Mission 204 - Special Service Detachment 2

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Alanlweeks, Nov 18, 2012.

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  1. AndyThomas

    AndyThomas Member

    I have got copies of the witness reports from Alan Weeks which were part of the investigation into the death of Col Brocklehurst.

    Thanks

    Andy.
     
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Looks like you have got all there is to see Andy. They were great men, with a fascinating story to tell, but as you say, most of the veterans didn't tell their families very much, especially about the more harrowing experiences.

    Steve
     
  3. RWMH

    RWMH Member

    Andy,

    Regarding the vrious versions of the 'treasure' story, I have some extracts from an unpublished account written by Jack Carter. He was second in command of a section of SSD2 deployed on the east flank close to SSD1 who were deployed around Kentung, Loi Mui and across to the Mekong. Carter's section were separated from the rest of SSD2 and eventually trekked to Kunming with SSD1
    I am not sure about Carter's account but he descibes being approached by the Cashier at the main bank in Kengtung and asked to take custody of the contents of their vault. He does so with the help of his men. They throw the silver rupees into the river and burn all the paper money. There is no mention of precious stones or metals. As Carter never rejoins the main body of SSD2, this has to be a separate story to the other buried treasure accounts.
    But it is puzzling, at the time this is supposed to happen, which would be late April 1942, the Chinese 6th Army HQ was in Kengtung and so was the HQ section of SSD1. Carter was not the senior British officer there, four or five of SSD1 officers outranked him and would surely have been involved. and the Chinese 6th Army would have found the money useful, they had been sent there 'to live off the land' without much in the way of food supplies. So I have never been sure of this account.
    Carter claimed to be the only one to serve in both phases of 204MM. He was a fluent Chinese speaker born in north China and initially at Maymo to teach Chinese.

    Richard
     
  4. Oldplod

    Oldplod New Member

    Alan,
    Hope you are still reading this thread. I have found a book of ww11 stories in which John Friend gives a brief account of his "Jungle March" out of Taunggyi. He gives the names (appear to be the correct names) of the men he marched out with as:- Corp "Johnny" Johnstone from Glasgow; lance-corp Hancock from Mexborough; lance-corp Valentine from Edinburgh; lance-corp Lacey - I think he came from London - and three other non-coms. called Smith, Bland and Good (sic).
    He also had two Indians, our interpreters. No names given.
    Kevin
     
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  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I was interested to see your post this evening. What was the name of the book of stories called, if you don't mind me asking.

    Fred Goode's son has only recently published his father's memoirs, including the march out in 1942. See attached book image:

    Goode front.jpg

    Was Friend's account very long in terms of pages?

    Thanks for posting.

    Steve
     
  6. airlana

    airlana Member

    There may be some useful information in this article from "Journal of the Australian War Memorial" No10 April 1987 which I recently found.

    "Mission 204 - Australian Commandos in China 1942"

    ash/airlana
     

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  7. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Well done... nice find...!
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I'll second that HC.
     
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Quite forgot I had this nominal roll of the Australian contingent. some of the names match up nicely with the group photograph on airlana's post.

    204 Aussie. copy.jpg

    Smart D. edit.jpg
     
  10. Oldplod

    Oldplod New Member

    Steve,
    The book is called, "70 True stories of the Second World War" published by Oldhams Press. The forward to the book states that "The People" newspaper was receiving war story letters every week. Seven years after VE Day the newspaper decided to run a war story contest with £500 in prizes. The stories had to be true and a maximum of 2,000 words.
    They received 15,000 entries (whilst most people would not discuss their experiences with their families, many were able to write to a newspaper about them).
    From the end of November 1952 the people published a total of 12 accounts of war incidents (these must be viewable in the Newspaper Museum of the British Library).
    So as not to "waste such fascinating material" 70 of the best were published (including the 12 winners) in the book I have (where are the remaining 14,000+ entries? - a treasure trove if someone was astute enough to store them).

    John Friend's entry is four and a half pages.

    Kevin
     
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  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Kevin,

    As you say, what a resource those other 14,000 stories would be. There are several copies available on Amazon, so I might pick one up.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  12. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    I've come across a Captain Jenkins who is described as leading a Commando detachment in Burma in 1941-42.

    In the Private Papers of Lt. Colonel I.C.G. Scott, Jenkins is described as leading a Commando detachment at Mong Hang, Shan States, in December 1941. Scott's column from F.F.4, Burma Frontier Force was attached to Jenkins' command, which was known as "JECOL Commando". In January 1942 Jenkins was ordered to the Toungoo front.

    Can anyone confirm this gentleman's identity please? And the role played by his 'Commando'?

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  13. RWMH

    RWMH Member

    Bamboo43
    Steve,
    Your nominal roll for the Australian Contingent is really interesting. I understood that one of the reasons that the Australians fared so badly in China was lack of medical support with them. But your list shows that there was one officer Capt Sandell and 11 privates all from 2/9 Field Ambulance. This compares with only two sappers and one signaler.

    The Middle East commando volunteers seem to have been short of medics and signalers and I believe that was the cause of the delay in deploying the Brits in December 1941. Bearing in mind that SSD1 supposedly destroyed more than 5 tonnes of unused HE on the banks of the Mekong on their trek to Kunming and that was after they had used quite a lot, I assume that they did have some sappers/explosives experts with them possibly supplemented by Draft RXKHX

    The Private papers of A G Scott at the IWM give an account of Draft RXKHX in August 1941 which included volunteers for the Commando Medical Service (poster on the stairs at Kew). Scott describes the RAMC contingent mustering in Leeds and then sailing to India in December 1941 and finally reaching Maymo in February 1942. This was to have been the medical and probably the other 'specialist' support for the British contingents of 204MM. Scott was quite clear he had volunteered to go to China.

    Some went to SSD1 and SSD2, others went with Mike Calvert and others including Scott went to Field hospitals moving back with the withdrawal into India. He spent the war in field hospitals and after the war emigrated to Australia. At some point later he met up with Bill Noonan (on your Australian list). Interestingly I can find no mention of Draft RXKHX at Kew and RAMC Museum know of it but the file is still closed and they can give no release date.

    Richard
     
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    I've had that for a while. I have all three groups listed as Australians, Burma and Malaya Cadre. It is interesting you mention the shortage of Signallers. I found a list of RCOS on an eBay auction item a few years back from 204. I did not win it but did pick up some information.

    There was a mass movement of Signallers from the 204 Mission personnel to Chindit 1 in late January 1943. These men were quickly distributed around the Longcloth Columns, but they did not fare well and many perished inside Burma and as POW's

    If you would like these lists, then I can post them on here. Let me know.
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Kevin,

    You're a star. I received my copy of 70 Stories today……50p from Amazon. Apart from Friend's story there is also a short from one of my boys, Frank Lea. So what a bonus. Frank has written a few articles over the years and was still with us a few years back, although sadly, I could not get in contact with him. So, something new for the website.

    Many thanks

    Steve
     
  16. RWMH

    RWMH Member

    Steve,
    Yes please, I would be interested in seeing the other lists.

    Scott in his account of Draft RXKHX talks only about the RAMC part. He records that there were 2 officers, 8 NCOs and 80 ORs. But I believe that is not all the RAMC contingent but only that part of it which shipped on the Esperance Bay.

    Others were on other ships. The only names he gives are John Luff and Cyril Seaward. He does record that on arrival at Maymo in February, the whole contingent was addressed by Mike Calvert who told them that they had been part of a 'secret mission to China' which had now been abandoned and after detailing several to the SSDs and to field ambulances (including Scott himself), the rest went off with Calvert to the Bush Warfare School to join 142 Commando and presumably the Chindits. But where Luff and Seaward went is not clear. Any ideas?

    The second phase of 204MM (officers only) which started in 1943 was always short of signallers and wireless sets.
     
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Here you go Richard, I've put the whole document up on here for you. If the resolution is poor on the images let me know and I'll get them to you by other means.

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  18. RWMH

    RWMH Member

    Steve,
    Thanks for all of that. All received and clear. Sorry to take so long to respond, been out of touch. The list is very interesting. As far as I can see there are no names on this list in common with any of SSD1 As far as I know SSD1 was disbanded at Deolali in late September 1942 following their return from Kunming to Calcutta in early September. I assume therefore that they then taken off the 204 personnel lists.

    I recognise the names of the officers in the Burma cadre battalion -Gill Davies joins SOE in China, Harmon, Salinger, Upchurch etc. appear on the later 204 (2nd phase) contingent lists in China. Do you know what E.C.O signifies? Is it Emergency Commission Only?

    William Upchurch was a Baptist Missionary in China and went to the Bush Warfare School to teach 204 personnel Mandarin Chinese. He later served with 204, became an explosives expert and (I think) connected closely with SOE in China. He was described as 'Liaison Officer for Intelligence' in Chungking in 1943.

    I will go through the lists carefully to see what cross references with 204MM 2nd phase/SOE/ ISLD in China I can find.

    Thanks again
    Richard
     
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Richard,

    Glad they are of some interest to you. ECO I would think was Emergency Commissioned Officer. Could be wrong with that I suppose. Someone will soon tell us no doubt. :)

    The only man from these lists I recognise from my research is JB. Harmon of the Glosters, who after 204 joined Chindit 1 as 5 Column's Commando platoon officer. In Fergusson's book he spells the surname Harman. Photo of him from my website attached.

    I would be interested in any connections that you can make from the listings.

    Best wishes

    Steve

    Harman JB..jpg
     
  20. RWMH

    RWMH Member

    Steve,

    Gill Davies goes to China with SOE. I think I am wrong about Harmon. WG Harmon was ISLD Chungking but didn't come from Burma at all. There is a Harman in 204MM 2nd phase. Other officers who link to 204MM 2nd phase are:

    Jack Carter from SSD2
    G C Dawson, I S Annand D P Salinger, L G Shellam, I E House, J M Clow, W Wilson.

    I also found in my 204files reference to James Scott ex 11 Commando ME and Seaforths which says he went on to Mahd Island Combined Ops with RSM R Killop and E Stock both also of Seaforths and 11 Commando.

    Still looking
    Richard
     

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