Chemical Warfare School (India), Pachmarhi, October 1942.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    A recently acquired photograph of the W.O.'s and N.C.O.'s course held at the Chemical Warfare School (India) at Pachmarhi in October 1942. Severn of the instructors are sitting in the front row.

    pachmarhi 010.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The photograph was not named but a little delving into the 1942 Army List has come up with the following names.

  3. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Victor Albert Strallen.JPG
    The Commandant and Chief Instructor, Lt.-Col. Victor Albert Strallen served during the Great War as a 2nd Lt. in the R.F.A. before transferring to the Special Brigades, Royal Engineers. The Special Brigades were responsible for Great Britain's Gas Warfare capability and first saw action at the Battle of Loos on the 25th September 1915. This experience and his subsequent career lead to him taking command of the Chemical Warfare School (India) in 1937. The medal ribbon of the Order of the British Empire can clearly be seen.
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  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Victor Albert Strallen.

    London Gazette 20th October 1915.

    Royal Regiment of Artillery.
    The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants: 11th October 1915.
    Victor Albert Strallen.

    London Gazette 21st July 1916.

    The undermentioned Second Lieutenants R.F.A., to be Temporary Lieutenants whilst employed with Special Brigades R.E. 2nd April 1916.
    V.A. Strallen.

    London Gazette 6th March 1922.

    Royal Regiment of Artillery.
    Temporary Lieutenant V.A. Strallen relinquishes his commission on completion of service, 1st April 1921, and retains the rank of Lieutenant.

    London Gazette 2nd May 1922.

    Regular Army Reserve of Officers.
    Royal Engineers.
    Captain V.A. Strallen, late R.F.A., to be Captain 1st July 1921, with seniority 20th April 1921.

    London Gazette 8th March 1927

    Special Appointment1927. (Cl.,G.G.) Captain V.A. Strallen, Reserve of Officers, R.E. 24th January

    London Gazette 16th September 1927.

    Regular Forces. Commands and Staff.
    Special Appointment. (Cl.CC) Captain V.A. Strallen R.E. Reserve of Officers, relinquishes his appointment 21st July 1927.

    London Gazette 30th September 1927.

    The following appointments have been made in India.
    Commands and Staff.
    Chief Instructor. Army School of Education, Belgaum.
    Captain V.A. Strallen, Reserve of Officers, 6th July 1927.

    London Gazette 1st October 1935.

    Regular Army Reserve of Officers.
    The undermentioned having attained the age limit of liability to recall, cease to belong to the Reserve of Officers.
    Royal Engineers.
    Captain V.A. Strallen. 28th September 1935.

    London Gazette 25th March 1938.

    Indian Land Forces.
    The undermentioned officers are granted the local rank of Lieutenant Colonel, without effect on pay and pension.
    Captain (Local Major) V.A. Strallen, late Regular Army Reserve of Officers, whilst employed as Commandant, Chemical Warfare School. 1st April 1937.

    London Gazette. 26th August 1938.

    Chief Instructor (Cl. “A”), Army School of Education, Anti-Gas Wing.
    Captain (Local Lieutenant Colonel) V.A. Strallen (retired) 1st November 1937.

    London Gazette 26th August 1938.

    Indian Army. Commands and Staff.
    The undermentioned appointments have been made.
    Commandant and Chief Instructer (Cl. “A”) Chemical Warfare School.
    Captain (local Lieutenant Colonel) V.A. Strallen (retired). 1st November 1937.
    Instructors (Cl. “B”). Chemical Warfare School.
    Major D.J.C. Wiseman, 2/15th Punjab Regiment. 1st April 1937.
    Captain J.T.H. Morris, 1/7th Gurkha Rifles. 14th July 1938.

    London Gazette 8th June 1939.

    Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
    To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order.
    Local Lieutenant Colonel Victor Albert Strallen, Commandant and Chief Instructor, Chemical Warfare School, India. (Captain), retired, Late R.A.R.O., R.E.

    Note the reference to the Experimental Station, Porton, Wilts on the reverse of the medal index card. A portent of his future career.

    Strallen MIC.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    There are three officers with the rank of Major listed as Instructors in the third quarter 1942 Army List.

    Swash. N. B. 14th Punjab Regiment.
    Baxter. J. St J. 8th Punjab Regiment.
    Quigley. J. Indian Medical Service.

    The easiest to identify in the photograph is J. St J. Baxter. Major (acting 1/9/41) as his cap badge is clearly visible on his pagri. I am struggling to positively identify this officer as it would appear that his father or elder brother may have served in the same regiment having served during the Great War.

    I have the following 1931 Army List reference.

    Commands and Staff.
    D.A.A. & Q.M. Gen.
    Major D. St. J. Baxter. O.B.E.. 8th Punjab Regiment 14/2/1931.

    I also have a London Gazette entry for 1st July 1946 which gives his service number as (56 A.I.).

    To further complicate matters there is a medal index card without an initial.

    St J Baxter.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The second Major is listed as Instructor and Medical Officer.
    Quigley. Major. J. Indian Medical Service. 1/12/41.

    London Gazette 2nd March 1928.
    Indian Medical Service.
    To be Lieutenants.
    John Quigley, 4th August 1927, with seniority, 1st September 1924.

    Major J. Quigley appears to have had Great War service with the Royal Irish Rifles and the Indian Medical Service.

    J Quigley.jpg

    Whilst the metal shoulder title is not clearly visible in the photograph it appears to be comprised of three letters, possibly I.M.S. The ribbons of the British War Medal and Victory Medals are clearly visible.

    Mjr J Quigley I.M.S..JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The third Major listed as being an Instructor is Norman Beresford Swash of the 14th Punjab Regiment. Whilst his shoulder titles are straight, unlike the curved 14 Punjab shoulder title, he is not wearing Great War medal ribbons. He may be wearing a shoulder title for the Chemical Warfare School but I have found no evidence that such a shoulder title existed.

    London Gazette 26th January 1921.

    Regular Forces.
    The undermentioned gentlemen cadets from the Royal Military Academy, to be Second Lieutenants with effect from 24th December 1920
    Norman Beresford Swash.

    London Gazette 28th July 1922.

    Indian Army
    To be Second Lieutenants.
    Norman Beresford Swash, attached 20th Infantry 9th March 1921.

    London Gazette 21st September 1923.

    Indian Army
    2nd Lt. to be Lt.
    N.B. Swash. 24th March 1923.

    London Gazette 1st March 1929.

    Lt to be Captain (prov.) 24th December 1928.
    N.B. Swash.

    London Gazette 20th September 1929.

    Indian Army.
    The undermentioned Captains (prov.) are confirmed in rank.
    N.B. Swash.

    London Gazette 10th March 1939.

    Indian Army
    Captains to be Majors.
    1st August 1938
    N.B. Swash.

    London Gazette 14th March 1947

    Indian Army.
    Majors to be Lt. Colonels.
    T. Lt.-Col. N.B. Swash. (AI. 556).

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  8. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    So what was the chemical warfare they were learning about? Apart from gas.
    Why in India?
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I think because the Indian Army had to be trained to the same standard as the British Army. It was very much the expectation at the time that the Germans would use both poisonous gas and chemical weapons in the coming war. The allied powers prepared both counter measures and similar weapons of retaliation which thankfully, were never used. That we were preparing to receive gas and chemical attacks as early as 1937/38 is shown by the issue of gas masks to all civilians and, the building up of A.R.P. and Civil Defence services during the same period. We knew that war was coming and we expected it to be nastier than the previous conflict.
  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Lieutenant Ian Alexander Norfolk Urquhart, (100727) Border Regiment is also easy to identify in the photograph as he has a pagri badge with the numerals 55, which represents the 55th (Westmorland) Regiment of Foot which, in 1881, became the 2nd Battalion, The Border Regiment. A similar pagri badge with the numeral 65 was worn by the 1st battalion Yorks and Lancs Regiment.

    He is proving difficult to trace in the London Gazette. The 1942 Army List has him as 2nd Lt. 15th October 1939, (W/S Lieut. 15th April 1941).

    Lt I.A.N. Urquhart.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Daily Telegraph Obituary

    Ian Urquhart
    Ian Urquhart, who has died aged 92, was awarded an immediate Military Cross at the battle of Imphal and, after the Second World War, spent 18 years in Sarawak as a colonial officer.

    In 1944 Urquhart, then a captain serving with 2nd Battalion the Border Regiment (2 BR), took part in the defence of the Shenam saddle, which dominated the approach to the Imphal plain. For the Japanese 33rd Division it was on the shortest motorable route from the Chindwin river into Imphal, and the fighting at Shenam, which lasted four months, was some of the most ferocious of the whole war.

    In the early hours of May 13, on a moonless night, the Japanese penetrated the company perimeter and Urquhart was ordered to drive them off. Taking eight men, he led them in single file with bayonets fixed along a narrow ridge, with a precipitous drop on either side, to the enemy’s position.

    To give the impression of a larger force, they deliberately made a noise. The Japanese pulled back and Urquhart reorganised the defences. It was a nerve-racking experience, with the enemy probing the position and the defenders straining their ears and eyes to make sense of the indistinct shapes and sounds in the darkness.

    The Japanese charged and got within 10 yards of the Borderers. Urquhart sat calmly on the top of a perimeter trench encouraging his men, telling them where to throw their grenades and where to direct their fire.

    The onslaught was halted and the Japanese fled in disorder. Later, Urquhart was shot in the back by a Japanese sniper while visiting a section in an exposed position, but he insisted on carrying on until he finally collapsed from loss of blood and exhaustion. The citation for his award stated that he had shown himself quite fearless and was a born leader.

    Ian Alexander Norfolk Urquhart was born at Acomb, York, on December 19 1919 and educated at Dover College before going to Cambridge University to read Modern Languages. After being commissioned he was posted to 2 BR in Calcutta and then, as an instructor, to the School of Chemical Warfare at Deolali.

    In December 1943 he rejoined 2 BR in the Kabaw Valley, Burma. He was wounded for the first time in March 1944, when he was shot in the wrist and peppered with grenade splinters which killed the soldier standing beside him.

    After the action at Shenam, having recovered from his wound, he saw further active service before being repatriated. He joined the Colonial Service after the war and, in 1947, was posted to Sarawak, which had become a Crown Colony the previous year.

    During the next 18 years he was a district officer in many parts of the colony . In 1952 he helped to recruit Ibans to go to Malaya as trackers on attachment to units that were fighting the communists. Sarawak gained its independence as part of Malaysia in 1963, and Urquhart supported the new administration for two years before retiring from the Colonial Service and returning to England.

    He was bursar of Kent College for Girls at Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells, until his retirement, when he and his wife settled in South Croydon. In old age he found it difficult to remember the PIN number of his bank card and wrote the numbers down in Cantonese, Urdu, Dayak and Malay.

    Ian Urquhart married, in 1957, Beatrice (Bunty) Soulsby, a Colonial Medical Service radiographer whom he met on leave in Kuala Lumpur. She survives him with their two sons and a daughter, all of whom were born in Sarawak. Both their sons were commissioned into the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, the descendant of the Border Regiment.

    Ian Urquhart, born December 19 1919, died June 26 2012

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    T/Captain A.T. Pattison, 2nd Punjab Regiment, his 2-Punjab shoulder titles are clearly visible.
    Commissioned 2nd Lt. 9th November 1940. (W.S. Lt. 8th June 1941), (T/Capt. 3rd August 1941). Special Employment. Attached is photograph of a 2nd Punjab Regiment brass shoulder title taken at the same angle.


    Punjab 001.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Captain Pattison has an unusual pagri flash, unusual in that it seems to have a fringe.

    Capt A.T. Pattison.JPG
  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The last Commissioned Officer is a Captain with no visible regimental distinctions. It is most likely to be Captain Miles Allington Hayward Reinhold, (I.A.1041) later, after transferring to the British Army (380629), 10th Baluch Regiment.

    London Gazette 4th July 1939.
    The undermentioned gentleman cadets from the Royal Military College to be 2nd Lieutenants.
    Unattached List Indian Army.
    Miles Allington Hayward Reinhold. 3rd July 1939.

    Promoted to Lieutenant 3rd January 1941.

    I cannot of course be sure that this identification is correct without a corroborating photograph of Captain Reinhold.

    CWSI 007.JPG
  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    As for the rest of the front row, the man on the extreme left is a Sergeant.

    CWSI 004.JPG

    The man to his left is a Warrant Officer. His rank badge is visible on his right wrist.

    CWSI 005.JPG
  16. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The man second from right, front row is a Sergeant with a slip on shoulder title that is impossible to decipher.

    pachmarhi 021.JPG

    On the far right is a Sergeant of the Lancashire Fusiliers wearing brass shoulder titles. Clearly tropical issue slip-on shoulder titles were not yet the standard in October 1942.

    Lancashire Fus SGT.JPG
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Unfortunately no photos in any family trees
    Miles Allington Hayward Reinhold
    Birth: 6 March 1920 (6 Mar 1920) - Ash Shatibi, Al Iskandariyah, Egypt
    Death: Dec 2005 - Putney, Surrey, England
    Marriage: 25 June 1942 (25 Jun 1942)
    Spouse: Joan Doreen V Strallen
    F: Carl Heinrich Reinhold
    M: Hannah Margarethe Hayward

    Carl Heinrich Reinhold Lt-Col. MC FRCSE MIT
    BIRTH 4 DEC 1880 • Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
    DEATH 22 JUL 1967 • Midhurst, Sussex, England

    Hannah Margarethe (Peggy) Hayward (QAIMNS)
    BIRTH 03 JUN 1882 • Didsbury, Lancashire, England
    DEATH 29 MAY 1963 • Eastbourne, Sussex, England

  18. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Now that is interesting, especially his wife's name, Joan Doreen V Strallen. I'll bet the V stands for Vaigncourt which is a name that I came across several times in the course of this research. It seems that there was an earlier connection between The Strallens and the Vaigncourts. It would seem that Miles Reinhold may have married a relative of his commanding officer.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Joan Doreen Vaigncourt Strallen
    BIRTH 19 MAY 1917 • Lewisham, England
    DEATH MAR 2005 • Norwich, England

    Victor Albert Vaigncourt-Strallen
    BIRTH 1896
    DEATH 12 JAN 1948 • Hampshire, England

    Violet Gladys Pearson
    BIRTH 23 OCT 1896 • Williton, Somerset
    DEATH JUN 1996 • Kensington and Chelsea, London, England

    UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
    Name: Miles Reinhold
    Arrival Age: 5
    Birth Date: abt 1920
    Port of Departure: Bombay, India
    Arrival Date: 13 Apr 1925
    Port of Arrival: London, England
    Ports of Voyage: Port Said; Plymouth, Devon, England
    Ship Name: Domala
    Shipping Line: British and Indian Steam Navigation Company
    Official Number: 146266
    Provides details of his fathers rank plus their UK address in 1925

  20. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Isn't her father Victor Albert Strallen who was the Commandant and Chief Instructor? It seems that he did not use the Vaigncourt part of his name.

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