Chindit website at last!!!

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by bamboo43, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Steve,

    I believe the expression is "well chuffed", but I may be out of date with the patois. I am very pleased for you, but it is no less than you deserve. I hope that many more such folk get in touch with you through your very good website.
     
  2. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    ... Isn't that incredible.:)

    Not serendipity my Longcloth compatriot, just the rewards of sheer hard work and the Gods of Research giving you something back in kind...

    Kismet, Foggy... kismet... ;)
     
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I thought I would update the progress of the website, which has now been online for 6 months.

    I have received 21 new family contacts in this time, which is far more than I could ever of imagined.:)

    Collected two brand new personal diaries written by Longcloth survivors.

    Made some extremely valuable contacts, which may well lead to further discovery.

    Recently I have opened up the 3/2 Gurkha Rifle section, so if you have 5 minutes please take a look.

    Many thanks again for all WW2Talk help and support.

    Steve
     
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  4. TijgerB

    TijgerB Member

    Just took a fast look it look great Steve:D
     
  5. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I dunno Steve, you must have special powers as only the other week i was considering getting this book, 'Canadians and the Burma Campaign, 1941-45', by Robert Farquharson, then I read the story of Roy Mckenzie on you website who im sure I have read of before in one of the Chindit related books......has to be said the site is looking great, and I have just spent the last quarter of an hour catching up.. keep up the good work mate!
     
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I dunno Steve, you must have special powers as only the other week i was considering getting this book, 'Canadians and the Burma Campaign, 1941-45', by Robert Farquharson, then I read the story of Roy Mckenzie on you website who im sure I have read of before in one of the Chindit related books......has to be said the site is looking great, and I have just spent the last quarter of an hour catching up.. keep up the good work mate!



    Cheers Jason. I am well behind on my book reading, something like 5 outstanding. We are decorating and my stuff is all over the place at the moment, which makes me miserable.

    We still need to get over to the Gurkha museum one day mate.:D
     
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    Well its my website's first birthday today, where has that year gone to I ask?

    Some facts and figures for the past twelve months:

    30 new family contacts.
    Discovery of a new personal debrief for 1943.
    2 handwritten diaries.
    Just over 44,000 hits (I have no idea if that is a decent number or not, but it is many more than I was ever expecting).

    Best wishes all.:poppy:
     
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  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Is this of any interest, chaps? Found whilst browsing through WO 373/47, as one does.
     

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  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Is this of any interest, chaps? Found whilst browsing through WO 373/47, as one does.


    Many thanks idler, I'll put it away until I release material on the officers involved. Ptes. and NCO's first as they say.
     
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Came across this while looking for something else (as usually happens) - I don't know if it adds any value to the thread but I thought I would add it somewhere - just in case.......


    Brigadier Walter Purcell Scott returns to Civvie life in 1946 & Edward Corin Poyser goes for a walk
     

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  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Came across this while looking for something else (as usually happens) - I don't know if it adds any value to the thread but I thought I would add it somewhere - just in case.......


    Brigadier Walter Purcell Scott returns to Civvie life in 1946


    That's great Dave, always glad to pick up little additions like this. Scottie was a well loved commander, mostly down to the fact that he rose from the ranks in the way described. He had the nickname 'Jammy', as the men believed he also possessed that other vital ingredient as a leader.....luck.

    Thanks for thinking of me.

    Steve
     
  12. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Cheers Steve - did you see my addendum on Edward Corin Poyser ??



    and as a last minute addition -


    The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Saturday 4 September 1948

    Battle in the Sun by H. G. KIPPAX (A Staff Correspondent recently in Greece)

    In his first article, last Saturday, our correspondent described the economic and financial trials of Greece and the brutalities of the present civil war. Today he concludes with an account of a bitter engagement between a Government battalion and a force of "General" Markos's Communist rebels on the mountainous frontier of Albania.

    Behind him rides the British liaison officer, "Mister George" - Major George Dunlop, a Burns-quoting Scotsman who is older than he looks, has fought with Wingate in Burma, and has the happy knack of advising without appearing to instruct.
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Cheers Steve - did you see my addendum on Edward Corin Poyser ??

    I did thanks Dave. He is an interesting one, I suspect he was Chindit 2, but, at the Chindit Old Comrades dinner in 2009, I was part of a discussion about how many of the men had decided to emigrate to NZ or Australia after the war. Nothing uncommon in this, but the conversation went on and one of the veterans from Liverpool mentioned that one of his mates had threatened to walk there if necessary!! I wonder?:)
     
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Another of Wingate's Column commanders in 1943. Major George Dunlop MC (see photo below). Leader of Column 1 in 1943, he wrote a candid appraisal of the operation on his return to India, which did not please his boss.

    Dunlop had served with Mike Calvert during the retreat in 1942 after which he spent several months in hospital recovering from cholera. He was also an instructor at the Bush Warfare School in Maymyo before training for Longcloth took him back to India.

    I would agree with the description about his 'happy knack', but like all good Scots, he pulled no punches when he felt he was in the right.
     

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  15. worldwar2stories

    worldwar2stories World War II Author

    Great site....lotsa good info I didn't have on a fighting force not well known to the average ww2 buff.

    Dick Avery
     
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    What a small world we do live in. This weekend I have been finishing off another article for the website. I gained access to a personal diary of a Chindit officer involved on Longcloth sometime ago and have written out the full story using said diary.

    I now need to find the next of kin to seek permission to publish. I think I have achieved this objective this morning.

    In attempting to trace the family I have found that there is another Special Forces connection, but from another route and angle.

    One member of the family was Robert Roaf, see obituary here:

    http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E000380b.htm

    Who did he sail to India with on an expedition before WW2, Freddie Spencer Chapman. Who was a good pal of....Mike Calvert.


    23.jpg
     
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  18. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Your website is really good Steve, well done, so many stories. It's fantastic bringing so many together.
     
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thank you zahonado,

    I felt so frustrated to have missed this veteran, but then I realised that I would never have known about him at all if I'd not seen the web page shown above.

    Steve
     
  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I had the following article/obituary published in the latest edition of the Burma Star magazine, Dekho!

    I thought you all might be interested to read it:

    Ralph Tucker, Chindit Centurion

    In September last year (2013) I received an email informing me that there was a surviving veteran of the 1943 Chindit Campaign living in the county of Devon.

    Samuel Ralph Tucker had just celebrated his 100th birthday in the spring and he was to my knowledge the oldest living Chindit veteran from Operation Longcloth.

    Ralph, as he preferred to be called, grew up in Exeter and joined the Devonshire Regiment early on in World War Two. After completing his initial infantry training he struggled with the seemingly endless drills and exercises, and the monotony of barrack room life. He asked for, and was granted a posting overseas, he received a transfer attachment to the 13th Battalion, the King’s Liverpool Regiment, who were at that point serving in India.

    Like many men who experienced those turbulent and disturbing years, Ralph did not speak much about his time in India and Burma. Having only just managed to survive the Chindit operation in 1943, if he spoke about anything at all, he would concentrate on his arduous journey out of Burma that year or his time recuperating in India afterwards.

    During this latter period Ralph remembered being treated “like a Lord” and being asked to perform some unusual and special duties.

    Ralph Tucker was born on the 4th March 1913 and lived in Powderham Road in Exeter. His father had worked at Rice’s Collar Factory in Waterbeer Street. As a young boy Ralph attended the Bluecoat School, followed later on by Exeter Technical School. He was an excellent sportsman and very much enjoyed all outdoor activities. The life skills and attributes learned from this time would prove useful and probably vital during his harrowing time in the Burmese jungle.

    Ralph had always set his heart on becoming a railway draughtsman, but sadly the family could not afford the study fees. Instead, he entered the textile industry working for local corporations such as Lear, Brown and Dunsford and Courtaulds.

    As mentioned earlier, Ralph enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment and was originally posted to the 12th Battalion at Denbury, near Newton Abbott. Frustrated by the almost continuous training drills he volunteered for special duties and travelled overseas to India in 1942, joining the 13th King’s Liverpool’s at Saugor and thus became one of Wingate’s fledgling Chindit soldiers.

    Ralph was placed into Bernard Fergusson’s Column 5 and trained alongside the Commando Platoon.

    He remembered:

    “I was trained as a sharpshooter and others in the team were the demolition experts. Our work was so secretive and experimental that we were not recognised as a regular Army Regiment.”

    Ralph went on to explain:

    “Our objective, once inside Burma, was to pave the way for a major offensive, but this was postponed. Then we heard that Wingate had managed to persuade General Wavell to let us go in anyway. All we had is what we basically stood up in and we lived mostly off the land. We used to cook rice in a bamboo cane, we wrapped this in leaves and then would hack off portions to eat along the way.”

    Column 5 fared rather badly in regards to supply from the air in 1943, receiving just twenty days rations from the RAF during their ten weeks inside Burma.

    The one hundred year old Chindit recalled:

    “It was all about rivers and railways. The jungle was so dense that you could be just an arms length away from a Jap soldier and not be aware he was there. Of course he did not know we were about either.”

    Column 5 were given the task of blowing up the railway at a place called Bonchaung, Ralph’s partners in the demolition squad achieved this aim and the unit disappeared once more into the jungle. After many more weeks of marching and counter-marching Column 5 were given the unenviable task of rear guard as the main body of the Brigade attempted to return to India.

    Of the three Chindit columns made up of mainly British troops, Column 5 were to loose over two thirds of their number in 1943, men either disappeared along the paths and tracks of the jungle or became prisoners to the Japanese, with most of these perishing inside Rangoon Jail.

    Ralph remembered this time well:

    “We soon had to make our own way back to India. I was fortunate to receive a lot of help and kindness from friendly Burmese villagers along the way. A lot of our chaps never did come out. After many weeks of marching, covering in excess of 600 hundred miles I reached the safety of the Assam border.”

    “I was a mere six stone when I reached the Military Hospital at Imphal. They put me in a tub of disinfectant and burned my clothes. I had malaria and could only eat liquid foods due to my shrunken stomach.”

    After a long recuperation period in hospital, Ralph was given many special duties by the Army, including courier services, where he transported important documents to places all over India. He was offered a commission into the Indian Army, but declined, as this would have meant staying in India for at least another year. He had already served overseas longer than most and decided it was time to return home. Ralph never met any of his Chindit comrades again.

    When asked about his favourite memory from those times he answered:

    “An unforgettable memory for me was sitting on a mountain top at a place called Murree, which is in present day Pakistan and being able to see several different countries and Mount Everest from the same spot.”

    Ralph flew out of Karachi and headed home in a Liberator aircraft that was going back to the UK for maintenance work. After a brief stop over at Tel Aviv, he landed at Merryfield Aerodrome near Tauton in Somerset. From here he travelled by train to London.

    After demob he returned to his former job at Lear, Brown and Dunsford. In 1946 he met Gwen, his wife to be, at a speedway meeting in Exeter, they married in St. Thomas’s Church and went on to raise a family of five children.

    Sadly, having reached the great landmark of his 100th birthday in March, Ralph died peacefully at home on the 16th November 2013. He left behind his dear wife Gwen and all his wonderful family. His funeral was held at the Exeter and Devon Crematorium on the 26th November and was attended by family, friends and representatives of the ‘Friends of the Chindits’ organisiation.

    This obituary is dedicated to the family of Samuel Ralph Tucker, a Chindit Centurion, one of the few fortunate soldiers to survive the rigours of Wingate’s first expedition. To paraphrase a famous quote by Brigadier Mike Calvert:

    “Chindits never actually die, they just go to heaven and regroup, after all, they have been through hell already.”

    Tucker edit.jpg

    Pipe edit.jpeg
     
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