Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, May 7, 2015.
Ha! What do you want to know? I wrote the concise story of the defence of Lion Box!
Well, having spent a large part of the weekend looking for Lion Box references in my various books on Burma I can find very little in print. I cannot even find a direct reference to the Lion Box in Defeat into Victory which gives a very concise overview of Imphal and Kohima. I even resorted to re-reading back numbers of Dekho! and eventually came across a book review in the Spring 2001 issue for, The Forgotten Army's Box of Lions by CD Johnson.
According to the review, 'this small action did not merit inclusion in the 'Official History' but gained a mention in the classic, 'Defeat into Victory'. I have rechecked and found a short reference with little detail on page 325.
So, if I am correct in assuming that your surname is Johnson, where can I get a copy of your book?
Not surprising that you couldn't find much about it in print. That's why I decided that after the six years worth of research that I had done it merited publication. The official history gives it a paragraph as does Louis Allen and Anthony Brett James in their works.
It was another of those overlooked actions that wasn't "sexy" and didn't really involve "famous" regiments apart from the West Yorks and Carabiniers when the situation became serious. Serious enough that over seventy British and Indian troops were killed and many more wounded in this three day action.
Lion Box was a defensive area around the largest supply depot on the Imphal Plain at Kanglatongbi manned entirely by normally non-combatant troops. They held the Japs at bay for three days while the vital stores were backloaded to Imphal. On the 7th April 1944 the Japs broke through the north eastern perimeter of the box held by two companies of Royal Engineers and four companies of Indian Engineers. The rest of the perimeter was held fast by a mixture of Admin troops, pioneers, transport companies etc until the infantry and tanks came to support them. My father was in the rearguard holding the Japs as the remainder of the box, several thousand strong, was evacuated to Imphal.
Thank you for your comprehensive and informative answer to my question, except of course, the bit about where I can get a copy of your book. Is it out of print? Did you ever revise it with the new information that you found as mentioned in another thread?
Sorry, I got carried away and forgot to answer your question fully.
I had sufficient funds to pay for only 250 copies which are all long gone. However I do have some inferior copies that I rejected from the printer. The information within them is the same though the printing and layout etc is not up to standard. You are welcome to have one of these if you pm me your address.
Regarding the revised edition it will be a while yet as I am still discovering more information. When does one finish researching?!
thank you for your generous offer; I would welcome a copy regardless of the print quality. I am sure that your book will help me understand more about Corporal Sevier's war time experience.
Are you aware of any Military Medal's awarded to R.E. personnel for their actions in the Imphal siege as I am still struggling to identify 'Joe' whose photograph appears at the beginning of this thread?
It’s a bit late replying to this 3 years after you posted it, but I can tell that the man in the photograph is my grandfather William Frederick Crozier. I searched his name the other day and came across this site. He must have signed this for someone called Joe. I’ve uploaded a picture of his photo and metals. If you have any more info or photos of him to share, it would be greatly appreciated!
I am absolutely delighted that you have found this thread and have positively identified your grandfather. I am also pleased that his name was already on my list of possible candidates. About three years ago I emailed the Royal Engineers Museum to see if they had a photograph of him, they hadn't and I thought that I had reached a dead end. I still have no idea who Joe was though.
I have no other photographs of your grandfather but you are welcome to have high resolution copies of those that I do have.
I have just reread the entire thread again and have noticed that F W Crozier's signature is on the Japanese banknote.
Thanks Simon, I would be very grateful for them. Are you able to send them privately? My dad and is two brothers will be delighted! My dad had never seen the solo photo of him before but had seen the group shot.
I had noticed his signature on the banknote, but thanks for pointing it out.
Unfortunately we have no idea who Joe was either. My grandfather died in 92 when I was 8 and he never talked about the war to anyone. Sorry I can’t anymore help with that.
I’ve uploaded a closer and clearer picture of the description under the photo we have of him which tells you why he was awarded the military metal.
I think I've cracked who Joe is.
My dad brought out a box of my granddad photos and letters from the war. In it I found a list with names that served with him in Burma. My granddad's name is at the top of the list as he was the warrant officer. Down the right hand side is a list of what must be nicknames. I noticed that there was an error on his nickname so I scanned the document in so I could blow it up and get a closer look. You can see the name 'Joe' written underneath Fred. Joe must have been his nickname! Makes sense as it's written on his photo in his signature.
I've attached the photos so you can see for yourself.
Thanks for posting this Allister. So pleased to see that two men who fought at Lion Box and were wounded recovered and went home safely.
Spr RW Pearce wounded 7th April. Dvr JS Winestein wounded 5th April.
many thanks for posting the list of names. Nicknames are often attributed for the strangest of reasons and we may never know why a particular one was given. In my small town we have a retired padre called Andrew Newman who is inevitably known as Cardinal Newman. I wonder if there was a well known Joe Crozier who lent his name to your grandfather's nickname.
The list has proven to be very useful in identifying many of the men who signed the convoy souvenir and or the Japanese bank note. The list appears to be of a draft of men returning to the U.K. under the Python scheme.
If any other lists of names have survived in your grandfather's papers could you please let me know?
I'm really pleased that this has been useful to you.
Sorry, there wasn't any other documents like this. He kept a copy of the 62 Company Newsletter (which you already have) and a few other photos from Burma which I can upload if they're of any interest to you?
I would be very interested to see any of your grandfather's photographs of India and Burma.
Here are a few photos from Burma, another shot fo the group but wearing their hats and a berthing card that might be relevant. He wrote on the back of most of the photos/postcards, so I've included them as well as they have dates and names that might be useful.
many thanks for posting these photographs. It is good to have some names and I am pleased to see the caption for the group photograph. The berthing card was probably for the trip out as the printing date shows July 1941.
You're very welcome!
I hadn't even noticed the date on the berthing card so wan't sure if it was related to Burma.
I have an identical berthing card in my collection. I guess that they were kept as a souvenir of a soldier's first trip to exotic climes. They were also very easy to keep as they do not take up a lot of space.
Separate names with a comma.