Jim's time in Burma and India (with photos)

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by pnewton84, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    Hi all

    Quick intro, I'm Paul, 31, and currently live in Staffordshire (but originally from Oldham!). My Grandad on my dad's side, who sadly passed away in 1999 aged 83, fought in Burma in 1944. Like a lot of people, he didn't really talk about his time in the war, and didn't really keep many items from that period (although we thankfully still have his medals). Towards the end of 2015 my dad sent away from Grandad's (Jim's) army records, and we were surprised at what we got back - his movements throughout the war and his notification of release. And we were really proud to read:

    Military conduct ‘Exemplary’
    Testimonial: ‘A really good type of soldier, trustworthy, sober and cheerful, who always worked willingly. Saw active service in Burma 1944 and is strongly recommended for any employment entailing mechanical work, such as driving and maintaining a motor vehicle.

    So I've started to write up for my family what he did in the war, and also I've been reading a lot about what the Chindits did in Burma (I'm ashamed to say I didn't really know much until this year, despite having an interest in military history). Anyway, here is his story as far as I can tell, and I also have a few questions and photos I'm hoping people can help me with to fill in some gaps...

    In June 1940, just after his first wedding anniversary, Jim was called to colour for the Lancashire Fusiliers. Then between 1940 - 1943, Jim moved around the UK quite a bit (Sudbury, Fusiliers; Colchester, Fusiliers; Royal Armoured Corps; Kings Royal Rifle Corps; South Lancashire Regiment, Cambridgeshire; 4th East Lancashire Regiment, Long Melford). He also did a course in cobbling! Jim's home service came to an end on 16th June 1943.

    Based on Jim's arrival date in Bombay (13th August 1943), I think he travelled in convoy WS31 (which arrived on the same date). A week later on the 22nd August, Jim was SOS from the South Lancs Regiment to 1st Bt King's Regiment (Liverpool) and 5 months later entered the concessional area (21st January 1944). So I assume in the 5 months he was with the King's training in the jungles of central India.

    There are no records between entering the concessional area on the 21st January 1944 and being admitted to a field hospital on the 20th July, 1944, so this is where I've had to follow his regiment and the columns 81 and 82. So I assume he was with either column 81 and 82 until their withdrawal in July. I'm also assuming he was at Blackpool rather than one of the 140 men who were ambushed on the march from Broadway (just based on probability and the date he came out!). It also lines up with something I read "On the 17th July an inspection of the Indian 111th Infantry Brigade found that only 118 were completely fit for active service; many of the remaining about 2,200 men suffered from malaria, foot rot, septic sores, typhus, or other ailments related to the Burma jungles". On the 20th July 1944 Jim was posted to X(ii) and admitted to CMH Panitola, and discharged two days later. On the 27th July, Jim returned from the concessional area.

    On the 1st August Jim reported to the Unit Depot (1st Battalion, Kings).

    And this is the bit I need help with...

    On the 4th August I think his records say: Adm. to P W Camp/Curp? Hospital, C/R? Town. To X (ii) C list’. And on the 17th October 1944 Jim was discharged with a note (1 BCD) to 1st Battalion, Kings.

    After this, Jim (we think, because he did speak about parachute training) was part of 15th Bn Parachute Regiment, and he is recorded as being in Malthone in Feb 1945 and Rawalpindi in May 1945. He was in Dehru Dun in June 1945, and finally embarked at Bombay for the UK on 11th Feb 1946. Not sure which convoy he came back on.

    Sorry for the long post, although I've typed up 18 pages for the family!

    I've attached the bit I'm stuck on. Does it say "C List" and "1BCD"? I know what the acronym BCD means so I'm just wondering if it was used at this time, and have also read about the "c list" - if it does say that.

    I'll post some other photos below on a separate post as this is quite long now!

    Attached Files:

    • p3.jpg
      File size:
      92.7 KB
    Kenneth Berry likes this.
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    Good to see your information on your grandfather. You seem to be well on his trail in terms of where he was and what he got up to. I've been looking into the 13th Battalion of the King's Regiment and their time in India and Burma in 1942/43, this has often meant picking up bits an pieces of info on the 1st Battalion at times.

    I can't really help you in identifying which of the two King's columns your grandfather was with in 1944, but from war diaries held at the National Archives I know that the 1st Battalion were originally in barracks at Ferozepore/Ferozepur in Punjab State, it was from here that they moved to the Chindit training area.

    After Operation Thursday was over, the battalion moved, along with several other of the British battalions involved in the second Chindit expedition, to Dehra Dun. They were based at the Clement Town Cantonment during this time and this is where many of the wounded and sick casualties from the battalion recuperated.

    Later in 1944 the 1st King's moved to Malthone and it was during this period that many of the men volunteered to move over to the newly created 15th (King's) Parachute Battalion. This new unit was preparing for the challenges of re-taking Malaya from the Japanese, but of course the Atom Bombs made this objective redundant. By May/June 1945 the 15th Parachute Battalion was training out of Rawalpindi.

    The 1st King's War diary for 1945 is a very large document, but from flicking through it at various times, it has some useful information on the unit's re-organisation and also later on in the year, details of some of the men's repatriation to the United Kingdom. I have never been able to find a diary for the period of January/October 1944, I imagine they had been swallowed up into the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade by then and appeared in these files and possibly in the 111th Brigade too.

    I hope something above will be of use to you.

  3. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I think that's Xii listed, Paul... all that means is that he was evacuated on medical grounds... either sick or wounded... same as my dad...

    The references from selected bits of available diaries you should now have...

  4. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    Here are a few photos of my Grandad, and some general group shots.

    If anyone recognises any of the locations please let me know!!

    1 - James Newton, maybe in India when recovering


    2 - Camp?


    3 - Jim with two unidentified men


    4 - Unidentified men with Burmese Ponies


    5 - Unidentified man on pony


    6 - Likely to be a group from the 1st Bt King's (Liverpool). Jim is in the middle of the photo. Would love to know more about this one!

    Charpoy Chindit likes this.
  5. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    And here are some more photos, I think these are in India. Again, if anyone can help or suggest locations that would be great!

    Photo 7


    Photo 8


    Photo 9


    Photo 10


    Photo 11


    Photo 12


    Photo 13


    Photo 14


    Photo 15


    Photo 16


    Photo 17


    Photo 18


    Photo 19


    Photo 20

  6. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    Hill town probably Mussoorie, with the kempty Falls. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mussoorie, I think I May have a recent pic of The bandstand but will check. A Great colection of photos, Thanks for sharing.
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have a hunch that photographs 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20 are either Simla or Darjeeling but could be another hill station like Nani Tal or Mussorie. Most of them, due to the nature of the hill country, have nearby waterfalls. And being Victorian or Edwardian creations have band stands. They all look roughly similar in early photographs and you would need to look at google images to make a definite I.D. I have photographs of these places in my collection and will have a look to see if there is a match.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I was thinking Mussorie too as it so close to Dehra Dun.
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Photograph No. 9 looks like it is one of the many public swimming baths found in most Indian cities during that period.
    Switching back to post 1 on this thread; I found that there were a number of POW Camps in Dehra Dun during WW2. A series for Military prisoners, but also an Internment Camp for Civilian detainees. It might be possible that James was sent to the associated hospital and this might account for the entry in his service records.

    From wikipedia:

  10. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Great set of pics...!
  11. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    Great, thanks for everybody's replies, really helpful!

    The only lead I had is that for photo 5, on the back of it it says "Photo by Murari Singh & Sons, Abbotabad". So this must be where he got the photos developed, when up there at Rawalpindi.

    I think he had his camera for the duration of the war as my dad remembers photos of Table Mountain, which must have been from on his journey to India. But unfortunately he got rid of a lot of his photos and other items through his lifetime.

    Also, both my dad and sister remember Jim talking about shaking Wingate's hand before his crash - that's a memory which stuck with Jim.
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    I was looking through my files on the 1KLR and found a group photograph of A' Company taken at Dehra Dun in 1945 (see attached image). There is a soldier named Newton in the fourth row, third from the left as we look. Could it be James?

    The original image comes from the website for The King's Regiment Association, here is the link:


    Plenty of other names there, you might be able to match up with some of the faces from your photos.


    IKLR Dehra dun 1945 A coy. copy.jpg
  13. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    Thanks that's a great photo. It's really hard to tell, I'm 50/50 on it. I'll send it to my dad and see what he thinks! Thank you.

    Just realised, he got these photos developed in the town where Bin Laden was hiding out 50 years later :/
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Yes, it is a shame it is not clearer. I thought there was some resemblance, although the man in the group photo seems a little thinner. However, most surviving Chindits from both years lost a lot of weight from their service in Burma.
  15. pnewton84

    pnewton84 Member

    Thanks again for bringing this photo to my attention. All of my family have had a look and rather than the third man in, we think the fifth man in is Grandad. My dad said on email "I'm as sure as I can be my dad is the 5th man in". Certainly has same face structure, dark eye brows and hair. So I wonder if the captioning went wrong with the picture, if they changed order before the picture was taken! I'm going to try track down a better quality image / the original for a better look!
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Crikey Paul! I see what your Dad means.

    Good luck getting a better image.

  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    These are the only two pictures of Mussorie that I have amongst my India post cards. They are both brightly coloured but have scanned in B&W. Chakrata was another cantonment hill station near Dehra Dun that I have lots of post cards of. None of Abbotabad though.

    Attached Files:

  18. mydad

    mydad Member

    Hi to Paul

    I was very interested in your posting. My father was called Sam Williams and he was in the 1St battalion of the Kings Liverpool regiment. I have his service record and he entered the concessional area on January 1st also. He was injured and ended up at Colaba hospital and then Deolali before being repatriated.

    I agree that it ie quite confusing with all the data to know exactly which battles they were involved in. I have several photos taken all over the place and some in the Kyber Pass and in Peshawar. When you look at the vast distances travelled it is hard to believe. He was there for five years. I have letters and cards sent from him and also censored letters. I recently met an old man on a train who had been a Chindit and he was going to read at the 70th anniversary service in London which was broadcast last November. Could not believe someone who was there was still alive.

    I will scan the photos that I gave and put them up on the site.

    My father found it hard to talk about his time in the war but we were very proud of him.

    Good luck with your search.

  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    I am compiling a list of the men of the 1/King's Regiment who took part in Operation Thursday. So far I have nine men called Williams on my database but no Sam Williams. I would be very grateful if you could post your father's full name and service number either on either this thread of via a personal message so that I can add his name to the database. If we can work out which of the two Columns (81 or 82) he was part of we should be able to work out where he saw action.

  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for posting. We have discussed other men from the battalion a few times on the forum. Here is just one of the threads from recent years:


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