V-Force : Lt SW Fraser-Smith MC

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Skoyen89, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    FRASER-SMITH Selwyn Willis

    He was born on 27th March 1921 in Northumberland and he was known as ‘Pip’. He was studying at Haileybury, Herts in 1939.

    He joined the Army and served as a Private but on 27 October 1941 was awarded an Emergency Commission (No. 4032) as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Indian Army Service Corps before moving to V-Force.

    In the early part of 1944 he was on a reconnaissance patrol with a Jemedar called Mani Ram and a Gurkha from the Assam Rifles on the east bank of the Chindwin when it became clear that the Japanese were starting their invasion of India. Unable to radio this important information to Imphal he made a long and dangerous journey back to Imphal through the advancing Japanese forces. The details of this are given in the citation for the Military Cross.

    After reaching the British lines in Imphal he returned to the area east of Manipur to re-establish a guerrilla group of V-Force with its headquarters in the small Naga village of Manwunjang. The group was stiffened by a group of approximately twenty men from the Assam Rifles. His role was mainly intelligence gathering for IV Corps in Imphal, especially if the Japanese should try to infiltrate through this section of the hills. However as the Japanese retreated following the failures at Imphal and Kohima he moved his group forward and patrolled as far as the Chindwin River again.

    He was Mentioned in Dispatches on 16 December1943 and on 8 February 1945 he was awarded the Military Cross for his activities with V-Force almost a year previously. At the time he was a Temporary Captain but a Substantive Lieutenant.

    In the summer of 1945 Pip Fraser-Smith was given command of 3 V Ops, part of the Assam Group of V-Force originally, but he then had a bad accident during a game of soccer with the Gurkhas and returned to England on leave.

    On 15 June 1945 Lt Col Fraser-Smith married Zillah Carmichael at Christ Church, Simla. She was serving as a Private in the WAS(B) and they had been engaged three months previously.

    On 6 January 1948 he sailed on the ‘Empress of Scotland’ to Mombasa and journeyed on to Tanganyika; this was the beginnings of a long period spent in the Colonial Service of that country. He was aged 26 and his UK address was given as 118 Gilbert Rd, Cambridge. He was later joined by his wife; they had four children together.

    In Tanganyika he held many posts including District Commissioner positions in Maasailand and Dar es Salaam and other regional and provincial roles as his career progressed. In 1962 he was awarded an OBE in the Honours List for services to Tanganyika where he was Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. He later was up graded to CBE as Permanent Secretary to the Chief Minister.

    On returning to the UK he lived at Stone Cross Cottage, Crowborough in Sussex. He died in February 1996 in the Tonbridge Wells area.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
    Rothy, bamboo43 and dbf like this.
  2. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    MC Citation

    Attached Files:

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    15 June 1945 - not 1946
    England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976
    Name: Selwyn Willis (pip) Fraser-smith
    Father's name: E W Fraser-smith
    Spouse's Name: Zillah Carmichael
    Publication Date: 15 Jun 1945

    Kenneth Berry likes this.
  4. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi TD Yes that was the source of the line about his marriage. Many hours spent on FindMyPast, Ancestry, London Gazette, Google. Another great source was 'Undercover in the Jungle' by John Bowen.
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Always fascinated to read about these types of gentlemen.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Skoyen89 - I was pointing out that your post states he was married in 1946, yet the data shows he was married in 1945, so perhaps some finger trouble when typing

    Skoyen89 likes this.

Share This Page