2nd Btn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 1941/42

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you for adding information to this thread and welcome to the forum. I have read about this incident and the account may or may not be accurate as there are so few verifiable sources that can confirm the account. I am not a fan of the Tanner book as, while it rightly acknowledges that there are very few primary sources for the 2nd battalion KOYLI during the retreat, and that people's memories are an unreliable source of historical evidence, it is dismissive of other written sources that do not confirm its narrative. It entirely discards Gerald Fitzpatrick's book, No Mandalay, No Maymyo, whilst ignoring the fact that Ralph Tanner was not with the battalion for the early part of the campaign, only reporting to the Regimental Depot at Maymyo in late February, early March 1942.

    Tanner's diary was "compiled in 1943 from notes and detailed maps of the retreat which Ralph Tanner carried back from the conflict". Equally the War Diary was constructed from memory after the battalion arrived in India, Major Chadwick oversaw the process despite himself not being with the battalion for the first two months of the campaign due to sickness.

    If you have any other information regarding Harold Organ, including documents or photographs I would be vey pleased to see it.
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  2. Vixsparkle

    Vixsparkle New Member

    Thank you for replying.
    I'm sure you can see from my post it was very early hours of the morning and I only started looking in to Harold about 3 hours earlier, so seeing any information about him got me excited.
    He was my grandmas brother and she was the type of lady who wouldn't talk about the past much so details are vague. I know she did still have a letter that he wrote home to their mum but I have little contact with anyone to be able to get this. He was very naive, pure minded and was very attached to his mum so the letter was very upsetting to hear about.
    My grandma did tell my sister before she passed away though that there is a plaque with Harold's name on in the church that my grandma and grandad got married in St Cuthberts in High Etherley but I am unsure so I have emailed the church wardens to ask their advice.

    Anything I manage to find I will update you but thank you for the information.
  3. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Harold Organ was officially reported Missing from the 23rd February 1942, which was the date of the Sittang Bridge debacle. Any information given regarding casualties around this date is bound to be confused and based on hearsay rather than accurate reporting.


    Harold's death was finally acknowledged in 1945 under the heading: Previously reported Missing now presumed Killed in Action.

    Organ 2.png
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  4. Vixsparkle

    Vixsparkle New Member

    I honestly cant thank you enough for this.
    Harold was never talked about in my family until a few months before my grandma passed. I never knew he existed up until this point either.
    I then asked my mum who did give me a few brief details and she managed to find the letter harold wrote home and a photo of him too.
    I never met him, he died 40 years before I was born but just seeing his name on these documents and understanding more about the days surrounding Sittang bridge period is quite emotional.
    Vikki x
  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    "Meanwhile at Yinon, Captain Baxter was becoming worried, no orders, no rations and no news of any sort had arrived from battalion headquarters. As "B" Company arrived at the village about midday on the 16th, a Japanese patrol had been seen on the far bank of the river Billin and shortly afterwards another had been seen on the near bank in the rear of the position the Company was taking up.
    on the following days Japanese were seen constantly on the far bank of the river and it was clear that the far bank of the river was being patrolled; the only casualties were, however, caused by one of the Company sentries when on the first night he shot up a returning patrol, killing Private H. Organ, (Hull) and wounding Sgt J. Edwards and another man". Regimental History Page 171/172.

    The problem with this account, not withstanding the fact that it was written at least six months after the event, is that there is no mention of Sgt J. Edwards in the casualty list, or at least none that I can find.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    To further muddy the waters there is an account of the incident in Gerald FitzPatrick's No Mandalay, No Maymyo. Only this time it was a Pte Allsop who was killed and Sgt Edwards wounded alongside a L/Cpl Steel. The trigger happy sentry is also named.

    FP 002.JPG

    FP 003.JPG
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Pte Slide's date of death is given as 17th February 1942 whilst Pte Allsopp's is given as 23rd February 1942. L/Cpl Steel survived his injuries and went on to serve with the 50th Indian Tank Brigade.

    17/02/1942 4688842 Pte Slide. Cyril. Reported missing 23/02/1942. Fired at patrol killing 1, wounding 2, killed by return fire. NMNM P.285. Rangoon Memorial 27

    23/02/1942 4689698 B Coy Pte Allsopp. Robert. Accidentally shot by Pte Slide. NMNM P.285. Rangoon Memorial 26

    23/02/1942 4682599 Sgt Steel. John William. Accidentally wounded by Pte Slide when returning from patrol. Later served with the 50th Indian Tank Brigade. BSA. Pontefract. Died 1989
  8. Fiona Lloyd

    Fiona Lloyd New Member

    This is wonderful! Do you know where the photos are that are listed as page numbers ? I am looking for this one, my grandfather:
    4689431 Sgt Tighe William. 'Bill' Appointed bodyguard to Doyle & Chadwick BSA. Longbenton, Newcastle

    Topliss N Photo NMNM page 142
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Hello Fiona,

    welcome to the forum. The location of the Topliss photograph is on page 142 of Gerald Fitzpatrick's book, No Mandalay, No Maymyo.
    Unfortunately, there are not photographs of all the soldiers mentioned in the text and there isn't one of William Tighe.

    Toplis is immediately below your grandfather alphabetically on my list, I have not been able to identify his regimental number, but his entry is a separate one from the one above.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  10. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    1054 crooks.jpg
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  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Nice to see the pay book of one the soldiers on my list, thank you for posting. Roger Crooks was a member of the Burma Star Association.
  12. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    It was his Burma Star form that in a round about way brought me to the thread
  13. luke haigh

    luke haigh New Member

    I'm trying to look into my grandad who was in the King's own regiment. West yorkshire.
    He was called Ernest Haigh.
    In Burma WW2.
    Such a sad time but He had some amazing story's, the only thing I have are his medals and a wood box from burma.
    Thanks for the information
  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Plate Buried in Burma. Jungle Search for K.O.Y.L.I. Treasure Hidden from Japs.

    From our London Office.

    Although nearly all the regimental plate which the 2nd Battalion, K.O.Y.L.I. took to Burma from India in 1936 lies buried in the Burmese jungle, some of it has been recovered, and it is now on its way to London for cleaning and repair.

    A well-known West End firm of silversmiths are expecting delivery of the treasure within the next few days, and after it has been renovated, the pieces will be returned to the battalion, which is now stationed in India.

    When the Japs invaded Burma towards the end of 1941, the K.O.Y.L.I. where at Maymyo, a hill station near Mandalay. As the battalion was in the thick of the fighting, it was decided to bury the plate at night in the depths of the jungle. Three men were detailed to act as burial party, and a Barnsley man was entrusted with the safety of the colours.

    The colours were preserved from the Japanese, and after an adventurous journey, reached India, where they were handed over to Lord Wavell, then C. in C. They were lodged in the vice-regal lodge at New Delhi, and were recently brought home, minus the pike and the ceremonial tassels. They are now on their way back to India for the use of the battalion, which is now being reconstituted.

    The actual whereabouts of the plate are still in doubt. The burial party considered it best to make the discovery harder by distributing the items in various hiding places, rather than one spot. By so doing, they also made it difficult for the plate to be recovered by their own colleagues.

    Unfortunately, the members of the burial party have not yet been traced. The Burmese Police have assisted the Army authorities in their digging, and the few pieces now on their way to London are the result of their labours.

    The Yorkshire Evening Post. Saturday, 9th November 1946.

    Two of the members of the regimental silver burial party were:

    103021 Captain Charles Alexander Fox and C.S.M. Benjamin Guest. Both men appear to have survived the war.

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