Mandalay Hill

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by wtid45, May 6, 2009.

  1. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Hi Jason,
    Your father George Henry Parr was my Dad's brother, Albert Parr. Dad served in Burma with the 82nd Anti Rank Regiment RA. Don't remember Dad ever talking about what regiment your Dad served in. I am heavily into geneology and would love to make contact via e-mail: (eweology@aol.com)
    Hi I have sent you a PM will send a longer Email later, we keep saying on here what a small world it is well this proves it! and with ref to Albert and the 82nd Anti Tank Regiment RA would love to know more but in the meantime 82Antitank
     
  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Just a update I went to see my Mum, today and quizzed her a bit about my Dad during the war, she told me that at some stage he was in Amritzar and Islamabad:unsure: and came out with a absoluote gem to confuse things even more to quote "Your Dad was known as Johnny during the war!":confused: as if finding out stuff was not hard enough:lol:
     
  3. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Islamabad is actually a new town, built after India-Pakistan separation.
     
  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Islamabad is actually a new town, built after India-Pakistan separation.
    I knew I had heard of it as part of Pakistan so it did not exist before partion? if so my Mum is confusing it with elsewhere.
     
  5. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Well Rawalpindi was very near today Islamabad and in those time it was the largest military garrison in India. But also there were many places with similar names, especial with word "abad" in the name.
     
  6. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Sol how would that tie in making sense with Amritzar..........17th/19th Indian divs:unsure:
     
  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Sol how would that tie in making sense with Amritzar..........17th/19th Indian divs:unsure:

    Both those divisions were created during the war, and none of them in Armitzar but that doesn't have to mean anything. Maybe some of the units which were part of divisions were there. Also there is possibility that his unit was there even before these divisions were created or it joined them later during campaign. Also question is when he was there, during the war or maybe some time after the war. Maybe he was there on leave. Structure of both division wasn't fixed and many unit came and gone during the war. So it's really hard to say without more info.
     
  8. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Think it might be worth having a word with the guys that go to TNA and see if I can connect a few place names to things;)
     
  9. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Tank Tracks to Rangoon: better to ask what armoured subunits were a part of the infantry formations as one Armd Bde in the Corps gets shared out as a Sqn per Inf Div; and that does seem to be the way it was done most of the time.

    19 Div's Stilettocol was formed on C Sqn 7 Lt Cav (Stuarts) with 1 Tp C Sqn 150 RAC (Lees) under command plus supporting arms; C Sqn 150 RAC being 19 Div's attached medium armour. TTTR does state that the Lee sqn was better suited to street fighting in Mandalay than the Stuarts.

    My concern is that the battle to clear Manadalay was a drawn out affair and hundreds of units would have passed through it at some point. Do we have any idea of the date the photo was taken?
    With thanks to Idlers mention of Tank tracks to Rangoon, Today I finally found a very resonable priced copy on Ebay cheers mate!
     
  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Got the book We Gave Our Today, by Wil Fowler today and on page 203 it mentions Slim, arriving at Fort Dufferin to take the salute it then says "A photographer with some of the rare colour film captured images of Slim, the parade and British and Indian soldiers AMONGST THE PAGODAS! " now there is no ref in the bibo to the books I have seen the picture of my Dad in so where did the author get this information:huh: also none of the Colour pics( which appear in Don Moser's book China Burma India) that are refered to appear in the book.
     
  11. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Came across this article from YANK today.

    MANDALAY - U. Khanti, a sad old man, his face and hands wrinkled by an uncounted number of years, was probably the person who was most interested in the outcome of the 13-day battle between the 19th Indian Division of the Fourteenth British Army and the Japs for the city of Mandalay. At any rate, he was undoubtedly the most interested local spectator at the scene of the battle.
    U. Khanti is better known in these parts as the Hermit of Mandalay. As a youth, he became so devout a Buddhist that he collected more than $2,000,000 from all over the world for his religion. With this money he financed construction of richly sculptured pagodas, idols, monasteries and temples at the peak of Mandalay Hill and around it. When his work was completed, the hill became one of the most unusual shrines in the Far East.
    When the Ghurkas with other Indian and British troops of the 19th Division approached the 800-foot hill from the northeast, U. Khanti stepped out of his ramshackle hut at the bottom of it. He saw the forward elements of a Ghurka battalion storming the Jap position on "his hill" and his face brightened with hope.
    The Ghurkas didn't use the majestic network of stairways - 750 steps each - which climb to the peak of the hill on either side. They clambered up the bare hillside instead. It was easier for them that way, for the Japs had posted guards on all the stairways of the holy hill.
    There was very little resistance until the Ghurkas were halfway up, and someone down below said the Japs must have been caught unawares. The Ghurkas in the storming party said they had heard girls' voices singing what they called "gay Japanese songs." Perhaps the Japs were entertaining their comfort girls. Or being entertained.
    Whichever, this was evidence of one of the reasons U. Khanti hated the Japs. His holy hill was being desecrated. Another reason for his hatred was that the missionaries of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere had leveled with bombs much of his beloved city of Mandalay and had starved the population. The once happy, prosperous people who had come to the hill to worship had been sad and hungry during the three years of Japanese occupation.
    U. Khanti heard the artillery barrage let go as the Ghurkas approached the hilltop. After it, there was only the relative battle quiet of a few stray shots. Then silence and the bodies of Jap soldiers strewn before massive figures of Buddha and over the broken stairways and over the floors of one of the temples.
    The Ghurkas withdrew, leaving the Jap bodies and the empty beer and sake bottles that lay near them. There was no sign of the alleged comfort girls. If they had been there, they must have left by a southern exit.
    [​IMG] Blindfolded Jap prisoners are lead into headquarters.
    For the southern side of the peak had still to be cleared. U. Khanti watched men of the Royal Berkshires take over the assault to the south. There the Japs hid inside the temples, behind pagodas and between huge Buddhist idols.
    The fight for possession of the southern peak continued for three days. About 20 of the enemy escaped death until the last by taking refuge in a tunnel running through the hilltop from east to west. The tunnel, made of rock and concrete, was shellproof. It would have been too costly to try to take it by a frontal infantry attack, and an air strike was ruled out because the British did not wish to damage the holy structures any more than could be helped.
    U. Khanti was still watching, now apprehensively, when a British sergeant from Essex approached his CO. "Sir," he said, "with your permission I would climb over the tunnel and throw a tin of petrol into the bloody thing. Then I would follow up with a grenade and see what develops."
    "Ordinarily," said the CO, "I would take a dim view of such a stunt, but carry on."
    With a large can of gasoline in his arms and a pair of grenades dangling from his belt, the sergeant climbed cautiously above the tunnel toward the top of one of the entrances. When he got there, he leaned over and hurled the gasoline into the black opening, can and all. A second later he followed through with a grenade.
    Flames and black smoke poured out of the entrance. U. Khanti and the other spectators heard screams and groans from the bowels of the tunnel. Seven Japs, one by one, ran flaming from the tunnel and jumped, torchlike, from the top of the steep hill.
    Two British soldiers rushed into different tunnel entrances and pumped lead. Next morning 13 Japs were found dead in the scorched corridors. The battle of Mandalay Hill was ended.
    The second phase of the Battle of Mandalay - clearing out the city - wasn't far from U. Khanti's hut either. It centered around an ancient fortress - Fort Dufferin - protected by a red-brick wall 26 feet high and surrounded by a 60-yard moat. The Japs holed up here were able to keep the 19th Division at bay for 13 days.
    Several attempts were made to capture the fort during that time. While the Royal Berkshires were fighting on the hill, a battalion of Indian troops tried unsuccessfully to take Dufferin.
    They used a 5.5 gun placed only 500 yards away from the fort's northern wall in this first assault. It threw 100-pound shell after 100-pound shell against the target. When a breach had been made, the Indian troops advanced.
    They advanced only to meet a withering barrage of machine gun fire at the most. In a few minutes the ground was soaked with the blood of the wounded. Bearded, turbaned Punjabis ran the gauntlet of heavy Jap fire to carry out casualties on their shoulders. And the other Indian troops were ordered to withdraw.
    In the next few days several air attacks blasted the fort, again from the north. Two more infantry assaults were launched on two different nights, but both failed. By the 11th day of the battle, the troops of the 19th had fanned out to every section of Mandalay. Only Fort Dufferin remained in Jap hands. Finally, on the 13th day, wave after wave of Mitchell bombers dropped 1,000-pounders on the northern walls. Then, just as the smoke settled, the infantrymen prepared to storm over the rubble and into the fort.
    They were poised for their charge when someone pointed to the breach in the wall. Two men stood there, one with a white flag, the other waving a Union Jack.
    The two men moved down to the infantry lines and explained everything. They were Anglo-Burmans who, together with 300 other refugees, had been imprisoned by the Japs. The Japs, they said, had fled to the south. "There isn't one left in the fort now."
    With this ending to the Battle of Mandalay, U. Khanti sent one of his followers up the holy hill to check the damage to the statues of Buddha, the pagodas and the temples. Soon again his followers would be climbing the hill to worship. Maybe they wouldn't look so hungry and sad.

    By Sgt. Walter Peters - YANK Staff Correspondent - May 25, 1945 edition.

     China-Burma-India Edition of YANK - The Army Weekly - PART TWO
     
    sol likes this.
  12. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Nice find Jason.
     
  13. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Enes, but I can do better;) question is though how do you get to see the film clip:unsure: see the description in the Synopsis box to the right click expand to read all. MANDALAY - FINAL ASSAULT ON FORT DUFFERIN AND CIVILIAN REFUGEES (20/3/1945) | colonialfilm Ok I am now quite excited:D having looked through these films it seems there are quite a few covering operations at Mandalay Hill, with descriptions of what is happening, on the link such as this one MANDALAY - SHELLING OF MANDALAY HILL (10/3/1945) | colonialfilm from page one it also gives technical info......... which includes the camerman! so its entirely possible that one of those named could have took the picture of my Dad!
     
  14. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    There are ten pages of film clips mentioned here with Mandalay hill being covered in the main across the first five pages but also a few odd ones further on. Search | colonialfilm
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have read somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where?) that of the 7000 or so brave citizens of Mandalay that remained and lived on in the city while the two adversaries fought it out, the vast majority went about their daily business with scant regard to the lead and shell that flew amongst them.

    So the tale of U Khanti is of no real surprise.

    I also remember a tale that the first Allied soldiers into Dufferin were met by an American serviceman fabled to be on leave form the Myitkhina area!! This can't be correct can it?:rolleyes:
     
  16. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I have read somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where?) that of the 7000 or so brave citizens of Mandalay that remained and lived on in the city while the two adversaries fought it out, the vast majority went about their daily business with scant regard to the lead and shell that flew amongst them.

    So the tale of U Khanti is of no real surprise.

    I also remember a tale that the first Allied soldiers into Dufferin were met by an American serviceman fabled to be on leave form the Myitkhina area!! This can't be correct can it?:rolleyes:
    Both are true Steve the people just carried on as usual, just think in some way so did the people of this coutry throught the blitz, and the yank was on leave souviner hunting!
     
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Both are true Steve the people just carried on as usual, just think in some way so did the people of this coutry throught the blitz, and the yank was on leave souviner hunting!

    Amazing stories Jason.:)
     
  18. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Bumping this purely because it's a great read...

    Stunning way to find a cousin...!!!

    B)
     
    wtid45 likes this.
  19. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    For people without photoshop, i took the liberty of cropping and scaling the image to just eh soldiers.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    What's to say about this photograph? First off, it's exactly that, it's not a snapshot. I'd say that it's been taken with a long lens with tripod. That set up will bring the statue forward and be hyper-focal. It's a statement, a statement for the people back home. Not anti war but end of war in sight.

    The photographer is very good! He knows how to construct a photograph. He's someone who has studied classical paintings and their structure. Take a look at that left hand side can. It's been put there to form a triangle, that goes to the top of one slouch hat. Then there's another triangle in the group, from the top of the head of the leftmost man, down then back up to the top of the slouch hat. That and the pointing rifle, lead the eye back up to the statue. What at first blush looks a casual pic, is a very well put together piece of agitprop art.

    The cap badge, it does look like it has a crown on top. So these guys look as though they are from a vehicle of some sort but the badge doesn't look like a recce badge. Then again, it looks circular but with something slightly asymmetrical about its detail.
     
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