1st Battalion, Essex Regiment - Burma 44th & 56th Columns

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Fitzgeraldr, May 27, 2014.

  1. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    I am having real problems finding any information that shows that the 44th & 56th Columns were involved in any action during the campaign in Burma/Assam, I believe that part of the Essex Regiment was posted to the 60th & 88th Columns which were mainly made up of 60th Field Artillery, but again i can find no records of which unit this was? can anyone help with this?


    Thanks


    Richard
     
  2. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    This is the Story of Ken Keen, I am not sure which column he served with but on the Burma Star Association website he had written his story of his time in Burma with the 1st Bn Essex Regiment... I thought it would be good to share it here in case anyone had not seen it.... its a pretty amazing story
     

    Attached Files:

  3. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  4. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Thanks Sol, I had not read that, another great piece and allows me to add some more places to my understanding of where 1st Bn went and what my Grandfather did...
     
  5. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  6. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Thanks have seen this will look into getting this soon
     
  7. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    The attached is a role call of those men of the 1st Bn Essex Regiment buried in India, I have got this from the CWGC site, average age seems to have been about 26 years old and most are buried at Kohima
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Battalions war diaries covering their time in the Far East:

    WO 172/860 1 Essex Regiment 1942 Apr. - Dec.
    WO 172/2508 1 Essex Regiment 1943 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 172/4878 1 Essex Regiment 1944 Jan.- July
    WO 172/7630 1 Essex Regiment 1945 Jan.-Dec.
    WO 172/10179 1 Essex Regiment 1946 Jan.- Oct.
     
  9. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Thanks Drew, I am trying to find out how much they would cost to get digital copies but it is looking mad expensive £3.50 per page :(
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Holly bat shit !
     
  11. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Does anyone have or know where I can get pictures of the men of 44 & 56 Column 1st Bn Essex Regiment? there seems to be pictures of a number of the other columns but nothing on the columns of the Essex regiment.
     
  12. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    I have gone through a number of books on Kohima & Imphal and the 23rd Brigade seem to get very little and frequently no mention in regards these actions or any others that I can find. I do know that they were behind Enemy lines for a number of months yet none of the books I have read so far even mention them.... they were pulled out of the traditional Chindit team and put in to support 14th Army and even these stories seen to neglect mentioning that the 23rd Brigade were involved. does anyone know of any books which have been written that do include the 23rd?

    Thanks
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    Sadly this is a continuing theme regarding 23 Brigade. The fact they did not enter Burma often finds them omitted or largely ignored in books covering the Chindits in 1944. They receive very little coverage in 'War in the Wilderness', by Tony Redding, which is actually a very well researched and worthy book on the subject of Operation Thursday.

    Even in Louis Allen's 'Burma, the Longest War', 23 Brigade are mentioned on just 4 pages. This must be a great frustration for you.

    Steve
     
  14. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    I find it rather sad, the men trained the same as the other Columns but as they were pulled out and made to provide action to support 14th Army, it seems they are not regarded the same as the other units. they fought in the same way, they fought behind Enemy lines and were involved in Action around Imphal & Kohima and yet they seem to be the forgotten Brigade of the Forgotten Army. I am aware that I have an interest as my Grandfather was part of the 23rd but is seems so odd that they are always ignored in any books even those that revolve around the area's where the 23rd were... :(
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    Perhaps in an ironic way they have suffered in this regard because of their association in the first instance with Wingate. I agree with you, it does seem odd that they do not feature to any great degree in books.

    Here is a useful book list for Chindit writings, lets hope something turns up for you in the near future.

    http://www.ordewingate.net/bibliography/burmC.html
     
  16. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Thanks Bamboo, will keep looking
     
  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    In Lyman's "Japan's Last Bid for Victory" there is a chapter, 25 pages long, about 23rd Brigade at Kohima and so far that is a largest section devoted to this brigade in any book as far as I know. Problem is that majority of the books tends to cover the whole Burma campaign which mean that there were were few specific details about some operations. Similary operations of 7th and 20th Indian Division along the Urkhul Road were also poorly covered, just like many smaler operations in Arakan after the battle of the Admin Box. One of the greatest operation conducted by the Commonwealth forces during the war, battles for Mandalay and Meiktila are specificaly covered in just to books of which one in about 100 pages long and the other is even shorter. The battle of Imphal also could be covered in more details. For 23rd Brigade, probably greates problem is luck of books written by men who served in it. I know for only one, that written by Edward Wilcox.
     
    bamboo43 likes this.
  18. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Thanks Sol, at least that gives me a couple of books to look for, can you tell me the name of the book that Edward Wilcox wrote?


    Thanks
     
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  20. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Just discovered the first problem with getting access to Regimental records..... There is never enough just got my first batch (Thanks Andy) but now want more... bugger
     

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