Major Bob Gibbs received a letter from Vetolu Medeo, a 15-year old girl from northern India who was selected to receive the Norfolk ACF 5-year scholarship through the Kohima Education Trust.
For over ten years now, Norfolk ACF has sponsored the educational provision to a secondary-school-aged child from the Nagaland in north-east India near to Kohima, with an emphasis on females.
As a quasi-charitable organisation that benefits greatly from the support they receive from the Public, Norfolk ACF feel a responsibility to do likewise for those organisations and individuals who are less well off, less fortunate.
Vetolu Medeo has received the Norfolk Army Cadet Force Scholarship through the Kohima Educational Trust for three years of the five-year scholarship. In that time, she has passed all her exams in years 8 and 9.
Due to covid disruptions, it hasn’t been possible to receive news from Vetolu until now.
The county’s link to the Kohima region is through the 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment, who successfully defended the region from invasion during WWII.
The county’s link to Kohima in northeast India is through Norfolk citizens who joined the Royal Norfolk Regiment during WWII and fought there in WWII.
Following Pearl Harbour, the Japanese forces gradually occupied most of southeast Asia. By early 1944, they had gained control of Burma (now Myanmar) and were preparing to advance into India. The expeditionary force crossed into India, but found its advance halted at Kohima by the determined defence presented by the British 2nd Infantry Division, which included the 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment.
If Kohima had fallen, the road to India and its railway systems would have been laid wide open. Fierce fighting ensued, for three months, until the Japanese were forced to retreat as far as Mandalay. The battle for Kohima was one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. In 2004, veterans of the former conflict set up the Kohima Educational Trust to support the educational development of children whose forefathers supported them during their service in the area. The Norfolk ACF scholarship is one of the many ways the Trust continues to make a difference to this day.
Bob has encouraged Army Cadets in Norfolk to read her touching letter and send in their own letter for Vetolu.
Bob said: “It truly humbles me to see such commitment to their educational studies from this young lady! And when you look at how well she has crafted her letter, in a language second to that of her native tongue, you just have to admire her drive and determination; qualities we would want to instill in all our cadets.”
Bob aims to send back replies to Vetolu, via the Kohima Educational Trust, from the Army Cadets of Norfolk. He asked the cadets to include in their letters who they are, what their likes and aims are in life, and what they are getting out of their membership of the ACF.
Vetolu’s handwritten letter and transcript:
Source: Major Bob Gibbs, Cadet Executive Officer of Norfolk Army Cadet Force at East Anglia RFCA.