Family takes emotional look at soldier’s Far East war role in new documentary

Tony Moore features in a Channel 4 documentary airing this weekend tracing the faces of archive war film footage discovered in Manchester. Picture Tony Johnson
Tony Moore features in a Channel 4 documentary airing this weekend tracing the faces of archive war film footage discovered in Manchester. Picture Tony Johnson
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THE BRAVE actions of his grandfather in the Second World War inspired Tony Moore to join the army - yet he feels that along with other troops fighting in the Far East, he has been largely forgotten.

But now, his memory will live on after messages sent from troops to families back home, discovered in rusty film canisters in Manchester Town Hall, were revived thanks to a new documentary,

Mr Moore, a drainage operations manager at south Leeds firm Lanes Group, features in the Channel 4 film, Messages Home: Lost Films of the British Army, with his mother Alma, investigating the history of his grandfather Frank Miller, who served with an elite special force brigade, the Chindits.

He was one of thousands of soldiers filmed in 1945 and 1946, giving personal messages to their loved ones, in the 70-year-old equivalent of a Skype call. Mr Moore and his mother Alma can be seen watching the film with relatives of other soldiers.

He said: “From the opening scenes to the credits, people were crying. There were tears of happiness, tears of joy, but mainly tears of sadness.”

His mother remembered seeing the Calling Blighty film as a little girl. During the war, it took up to three months for these filmed messages to get back to the UK. By the time families had a chance to catch a glimpse of their fighting relatives, some had been killed in action, captured, or had died from tropical diseases.

Tony Moore's grandfather Pte Frank Miller.

Tony Moore's grandfather Pte Frank Miller.

“My mum cried when she saw her dad’s message again,” Mr Moore said. “It was very moving. Taking part in the film made me more proud than ever of him, and what he did for his country.

“The sacrifice of the forces who fought on in the Far East for six months after the end of war in Europe helped give us the freedoms and opportunities that make us what we are today. My granddad was part of The Forgotten Army then. But I think it should be remembered now.”

During the film, Mr Moore, whose grandfather died in 1979 10 months before he joined the Army, met a Chindit veteran and to learn more about the “terrible” conditions he endured.

He added: “After the war he didn’t speak about it, and now I know why.”

Tony Moore's grandfather Pte Frank Miller with his mother Alma Moore.

Tony Moore's grandfather Pte Frank Miller with his mother Alma Moore.

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