2nd KOSB at Imphal

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by lionboxer, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. JAKERR

    JAKERR Member

    I would only want the section that involves this action - and possibly when /where he gets killed - we have family papers concerning that. I am putting together a small family history of involvent in the wars

    if i dont reply immediately -its because i have to go in a minute -thanks
     
  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Jakker, if interested I can digitally photograpph those two months for £0.09 per page - although there's £4.50 minimum charge per war diary.
    More details and contact form on my website here: Archive Research - Arcre

    Regards

    Lee
     
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  4. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Welcome to the Forum JAKERR. This action is still being researched both here in the U.K. and on site in Manipur. Thanks to your input the award to Captain Russell can be recorded as I had overlooked it during previous research!! There were three other gallantry awards to the KOSB and others to the Gurkhas and Sikhs who were also involved in this action.
    The battlefield search has been on hold of late because of the monsoon making conditions difficult plus there have been security issues too. The area in which Capt. Russell was involved (the Piquet Hill on the western end of the Kanglatongbi Ridge) has been searched and several Japanese bunkers located. Several battlefield artefacts were recovered some of which are shown in earlier posts are testament to a ferocious battle there. The ground over which they fought is extremely steep and has to be seen to be believed and that an attack was actually successful. Though I haven't stood on this ridge yet (maybe next year but definitely 2019), I have seen it from a close distance.
    I have the War Diary for this period.
    Lionboxer
     
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  5. JAKERR

    JAKERR Member

    Hello Lionboxer

    Thank you for your last post. All very interesting. if there any more photos of the ground would be fascinating to see.

    Out of interest I am a professional landscape photographer and have published earlier this year Silent Landscape battlefields of the Western Front 100 years on see silentlandscape I also tweet as the Battlefield Photographer @jameskerr125. My speciality is The Great War and my next book will be Gallipoli. Perhaps I should be looking at the Kohima / Imphal battles as well?.....

    Lee- I will be in touch shortly on your website.

    JAKERR
     
  6. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Half way up Piquet Hill
     

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  7. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    View from near Jap bunker overlooking the route the KOSB took advancing up the ridge.
     

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  8. JAKERR

    JAKERR Member

    Many thanks for photos: impressive climb to the top- reminds me of Gallipoli - did they have artillery support?

    Below is his biography, I have left out letters from General Merservy to his mother which are too personal for public reading.

    Major Charles James Lennox Russell MC
    known as ‘Jim’
    2nd Bn Kings Own Scottish Borderers
    Eton


    Killed 24th February 1945 aged 24, Buried Taukkyan Cemetery.Plot 28. G20.

    Son of Archibald George Blomefield Russell, M.V.O., B.A., F.S.A., F.R.Ent.S., J.P., Lancaster Herald, and of Janet Frances Russell (nee Kerr), of City of London.
    Charles was educated at Eton like his father and elder brother( killed with Gordon Highlanders at the fall of Singapore.) He matriculated in 1938 and was up at Christ Church for one year.
    He was gazetted to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers on April 29th 1941
    He was a Major when he died of wounds in Burma on February 24th 1945. He was awarded the Military Cross which was gazetted after his death.

    Citation for Charles Russell's MC from Kew records
    Pt 3813 Feature at Kanglatongbi Ridge, North of Imphal.
    On the morning of 15 May 1944 Captain Russell was second in command of B company which had been given the task of capturing West Ridge as part of the Battalion plan for the capture of Point 3813.
    With conspicuous gallantry Captain Russell finding the enemy opposition unexpectedly heavy, took the lead himself and was one of the first to reach the crest of the ridge. He led an assault on one enemy strongpoint and got to within 20 yards of it before being finally halted by overwhelming enemy LMG, mortar and grenade discharger fire.
    Though wounded and still under heavy fire, Captain Russell continued to direct operations and organise the consolidation of the positions they had gained. He refused to be evacuated until he was satisfied that he had done all could to get his men under cover whilst still holding their position. Captain Russell showed complete disregard for his own personal safety and was an inspiration and magnificent example to all ranks.

    I have quoted above a typical example of this officer’s conduct during operations in the Imphal area. As stated, he was wounded . At the very first opportunity he returned to the battle and continued to serve with great devotion to duty. Though greatly weakened by amoebic dysentery, which developed shortly after his return to operations, which he set an exemplary standard to all ranks for fortitude and courage till hardly able to stand up due his weakened condition.- Commanding Officer

    Battle at Nakyo- aing, Regimental records:
    After the crossing of the Irrawaddy river in February 1945 the 2nd Bn KOSB were involved in a series of small battles exploiting and expanding the bridgehead. The village of Nakyo- aing, some five miles south of present day Bagan had been heavily fortified by the Japanese. It was in the clearing of this village that Jim Russell was fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet to the lung. He was unable to be found until after the battle. He died later that night at the casualty clearing station.
     
  9. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Thanks for the additional information about this brave man. Do you have a photo of him?
    The arty support came from company mortars and 139 Jungle Field Regt (25 pounders or 5.5's?) and from Lee tanks of the 3rd Carabiniers. Hurribombers also dropped 250 pounders on the bunkers, even so it still took five days to clear the Ktb Ridge. There was a lot of steel and lead flying about on the ridge as the metal detectors revealed.
    Lionboxer
     

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  10. adbw

    adbw Member

    JAKERR
    I have these for starters - quality not brilliant and you'll probably be better off getting decent copies from Lee but it does provide a bit of detail.
    Adam
     

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  11. JAKERR

    JAKERR Member

    Fantastic - I will take a look at them at the weekend - thank you so much

    Here is a photo of 'Jim' taken before he sailed east in his KOSB uniform

    JAKERR
     

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  12. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    A handsome young man...what a tragedy for the family.

    Looking through my records it states that the Jocks (actually there were many Englishmen in the regiment too) followed their Pipers into action in the time honoured tradition and was possibly the last time this happened. Quite how the Pipers managed to blow the pipes and climb those heights at the same time I don't know! The Gurkha Pipers did likewise. What an awesomely chilling sound it would have made across the ridge and valley below!!
    Lionboxer
     
  13. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi Lionboxer

    Did I note that you are thinking of going back to Imphal next year? I'd like to make another trip but cannot do next year in the Spring, and later it starts to become too difficult to get anywhere once the rain sets in. What is the political situation like?
     
  14. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Springtime is definitely the best time to go if you're going "up country"!, it also coincides with the anniversaries of the actions I'm interested in.
    The security and political situation there is dire at the moment I'm afraid. More shootings and killings and blockades as the Nagas seem to have kicked off regarding many issues (a bit difficult to understand some of it) mostly about the Inner Line Permit system and tribal designation. I hope this situation is under control ready for our 75th anniversary commemorations in 2019 as a really big programme is being planned.
    Lionboxer
     
  15. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Just bumping this up to the top as we will shortly be conducting another search of the Ktb Ridge this time nearer to Point 3813.
    Would be pleased to hear of any further information about this battle.

    Lionboxer
     
  16. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    The lads went to the ridge over the weekend for further exploration. The weather wasn't too good making climbing the steep slopes very slippery with the added bonus of having leeches attacking. I think the highest count was sixteen! But at least they weren't being shot at like seventy three years ago as the KOSB's climbed the ridge. Looking at the photos it really makes one wonder how the hell they did it.
    To aid the recce a drone was used and an amazing help it was. Obviously any ground workings couldn't be seen because of the dense jungle but the photos and footage really gives one a greater idea of the scale and conditions. More evidence of battle was found by the metal detectors near where we think some of the dead were originally buried on the western end of the ridge. The team didn't get to Point 3813 where the large Japanese bunker complex is at the eastern end. Probably be later when the vegetation has died back in a few months time.
     

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  17. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi Lionboxer, Bamboo and others

    The plan is to go up to Kanglatombi Ridge tomorrow - and I'm tagging along! It is quite dry generally and a bit cooler in Imphal than it was in Southern India. Nevertheless it is a very long climb and an extensive ridge. I'm still trying to get my head around the documents you sent me.

    Point 3813 seems to have been on the border between the 2 KOSB front and that of the Battalion to its right. Has anyone got the War Diaries of the Brigade (89th Indian Brigade) and the 4th/8th Gurkha Rifles and could email me them or post here for the attack on Kanglatombi Ridge? Also any maps would be gold dust!!!
    Thanks
     
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  18. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Hello Tony,
    I’ve already sent all that info to Raj with maps and aerial photos. He also has drone footage from a flight from earlier in our research. Good luck with it on the Ridge. I’m hoping to be there too in three weeks.
    Lionboxer
     
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  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Good luck tomorrow Tony.
     
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  20. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi Lionboxer
    I have got the maps you sent me and am using those plus the war diary for the KOSB. Just looking at the map where you had plotted the bunkers it became clear to me that the area where the missing burials may be is on the border with the area assaulted by the Gurkhas so thought I would see whether anyone had the war diaries for the Gurkhas and the Brigade. Raj hasn't mentioned them altho he had the KOSB War Diaries when we met to plan last night.
    It is a long ridge (and probably difficult terrain) so I have suggested we go along it in the valley and then go up a track which would take us to the area we want to be in for Pt 3163. It seems they haven't made it so far when going up Picquet Hill and then along the ridge on the two occasions the team have been up there. Lets see how it goes.....
     
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