Narrow Escapes Of WWII - tonight on Yesterday

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Hebridean Chindit, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Steve, its kinda strange Eddie Chandler got the ball rolling on the thread I linked to then I found the pic of his friends relative and now it looks like we have the chance to put a name to someone else in the same pic.......... and we both know how important that can be! I await Nigel's return with intrest;)

    Well this is so mate, Nigel's post and your additional info made me revisit some photos I was sent two years ago. This has ended up with me finding 3 more Chindit 1 men and what is more, decent photos of them in a group shot.

    So thanks to you both:)

    13th and 1st Kings history in Burma becomes very inter-mixed over the 1943-45 period. Men changed battalion often as numbers were made up and units recreated.

    As you know not many 13th kings were fit enough after Longcloth to go in again in 1944, and there were not too many fit Kings left after operation Thursday. I think some of the men cast out by Wingate in late 1942 as unfit for purpose on longloth, ironically ended up in 1 Kings and may have gone in to Burma in 1944.

    There are a whole series of documents at Kew in regard to the history of 77th IIB. I have had a looksee lately, but tend to stop as you might imagine at 1943, the shame of the man.:rolleyes:
     
  2. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Many thanks to you all so far, certainly filling gaps in my knowledge, and the origin of Doolally (Deolali) is something i had never heard before..fascinating! (and who can forget Windsor Davies...i'm just old enough to remember)

    I'm trying to recall which one in the photo he said he was, we both have the book, however his is more thumbed through with a few notes...i seem to recall him saying 2nd one in from the right, which does match some of the photos i have of him at the time - have attached a couple to see what you think in the meantime, but i will spend an afternoon with him later in the week and see what else we can work out

    I also have many many old photos he took or was in at the time, some named many not, as well as sequences from the air/plane showing multiple sticks dropping out of the dakotas..will have to see about getting them online

    Not sure he has his service record around, is it a fairly straightforward task to get hold of a full copy of this now?

    Best regards

    Nigel
     

    Attached Files:

  3. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Actually finding more photos now than i thought i had... i do like how once a bit more information is gleaned it reignites the interest and all kind of things come to light!

    Found one dated 21st Sept 1944 when he'd obviously moved across to the 1st BTN Kings Regiment, shows him with three other chaps; Jim, Ray and Glen - Apologies for the quality, i do have a full high res scan of the original but cropped and labelled this one for ease of use
     

    Attached Files:

  4. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    13th and 1st Kings history in Burma becomes very inter-mixed over the 1943-45 period. Men changed battalion often as numbers were made up and units recreated.

    As you know not many 13th kings were fit enough after Longcloth to go in again in 1944, and there were not too many fit Kings left after operation Thursday. I think some of the men cast out by Wingate in late 1942 as unfit for purpose on longloth, ironically ended up in 1 Kings and may have gone in to Burma in 1944.

    This ties in exactly with what my Grandad has been telling me - he was part of a unit who were headed out to assist at Mogaung, but were diverted as in their CO's words were 'totally knackered' having just come back from months in the jungle...
     
  5. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Nigel here is the 15 Para pic and you say you think your Grandad is second in from the right, and going by your pics I would agree and he is only stood next to R.Lunn, the guy who is in my earlier link! when you see your Grandad see if you can show him the information I posted in post 16 of this thread.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Will do... we'll also try and recall some of the other names to match the photos we do have

    Thanks again, and i'll report back asap..
     
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    This ties in exactly with what my Grandad has been telling me - he was part of a unit who were headed out to assist at Mogaung, but were diverted as in their CO's words were 'totally knackered' having just come back from months in the jungle...


    Hi Nigel,

    Well this thread is developing nicely. I have some documents from 1944 showing the men of 1KLR who became lost or missing on operation Thursday. Also some documents about the glider landings at Broadway.

    I will post them later today when I get home, they might be of interest to you both.
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Nigel,

    Did Grandad visit any of the strongholds in 1944, White City, Blackpool etc.
     
  9. RobertLunn

    RobertLunn Junior Member

    Found the thread see posts 25-32 although the whole thread is of intrest, and the pic you refer to is in 30 and 32 which one is you Grandad? http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/general/24742-regiment-identification-possible-parachute-regiment-3.html

    I hope it is ok to join this thread. In relation to the photo mentioned above, I now have R Lunn's MOD war records in front of me and for the period attributed for the photo (August 1944) his service and casualty forms gives the following:
    11/7/44 Disembarked Bombay RXJFQ as member 2nd Bn Royal West Kents
    11/7/44 At Deolali Taken on Strength 4 Coy, 4 Wing GHQ(i) BBRC

    next bits are a bit cryptic

    11/7/44 T.o.S. x(io) (b?) list (I think this refers to pay and active/non active status)
    9/8/44 Joined 20th R.F. (could be R.T. or R.J.) for training - remains x(io)(b or L?) This is the only entry for August 44 and I am not sure if this fits with the photo or not.

    11/11/44 Posted Camp Comilla 11AG SOS India CMD
    11/11/44 T.o.S. x(io) (a) A.L.F.S.E.A. (Field)
    13/11/44 Posted to H.Q. 23rd Brit Inf Bde T.o.S. x(i) (Field)

    So I would be interested to know if this supports Robert being in the photo or not. I am not entirely sure what name he was using as this date, however, he probably wasn't known as Robert or Bob at this time but could have been known as either William or Archibald or a variation of either.
     
  10. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    1st KLR information sounds very useful...and yes, he has mentioned being at both White City, Broadway and i believe Blackpool, i'll add to my ever growing list of questions to get confirmation and more info on dates etc

    He remembers being in White City with Calvert, alongside the Nigerian Regiment who he tells me used to hang their boots around their necks by the laces... apparently a court marshall offence not to have your boots with you, and this was how they got round it!

    Robert - I'll run through the photos with him as well and see if he recognises any of the other men, we've previously named a few but i'll try and document anything in more detail now

    Best regards
     
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Nigel,

    Oh the stories about those West African troops, unbelievable and what brave soldiers too.

    Does your Grandad remember who his overall commander was, possibly Walter Scott or 'Scotty', or perhaps Dick Gaitley?

    Attached are some papers mostly for the Missing in Action reports for men who failed to make the glider landing at Broadway in early March or men lost on the marches or actions in and around Blackpool.

    Some of the Kings did end up with Calvert at Mogaung, after they had been seperated from the main columns after an ambush on route to join the 111th Brigade at Blackpool.

    The images are:

    1. Glider casualty report-failed to reach Broadway.
    2. A general Missing in Action list for the 1 KLR.
    3. Witness statements for missing soldiers.
    4. Another witness statement
    5. Second part of image 4.

    I hope they will be of interest. The images have not come out brilliantly on the post, so if you would like the actual jpegs, then let me know and I can send them over. Sorry they are also lying on their side.

    If there are any specific names I can look out for let me know.

    Steve
     

    Attached Files:

  12. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Many thanks Steve, and completely agree with regards the West Africans...any soldier who leaves his rifle behind in the dugout in favour of a sharp machete will certainly instill a good amount of fear in any enemy!

    Not sure regards the OC, he has mentioned 'Joe' Lentaigne a number of times but can't recall the capacity...another one for my checklist!

    Your attached images make fascinating reading - I'll be honest in that these are the first missing in action papers i have read, and the level of tragic detail certainly brings home a level of understanding regarding what these brave men were subjected to on a daily basis

    I plan on printing out all the detail from this thread so hopefully i won't lose anything down the cracks. Might be a bit much for one afternoon though, and i'll have to take a few cans of Mackeson to keep the old throats lubricated! I've also printed out an MOD SAR form to complete and secure a copy of his service record - would it be an easy job to get a list of all men in his unit/brigade? I'm guessing the numbers were made up so frequently from any number of other units that any list would only be a working snapshot?

    Thanks again for all the information, pointers, images etc...am learning a huge amount and filling in countless gaps. Extremely useful and much appreciated

    Nigel
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Nigel,

    You are so fortunate to have your Grandad to chat to about these times, you will learn a lot, especially about the man himself. It's wonderful that he is willing to talk about his time during WW2, more often than not these brave men do not share their memories for whatever personal reasons.

    Joe Lentaigne was the CO of 111th Brigade up until Wingate's death, after which he was given command of the whole of the Chindit brigades. This was not a universally approved decision.

    A full personnel listing for a column or unit is unlikely to be found. Sadly, the lists that do exist are those of the missing or of the men who perished during the campaign. I have attempted to build up a list of all the personnel involved in operation Longcloth in 1943, it has grown into a large document, but the men who survived and came home are the hardest people to trace.

    Steve
     
  14. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Thanks Steve, we chat when we can but i still see his eyes cloud up a little sometimes, clearly remembering some pretty bad stuff. I'll change the subject for a while then, we have plenty of other things in common to chat about..

    Will be interesting to see what other subjects we chat about this week...i'm feeling a lot more informed so hopeful we can fill in many of the blanks. It's also a good time to chat about his time in the forces, as he'll be laying the wreath again this coming Remembrance Sunday, and he recently went to an ex Paras reunion. He always feels a bit down afterwards though as another two men had passed on since last year's dinner..

    All the best

    Nigel

    BTW: Any info on when the gallery will be back up and running? I'm still thinking about what to do with all these images i have..
     
  15. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    ... Not sure he has his service record around, is it a fairly straightforward task to get hold of a full copy of this now?

    Hi Nigel and welcome...

    As he's (hopefully for an octogenarian+) fit and well, it will have to be him making the request (or you on his behalf, once he's signed it off) if he has not got these - the cost is relatively minor (cost me around £20 a decade back iirc)...

    Here's the first step...

    http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FreedomOfInformation/FOIContact/RequestsForAccessToPersonalDataHeldByTheMinistryOfDefence.htm

    "Blackpool" is of special interest to me (dad was there with the Cameronians and I'm working on his memoirs) and I strong suggest you avoid direct questions as if he was there it was in the worst of times... try oblique questions or post the retreat - they took about four days to reach the re-group point crossing a mountain range during the monsoon (25th to 29th May 1944) - "gentle" starter questions could be about Lake Indawgyi, Mokso Sakan, or the "flying-boats"...

    If he has pictures from there then you are talking IWM and Hen's Teeth...

    "Blackpool" stories are pretty rare - if you would like to know specific titles for anthing referencing where he served we would all be willing to offer specific advice - any of Brigadier Michael ("Mad Mike") Calvert's books, especially "Prisoners Of Hope" would be a good starter for you; re his involvement with "Blackpool" then the first step would almost certainly be
    Major John "Jack" Masters' "The Road Past Mandalay"...

    Anything he has, Chindit picture wise, could be posted right here (start a relevant thread or just continue here) and would be appreciated by all of us...

    Wish your grandad all the best... anyone who walked out of "Blackpool" saw the worst of what went on in Burma and should be treated with the utmost respect...

    Ken
     
  16. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Hi Ken. Maybe you know, but there is BBC documentary "Horror in the East: Burma - the Forgotten War". Three veterans returned in Burma, Bruce Kinloch, Richard Rhodes James and John Hill, and Richard Rhodes James was interviewed at site of the Blackpool. Not much but it could be interesting for you. BTW, great documentary to watch, one of the best about Burma campaign (at least for me). Cheers
     
  17. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Thanks Ken, he's pretty fit and well, has had a few falls this year but he used to box for the Para's so he's used to taking a few knocks! (His cousin was reputedly heavyweight champion for the Grenadier Guards..would love to find out if that was true!)

    I've downloaded the form ready for him to sign when i next see him. They seem to want you to be very specific with what you are asking for. I'm guessing that just asking for his full service record would suffice, or are there any additional extras i would need to list?

    He has a pretty good memory so hopeful we'll have a good session on most of the questions we've been adding to the list. I had a 'family tree' catch up with his 92 year old sister last night and she named 30 people in an 83 year old photo so seems strong recollection runs in the family!

    I have a reasonable starter library i've been working through - Have both Calvert's 'Prisoners of Hope', and 'Fighting Mad', as well as Fowler's 'We Gave our Today', and 'Orde Wingate' by Sykes...nice to get several perspectives of the same events. Will look out for the Master's book in my local collectors..

    I'll have to sort through all the images...have a lot of them scanned in now so hoping to run through them and put places/names/dates to as much as we can. Some really interesting shots, especially the massed drops into Malaya, and the onboard shots as they start to jump

    I'll be sure to pass on 'regards from the Mess', and hope to report back with updates and new stories soon

    All the best

    Nigel
     
  18. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  19. NLH

    NLH Junior Member

    Thanks for the link Jason, certainly a few very useful looking items in there i will look to add to my library

    Managed a brief chat with my grandad at the weekend, however not too much as his cousin sadly passed away on Friday

    He confirmed that his CO was Walter 'Scotty' Scott, but didn't recall a Dick Gaitley. He also remembered an old mate he fought alongside (Chindits & Paras), a Stan Harding from Birmingham - I now have a photo to go with it. No other names sprang to his mind, but he freely admits he can mostly remember where his mates hailed from, but not always their names!

    We'll be chatting again soon, so will see how we go..

    All the best

    Nigel
     
  20. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

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