations; and there is a year-round space to celebrate lives lived and commemorate lives lost. The Arboretum welcomes over 300,000 visitors every year, including over 20,000 young people for learning visits. There are memorials nestled amongst trees, as well as riverside walks, guided walks, land train tours, memorial talks, exhibitions and buggy tours. Each year around 250 events take place there, from small intimate services of Remembrance to set piece events like Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, summer proms and Armed Forces Day.

"The NMA covers 150 acres and holds hundreds of armed forces memorials," said Bert. "It is kept and attended as a reminder of all the lives lost in warfare."

A younger Bert in his navy uniform.
A younger Bert in his navy uniform.

Back in 1944, after completing his seamanship training, Bert qualified in anti-aircraft weapon use and went on to fight using anti-aircraft Oerlikon cannon, Bofor autocannon, two and four-barrel Pom Pom guns.

He was based in Trincomalee on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka, operating on coastline from India, Burma and Malaya to Malacca Straits and Sumatra.

He said: "I was a watchkeeper and bridge lookout. I had powerful binoculars to scan the sky, horizon and seas for anything moving."

Bert was awarded military campaign medal, The Burma Star for his service in the Burma campaign, before returning to his home town.

He was born on Burgie Lodge Farm Cottages on November 11, 1926 and, apart from military service abroad, has always lived in Forres where his two sons remain too.

"I began work at the Royal Station Hotel's walled garden," he said. "That started my career in gardening! I have been with Forres In Bloom for about 20 years now. I enjoy meeting visitors in Grant Park from all over the country."

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