“Popty ping” Welsh Code Talkers

Discussion in 'General' started by CL1, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Welsh code talkers[edit]
    A system employing Welsh was used by British forces, but not to any great extent during World War II. The Royal Air Force had a plan in 1942 to use Welsh for secret communications during World War II, but the plan was not implemented.[34] Welsh was used more recently in the Yugoslav Wars for non-vital messages.[3
    Code talker - Wikipedia
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  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  3. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    I know of one situation when the Welsh language was employed to deliberately confuse the enemy: March 18/19 1943, near Donbaik, Arakan, Burma.

    The Japanese had fortified a deep tidal creek in front of the village which was blocking the onward route to Foul Point, from where a short-range seaborne assault against Akyab was to be launched. After two major attacks by 14 Div had been repulsed, 6 Brigade was ordered to abandon its training for the amphibious operation and smash the Japanese line with a WW1-style frontal assault across open ground. After a multi-day programme of feint attacks and artillery preparation (13,000 rounds HE supplemented by 8,500 rounds from the brigaded mortars), the assault went in on the morning of the 18th.

    As predicted by officers on the ground it ended in total disaster, and by the morning of the 19th hundreds of casualties from the Royal Scots and the Royal Welch Fusiliers were trapped in craters and stream beds in front of the Japanese machine-guns, with a handful of shattered sections of 1 RWF still clinging to a foothold in the main enemy line. Despite enormous gallantry by the infantry and many direct hits from the arty, the infamous bunkers Sugar 4 and Sugar 5 were still in action and dominating the entire area.

    Organising the withdrawal of the survivors and the recovery of the wounded with extremely limited comms was going to be a big problem. The Japanese had English speakers in the line, evidenced by the frequent shouted taunts and the organised 'psychological warfare' attempts with loud-hailers that had been going on during the nights leading up to the attack. Francis Boshell, commanding 'B' Company of 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment near Donbaik, said that the main targets of these were some of the Indian army units, filled with young inexperienced recruits. The Japanese would broadcast:

    "Indians beware. We shall knock you out and we shall be in Calcutta and in Delhi within six weeks. Give up now and go home and all will be well." The answer from a Sikh unit was "If you think you are going to be in Delhi in six weeks, you don't know the Indian railways!"

    The RWF men hit upon the idea of shouting to each other in Welsh, which they were confident wouldn't be understood by enemy troops who were in places just yards away. In this way instructions were successfully passed back and forth along the line and back to the main British positions.
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  4. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Just read an eyewitness account of the RWF using Welsh to pass orders on 18th/19th March 1943 and remembered this thread:


    This is from a four page memoir by Sgt. Rueben Jones, 1 RWF, which was included in The History of 130th Field Regiment by D Mcleod. The Lt David Graves killed here was, according to Sgt. Jones, the son of Robert Graves, author of Goodbye to All That.

    All the Tippex, biro and carefully typed out corrections seemed odd, as they are only on these four pages and nowhere else in the book of about 200 pages. Then I looked again at the cover plate showing who donated it to the Memorial Library:

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  5. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    176859 Lieutenant John David Nicholson GRAVES Royal Welch Fusiliers

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  6. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Welsh is later used several times in 44, arguably most notably in the fighting for Reusel.

    Not too often, I suspect because not all Officers and Wireless Ops were fluent. One also tends to overlook the language's massive regional variations.

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