ONE of the last remaining British Burma veterans who met with forces from the opposing side has died at the age of 98.

Roy Welland had fought in Burma during the Second World War.

It is thought he was one of the last British veterans to meet soldiers from the opposing side when he flew to Japan in 2014.

Mr Welland was sent to Burma as part of the campaign to liberate it after the Japanese had conquered it in 1942.

His battalion also fought at the infamous battle of Kohima.

Their heavily outnumbered comrades had been locked in a deadly siege for ten days and were in desperate need of help. For about 17 days they stuck it out before they finally pushed the Japanese back.

Mr Welland met his wife Joan in Colchester after the war, in 1946.

His partner Ruth Smith, 82, said he was a cheeky man.

She said: “He had been in hospital for over a month, we found out he had cancer, he was able to come home and died there.

“After the war he worked for Paxman, he became store manager and stayed there until retirement.

“I had known Roy since the 1980s as we would go to Burma Star meetings, my second husband had been in Burma as well.”

The couple became partners in 2009 and were together for 10 years.

Ruth said Roy lived for his Burma Star meetings, as well as his sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews.

She added: “He was a very cheeky young man. He liked talking to the ladies, he would talk to anyone.”

Mr Welland was at a meeting of the Burma Star Association in 2013 when he was approached by the daughter of a Japanese veteran of the Burma conflict – Akiko McDonald.

She asked him if he would like to meet her father and arranged the trip to his Tokyo nursing home.

Roy also had strong links with the Royal British Legion.

Joan Guest, Colchester branch secretary, said: “We have so much respect for him, there is not a word in the dictionary that could describe him. He was one of a kind.”

The funeral will be held on July 3 at Colchester Crematorium, at 2.45pm. The wake will be at the Castle Pub in the High Street.

Family flowers will be laid on the Burma Star memorial in Castle Park, which Roy had helped unveil.