Burma-India and the ‘forgotten’ Victoria Crosses

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by airlana, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  2. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    Hi all,

    As promised some more photos. These are shots of Mogaung and its river. The larger panorama photo shows the lowland around the Mogaung area. This was taken in March 2008, several weeks away from the monsoon and in an area not affected too much by cyclone Nargis.

    However, during the time of Allmand's VC award the whole of this area was in severe flood and conditions were atrocious for the troops.

    The other photo shows the bridge (as it is today so to speak) where the Gurkhas had to attack the Japanese head on. I think we can imagine the courage it took to stand up and charge enemy machine gun nests, down such a narrow and restrictive pathway.

    The young fellow in the foreground is my brother or camera crew as he was on that trip.

    Bamboo.

    This is also the bridge that Major David Monteith was shot in the back by an explosive bullet on, as he attempted to order his men to take the bridge. Jack Lindo had previously made a recce and considered it to be clear. The Japanese remained concealed during the initial recce and only fired once the main attacking force was in position. Jack Lindo felt guilty about this for the rest of his life, even though he was clearly not in any way at fault.
     
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Fabvoice,

    Welcome to the forum and I like your chosen name.:)

    Sounds like you might of known Jack, I am currently reading his memoir, which as you will know is a fascinating historical (Liverpool) as well as WW2 read.

    He was a wonderfully kind and helpful man and assisted me greatly in my early days researching my Grandfather, when he took Grandad's service records to the Chindit Old Comrades dinner in 2008.

    Steve
     
  4. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    He was indeed and I was at his funeral in Liverpool in 2008 too!
    Sadly my father died last year, O.C. "U" troop 160th Jungle Field Regt. in the stronghold "Blackpool". To stand in his old Command Post dugout with him in the stronghold in 2004 was the most important day of my life! Great Men all of them. Good luck with "The Dingle"! :) and the new book by Tony Redding "War In The Wilderness" is a must too.
    Regards,
    Ian
     
  5. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Did someone mention "Blackpool"...? Now they ("U") are one part of the conflict I know very little about...

    Sorry for your loss - welcome to the mix...

    Still ploughing through Mr Reddings work (amongst several others at the mo) but got to agree it is an excellent tome...
     
  6. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    Thank you for your kind words. :) My father's account is in Redding's book as well as a war diary mention in Bidwell's The Chindit War. I recall my father telling me how when firing towards Namkwin, there was not much crest clearance and one shell from his 25pdrs went right through a tree on the crest, showering The Cameronians with wood splinters......they were not too happy! Thankfully though, no one was injured....... made my father laugh though.:biggrin:
     
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Ian,

    Good to have you on board. Those Cameronians were always getting into trouble, funny bunch, (isn't that right HC;)).

    Hopefully you have already seen, but we have strong 'Blackpool', 'Indaw' and of course 'Longcloth' representation on the forum, so with any luck you might pick up some new information about your father's time in Burma.

    Steve
     
  8. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    Thanks Steve, also I hope I can contribute too! I have quite a few photos of my two trips to Burma with my father 2003/2004. Nice to be able to bring something to the table. This is a photo I took in 2004, of the gun platform at "Blackpool" constructed by The Royal Engineers, CP in the middle. The photo is facing West and also includes an "X" where Gunner Samuel Parsonage was killed at 06:30 hours 25th May '44.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Ian,

    Did you go on the RBL trip or was it self organised? I went with the RBL in March 2008, so I have been to Namkwin and faced the stronghold from the bottom of the village paddy fields.

    We did not go very far into either White City or Blackpool due to time contstraints. We had three veterans with us in the party who were great value on that trip.

    Hebridean Chindit will have many questions for you I'm sure and it's great for him to have a first hand connection to 'Blackpool', rather than me who really on touched the surface in that regard.
     
  10. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    .......and how it would have looked in 1944, confirmed by my father!
     

    Attached Files:

  11. FABVOICE

    FABVOICE Junior Member

    Hi Ian,

    Did you go on the RBL trip or was it self organised? I went with the RBL in March 2008, so I have been to Namkwin and faced the stronghold from the bottom of the village paddy fields.

    We did not go very far into either White City or Blackpool due to time contstraints. We had three veterans with us in the party who were great value on that trip.

    Hebridean Chindit will have many questions for you I'm sure and it's great for him to have a first hand connection to 'Blackpool', rather than me who really on touched the surface in that regard.

    Yes we did go on the RBL trips under Piers Storie-Pugh and in fact my father and I were instrumental in putting Blackpool into the schedule as it was to be the sole reason for our trip, but not included prior to that. It was 2003 that we first met Peter Heppell, who later went to Broadway, as he was a fellow Blackpool Veteran and even though in 2003 it was touch and go as to whether we would be allowed to visit the bloc, we succeeded both times and went to firstly the west, then the next year to the east and inside the bloc. Out of interest, Jack Lindo told me the facts about Major Monteith at the spot where it happened on the Pin Hmi bridge.
     
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have the DVD of your trip at home. I've met Peter a couple of times at the COCA dinners, 2009 and again last year.

    Those two nights on that train were probably the most exciting of my life. Poltically it was difficult for us to venture too much off the beaten track, this was particularly frustrating at the White City block. My brother and I were tempted just to walk down, but it would not have been fair on the tour guides or the other pilgrims on the tour.

    Sadly for me we pased through Longcloth country (Nankan etc) when it was already dark, so I missed out there too. I have vowed to return soon, as I have uncovered the majority of Grandad's story since the visit in 2008.
     
  13. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Hi again Ian, Steve might have inferred that "Blackpool" is a passing interest of mine...

    My dad passed in 2001 and his 90 Column memoirs have grown to include anything 111th IID - I'll be happy to pass anything I find your way...

    Please post any pictures you are willing to share - it would be fascinating to put images to the known names... realistically, it is unlikely that I will ever be able to go there...

    My project has two aims - firstly, a collective work, including my fathers memoirs and any other unpublished memoirs I can locate, centring on "Blackpool" but recording as accurate a history of the 111th that I can (with an eventual aim of publication - I am also recording the experiences of the training starting from the UK and culminating in recovery/hospitalisation post the event), and secondly, a private research tool including all the known material combined into one work - this will not be for publication but accesible to/for true researchers... I'm presently transcribing various records and carrying out OCR on a number of titles... these are easily searchable in a text format... this will not be a closed file but will grow as more material is located...

    Research is a juggernaut with failed air-brakes running down a steep hill... o_O

    How much did your dad give you from the perspective of a story...? My dad virtually could not bear discussing the events but thankfully, very late on, decided to put them to paper...

    Ken
     
  14. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    I thought it may be a good idea to have the current location of the VC's mentioned in case some members have the opportunity to view them, so listed below are known locations. Those that are "not known" either means that they have not been recently sighted or are more likely than not, either with the family or held in private collections.


    Victoria Cross - India & Burma - World War Two

    #73 Parkash Singh - Imperial War Museum

    #94 Gaje Ghale - Not known

    #98 Alec George Horwood - Stolen Finsbury 1958 never recovered

    #101 Charles Ferguson Hoey - Museum of Lincolnshire Life

    #102 George Albert Cairns - Staffordshire Rgimental museum

    #103 Nand Singh - Sikh Regimental Centre India

    #105 Abdul Hafiz - Stolen never recovered

    #106 John Pennington Harman - Royal West Kent Museum

    #108 John Neale Randle - Imperial War Museum

    #115 Hanson Victor Turner - Calderdale Council Halifax

    #116 Michael Allmand - Ghurka Museum Winchester

    #117 Ganju Lama - Ghurka Museum Winchester

    #119 Tulbahadur Pun - Ghurka Museum Winchester

    #121 Sudabar Nebrabahadur Thapa - Not known

    #122 Naik Agansing Rai - Ashcroft Collection

    #123 Frank Gerald Blaker - Not Known

    #146 Ram Sarup Singh - Not Known

    #148 Bhandari Ram - Not Known

    #150 Umrao Singh - Living

    #154 Sher Shah - Not Known

    #156 George Arthur Knowland - Stolen never recovered

    #157 Prakash Singh - Not Known

    #162 Fazal Din - Privately Held

    #163 Gian Singh - Stolen not recovered

    #164 William Basil Weston - Green Howards Museum

    #165 Bhanbhagta Gurung - Ghurka Museum Winchester

    #166 Karamjeet Singh Judge - Not Known

    #167 Claude Raymond - Imperial War Museum

    #178 Lachhiman Gurung - 8th Ghurka Rifles Regiment in India


    ATB

    Simon
     
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Interesting piece of art in IWM collection.


    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/27112

    An Episode in the Battle of Sialum Vum (Chin Hills, Burma) : Subedar Ram Sarup Singh winning the VC
    : A depiction of an action at Kennedy's Peak in the Chin Hills of Burma, when Subedar Ram Sarup Singh of the Indian Army bravely led his platoon to its objective, resulting in him being mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The painting shows Singh and his platoon attacking Japanese positions at the crest of a steep hill, which has a track running up towards the peak. The crest of the hill is also under bombardment from two aircraft that fly in the blue sky above.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    To add to Owen's latest post, here is a similar depiction of George Albert Cairn's VC action at Henu in Burma. The Chindits were removing the enemy from a point known as Pagoda Hill, shortly before they formed the famous Chindit stronghold 'White City'.

    This piece of artwork was created by artist David Rowlands.

    Cairns VC.png
     
  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Track mentioned in the description of the photo could be seen on this photo which shows troops from the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles moving toward the peak.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1940s/Shitoley01.html
     
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  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Illustrated London News, 2 June 1945
    W B WESTON VC, Illustrated London News 02 June 1945.png


    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37077/supplement/2503/data.pdf
    TUESDAY, 15 MAY, 1945
    War Office, i$th May, 1945.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the V'ICTQiRIA CROSS to: —
    Lieutenant William Basil WESTON (311376), The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) (attd. The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own)) (Ulverston, Lanes.).
    In Burma, on 3rd March, 1945, during the Battalion's attack on the town.of Meiktila, this officer was commanding a Platoon. The task of his Company was to clear through the town from the North to the waters edge in the South—a distance of about 1,600 yards, of which the last 800 yards was not only very strongly held but was a labyrinth of minor roads and well constructed build- ings. The Company was working with tanks and Lieutenant Weston's Platoon was one of the two Platoons leading the attack. The clearing of the final 800 yards was com- menced at 1330 hours and was to be com- pleted by dusk. Practically every man in Lieutenant Weston's Platoon was seeing active service for the first time and under the most difficult conditions. From the start Lieutenant Weston realised that only by the highest personal example-on his part could he hope to carry out his task within the time given. As the advance continued the already determined opposition increased until in the final stages it reached a stage when it can only be described as fanatical. Fire from guns and light automatics was heavy from well bunkered positions and concrete em- placements. Each bunker position had to be dealt with separately and superimposed on the enemy's fire from the front was accurate sniping from well selected positions on the flanks. The fighting throughout the day was at very close quarters and at times was hand- to-hand.

    With magnificent bravery Lieutenant Weston inspired the men of his Platoon to superb achievements. Without thought of his own personal safety he personally led his men into position after position, exterminating the enemy wherever found.

    Throughout, the leadership was superb, encouraging his Platoon to the same fanati- cal zest as that shown by the enemy. His bravery, his coolness under fire and enthusiasm inspired his Platoon. There was no hesitation on his part and no matter how heavy or sustained the enemy's fire he boldly and resolutely led his men on from bunker position to bunker position. It was at 1700 hours, within sight of the waters edge which marked the completion of the Platoon's task, that he was held up by a very strong bunker position. Lieutenant Weston, appreciating the limited time now at 'his disposal and the necessity of clearing the area before night- fall, quickly directed the fire of the tanks with him on to the position. He then led a party with bayonets and grenades to elimi- nate the enemy within the bunker. As on many occasions before, he was the first into the bunker. At the entrance to the bunker he was shot at by the enemy inside and fell forward wounded. As he lay on the .ground and still fired by the undaunted courage that he had shown throughout the day, he withdrew the pin from a grenade in his hand and by doing so killed himself and most of the enemy in the bunker. It is possible that hecould have attempted to reach safety but to do so would have endangered the lives of his men who were following him into the bunker. Throughout the final 3^ hours of battle Lieutenant Weston set an example which seldom can have been equalled. His bravery and inspiring leader- ship was beyond question. At no time during the day did he relax and inspired by the deeds of valour which he continually performed, he personally led on his men as an irresistible force.

    The final supreme self-sacrifice of this gallant young officer within sight of victory was typical of the courage and bravery so magnificently displayed and sustained throughout the day's operation.
     
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