THE FAMILY of the last Yorkshire member of the Chindits World War II unit who fought in Burma have paid tribute to him after he died just months short of his 100th birthday.

Lester Hudson passed away at the Hazel Bank Care Home in Heaton on April 17 after a short illness with Covid-19 having been diagnosed with pneumonia.

He was a well-known figure in the local community of Wibsey area and was due to turn 100 on October 26.

His  granddaughter Jennifer Clifford said: “The whole family would also like to acknowledge the care and compassion that the staff at Hazel Bank Care Home showed to Lester as he stayed there for the last few months and acknowledge the dedication and sacrifices they are making during this pandemic.”

She said Lester moved to Enfield Drive, Wibsey, in 1964 with his family, his first wife Dorothy and two children, Christine and Margaret, and lived there until 2000.

He worked as a project manager for Bradford Glass for 34 years and, after taking early retirement, ran for local councillor in 1982 for SDP alliance.

He was the governor of two local schools and a tutor for the Bradford language scheme.

He was an active member of the Wibsey Park Bowling Club from approximately 1980 until the death of Dorothy, in 1999. He later married Elsie, to whom he was married to for almost 20 years.

He leaves his  second wife Elsie, daughter Christine, grandchildren Richard, Jenny and Lucie and great grandchildren Sam, Erin, James and Matthew.

Jennifer added: “His story from his five and a half years as an NCO during the war and four years as a Chindit in the Far East were incredible.”

The Chindits, (Long Range Penetration Groups), were special operations units of the British and Indian armies, in action in 1943–1944, during the Burma Campaign of the Second World War and formed for raiding operations against the Japanese Army. The Chindits marched through jungle terrain in intense heat, often hit by diseases such as malaria and dysentery.

He told the T&A in 2018 how close he had come to being killed after being shot in the side by the Japanese during the Battle of Pagoda Hill: “If the bullet had been a fraction inwards, that would’ve been it.

“The bullet went right through me and out the other side. I had 12 men with me, they put up a smokescreen to keep off the Japanese. I crawled, one of the lads helped me along.

“We had to cross rivers in the monsoon. Only one man knew the way!”

Eventually, Lester reached an American aerodrome and was airlifted to hospital in India where he heard about the Japanese surrender. He was given leave to return home to marry Dorothy.

Years later, he developed skin cancer, caused by sunburn in the jungle from the upturned brim of his Chindit hat. “They took skin off my thigh and put it on my face,” he said.

Anyone who would like to contribute to Lester’s family’s memorial project should email