Help me trace a chindit

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Brownhound, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Ollie,

    I see that your grandfather was also in the group photograph featured on this thread. Most of 45 Recce's story is told in Bernard Fergusson's book 'Wild Green Earth'. Their most difficult time was during the battle at Thetkegyin to the north-west of Indaw Lake. This was while they were still with 16th Brigade.

    I have a short diary of events written by the commander of 54 Column, Lieut-Col. GH. Astell for the month of April 1944. This includes mention of a skirmish with the enemy outside White City. Although your grandfather is not mentioned by name, Major White is; so it is possible this could be when Captain Cave was wounded.

    Attached is the diary and a couple of maps.

    Best wishes

    Steve

    DSC08456 copy.JPG DSC08457 copy.JPG

    DSC08458 copy.JPG White City NG47-13 copy.jpg

    Thetkegyin Indaw Lake.jpg
     
  2. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Ollie welcome to the forum, great to have another Recce on board.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  3. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Steve,

    Thank you so much for your reply. Yes I saw the photo in this thread so that was brilliant as my family and I hadn't seen that one before.

    I have also ordered two of the books recommended in this thread and now have just ordered Wild Green Earth as well! So lots of reading to be getting on with.

    I'm pretty sure the diary entries you provided tie up with my grandfather's diary so that's superb but will confirm over the next few days.

    Thanks again and thanks Paul for the message as well.

    Ollie
     
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Ollie,

    I hope you enjoy the reading. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Steve
     
  5. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Steve,

    I've combed through the diary I have and compared it with the one you provided and i'm 95% sure it ties in. My grandfather's account is out by a day or two here and there but I'm thinking this is fairly normal considering he wrote it all after the event.
    So again, a massive thank you. I don't see how I would have found out the dates and locations without you providing that.

    As a result, I'm now hoping I can visit some other locations where my grandfather spent time, close to White City. There are a couple of villages, which aren't so much villages now, from looking at Google Earth and also Aberdeen. Do you know or does anyone else from this whether it will be possible to visit these areas independently? Getting to White City seems fairly easy but I'm not sure whether the authorities will allow us to wander off to other locations close by.
    From other threads on this website, I have seen that Ms Khaing Tun comes recommended as a guide so I will contact her but I was hoping to travel independently.

    On a slightly separate note, do you know if it there is anywhere I can find details of what happened to my grandfather after he was hospitalised in Assam? There are family rumours that he spent a while in India after he recovered. I don't know if service records would provide this information? In general, do you think it's worth applying for his records or does it literally just give you basic information such as his name and where he served?

    Also, i've seen from other threads that you may have a website regarding the Chindits? I would have to speak to my family but if they're happy, would my grandfather's diary be of any interest to you?

    Thanks again,

    Ollie
     
  6. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Ollie, I have just been to White City at Mawlu, and Mogaung via Blackpool ( Hopin) Re travelling independently. You will probably need a permit to visit anywhere in Kachin State, but tour operators can get these. We flew to Bhamo, got a small boat to Katha, which takes a day. A car took us to Mawlu and Pinwe in the morning. The road is very bad, with many holdup due to bridge repairs. We stayed at Mohyin overnight but the accommodation is Very basic and should be avoided if possible unless you have no alternative. From Hopin you can take a road to Indagawi Lake but we were told it was quite a difficult journey. We carried on to Mogaung . You could visit White city then return to Katha in one day. We found that having a guide was pretty important as it allowed us to ask questions of people we met on the way...very few people speak English in the North. In the Burma India forum there are a few pics.
    The situation re insurgents changes but you will probably not be able to stray from the road too much as there have been outbreaks in the hills.
    Tinsukia in Assam was where many men were hospitalized. DehraDun was where many of 77 Brigade were sent afterwards.
     
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Ollie,

    Well, I am so pleased that zahonado has replied to this thread, I was about to say that one of our members is currently in Burma as we speak and has just visited White City. There is no doubt that travel with in certain parts of Burma has become more possible than it was in 2008 when I visited the country. For instance, although my party were taken to White City (Henu/Mawlu), we were not allowed to move out independently into the woodland that made up the Chindit stronghold proper. We travelled by train from Myitkhina to Mandalay, taking in some of the Chindit sites along the way. We stopped at Mogaung, White City and Blackpool (Namkwin).

    As zahonado has mentioned, a Burmese speaking guide is essential in my opinion.

    You seem to have searched the forum well, seeking out extra information on the Chindit 2 subject. Just incase you have not seen the thread on Chindit Strongholds, here is the link. It contains some useful maps for Aberdeen for example.

    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/55252-chindit-2-general-maps-including-strongholds-and-landing-grounds/?hl=broadway#entry644767

    Service records are an important starting point for any researcher. Although you already know a lot about your grandfather's time, having his diary, these records may tell you extra pieces of information that would enlarge his story. It is possible that his hospital visit may be recorded, even stating the hospital in question.

    I have recently been helping out another Chindit 2 family who thought there man was with the King's Regiment in Burma. With the aid of his service records they discovered he had served with 45 Recce. I've attached a page of his service records here to show what might be contained in other records. After being wounded in Burma he was evacuated on the 11th April to the 91st Indian General hospital at Sylhet. I am not suggesting that this is where your grandfather was sent, but just using the entry as an example of information contained in a soldiers records.

    There are war diaries for 45 Recce at the National Archives. From recollection, the diary for 1944 is fairly scant in content. Nonetheless, here are the file references for the India years, they might contain something of interest:

    1942-WO172/698
    1943-WO172/2251
    1944-WO172/4592

    The light blue hyper-link at the foot of all my posts on the forum will take you to my website. It is based on the story of the men from the first Chindit operation in 1943. This is my main area of research and my passion. However, in the very near future, a new organisation will be formed called the 'Chindit Society'. The main aim of this group will be to ensure the name and legacy of the Chindits goes forward and remains firmly in the public domain. This group would undoubtedly be interested in your grandfather's memoir.

    Please discuss the possibility of donating a copy the diary to the Chindit Society with your family, it would be a welcome addition to our archive.

    Thanks

    Steve

    34.jpg
     
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  8. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Zahonado,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply, that's all really useful information, regarding your travels. May I ask who you are using for a guide?

    Thank you as well regarding Tinsukia in Assam and Dehradun. Further lines of research!

    Ollie
     
  9. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Steve,
    Thanks again for your reply. I have emailed Ms Tun so hopefully she will be able to help as regards a guide.

    That's good to know re the service records. I am going to try and order them tomorrow, my understanding is that you get them from the GOV.UK website?

    Regarding the War Diaries at the National Archives. How do you access these? Do you have to go somewhere in person or can you obtain them from the internet?

    Lastly, thanks for the link to your website, more interesting reading no doubt. Once I've spoken to my family, I'll let you know about the diary. I'm sure they'll be happy to release a copy.

    Regards,

    Ollie
     
  10. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Olli we went with a young woman from Golden Myanmar Butterfly in Mandalay who organised some of our trip. She speaks good English and was good at wangling out stories from people we met. She grasped what we were doing very quickly and made sure we saw as much as we wanted. It was her first long tour.. I have her mobile number if you want it and will PM you but not sure you are able as a new member to get them. Try googling the company if not. A man might be easier for you though.
     
  11. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Thanks zahonado, I've found their email address. Just as a matter of interest, did you travel with her by car from Mandalay? And were you able to travel where you wanted within Sagaing region?
     
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Ollie,

    Yes, service records ordered via the Government offices at Glasgow. Here is a link with information:

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140805133045/http://www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/army.html

    War diaries for WW2 are still not available to download or read on line I'm afraid. It would require a visit to the National Archives to read them personally. A few members of our forum offer a copying service which is very competitive.

    Here is a link to the thread:

    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/28717-anyone-require-war-diaries-or-other-files-from-the-national-archives/page-25?hl=+national%20+archives%20+copying

    Some files are larger and more interesting than others. I did once glance through the 45 Recce diary for 1944 and felt disappointed in its content, but I was looking for something quite specific which was not there in the end.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Ollie. No our guide met us in Bhamo, wher we had flown to, but she came on our small and far from luxury boat to Katha, with us in the car for two days, and then on the boat down to Mandalay. it really does make a difference being able to talk about life in Myanmar to an an English spaker...otherwise you have to wait till a relative comes by! And in most villages there is usually someone with a story to tell.
     
  14. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Steve,

    That's excellent, cheers.

    Ollie
     
  15. ollie c

    ollie c Member

    Zahonado,

    I agree a guide is probably the way forward. I'm in email contact at the moment with Ms Tun and hopefully she'll be able to organise something for us.
    Thanks again for your replies.

    Ollie
     
  16. Mark99

    Mark99 Junior Member

    Hi ollie, Brownhound, Hill, et al. My Uncle (My Dad's Brother) was also with 45th Recce and was killed in action on the 18th April.
    He was Trooper Edwin Arthur Lunnon 1439971 45th Regt., Reconnaissance Corps R.A.C.
    The guys and gals on here have been so helpful, that I have been able to put together a brief dossier for my elderly Father who lost his brother when he was eight years of age. He has found it very interesting and very emotional, learning about what his Brother had been involved in during the war.
    My regards to everyone on here.
    Mark Lunnon
     
  17. Mark Dixon

    Mark Dixon New Member

    Hi Kev,

    I know your post was a few years ago now but my Great Uncle Clifford Worrall was a Trooper, fought in the 45th reconnaissance regiment and died on the 18th of April 1944. If I'm not wrong and they were in the same unit they probably fought and died side by side.

    If you do have any more info or if my Great Uncles name was mentioned in your Great Grandfathers war diary, it would be nice to know. My Great Uncle too had a war diary but I don't know where it is. If I come across it (as relatives are looking) I would be sure to let you know.

    Thanks and regards,

    Mark
     
  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Mark,

    Why don't you send Kevin a pm, as he may well not return to the forum anytime soon.
     
  19. Mark Dixon

    Mark Dixon New Member

    Hi Steve,

    Okay will do.

    In the past couple of days the information that I have been able to collect from this web site and by yourself has been great and I cant explain how much it means to the relatives that are still alive that knew my Great Uncle.

    Prior to this we had visited his grave but knew very little about his final days. It shouldnt of taken me so long to find this information but I just thought that there would be no way that any records would be available today and it was only by chance that I came across the web sites in the last couple of days, which has reignited my desire again to find out as much as possible.

    As I said in previous mails, I have photos of him 'in uniform' prior to leaving for war and maybe a diary (which is being looked for) if I come across it I can upload them. I don't know what he would of recorded in his diary and I'm sure allot of it would be about the harsh conditions etc but it may also mention friendships that he might have made along the way. This was why I was keen on information regarding other soldiers diaries as you never know his name might of been mentioned in there diaries too. Even if we dont find anymore information, what we have now is more than we ever expected.

    Thanks again for your help and keep up the good work,

    Mark
     
  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Thanks Mark,

    It has been quite remarkable, how many families with 45 Recce connections have stumbled across these pages. The power of the internet, no doubt. Have you considered applying for Clifford's Army Service records? This was the first step for me in relation to researching my own granddad and the records helped me focus in on his WW2 pathway, with more certainty I was travelling in the right direction.

    At work right now. I'll send over everything I've got for you this evening.

    Steve
     

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