2nd Survey Regiment, Burma 1944-45

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Banniere, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Banniere

    Banniere Member

    Looking for any help and information on 43 Battery, 2nd Survey Regiment RA and in particular their part in the Third Arakan Campaign and the capture of Rangoon in May 1945 (Operation Dracula). I've been researching my dad's time with 43 Battery from his joining it in December 1944 just in time for the capture of Akyab Island. I've had a lot of help from his army records and from the book 'Larkhill's Wartime Locators' by Massimo Mangilli-Climpson which gives great detail about the 11 RA and one Indian Army survey regiments. but it would be great to hear from anyone who had relatives in 2nd Survey or an interest in this topic.
  2. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hello 'Banniere'

    There is a summary of the Regiment's movements in Joslen's Orders of Battle, from embarkation in the U.K. for India until the end of the war in the East. Have you seen this? If not please let me know and I'll make a copy or transcript for you.

  3. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    There were three Survey Regts in Burma:
    1 Svy Regt - 4th Indian Corps
    1 Indian Svy Regt - 33 Indian Corps
    2 Svy Regt - 15 Indian Corps

    Unfortunately the RA history of the war in the Far East only makes brief mention of 1 Svy Regt. 1 & Svy Regts were the only ones that originated in the pre-war regular army survey coy.
  4. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    The war diary for 43 Battery for January-September 1945 is available at the National Archives. See: WO 172/7496 Survey Batteries: 43 Bty.

    If you can't get there let me know and i'll copy with my camera for you.

  5. Banniere

    Banniere Member

    Thanks a million for this. Thanks for your offer Rothy I'm hoping to get to Kew when I come over for a month over Christmas (currently in France) but if I don't make it, can I get back to you? But a copy or link to Jolsen's would be great.
    2nd Survey does get a brief mention in Farndale's History of the RA in the Far East as it's included in the OB of the RA in India, Ceylon and Burma. More interesting for me is that 43 Battery is specifically mentioned as part of the landings on the Rangoon River (Operation Dracula) although not all the battery strength was used in the initial landing and the follow up was cancelled as the Japanese had pulled out. But I know my old man was there as he was put to guard the Bank of Rangoon against looters I remember vividly as a kid in the early 1950s him telling me this story and then, blow me down, there it is corroborated in Mangilli-Climpson's book! Don't you just love the internet?
  6. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member


    Here you go - the history as I have available - some formatting lost in the post????


    2nd Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery

    03/09/1939 Formed from 1st Survey Regiment, R.A. and deemed a regular unit with 'A' Survey and 'B' Flash Spotting Batteries
    12/03/1943 Regiment embarked in the U.K. for overseas
    12/04/1943 Disembarked Cape Town, South Africa
    20/05/1943 Embarked Cape Town, South Africa
    12/06/1943 Disembarked Bombay, India and move to Transit Camp, Deolali
    05/08/1943 Arrived Khunti, Bihar and came under command H.Q. R.A. XV Indian Corps
    22/08/1943 Regiment reorganised: H.Q. Survey Battery absorbed into Regimental H.Q. and the Regiment split into two Groups - A/2 and B/2
    10/09/1943 Moved to Piska area, Bihar
    27/09/1943 Regiment now consists of R.H.Q., No. 1 Group and No. 2 Group
    01/10/1943 Regiment is under command of 151 Sub-Area, Eastern Command
    02/11/1943 No. 2 Group left the Regiment for the operational area, under 14th Army
    14/01/1944 Regiment reorganised on a new war establishment. Now formed into R.H.Q., 'A' and 'B' Batteries. 'B' Battery remains in the operational area of 14th Army
    04/02/1944 A' and 'B' Batteries redesignated 43 and 44 Batteries respectively
    11/03/1944 43 Battery proceeded to their operational area with 14th Army, R.H.Q. remained in Piska
    12/05/1944 44 battery rejoined the Regiment in Piska
    01/07/1944 The Regiment is under the command of H.Q. R.A. XV Indian Corps
    06/10/1944 The Regiment is under the command of R.A. Training H.Q. No. 40, Eastern Command
    26/10/1944 The Regiment and 44 Battery leave Piska for the Arakan under command XV Indian Corps
    06/11/1944 Regiment arrived at Chittagong
    10/11/1944 Moved to Taunbru, Arakan
    25/11/1944 Moved to Zeganbyn. 43 Battery reverted to the command of the Regiment but remained in the forward area
    29/11/1944 43 Battery rejoins the Regiment at Zeganbyn
    21/01/1945 43 Battery is at Akyab
    21/02/1945 44 Battery moved to Chittagong en route for Ramree Island by sea to join the 26th Indian Infantry Division
    26/02/1945 R.H.Q. moved to Akyab
    02/03/1945 43 Battery at Kyetaw
    14/03/1945 43 Battery rejoined R.H.Q. at Akyab
    13/04/1945 Tactical R.H.Q. now at Ramree Island
    02/05/1945 43 Battery was at Rangoon and 44 Battery in the Ranchi area
    01/06/1945 R.H.Q. at Coimbatore, South India
    11/07/1945 44 Battery joined the Regiment at Coimbatore
    29/07/1945 The Regiment came under the command of XXXIV Indian Corps
    01/02/1946 Survey units redesignated Observation units
    01/04/1947 Regiment redesignated 52nd Observation Regiment, R.A. with 43 and 44 Batteries becoming 236 and 237 Observation Batteries, R.A. respectively, and with 15 and 22 Observation Batteries, R.A. being redesignated from 254th Medium Battery and 16th Battery of 14/16 Medium Battery which were reformed from newly-posted personnel.

    "Orders of Battle", Joslen
    "Lineage Book of British Land forces", Frederick
    "History of the R.A., The Far East Theatre, 1941-46", Farndale
    dryan67 likes this.
  7. Banniere

    Banniere Member

    Thanks again Rothy. Much obliged.
  8. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Hi, I know this thread was written a few years ago now but I have just joined as a result of researching my Dads war history with the East Surrey Regiment TA, 2nd Survey Unit RA. I'm very much interested to hear about the 2nd Survey Unit and finding information difficult to piece together. I have my Dads war records, service number and Medals. I know he saw combat and was hospitalised numerous times out there suffering with tropical diseases too. He died when I was 7 not knowing anything about him and have only recently found out about his early life. He was 52yrs!! when I was born so its quite unusual for some one as young as me to of had a Father that was there. I have some information on him which supersedes the dates above? He Embarked and arrived in India late 1942? He was 18 and Anglo - Indian born descent after being expatriated from India with his parents / my ancestors in the 30's aged 13yrs and spoke Urdu. Its sketchy where and what he was doing out there but I have some clues which I'd like to convert into facts? If anyone is interested to hear more then please do contact me or subsequently if anyone can help or point me in the right direction to find out more facts about his movements out there and how I could find out what he was doing I'd be very pleased to hear from you. I know for fact he was injured during hand to hand combat and this I'm very interested to know more about.

    Kind regards

  9. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Hi Eddie - welcome to the forum :)

    I may be able to help you regarding the voyage. Do you have an embarkation date?

  10. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Hi Julie, thanks for replying, I'm excited to know more. Just got your message late so bear with me I will have to get the notes out and report back asap. Thanks again for replying. Ed.
  11. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Hi Julie, sorry for the delay, I've double checked Dads notes and at least the Embarkation and Disembarked dates are pretty much spot on as detailed above in Banniere's post. So I'd got my dates mixed up with him going to Larkhill for training not traveling to India. The rest of his notes are heavy going but I can only assume what and where he was doing in relation to the dates on his records to the notes above.

    Can any one explain what an 'X' list was?? If Any one has more info to add or want to know more about my Dads notes then please let me know.
  12. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Hi again,

    Please can anyone explain how I can up load photos and add them to a post here?? Cheers
  13. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Ok looks like I've worked it out. Here is the first document of orders from my Dads records showing Embarkation etc etc. IMG_4071.JPG
  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Hopefully this is easier to read. IMG_4071.JPG
    RosyRedd and Eddie Mayell like this.
  15. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Hi Eddie... Being "X" listed is usually hospitalisation, or varying degrees of being unfit...
    Here's a link to a previous page with some details...
    X lists (Service Records)

  16. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Excellent, thankyou
  17. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Hi Eddie - good to see you're back!

    I'm on my phone at the moment, so will take a look a bit later this morning to see if I can be of any help re the embarkation dates :)

  18. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Well - a bit of good luck on your part because your Dad's regiment is mentioned! Embarkation dates in a service history are usually when the person/unit set foot on the ship. This could be a few days before the ship set sail.

    Your date: 12/3/43 corresponds with convoy WS28 which sailed from the UK on 16/3/43. The following info comes from Archie Munro's "The Winston Specials - Troopships via the cape 1940 - 1943"

    "...WS28 comprised eleven liners, all but one being fitted as LSIL to later act as the Eastern Task Force to assault Sicily." p.387 (LSIL - Landing Ship Infantry Large)

    "...Amongst the personnel embarked were reinforcement details for all three Services but more importantly many of the Army and RAF administrative units which were to land behind the assault troops to set up and operate such services as the Field Maintenance Centres for rations, petrol, water, ordnance, ammunition, engineers, medical stores, a transit camp, a post office and POW cage. The 2nd Survey Regiment (RA) en route to India were among those known to be embarked on Britannic..." p.389.

    WS28 initially sailed as a combined convoy with eight liners of KMF 11 and combined in total of 25 ships and formed into seven columns. p.389.

    From p. 390:
    20th March they were 200 miles west of Lisbon
    21st March KMF 11 split from the WS28 heading for Algiers. From the split position WS28 steered towards Cape Ghir. Weather was "fine with extreme visibility for the remainder of the passage and by noon on the 22nd the convoy was 90 miles SW of Cape Ghir where the course was altered...for the channel between Fuerteventura and the African mainland."

    From p.391:
    WS28 passed 20 miles east of Fuerteventura at midnight 22nd March
    24th March they were 60 miles west of Cape Blanco and on the 27th all ships were anchored in the harbour at Freetown. "There was cause for some rejoicing as the ships lay in Freetown when news was received of Eighth Army breaking through the Mareth Line..."
    At 11:30 on 30 March convoy on the move again. Now with 15 ships changed formation to five columns "...and by late evening the convoy was 95 miles SW of the Liberian coast...The weather remained very warm with a calm sea and barely a ripple..."
    1st April at 08:00 convoy 100 miles south of Cape Palmas. There was an alteration of the convoy's course to avoid a U-Boat report which was "...20 miles south of the convoy's intended track. No further reports were made but this may have been an Italian submarine known to be operating to the south and west of Freetown at that time."

    From p.392:
    5th April convoy was 60 miles west of Pointe Noire.
    At 03:00 11th April convoy was 20 miles SW of Cape Columbine - they could see Table Mountain by 07:00. "One hour later, when 10 miles south of Dassen Island, the Vice Commodore (and Master) of Duchess of Bedford, Captain HA Moore, detached with the Capetown portion, i.e. Monarch of Bermuda, Winchester Castle, Tegelberg, Britannic and Waipawa, escorted by Kenya, Relentless, Redoubt and arrived in port later that morning. Meanwhile the ten remaining ships continued for Durban..."

    From p.393:
    "In Capetown Britannic disembarked all of her complement to the transit camp...About half of the number landed from Britannic were RAF training in South Africa, the remainder waited six weeks for on-carriage on Orbita to Bombay."
  19. Eddie Mayell

    Eddie Mayell Member

    Thank you Rosy, this is all mind blowing and a great help.

    So let's keep going here as I have some more questions..... can anyone identify where 23CCS Casualty Clearing Station was situated?? It's documented at the date (4/2/44) I've checked out a list of Hospital Units in CBI theater of WW2 but 23 is missing from the hospital lists??

    So I'm going to throw a curved ball here as I have assumptions based on what was going on around that time that he would have be likely to have been involved in. So around that date we had the battle of the Admin Box going on?? Could he have been involved here?? How likely?? If we can identify 23CCS this will give me a great clue!

    Second is after his rejoining back to his unit (24/3/44) there is a long gap of 6 months before the next log. Well the battle of Imphal and Kohima was about to flare up then??! How likely? Could he have been involved. I say this more so because around October/ November he ended up over in Ledo with admission to 69 IGH (27/10/44) this was a place called Margherita (near Ledo).

    Also I have resently made contact with Major Derek Pearson of 2nd Survey Unit, he 97 and has been very helpful via his Son and Daughter. We are currently planing to meet and I hope to make an interview with him. He is willing to speak about his time and has already told me that he was in command of 43 Battery and parts of 44 Battery too. He confirms these two Batteries were at Imphal!!
    In accordance with Rothy's posting above breaking down the 2nd Survey units War in Burma the unit was assigned to 43&44 batteries?? Am I correct?? Please help and put me out of my frustrated misery. Many thanks, hope this is interesting to you. Cheers Ed.
  20. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Info posted already on above post
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017

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