Map, Ramree Island, Kyaukpyu area, invaded 21 Jan 45

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Matt Poole, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Matt, my marked area is, as you say, the ridge in your third photograph. The thin spit of land is Shell Point. The blue circle corresponds with your yellow circle and should be where Point 191 is located but it is not marked on my map. There is a white outlined area marked Paddy that roughly corresponds.

    Your satellite photograph also shows a new road, roughly parallel with the old road to Gonchwein .

    aps 010.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    Kyauktalon is marked on the Kuaukpyu West map, just slightly north of the western tip of the long ridge, just above where it says Cave Temples.


    Ramree 010.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
    Buteman and Rothy like this.
  3. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Ah, gotcha, Simon! Thanks for this further clarification. Kyauktalon IS text on the map, and then this definitely was the target for the Liberators of 99 Squadron on 21 Jan '45. OK -- the 99 Sqn part of the day's bombing sortie is settled. Now I just have to finalize locations for Black Hill, Mount Peter...and, um, then the US 7th Bomb Group's specific target that day. I'm going to post on the 7th BG's Facebook page. All I know at this point is that the Americans bombed a "Japanese supply area in support of the amphibious landings."
  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    thank you for posting these photographs from the War Diary. I have managed to locate all but one of them on the Kyaukpyu and Kyaukpyu West maps.

    They are overlapping photographs of the beach area just north of Kyauktalon to Georgina Point then eastwards to Dalhousie Point and Kyaukpyu town. Presumably the beach between Kyauktalon and Georgina Point was where the landings took place.

    Ramree 003.JPG

    Ramree 001.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
    Buteman and Rothy like this.
  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The photographs are not to exactly the same scale as the map but are pretty close. I do not have the technological skills to adjust the size to make a perfect fit, but you get the idea.

    Ramree 006.JPG Ramree 007.JPG
    Tricky Dicky and Buteman like this.
  6. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Excellent work. :)
  7. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    I also spent a few minutes comparing Ramacal's air photos to Simon's map. This kind of bonus to posting a query is fun, so thanks again, lads.
    Buteman likes this.
  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Here is the full panorama literally cut and pasted using a Stanley Knife and a Prit Stick.

    loaded 004.JPG
    Buteman likes this.
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This photograph from the RAF Museum collection, numbered PC71/19/1680 has the description: Vertical photograph taken during bombing of Japanese defences on Ramree Island, Burma, by RAF Liberators of No 356 Squadron, 21st January 1945.

    This would appear to be the bombing of Kyauktalon.

    Ramree 21stJan 45.JPG
    Buteman likes this.
  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    They also have this photograph, PC71/19/627, captioned: Liberator bombers attack Japanese positions on Ramree Island, Burma before allied landings.

    This may be Mount Peter.

    Buteman likes this.
  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The RAF Museum also has this photograph, PC71/19/665 whose description reads: Vertical photograph of allied landing on Ramree Island, Burma, 21st January 1945.

    This photograph is of the coast line between Georgina Point and Kyaukpyu. Kompani Ze is situated at the crossroads at the bottom left of the photograph. There appear to be obstacles along the beach and the allied invasion fleet can just be made out at the top left of the photograph.

    Ramree 2.JPG
    Tricky Dicky and Buteman like this.
  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    215 Squadron R.A.F. Operations Record Book.

    21st January 1945. 0600 - 1300 hours. Ramree Island

    12 aircraft were detailed to take part in the combined assault upon Ramee Island by Naval, Air, and Ground Forces. Japanese Coast Defences were first shelled by the Navy. Immediately afterwards aircraft of the Strategic Air Force bombarded gun positions and defensive works at Mont Peter, Kyauktalon and Black Hill and the Japanese Headquarters Camp Area at Indaw. During this time, other defensive positions were attacked by our fighter-bombers, and Landing Craft approached the northern shore, timed to discharge their troops and equipment as soon as the major bombardment ceased. Timing was excellent, and fire ceased from the Naval Units as our bombers made their run upon Mount Peter, from the north. The attack was made in formation, in four vics each of 3 aircraft, and a close concentration of bursts was obtained on the seaward slopes of the hill, which was the aiming-point. No escort was provided, as fighters were operating against ground targets in the area, during the bombers attack. No opposition of any kind was encountered, and the weather was clear.
    Tricky Dicky and Buteman like this.
  13. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Thanks for the latest, Simon. I also searched the Imperial War Museum and Australian War Memorial online photo archives, and there are a few of the same photos and others. It always struck me as self-centered/greedy that these archives claim photos as their own, often copyrighted, and that an author is supposed to pay to reproduce them. Yet many of the photos were in the hands of the veterans long before they were in any archive. And more than one archive claims copyright ownership...Hah!

    Just this morning I downloaded some additional 215 ORB files from The National Archives, because they are clearer than what I have been given by researcher Robert Quirk, and he'd not transcribed every available document. He had purchased microfilm of the 215 Sqn ORB, which he scanned, but the scans are hard to read. (Beggars can't be choosers, and Robert -- who now is suffering from dementia -- has been a wonderful and generous friend.) The downloaded info is much clearer. The 215 Sqn Appendix, which I had earlier downloaded, contains many (not all) pre-operational flight Battle Orders, listing crews for an upcoming op, as well as post-op Consolidated Sortie Reports (some, not all) for the ops. It turns out, though, that there are missing pages and other oddities in the Appendix material, and there are some snippets of additional material in the regular Form 540 and Form 541 ORB records that provide more info than the post-op Consolidated Sortie Reports! So I ordered the additional material! I'm hoping that money does grow on trees...must check the yard this spring for verification...hasn't happened in past springs. Actually, the downloads are cheap, but some are only five pages, others are much more. Same price. At least they're available for downloading.

    Much later -- in a few months -- I'm going to probably confer with you, Simon, about 215 Squadron images, or other Burma/Siam target images, in your vast collection. I'm not ready for that by a long shot, though. If you do share images with me, I may have to rename the book in your honor (or honour). Nah, but you will get a photo credit.

    Enough yakking for now, mates.


  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    I am more than happy to share any images that you may want to use.

    Most of my collection has come from house clearances or via the internet. I only usually resort to downloading expensive photocopies from the National Archives if I have exhausted all other avenues. The RAF operational records are invaluable when it comes to attributable photographs but often the quality is very poor and I have to transcribe them. I have a fairly good Burma book collection that gives me a lot of background information and other forum members have been very generous in sharing information. Ramacal, in this thread, has been an extremely generous and helpful example of this.

    My mission, is to try and save as much paperwork, documentation and photographic material as I possibly can, research it and put it into context and save it for future generations. I have spent a lot of time establishing contact with house clearance people who once tended to discard paperwork and photographs as unsaleable and consigned it to the local tip. It is staggering how much has been lost over the years. But things are getting better, earlier this month I was able to purchase a trunk full of uniforms, cloth badges, photographs and the letters home from an officer who had served with Probyn's Horse in Burma. All the paper work was due to be discarded but I luckily, he hadn't finished the clearance and I was able to buy a large black rubbish sack full of it.

    What has been particularly encouraging is seeing how much interest there now is in the Burma Campaign, particularly on the WW2 Talk Forum. Long may it continue.

    Buteman and Tricky Dicky like this.
  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This is a 215 Squadron photograph that accompanies the report in post 32. I have not been able to identify the exact location but I know from the marginalia that it somewhere on the coast near West Kyaukpyu .

    Kyaukpyu 001.JPG
    Buteman and Tricky Dicky like this.
  16. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Really interesting, Simon, and thanks for an explanation of your ever-expanding, and unique, collection. W/O Hadaway - I recognize his name as one of the 215 Sqn skippers. I have matched your photo to the same spot on Google Earth, and I see that the wooded hilltop is the one I'd concluded was Black Hill. I still think it is, and hopefully later today my friend will be able to access sheet 85 E 11 to see the topographic features labelled Black Hill and Mount Peter. Note the direction arrow on my Google Earth shots. I provided a wider view of the area, but still rotated, for a better understanding of the location.

    There are no bombs exploding in the Hadaway image. If there were, I'd know that the hill on the coast is Black Hill, but I still suspect that Mount Peter is inland a little bit.

    Attached is the Battle Order for 215 for 21 Jan 1945. (Target details were not presented in a Battle Order. These were learned at the briefing. Note at the bottom that the briefing was scheduled for 3 p.m. on 20 Jan, the day before the op was flown.) The red arrow shows the Hadaway crew in aircraft "C" (same letter code as in the text right before "W/O Hadaway" at the bottom of the photo), which was serial number EW285. Later this aircraft was transferred to 356 Squadron, where it wore the letter code "V", as seen in a photo. The "Clarence" nose art -- a cat riding a bomb -- was retained on 356 Sqn, despite the aircraft getting a different letter code assigned to it. The top photo shows a woodworker's depiction of the nose art.

    Another photo of the nose art was taken in December 1944 when the Liberator was still on 215 Sqn. In fact, the airman in the photo, Harold Irvine, was killed on 3 Jan 1945 when his Liberator was shot down at low level attacking a Burma-Siam Railway target in Burma.

    The green arrow on the Battle Order shows 1st wireless operator/air gunner Roy Andrews, whose memoir I'm working on to turn it into a proper book. Roy self-published an unedited version a few years ago, but it needs serious editing and reorganization and expanding. Accomplishing this is my curse, I mean gift.

    Attached Files:

    Buteman, High Wood and Tricky Dicky like this.
  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Casting your bread upon the waters rarely results in soggy bread and once again Matt has provided a picnic in return for a slice from an old loaf. Many thanks indeed.

    I have Hadaway down in my notes as an Australian, 418107 W/O Hadaway J.G.D. Incidentally, the term 'Hadaway' has comic overtones in the north east of England but I won't go into them here.

    I was interested in the suggestion that C in the marginalia represented the aircraft that the photographic was taken from. I will check other photographs to see if this holds true in other cases.

    I am very pleased that you have identified the exact location of the photograph. As it is not on either of my Kyaukpyu maps I can convince myself that is why I failed to locate it; I really must spend more time on Google Earth.

    I wonder if the lack of explosions in the photograph is due to the fact that it was taken on the run in to the target. It is only the third photograph in the sequence and the others, which unfortunately, I do not have, may have been more interesting visually from an explosion point of view.

    We clearly need to get hold of the 85 E/11 map.

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  18. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    You with your fancy schmancy words, Simon! Glad I could pinpoint the site seen in the 215 Squadron photo. And I have even more info now.

    I just called my friend, and he found the WWII-era maps. It turns out that Mount Peter is that wooded hill seen in the 215 Squadron image! This corresponds to the spot height "298" seen on the 1:250,000 Army Map Service map I am reattaching below, close to the text for "Adams Point".

    I had figured this wooded feature was Black Hill because the map on page 50 of the book on the History of the Lincolnshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, posted by Ramacal, had a black triangle and the text "Black Hill" on this point. It turns out that this map is wrong.

    "Mount Peter" is, in fact, the name of this feature appearing on the 1:63,360 map, and my friend said it is also named on the nautical chart covering this area.

    "MOUNT PETER", as a piece of text on the 1:250,000 AMS map, is not even close!

    So, where is Black Hill? It is also named on the 1:63,360 wartime map. It corresponds to the spot height "353" on the AMS map, northeast of the town of "Malakyun". The grid reference, said my friend, is 555607, as measured on the 1:63,360 map. Aha! That grid reference is almost exactly the same as the grid reference for Black Hill listed in the blue ink handwritten War Diary notation posted by Ramacal, 555608.

    My friend will scan a piece of the 1:63,360 map 85 E 7 which he photocopied at work, and he will email it to me when he can, but he said definitely Mount Peter is the name of the hill right near Adams Point, and seen in the 215 Sqn photo posted by Simon. And Black Hill is inland a bit, not on the coast.

    OK, then, I'm getting a clear picture of RAF Liberator targets on 21 Jan '45:

    215 Squadron: Mount Peter, right near Adams Point
    99 Squadron: Kyauktalon, just west of Kyaukpyu and close to the beach, as seen in posted photos
    355 and 356 Squadrons: Both were assigned to bomb Black Hill.

    The US Liberators had a separate target, not pinpointed, but it wasn't right on the coast or the invasion beaches.

    I'll post something else to finish this thread as soon as possible after my friend sends me a scan.

    NOW, just a comment on the ID info at the bottom of the 215 Squadron image now known to show the tip of Mount Peter:

    3: The third photo in the sequence from this aircraft
    215/653: The squadron (215) and probably a mission ID number.
    21 JAN 45: The date, obviously
    F8//6100: The camera has an 8" focal length (I believe) // altitude of aircraft in feet when the image was shot
    Arrow pointing right: The direction of movement for the Liberator
    4X1000MC 4x1000GP 4X500MC: These are the # of bombs X the weight in pounds and the type of bomb. See the Battle Order, page 2, where these are listed (attached).
    170˚: The compass heading of the aircraft when the image was shot
    0929: The time when the image was shot, and it matches about the halfway point of 215 Squadron's op. Also, the time of "bombs gone" for aircraft "C" was listed in the post-op sortie report as 0929 and a half! Same minute.
    C: The individual aircraft letter code painted on the fuselage
    W/O Hadaway: Warrant Officer Hadaway, the aircraft's commander (pilot)
    W Kyaukpyu: Not sure about the "W", maybe it's to signify direction, such as West Kyaukpyu. It is not the first-name initial of Hadaway, which is J -- matching what Simon has. (Simon, I still want to dig through the squadron records to see if a reference to him being an Aussie, or giving more initials, can be found.) The town on the water on the north side of Ramree Island, just to the east, was Kyaukpyu.

    We're approaching the finish line of this little query of mine. It's been a good one!



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
    High Wood likes this.
  19. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    I'm rushing a little before bedtime, but I think the attached files will show the evidence. I have the scans of sections of 1:63,360 maps 85 E 7 and 11, and I've compared them with Google Earth. I'm fully confident as to the locations of Mount Peter and Black Hill, both named on the wartime maps and each a separate Liberator bombing target in support of the invasion.

    I also positioned a piece of the 1:250,000 Army Map Service map atop Google Earth to see where the spot heights labelled "298" and "353" fall on the actual satellite imagery. I made three copies using the opaque scrollbar. Those spot heights correspond to Mount Peter (298) and Black Hill (353).

    Those two spot heights on the AMS map were taken from the 1:63,360 maps...and they are erroneous. On Google Earth, the highest point on Mount Peter is 223 feet, not 298 feet. The highest point on Black Hill is 301 feet, not 353 feet. On older maps, spot heights and topography/contours, in general, are not nearly as trustworthy as more modern maps or even Google Earth -- which uses digital terrain elevation data.

    But, anyway, I have my answers. Thanks to all who have contributed to this interesting exercise.



    Attached Files:

    High Wood likes this.
  20. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Excellent work and there is other good news. Jack Hadaway wasn't a proper Australian as he was birth was registered in Sittingbourne, Kent, which means he was born an Englishman. Goodness knows what possessed him to give it all up and move down under.

    The Australian National Archives show that he enlisted in Melbourne. His service papers are currently closed but in the public domain i.e. they are only digitised when someone requests it. I have several other photographs with his name on them, notably the 215 Squadron raid on Amarapura on the other thread.

    Could you please post page 2 of Battle Order notes regarding the bomb load?

    Thank you.

Share This Page