Kantu the sweeper with a Mention in Despatches

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by imphalcampaign, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. imphalcampaign

    imphalcampaign Active Member

    During the Battle of Bishnepur and Silchar Track, there was this sweeper/follower name refer as Kantu who deposit the content of a thunder box in a pit often under fire. Kantu work around the clock ceaselessly crawling along the exposed trench, with the added risk of being ambushed beyond the wire. His conduct so amazed the Northamptons that they asked that his work should be recognised. It was without parallel that anyone should get a Mention in Despatches for shovelling excretions, but this was agreed by the CiC and later was awarded with his Mention.
    A short story of Kantu is given in the book "The Silchar Track" by Terence R. Molloy. Can anyone throw more light of the Shovel Guy Kantu. Or is there any official document relevant with his Mention?
    Any information will be much appreciated.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  2. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    As with most things in life it’s the small insignificant cog within the engine that’s overlooked, vital as they are!
    This man through his lowly work probably saved many lives through the control of disease spread by flies feeding on waste products, especially in this campaign.
    If one man was awarded recognition for his services then it should be held as a banner for all those who did the same work.

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Have you contacted the Regimental museum to see if they have more info or stories from vweterans??

  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I am proud to have included the Sweeper from 77th Brigade (Chindit 1) in my research work. He was Sweeper Shamsher from Dehra Dun:


    MID's are very difficult to find. Do you have a general period for the award, which might then show up in the London Gazette records.
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  5. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Sweeper...? New one on me... Never seen a mention of it as a term...
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Found this MID entry, but it is too early for our man, close as the say, but no cigar. At least it gives hope that he might be recorded somewhere.

    Attached Files:

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  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Contact CWGC to see if they have further info which could have been missed
  9. imphalcampaign

    imphalcampaign Active Member

    Many thanks for the information.
    The incident happen during the battle of bishenpur and silchar track. So it must be around April- June 1944.

  10. imphalcampaign

    imphalcampaign Active Member

    One additional information is that Sweeper Kantu return home alive after the war but died soon with tuberculosis.

  11. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    He doesn't appear in the list of MIDs for the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment included in Jervois' book which is the Regimental History and was a major source for Molloy's book.

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