Comp. Douglas Roy Miller

This year is the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. 75 years ago, the Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and the surrender of the Imperial Japanese Army. To commemorate this day we tell the story of one of our members who served in the Far East and is a member of the Burma Star Association.

Roy is a well-loved, popular and highly respected Mason who has dedicated his Masonic life to the Royal Arch Province of Surrey serving as Second Provincial Grand Principal, having previously been Provincial Grand Scribe E for a number of years. Roy was advanced into the Mark Degree in Croydon Mark Lodge No 168 at the age of 91. Present was the Provincial Grand Master and all the members of the Provincial Executive. A year later Roy was installed into the Chair of the Lodge and, following his Installation, the Provincial Grand Master made a field appointment to Past Provincial Grand Steward, which made this a very special day for Roy.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Two years later Roy joined the Order of Royal and Select Masters. The ceremony of Select Master was undertaken by Chris Eley, assisted by Richard Baker who entrusted Roy with the secrets of the Degree. At 94 years of age Roy was probably the oldest candidate to join the Royal and Select Masters in Surrey.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Roy is an ex Royal Navy man having joined the Training Ship HMS Ganges as a Boy Seaman 2nd Class in 1940, aged 16. He progressed through Ordinary Seaman and Able Seaman to become a Petty Officer; and later commissioned as a Warrant Officer specialising in close range defence on Bofor guns and Pom Pom anti aircraft guns. For this Roy was sent to HMS Excellent Gunnery School on Whale Island in Portsmouth. Following his training he joined the HMS Indomitable, a modified Illustrious-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, and sailed for Gibraltar.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Roy’s first action was in August 1942 participating in Operation Pedestal, a last attempt to relieve the besieged island of Malta. Fourteen merchant ships were allocated to it and the Royal Navy provided the most powerful force ever to escort a convoy, including four aircraft carriers. Operating from Sardinia and Sicily, the Germans and Italians let fly with their shore-based aircraft on an unprecedented scale. The losses on the British side were appalling, but the objective was achieved and the blockade of Malta was finally lifted. During the operation Indomitable was hit by two 500 kg bombs by Ju 87s and suffered three near misses; a 500 kg bomb penetrated the unarmoured portion of the flight deck, causing damage that required her to withdraw for repairs.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Roy returned to Whale Island in Portsmouth for more training and was then posted to Scapa Flow where he joined the HMS Bramble, a Halcyon class minesweeper, on the Russian convoys carrying out local minesweeping and patrol duties, as well as escorting in and out bound convoys. Roy left HMS Bramble in November 1942. Just over a month later, on the 31st December 1942 in the Battle of the Barents Sea HMS Bramble (pictured below), was sunk with all hands when she encountered the German Cruiser Admiral Hipper and three destroyers.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Roy rejoined HMS Indomitable and went to the Mediterranean to cover military convoys to Central Mediterranean. He was part of Force H deployed in the Ionian Sea to prevent interference by the Italian Navy during landings in Sicily.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller On her first operational deployment since returning from repairs for the bomb damage she sustained during Operation Pedestal, HMS Indomitable would again be hit. This time by a torpedo from a single Ju88 which had slipped through Force H's screen unchallenged.

Swinging in low among the fleet, the German bomber loosed a single torpedo. The force of the explosion tore a 28ft square hole and compressed the skin along a large section of the ship’s side. Flooding was fast and extensive, and the carrier rapidly lost speed to seven knots as the port boiler room flooded. The ship rapidly heeled to 12.5 degrees as water rushed in. Indomitable made her way back to Malta and she was judged capable of crossing the Atlantic to Norfolk, Virginia, with a skeleton crew on board. Roy spent four months in the USA before being sent back to Whale Island, Portsmouth, for further training. Roy rejoined the HMS Indomitable and served in the Eastern Fleet in early 1944 and the following year the British Pacific Fleet. Roy served in the Royal Navy for 7 years on the fleet and for 5 years as a Royal Naval Reserve. For his services to the war effort Roy was mentioned in dispatches by his Commanding Officer.

In 2016 Roy went to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister, Theresa May, for the Royal British Legion 'Poppy Appeal'.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller The Royal British Legion was asking the nation to "Rethink Remembrance" by recognising the sacrifices made not just by the Armed Forces of the past, but by today's generation too.

Comp. Douglas Roy Miller Comp. Douglas Roy Miller The Burma Star Association

Roy is currently Vice Chair of the Burma Star Association. The Association exists to relieve need, hardship or distress among men and women who served in HM and Allied Forces or the Nursing Services in the Burma Campaign of the 1939-45 war.

When you go home tell them of us and say...
For your tomorrow we gave our today

The Kohima Epitaph

For more news on VJ Day click here

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Royal and Select Masters District of Surrey
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