Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Jan 2, 2019.
You could start a separate thread. What are the other photographs of?
Hi Simon, i have not been away as i am into 1940 forums. One photo of a bridge in India and a few us camps in Burma and one photo in China near Burma.
Apologies if I'm not posting on the correct forum but I'm a bit new to all this! I've just received my late Grandfather's Second World War service record and I'm hoping to find out more about what he did but I'm not sure where to start. He was a private man who never really spoke about what he did so I'm starting from scratch really. It shows him arriving in India with the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment on the 22nd April 1945 and leaving on 25th December 1945 for the UK.
Is anyone able to point me in the right direction of how to find out what he may have done?
Again, apologies if this has been asked lots of times before but any help would be greatly appreciated.
In Janaury 1945,the battalion had just recuperated from fighting as Chindits around Kohima the year before. It would be best for you to start up a separate thread about your grandfather, or perhaps add it to this one, which is based on the 1st Essex's time in 1944:
1st Battalion, Essex Regiment - Burma 44th & 56th Columns
Hi Bamboo, thank you for the reply, I'll do that now.
[EDIT: I wrote the following before I noticed that Simon had posted additional photos and analysis, also on page 2. Oops...]
On page 2 of this thread, post #23, Simon posted a photo that he said he couldn't definitively place. Well, I suddenly have Google Earth back on my desktop computer, although some other functions went goofy on the computer at the same time. Ugh!
Anyway, I snooped around and I have that definitive proof for you, Simon. More or less. It's the rail crossing at Hnin Pale, Burma. I don't know if the current bridge is in the exact location of the wartime main bridge, and I only base that upon the fact that there's a remnant of what looks like a railway curve scar on the far side of the river. However, where I project it would have intersected the main rail line puts the bridge, non-existent now, about 84 yards north of the current bridge. There is nothing in the water to indicate there ever was a substantial bridge there, but such a bridge, including pylons, could have been completely dismantled.
In following the phantom curve northward, the scarring disappears. And the town of Bilin is on the opposite side of the river. This scar is very symmetrical, so that's why I wonder if it was a rail line.
The 1:250,000 1950s map of the area only shows the main line, but that map isn't a compilation of all rail features.
The 177 Sqn ORB quoted by Simon includes this:
"The rail bridge at HNIN PALE is U/S and coolies were seen at work on a bypass bridge which is nearly complete to the north of the main bridge."
While, as I explained, I'm not 100% certain that the modern rail bridge is in the precise location of the wartime main bridge, I do see remnants of a) the bypass rail bridge (in the water) about 290 yards north of the existing rail bridge, and b) the scar of the bypass segment from the shoreline back to where it joins the main line, on the eastern side of the river.
The ORB also mentions that the HNIN PALE road bridge is U/S. I don't think there was a road bridge crossing the river at Hnin Pale, though the 1950s map shows a road crossing the river just a little further north, between Hninpale and Bilin. Right above the text for "Shwelonza", which might be the closest place name/settlement.
An aerial image would likely clear up this mystery in a microsecond, but I can't get over to the Nat'l Archives to order the film, then to return to view the recon negatives.
I more or less matched the Beaufighter's point of view to an image I rotated and played around with in Google Earth. However, I also spun the wartime image to make the horizon more or less level. A, B, C, and D are landmark points in the distant hills which are on both GE and the 1944 imagery. At this extremely oblique angle, almost down on the deck, the railway bridge doesn't stand out too well, so I also presented an area view in GE with north up. Also, I added a piece of the 1950s map for comparison.
Right! I can eat up a block of time like THAT trying to match these old photos. I do get wrapped up in it, don't I?
I should have looked further down on page 2, where I'd have seen that Simon ID'd some of the same features I did. However, Simon, I believe what you thought in post #35 might be remnants of a road bridge were really remnants of the railway bypass bridge to the north of the bombed railway bridge.
Without wartime photo recon imagery for verification, I'm guessing that the bridge mentioned in the 177 Sqn ORB as being the HNIN PALE road bridge was definitely located north of the rail bridge by approx. 1.6 miles. It's the only place a modern bridge crosses the river, and, likewise, it's the only road bridge crossing of this wide watercourse on the map printed in 1960 but compiled from older sources. (The compilation info from the map legend is shown.)
This bridge is really north of Hnin Pale and just south of the larger regional town of Bilin. Thus, the caption is slightly in error in calling it the HNIN PALE road bridge.
I've done a comparison of modern Google Earth satellite imagery to one of the Beaufighter images of the road bridge from 18 Nov 1944 [EDIT: posted by Simon in #34, pg 2 of this thread], and the same hills are in the background. I also think I can see part of the watercourse in the background after it has made a sweeping turn, also seen on the GE imagery.
Looking closely at modern imagery, I believe remnants of wartime bridge abutments can be seen in the water. So the modern bridge was not built precisely in alignment with the original bridge.
I just realized that the other photo of the road bridge from 1944, posted by Simon in #33 on pg 2, shows more telltale hilltops in the background, so I did a comparison between this 1944 photo and Google Earth. Same location, I'd say.
Indeed you do and I am extremely grateful to you for spending so much time and effort in obtaining the results. I am surprised how you can twist and turn google imagery to get the views that you do. You clearly have a greater skill set and perhaps tools/apps to be able to obtain these views than I do.
I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology, I don't drive and I don't own a mobile phone and I am, for a few weeks more, still using Windows 7. However, that changes early next year when they stop supporting it and I have to change to the over complicated Windows 10. I am not looking forward to it, I would prefer to be left alone with just my photographs, maps and books where I can be as happy as Larry.
I am not sure why we use Larry as a measurement of happiness though as it isn't internationally recognised. Its a bit like using "an area the size of Wales" to describe the loss of the Amazonian rain forest, when the average Brazilian has no concept of the overall area of the Welsh countryside. Even I, who lives less than 10 miles from the Welsh border could only offer a vague approximation. But I digress.
Excellent work once again Matt and I and and fellow forum members salute your ceaseless efforts your unwavering thoroughness and your dogged indefatagability.
Mad rush here, Simon, but thanks for the kind words. I'm a bit of a dinosaur myself, but fortunately I've learned a couple of Google Earth tricks which help. However, software goes unsupported over time, and, as you know with the Windows 7 stuff, change is the norm in this industry. Just when you think you know something, some genius sitting in a cubicle in Palo Alto, California forces change. (As a practical example, you may have noticed that twice the Historic Aviation Forum forced change on the masses. The most recent one has been disastrous, as so many functions disappeared overnight and have not reappeared. I know there are essential reasons for change, particularly to keep the cyberbullies at bay, but many other changes are ridiculous and baffling.
I don't have any teenage computer gurus to help me, of late, when I run into new problems, and my computer is going rogue on me lately, so it's a constant battle.
Given time (I probably said this before), I'll do more Google Earth work, as it can be intriguing to see how the landscape has changed between the 1940s and now.
Now, go out and get your driver's licence and become hell on wheels. On the other hand, you don't need a license to be hell on wheels...
I have just found this down the back of the internet.
Separate names with a comma.