Mandalay Hill

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

  1. wtid45

    wtid45 Very 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.
    Bob, first of all I read your posts with intrest and hope we can all help you out, secondly many thanks for your input on this thread, it was the reason I came to Talk in the first place it is a ongoing process and one that keeps me occupied in thought if not always in deed, mainly due to other areas of reasearch as you may of noticed if you have seen my other posts! and going back to this thread it too has given way to other discoveries such as the input from my Cousin and my learning of my Uncles activities in Burma also.So welcome to the forum be sure to stay a while and pop in and have a look here,
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    That is a great photo! I may have missed it but did you purchase the high quality version from Getty Images? At 18.4 mb it looks like you get your money's worth on that.

    The Road to Mandalay - Getty Images

  3. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Perhaps wtid45 can scan the image of just the head and cap of the soldier with the cap badge showing. A "scan region" with the maximum dpi that the scanner can output. Then it would be a case of using various photoshop filters to try and bring out any badge detail.
  4. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Here's a half way house image of the guy.

    For people who are fairly new to computers, right mouse click on the image of the group of soldiers, from the drop down menu, use "Save image as" Save it to your desk top, then right click on the icon and select "Preview" the image will open in a viewing panel and you can then zoom in on the beret.

    Attached Files:

  5. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    I stumbled upon this thread while doing some research on my family tree.

    My mother was engaged to Major Alan Charles Nicoll who was in the 1/15th Punjab Regiment. Alan was KIA on 1 March 1945 at Mandalay (aged 28) and is buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery.

    The first picture also features Alan Nicoll but have no idea where or when it was taken but does have the names of the others - Ronald M Graham, David C J McQueen and the 4th name I've been unable to decipher.

    The second picture doesn't have the names of the others present (unforunately I no longer have the original to see if the names are on the back) - Alan Nicoll is sitting on the left.

    Alan Nicoll was awarded the Military Cross 1 June 1943

    His brother Ian Alfred Nicoll was also KIA - Cassina, Italy on 18 Feb 1944

    Their sister Margaret Nicoll never married and died in 2002.

    Alan Charles Nicoll.jpg
    15th Punjab Regt.jpg
    Charpoy Chindit, Owen and sol like this.
  6. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing his photos with us. I don't know if you have a chance to read a book "Prender's Progress" written by John Prendergast. He was the second in command in the 1/15th Punjabs and he mentioned Nicoll in his book. He also mentioned that he was killed during the fighting in Mandalay by sniper.
  7. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    What a great photograph. They are all wearing fresh medal ribbons and therefore may represent 1/15 Punjab’s crop of awards for the 1943 Arakan fighting. If so, the four MCs might be Calff, Nicoll, Syed Ghaffar Mehdi and Wilkinson. They also received a DSO, two IOMs - one posthumous and six IDSMs. The surviving IOM was a Nk. Jem Chanan Singh was the only Sikh, so he is a possible candidate. The Sub at the front may be Gul Wahid and the other fellow may be Jem Makhmad Ali. The three remaining IDSMs were to a Hav, a Nk and a Sepoy. Capt O’Neill is missing; he received a DSO as a Capt commanding the battalion which was fairly unusual, to say the least.
    This is all supposition, so please feel free to shoot me down.
    sol likes this.
  8. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    Many thanks. I've not read the book so will track it down - you have jogged my memory and I recall my mother mentioning he was shot by a sniper.

    I really don't like the thought of these men being forgotten - it's so easily done when they had no children to carry their memories.
  9. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    Thanks for filling in the missing names - there was a Mary Calff and her husband (don't recall his name) who were friends of the family so it's quite possible it was one and the same.
  10. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Well spotted. I think that you are right. Jemadar on the left should be Chanan Singh, Indian Lieutenant on the right should be Syed Ghaffar Mehdi and a Subedar in the middle is probably Gul Wahid. But not sure for a second man from the right. All I can say is that he is not a Jemader and I guess that he is a sepoy.
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Great identification work you guys.
  12. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Fascinating research Gents...
  13. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Yes I think you are right; Sep Khial Badshah then, rather than Jem Makhmad Ali, since he's certainly not a Nk or Hav.
  14. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    Would this page from the Gazette have anything to do with the picture?

    It mentions Major Alan William Lowther, Lt Budh Singh, Lt Alan Charles Nicoll, Lt David Langley Wilkinson, Jemadar Adar Kaylan Singh

    Attached Files:

  15. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Nicoll and Wilkinson were with 1/15 Punjab, but Lowther, Budh Singh and Adar Kalyan Singh were with 2/1 Punjab.
    Some of the earlier Burma awards are simply credited to 'A Punjab Regiment' (there were six Punjab Regiments) or just 'Indian Army'. Not awfully helpful!
  16. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    Many thanks to all of you for your help, it's great to put names to faces after all these years.

    I thought this might be a good a place as any to ask. I have quite a few pictures of service men that are in my parents photo albums - these were presumably taken during WW II and the majority do have names attached to them. I will happily post them on here (if some points me as to where to post) if you think they would be of any use to members on here.
  17. apw2007

    apw2007 Member

    I am back as I've been unable to track down Alan Nicoll's service number and wondered if anyone oh here would have access to that information - many thanks.
  18. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  20. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Yes. Pre-war regular officers of the Indian Army had IA before the number. All war service officers in the Indian Army had prefix EC
    Owen likes this.

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