Chinese Chindit by Peter Cane

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Wilhar, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Hello Forum,
    Wanted to ask if anyone here has a copy of this book. Cane commanded 94 Column, part of Morrisforce, during the 2nd Chindit expedition. He self-published his short memoirs (about 50-60 pages I believe) in 1948. Had a poke around my favourite sources for used books and couldn't find any copies.

    Asking because I have a medal named to a VCO of the 9th Gurkha Rifles who served with Cane, and was hoping lookup requests would be considered :D

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    But I didn't want to say so as I'm not sure which pile it's in and wouldn't want to get your hopes up
    However, I have got the abridged 9GR history where it should be, so can have a look in that if you post the name.
    bamboo43 likes this.
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Interesting. This is the first time I've come across this title.
  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  5. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Hello Idler,
    Excellent! The regimental history is also terrific!

    The man is Jemadar (also W/S Subadar and later W/S Subadar Major) Karna Bahadur Khattri. His name is also spelled Karnabahadur and Kamabahadur, depending on where you look.

    He was recommended for an IDSM during the final stages of the advance on Myitkyina, but got the MC instead. He was awarded the OBI in 1947.

    As a senior and seemingly very capable VCO I have no doubt he would have served very closely with Cane, thus my interest in his book. If it crops up please let me know!

    Thank you!
    bamboo43 likes this.
  6. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Hi wtid45,
    Yes, that’s the one. I saw that page. Unfortunately the book is sold, otherwise it would be on its way to me now!
    wtid45 likes this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Wilhar,

    Have you explored the battalion war diaries for 4/9 GR, assuming there is one for 1944.

  9. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Steve, now would I have posted the link if the book was available imagine the bun fight that would of caused
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I feel guilty now - that's the one I bought! You've missed it by a couple of years, though, if that helps dull the pain.

    I wish I could say I had the 'original' regimental history (Stevens) but I've only got the Indian one which is supposedly a summary of the earlier ones. Hopefully it will have something to tell us...
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I'm sure your gentlemanly qualities would have won through in the end.
  12. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I dunno you calling me a Gentleman! And Idler feeling Guilty....whatever next!!
  13. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Hi Steve,
    They are in WO/172, but I haven’t looked into requesting them yet. Wanted to check published sources first.
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    No mention of him in Choudhuri's 9 Gurkha Rifles (the condensed history), I'm afraid. Will hace a look for Chinese Chindit later if I get a chance...
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    IMG_20190115_223947675_HDR~2.jpg IMG_20190115_224006895_HDR~2.jpg
    bamboo43 likes this.
  16. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I think you could say he served with Cane!
  17. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Many, many thanks for that! I love the reference to his “usual hos, hos”. Little things like that really flesh out a mental image of the man.

    Were those excerpts from Choudhuri’s book after all?
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    No - from Chinese Chindits. It was roughly where it eas supposed to be after all!
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    Here is a transcription of the war diary for the period at Houla. I've transcribed because the diary pages are very poor and some of the text is illegible:

    4/9 Gurkha War diary :

    5th June 1944-Houla

    Cane and Busk went off with two platoons and recce elements to take offensive action against Houla. Recce under Baird sent off to investigate Waingaw, which was reported a dump and halting route on the Waingaw-Myitkhina road, which had two alternative ferry points, Naungtalaw and Maigna.

    Maigna was the one reported to be used by the Japanese and this route passed through Houla.
    94 Column party arrived there-quarters of a mile from Houla at 1700 hours and formed a defensive bivouac from which to operate. At 2000 hours a villager recognised by Busk from his patrol was brought in and he gave news of a mule convoy of 150 Japs and 100 mules halted at Maigna.

    Two more platoons, under Parkin and Hay-Jahans were immediately sent for, these arrived at midnight and an infiltration attack was launched at 0100 Hours. The Japs appeared to have no sentries posted, as on his recce, Cane got to within 50 yards of a large noisy ‘dinner party’ the enemy convoy was holding.

    Intense fire from all arms was directed on the convoy from around 150 yards range, but owing to ground difficulties and the short notice allowing no detailed plan, it was impossible to close with the enemy and so the force withdrew, suffering one man killed. Later reports stated that 25 Japs were killed by this action and a large number of animals destroyed. Certainly they had been dispersed as wounded animals were found wandering about the area for days after and subsequent civilian reports told that the convoy was completely broken up.

    6th June 1944-Houla

    Two platoons under Parkin and Hay-Jahans returned to camp at 0700 hours. The remainder of the force recced last nights battle area. Japs seen clearing up and removing prostrate bodies and throwing animals into the Irrawaddy. This clearing up party was attacked by remainder of the force at 1600 hours, but the small Japanese party fled losing only two killed.

    Column then destroyed three bashas and much stores and confirmed blood on the ground etc. and that heavy casualties had been inflicted on the enemy the previous night. This small action ending in a bayonet charge did much to give a fillip to morale. Subedar Karna Bahadur Khattri put up a very good show on this attack. The force withdrew to defend bivouac for the night. The mosquitos in this swampy area were so bad that sleep at night was very difficult.

    7th June 1944-Houla

    Recce on village by Galvin, but failed to maintain task. Baird reported Naungtalaw surrounded by bare sandbanks and unsuitable for operations. Received further messages from Boatner insinuating that Morris Force now not keen on fighting, this aroused grave resentment. 40 Column to recce north of Maigna (Point 520).

    8th June 1944-Houla

    Cane sent back to plan capture of Maigna via Houla, but owing to Galvin’s failure, the recce party were cut off by Japs and had to disperse and thereby losing a days recce and one man wounded.
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  20. Wilhar

    Wilhar Member

    Idler, thanks again for digging Chinese Chindits out and having a look. Funny that Cane seems to have written about himself in the third person.

    Steve, thanks for the transcription from the war diary. This really helps complete the picture of the ops around Houla, which isn’t mentioned in many histories (including the Indian Army official history of the campaign). The villager they mention must have been Udai, who was discussed in Chinese Chindits.

    Just for good measure, here is Subadar Karna Bahadur Khattri’s MC citation:

    For personal bravery and example under heavy fire.

    On 7 June 1944 during an attack on HOULA village which the enemy had strongly fortified by many foxholes and small bunkers, this G.O. was ordered to move two platoons to attack the position from a flank. The ground over which he had to move was under fire from the enemy positions but he led his party across and by skilful use of ground closed right up to the enemy, leading the final bayonet charge himself.

    The capture of these positions may be attributed to the fine spirit of fearless courage shown by this G.O. who has been an inspiring example of aggressive bravery on every occasion that he has encountered the enemy.

    Recommended By
    Brig. J.R.Morris
    Comd. 111 Ind Inf Bde.

    The award was gazetted on Nov. 16 1944 in the London Gazette.

    Khattri enrolled Dec. 20 1940, less than two months after 4/9 GR was raised at Dehra Dun. He made Jemadar on Mar. 15 1941. I wonder if he had pre war service of some kind to rise so quickly. He was a W/S Subadar and Acting Subadar Major in the Apr. 1945 Indian Army List. Awarded Order of British India as per Jan. 1 1947 Gazette of India. The battalion was disbanded later that year and there is no evidence that Khattri continued in the service.

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