94 year old William Braund recalls time Serving in WWII in the Welch Regiment
18 October 2013 15:35
94 year old blind veteran William Braund from Alfreton, Derbyshire will be joining hundreds of other proud ex-Service men and women in marching to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day.
94 year old blind veteran William Braund from Alfreton, Derbyshire will be joining hundreds of other proud ex-Service men and women in marching to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day with Blind Veterans UK.
Born in 1918, William Braund was brought up in the Rhonda Valley, Wales and after working in the coal mines joined the Welch Regiment in 1939. Attached to the Kings African Rifles, Bill served in Kenya and Malawi where his role as Sergeant Major was to give infantry training to African guards to enable them to become soldiers. Bill also served in Sudan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and later spent six months in Burma during the campaign there.
Bill says: "I have vivid memories from my time in service. I remember meeting Louis Mountbatten before going to Burma and he told me that as a Welshman I should be used to much rain and therefore more than prepared for the monsoon that I would experience in Burma! It did rain all the time I was there - I remember working in the wet, training in wet clothes and sleeping rough the whole time we were there, on ground mats as we didn't have tents."
Discharged as a Company Sergeant Major in June 1946, Bill returned to the Rhonda Valley and worked in various roles in both employment and on a voluntary basis until his eye sight started to fail gradually when he was 79. As a veteran he was able to become a member of Blind Veterans UK.
On joining the charity in 2008, Bill says: "Blind Veterans UK has been just excellent, they have been very, very good to me. The Welfare Officer I was allocated to support me has been extremely helpful, and I have been to the charity's Llandudno centre for respite weeks which I have really enjoyed.
"I am looking forward to taking part in this year's march to the Cenotaph and doing so on behalf of Blind Veterans UK. It is a solemn occasion during which we remember all of those who were lost in both world wars and those who are still out in Afghanistan now. But it is also a lovely day."
Blind Veterans UK has launched the No One Alone campaign which aims to reach out to the estimated 68,000 blind veterans who are eligible for our free services but are not currently aware of this. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces - did National Service perhaps, and are now battling severe sight problems - Blind Veterans UK is there for them and their family. Call 0800 389 7979 to request free support.