Rangoon Memorial Question 4449904 Pte Gordon Button

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by Mr Jinks, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello I am hoping someone can offer some advice on this soldier?
    4449904 Pte Gordon Button died on the 12th June 1942 his unit is listed as 1st Durham Light Infantry he has no known grave but is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial ?? The 1st DLI did not serve in Burma or the Far East in WW2 on the 12th June they were I believe in Malta ?
    So how does this 1st DLI soldier get commemorated in the Far East ? I thought I would contact the CWGC and ask if this was a transcription error because the 2nd DLI did serve in the Far East? I received a strange reply stating `The CWGC had a signed declaration from the family stating he was definitely 1st DLI " now I thought the various services provided the CWGC with casualty details but I may be wrong? The CWGC said that they do not usually change this type of information but said if I purchased this soldiers service record and forwarded the record in its entirety they would forward it on to their people to determine if the information they held was correct?
    I think if I purchased the service record of every CWGC soldier I have found errors on I would be penniless pretty soon :)
    Anyway I contacted former member Verrieres (Jim) who does a lot of research into DLI soldiers and he too believed the unit was 2 DLI not 1 DLI however today he contacted me to let me know that he had checked on 4449904 Pte Gordon Button at the Durham Records Archive Office in Durham City today and found he is recorded in the Enlistment and discharge books as having died in "CHINA" on 12th June 1942 battalion not recorded?

    Can anyone offer any theory to why a dead DLI soldier who died in CHINA would be commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial ? Or what a DLI soldier was doing in CHINA in 1942 ? (I am aware 1st DLI were in China pre-war but left in 1939) Thanks

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  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Kyle,

    There was a clandestine unit called 204 Military Mission, which was secretly assisting and supporting Chinese Forces along the Burma/Yunnan Province borders in early to mid-1942. The origins of this group began even before the UK and United States were officially at war with Japan, so their movements and identity was strictly secret.

    Although I cannot find Gordon's name within the lists for the three cadres of soldiers, they were taken from many British Regiments, some of which did not have full battalions present in the India theatre at that time. A whole platoon of RCOS from 204, were transferred to Chindit 1 in January 1943 and many of the Commandos on the first Wingate expedition came originally from 204 Mission via the Bush Warfare School at Maymyo.

    A draft of over 40 men from the DLI made up part of the commando element for Chindit 1, at least in training, with many of these men taking part in Operation Longcloth. Of course, I could not say for certain that these men had served previously in China.

    In regards to the Rangoon Memorial. Many of the casualties from Chindit 1 who perished in the Yunnan Hills are commemorated upon this memorial, as are others from previous special forces expeditions from 1942. So I think an inclusion on this memorial makes sense, even for someone who perished in China.

    Here is a link to my article on the DLI Commandos, it might explain their contribution to Chindit 1 and their history.

    I hope this helps in some way.

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  3. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello Steve,

    Many thanks for the information I didn't realise deaths in china were commemorated a Rangoon . I will do a little more digging into Pte Button it will keep me out of mischief for a little while :)


  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945

    Name: Gordon Button
    Given Initials: G
    Rank: Private
    Death Date: 12 Jun 1942
    Number: 4449904
    Birth Place: Durham (County)
    Residence: Durham (City)
    Regiment at Enlistment: Durham Light Infantry
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: China
    Regiment at Death: Durham Light Infantry
    Branch at Death: Infantry

    Mr Jinks likes this.
  5. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for that I found this too from a family tree (even if they presumed he died in Burma too :) )

    Gordon Stanley Button

    Birth: 23 Oct 1914 - Durham, England
    Death: 12 Jun 1942 - Burma (Myanmar)
    Parents: Mark Button (ex 2nd Volunteer Battalion DLI served South Africa?), Martha Newcombe

    Address 15 Bryan Street Tudhoe village Co Durham

  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Kyle,

    I don't necessarily think all deaths in China were commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, but some certainly are. If you do find out what happened to Gordon and what unit he was with, please come back and let us know.

    Best wishes and good hunting.

    Mr Jinks likes this.
  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello Steve,

    Yes I will do ,Jim has tracked him up to 1939 then nothing :( Pte Button was with D Company 1st DLI in China in 1938 his best friend Cpl Thomas Scott shot himself in China in 1939 :(

  8. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Is it really over three years since I asked this question?

    Anyhow unit for Pte Button listed as

    4449904 Pte Gordon Button Durham Light Infantry attached M, E, Commando, Layforce

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