Soldiers reunite more than 60 years after performing National Service together

Ken Chapman (red jumper) and Tony Arbon both did National Service together in Hong Kong in the 50s,

Ken Chapman (red jumper) and Tony Arbon both did National Service together in Hong Kong in the 50s, they've since reunited.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Two men who performed National Service together have reunited after 61 years.

Ken Chapman during his time in Hong Kong performing National Service. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright

Ken Chapman during his time in Hong Kong performing National Service. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ken Chapman and Tony Arbon were conscripted in 1953 at the age of 18 and met at training in Bury St Edmunds.

The pair, now 81, both served in the Suffolk and Essex artillery regiments in Hong Kong for 16 months.

They were demobbed in 1955, which was the last time they saw each other - even though they have lived near one another for a number of years.

Mr Chapman, who lives in Stuston, near Diss, said: 'I was talking to a man who has been a friend of mine for 40 years and his wife was Tony's wife's cousin. We got on to the subject of the army and he mentioned Tony and I said I think I served with him.'


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Mr Arbon, from Scole, added: 'I got a phone call a few weeks ago and a man asked if I was Tony and I said I was and he said 'you might not know me but I think we were in Hong Kong together'.

'I always think I could have walked by him in the street and not have known.

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'We arranged to meet at Diss Mere and few weeks ago and we did not know what each other looked like. We sat in a coffee shop for two hours reminiscing and we had both bought our photograph albums.'

During their time in Hong Kong, which was under British rule, they observed the movements of the communist Chinese soldiers and helped to keep order.

Mr Chapman helped with the signallers and Mr Arbon was with the infantry and although they were based in separate camps they saw plenty of each other when they went out to dances and the cinema.

Mr Chapman added: 'It was a chance to explore the far east. It was a learning curve but I enjoyed it.'

Mr Chapman and Mr Arbon would like to meet others who served in their regiment. Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk or call reporter Rebecca Murphy on 01379 651176.

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