history of the Royal artillery regt Far East theatre 1941-46 by Farndale

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by Patwalker, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. Suzanne Griffiths

    Suzanne Griffiths Junior Member

    Hi there, I unfortunately cannot help with the book but am also researching my ancestor who served with 15Bty 6HAA and trying to establish what happened to him after capture and which pow camp he was assigned to. I am also trying to establish the date he enlisted in order to find out if he initially went to France, thanks, Suzanne Griffiths
  2. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  3. BillBoomer

    BillBoomer Junior Member


    My father, Gnr William Boomer 1568462 was with 15 Bty in the fight at P1. Where his story differs from everyone else’s in 6 HAA is that while the rest of the army went south and crossed to Java he went north and eventually got to Padang and on a ship to Ceylon.

    He was a gun layer on a 3.7 and said that the paratroops had been dropped very high and they were able to fire air burst from the 3.7s doing a lot of damage. He was sent out with a patrol to ambush the Japanese and after a firefight became separated from the rest of the patrol. He never saw any of 6 HAA again until after the war.

    After P1 I believe that he fell in with some other stragglers or possibly the Dutch who were conducting a fighting retreat northwards. Sometime in the next few days he was wounded but with some other injured men made it to Padang around the 27th February. The rest of his group embarked on the unfortunate SS Rooseboom, which was sunk with only one survivor, but he was put on another ship. This was possibly the SS Palehlah or SS Palima.

    After spending some time in hospital and recuperating on Ceylon his army records, which are a bit sparse, say that he was with 8 HAA by July 1943. This regiment saw a lot of action in the Arakan during the Burma campaign, which fits in with some of the details my father told me about. He survived and returned to the UK in July 1945.

    I thought that he was the only member of 6 HAA to avoid being killed or captured but have since read on here about Major Baillie/Baass (who maybe doesn’t count) and Pat Walker has another two men who got out from Batavia on a hospital ship.

    I would appreciate any comments, help or suggestions on how to obtain more information and apologise for such a long first post.


  4. John Tulloch

    John Tulloch Member

    I am in the process of researching and writing a book on the conflict in SE Asia 1942-45. In this forum a lot has been written about Lt Col Baass/Baillie RA, the CO of 6 HAA Regt RA. I have read the various books and spoken with and emailed Pat Walker on the subject. I have researched in the RA Library in Larkhill and elsewhere and the following facts may close or clarify his story:
    1. GWG Baass DoB 31 Aug 1895. Commissioned 2Lt Jun 1915. Gained his majority 23 Nov 1935. He was psc. Facts from the RA Blue Book Active List Feb 40 - Feb 45.
    2. 15 Jun 41, Lt Col Baass took over command of 6 HAA Regt RA. Pat Walker
    3. Changed his name Baillie and London Gazetted on 19 Sep 41.
    4. Java. Several accounts give different view points on Baillie:
    • Farndale states that Lt Col Baass was lost. In action meaning killed or taken prisoner or what? Anyway name was incorrect.
    • Two statements in Pat Walker's book implies that he had made up an excuse ('he was needed elsewhere') to leave the battlefield.
    • NA WO 106/2562 Java Operations narrative by Maj Gen Sir GW Sitwell for period Feb-Mar 1942 states:....' difficulty was experienced in equipping the 6 HAA Regt which I intended to have completed by 28 February. I found the Commanding Officer (Lt Col Baillie RA) unsatisfactory and removed him from his command....'
    • Forgotten Campaigns: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-42. In the foot notes it states that Lt Col Baillie CO 6 HAA Regt RA was relieved of command and sent to India.
    1. Baillie was not lost nor did he leave the battlefield voluntarily, he was summoned by the GOC Sitwell, however I would argue he should have remained until after the battle and then found Sitwell. Though interestingly enough the comment by the Brigade Major (who should have known what was going to happen to Baillie) is fairly damning. He was a disliked man.
    2. Baillie was relived of his command.
    3. Baillie then writes his report on 6 HAA Regt lessons learnt on board sailing to India in Mar 42. Interestingly he signs himself as Maj GWE Baillie. There is no such person in 6 HAA Regt. He signed the report because he was a major and never a substantive Lt Col. I would suggest that Sitwell told him to write such a report. What he did in India, I have no idea.
    4. Baillie was a war time acting Lt Col. He was never promoted to a substantive Lt Col. On being relieved of command, he would have reverted automatically to his substantive rank of maj.
    5. He retired on 12 Apr 45 as a major. RA Blue Book Reserve/Retired List.
    6. In the supplement of the London Gazette it states that 'Maj (Hon Lt Col) GWG Baillie (10611)' ceases to belong to the Reserve Of Officers due to age wef 27 Aug 47. He retains Hon Lt Col as he was a war time temporary Lt Col.
    I trust the above makes sense of the Baass/Baillie saga!

    John Tulloch
  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Sometime ago I obtained and read Farndale's 'The Years of Defeat 1939-41' as I didn't really know much about this time. Recently I obtained 'The Far East Theatre 1941-46' as my father's LAA Regt was in Singapore, Sumatra and Java. I had always been led to believe that Farndale was one of the Bibles of RA History so I was amazed to find so much inaccurate information contained in an area which I know more about. I realise the enormous amount of effort that would have gone into producing these volumes but, personnally, I will no longer rely on Farndale for giving more than a general overall picture. Is there a general view that Farndale is inaccurate or is it just in this area with the confusion surrounding Singapore? Pat Walker's book on the history of the 6th HAA has gone a long way to correct much of Farndale's erroneous information on my area of interest.


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