War Diary, 10th Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by kevin mears, May 5, 2009.

  1. kevin mears

    kevin mears Member

    Would anyone out there have access to the Battalion War Diary for the 10th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment for the period of 18th November to 1st December 1944? Am trying to establish the cause of death of Private Fred May of the Battalion on the 23rd November and to find out which Company he was in.

    regards,

    Kevin Mears
     
  2. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Kevin, to be honest Burma is a nightmare to research, but the 1oth Glosters were part of the 72nd Inf Brigade of the 36 Infantry Division, so you might find something by searching at Brigade or Division Level.

    36th Infantry Division: Maj-Gen F.W. Festing
    72nd Infantry Brigade: Brig A.R. Aslett
    10th Bn Gloucestershire Regt
    9th Bn Royal Sussex Regt
    6th Bn South Wales Borderers

    P
     
  3. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    BUT !

    where there is a will there is a way.

    10th Gloucesters at Pinwe
    15th-26th November 1944
    by Major R.S. Butler
    (Back Badge, 1947)
    In June 1944, the 10th Gloucesters, after fighting on the Arakan front, joined the Northern Combat Area Command, under the American General Stilwell, who commanded a mixed British-American-Chinese force. Stilwell's first objective was to build and keep open a road from Ledo, in Assam, to China.

    The Chinese Divisions were to occupy the Bhamo area, whilst on their right the 36th British Division was to advance down the Myitkynia-Mandalay railway to the area Naba Junction-Katha. Katha was important to the Japanese supply route up the Irrawaddy. The 36th Division at that time had 2 brigades only, the 29th and 72nd, the 10th Gloucesters being in the latter. After being flown from Ledo to the airstrip near Myitkynia, the Division pushed south along the railway, slowly clearing and repairing the line.

    7th November the 72nd Brigade took the lead at Mwalu, for the advance to Katha. The country was teak forest and visibility was generally some 30 yards. On the right the 9th Royal Sussex advanced down the railway track. The 6th SWBs went down the dirt road some 800 yards to their left, and the 10th Glosters were in reserve. The forward battalions encountered stiff opposition from units of the Japanese 18th Imperial Division near Gyobin Chaung, north of Pinwe. The 18th Japanese Division had been prominent in the capture of Singapore and was a very good one. Its patrolling was first class and, for Japanese, its shooting was very accurate. The 10th Glosters were to advance around the left flank to get into the rear of the enemy position at Pinwe. The rest of the Brigade was to attack across the river.

    15th November, the Battalion, with some 70 mules, started out over the foothills on their left flank. The hills were steep and the men heavily ladden with weapons, full kit and 3 days rations on their backs. After 2 days the Battalion made it to the rear of the enemy position, but were still some 3 miles from Pinwe. Next day the Battalion advanced by compass bearing; but in the afternoon they ran into heavy enemy opposition. With no water in the area and dusk approaching, the battalion pulled back to the foothills for the night.

    18th November - During a patrol, Lt. H.L. Gordon was killed.

    19th November - orders came to prepare to carry out a frontal attack to capture the Gyobin Chaung and Pinwe railway station. Two British field artillery regiments put down a barrage and an air strike was arranged for the Gyobin Chaung area.

    21st November - patrols sent out and Battalion moved up to its assembly area. The enemy positions could not be located due to the thick jungle.

    22nd November - After a short bombardment the Battalion advanced at 1000 hrs. "D" Coy. reached the Gyobin Chaung, dealing with the enemy positions they encountered. "C" Coy. came under heavy fire from a well concealed machine gun post that was protected by a ring of snipers. "C" Coy. dug in, Major MacLaurin was wounded during this advance. Capt. O.M. Schryver, crawled out to rescue a wounded man, but was killed in the attempt.
    "A" Coy. ran into an enemy bunker position, which was dealt with by a 2 platoon attack. After crossing the chaung they ran into heavy machine gun and mortar fire. They beat off an enemy attack but all the company's officers were killed (including OC, Major G.E.F. Wethered) or wounded. "B" Coy. followed up and found more of the enemy moving into position on the chaung behind "A" Coy. They fought off an attack and dug in, but were suffering from snipers hidden in the trees; Major A.C. Steadman (OC "B" Coy.) and his 2 subalterns were killed.

    23rd November - Patrols pushed out in the morning. More enemy attacks repulsed. Enemy shelling and mortar attacks on the Glosters positions during the day. The Regimental Aid Post was hit by a heavy mortar, the doctor (Captain A.D. Gould, RAMC) and 5 of his staff being killed and 3 others wounded. In the afternoon, a company of the 6th SWBs attacked and dug in on the left of "A" Coy.

    24th November - More enemy shelling and mortar fire. Two companies of the 9th Royal Sussex advanced and dug in by "D" Coy.

    25th November - 10th Glosters ordered to be relieved the next day.

    26th November - Battalion relieved. "D" Coy. spotted an enemy patrol in the open and killed most of them.
    Two days later, the Japanese retired from Pinwe.

    10th Gloucesters killed at Pinwe:
    Lieutenant H.L. Gordon, killed 18th November 1944
    Lieutenant G.A.J. Dodson, killed 22nd November 1944
    Captain O.M. Schryver, M.C., killed 22nd November 1944
    Major A.C. Steadman, killed 22nd November 1944
    Major G.E.F. Wethered, killed 22nd November 1944
    Lieutenant G. De V.B. Atherton, killed 24th November 1944
    Private Maxwell Andrews. Died 14th November 1944. Aged 26. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Kenneth Archer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Hilda, of Leicester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal Edwin Bacon. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Son of George and Alice, of Yate, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    L/Sergeant Frederick Philip Bailey. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 25. Son of Ernest and Edith, of Herefordshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Dennis Frederick Bowyer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 22. From Thornton Heath, Surrey. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal Samuel Clark. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Joseph Henry George Cullimore. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 32. Husband of Dora, of Downend, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Cyril George Dimmer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of Robert and Beatrice, of Enfield Wash, Middlesex Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Walter Thomas Fountain. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 28. Husband of Grace, of East Molesey, Surrey. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    L/Cpl Edward Richard Gleed. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 23. Son of Richard and Maud, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private George Edwin Thomas Grainger. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of John, of Gloucester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Edward Harold Hanks. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 20. Son of Harold and Hilda, of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    L/Sergeant William Harper. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 24. Husband of Phyllis, of Cheltenham. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private William Ernest Hubbard. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 30. Son of Abraham and Caroline, of North Petherton, Somerset. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal George Lionel Humphries. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Son of George and Annie, of Chaxhill, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private John William Larkin. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 22. Son of William and Elizabeth, of Salford, Lancashire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Frederick John May. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 20. Son of Stanley and Emily, of Yate, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Herbert Alfred Mitchell. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Doris, of Clapham, London. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Albert Karl Edger Oakley. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 34. Son of George and Edith, of Chasetown, Staffordshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Sergeant Harold Joseph Pearce. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Irene, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    L/Corpl Ivor Roy Pollard. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 24. Son of Henry and Ethel, of Porlock Weir, Somerset. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Arthur Scott. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 24. Son of Sam and Florence, of Bradford, Yorkshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    L/Cpl Eric George Smalley. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of George and Annie, of Manchester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private William Thomas Stock. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 19. Son of Richard and Edith, of Everton, Lancashire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal Richard Louis Sullivan. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Husband of Ethel, of Cheltenham. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal Alfred James Thomas. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 30. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Sergeant Grantley Wathan. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Beatrice, of Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private Reginald John Whanslaw. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 30. Son of Robert and Adelene. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Corporal Laurie Weston Whyman. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Son of George and Louisa, of Petersfield, Hampshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.
    Private, Albert GeorgeYoung. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Husband of Gladys, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

    Pinwe 1944
     
  4. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    There are 9 10th Bn Glosters listed for the 23rd Nov.

    001 BACONEG519148510TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    002 CLARKS518798810TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    003 HARPERW519139910TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    004 HUBBARDWE567950710TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    005 LARKINJW519325610TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    006 MAYFJ1466086610TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    007 THOMASAJ519072210TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    008 WATHANG519111410TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT
    009 YOUNGAG519177910TH BN 23/11/1944GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT


    The intersting thing is that the Pvt May is reported as having died on the 23rd rather than having been killed, suggesting that he possibly died of wound, maybe sustained in the actions of the 22nd.

    Hope this helps somewhat

    Phil
     
  5. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

  6. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    In February 1944 10th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment arrived from India on the Arakan Peninsula in Burma. The battalion had been formed in 1940, and in April 1942 had been converted to 159 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. The new tank regiment had arrived in India in December 1942 and joined 32nd Indian Armoured Division, but in March 1943, it was converted back to infantry and the 10th Gloucesters were reborn. The battalion was part of 72nd Brigade together with 6th South Wales Borderers and 9th Royal Sussex, and 72nd Brigade came under the command of 36th Division, led by Major General F.W. Festing, who later became affectionately known to the troops as "Front Line Frankie".

    36th Division found itself under XV Corps, Fourteenth Army and, during the initial phase of the Arakan offensive in February 1944, was held in reserve. They took part in the successful relief effort during the battle of the Admin Box, and in March and April 10th Battalion took part in the resumed offensive before the monsoon set in. This part of the fighting involved the capture of two railway tunnels which had been occupied as fortresses by the Japanese, and the capture of Hambone Hill, near Point 551. Lieutenant Gardner recalled a few months later several incidents that took place during the Battle for Hambone Hill:-

    "I went up into the centre of the position and was soon chatting to the Platoon commander. His story, briefly, was that they had reached the North Feature without trouble and on the arrival of the second platoon - commanded by a Sergeant - the Patrol Commander had sent them through to see what was on the South Feature. They approached down the west side and reached the summit without seeing anything. Then the leading Scout (a Pte.Venn who received the M.M. for his part in this battle) looked over the top and saw two Japs, stark naked, sitting on the edge of a trench. He coolly walked over the top and shot them both, and then advanced towards a bunker position beyond. Grenades started to rain on him, but miraculously did him no harm. He in turn threw his grenades at the slits in the bunker but unfortunately failed to hit them. The rest of his section came up and fired a bit, but owing to the proximity of darkness they decided to withdraw as the position was a very strong one. This they did, and in such good order that there were no casualties and no one was even lost.

    "They then consolidated the North Feature and waited for darkness. The Japs' first effort was a bold advance down the saddle between the features, throwing grenades which proved to be comparatively harmless, being used more for the noise effect apparently. . . . The attack was easily beaten off as were all the rest of the attacks which were put in, on and off, all night. Thanks to their thorough consolidation, no casualties at all were received. Although daylight showed no Jap bodies, they knew that several had been shot at point blank range and a good deal of groaning etc. had been heard. The Japs must have removed all their casualties as they went back."

    In May 36th Division was moved into Reserve at Shillong, and in July the Division was transferred to the American General "Vinegar" Joe Stilwell's Northern Combat Command, operating out of China into northern Burma. The entire 36th Division was flown from Ledo to Myitkyina in a five day airlift. The Japanese held city of Myitkyina had long been under siege but the capture of its airfield by Merrill's Marauders allowed reinforcements to be sent to the Stilwell's army. Major Richard Butler of 10th Battalion described the Gloucesters' flight in and their first meeting with their new American general:-

    "As the Japanese held absolute air superiority over Myitkyina, I felt I ought to ask what protection we had whilst flying in. There was a long silence on this, and then the suggestion was made that we stuck the Bren gun through one of the Dakota's windows ands shot down the fighters. I thought I had better not tell the advanced party about this until we got into the aircraft.

    "Next day we had a pleasant quiet flight over thick jungle country until, eventually, we saw two high plumes of blackish smoke ascending into the sky. This turned out to be Myitkyina airfield and the smoke was arising from two aircraft blazing on the runway. As soon as we landed we were met by a very excited party, who said the Jap fighters had just left, after shooting up the two planes. As they were expected back any minute we were hurried off the airfield and put behind a large stack of something for our protection."

    After a short but strenuous march the advance party of 10th Battalion arrived at their camp later in the day:-

    ". . . We had all settled down and I had just marked out the area for each company when three jeeps arrived. Out of the first one got the famous General Stilwell, "Vinegar Joe", who had come to "Greet the British." The general was a small thin man dressed in American combat uniform with a rifle slung over his shoulder. We fell in on parade and he asked me the name of my Regiment. When I said it was The GLOSTERS he said "He was mighty pleased," and then gave us a most comprehensive talk on the County of Gloucestershire in general, and about Broadway down to the last detail. We were all dumbfounded. He then said to me, "Say, how many of your Boys come from Gloucestershire?" Now, this was a very awkward question to be asked suddenly as my party was composed of five members from each company, it was a wartime battalion, and I had only seen the other companies' representatives the night before. I did not wish to tell the General that I did not know, so I said "50% Sir." With that the old devil turned towards my party and said "All those boys that come from Gloucestershire, put up their hands." I hardly dared look up to see the result, but when I did I was very glad to see exactly 50% with their hands up. Vinegar Joe then went round and counted them himself. This guess really impressed the General and he could not have given us a more cordial farewell. After he had gone I complimented my advanced party on getting the percentage exactly right. I had a feeling that they must have overheard the GeneralÂ’s conversation."

    The task that fell to 36th Division was to establish a road link to the south, all the way back to Ledo, from where they had flown. The first objective given to General Festing by Stilwell was Taungni which, after a long march by the division through difficult country following the line of the jeep railway line and some opposition, fell on 19th August. 10th Battalion lost many more men to sickness than combat, although numbers were restored somewhat after a period of rest. The British were soon to come up against the veteran Japanese 18th Imperial Division, which had taken Singapore in 1942. At Pinwe, 10th Battalion was to have a hard fight against these troops during November.

    In the morning of 22nd November 72nd Brigade with 10th Battalion began its assault after the enemy positions had been softened up by artillery and air attack. Progress was slow, through difficult bamboo country. The Japanese launched several counter-attacks, and for a time the Gloucesters were isolated. Some of the fighting is described by Major Butler:-

    "The company repulsed two counter-attacks from the left; luckily the enemy gave away the direction of his attack by shouting "Banzai" before coming in. "B" Company suffered many casualties from snipers in the trees whilst digging in on the near bank of the chaung [stream]. The trees in this area were ideal for snipers. Twenty feet above the ground the trunk divided into arms; this formed a natural bowl in the middle and the bowl area was overgrown with ferns. A sniper could rest in safety in the bowl, and so get excellent concealment from the ferns whilst firing. The company commander, Major Steadman, and his two subalterns were killed during this period. Major Steadman had commanded "B" company for three years and his death was a great loss to the battalion. The only remaining officer in "B" Company provided some comic relief to the battle. After consolidating his Company, he reported at Battalion Headquarters fully armed and equipped, but minus his trousers. These had been ripped off when struggling through the bamboo during the advance. He explained that he felt very vulnerable without his trousers, and could someone lend him a pair."

    The Gloucesters were relieved on 26th November, and Pinwe fell two days later. By the end of the year 10th Battalion were across the Irrawaddy and concentrated at Kunchaung.
     
  7. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    In February 1944 10th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment arrived from India on the Arakan Peninsula in Burma. The battalion had been formed in 1940, and in April 1942 had been converted to 159 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. The new tank regiment had arrived in India in December 1942 and joined 32nd Indian Armoured Division, but in March 1943, it was converted back to infantry and the 10th Gloucesters were reborn. The battalion was part of 72nd Brigade together with 6th South Wales Borderers and 9th Royal Sussex, and 72nd Brigade came under the command of 36th Division, led by Major General F.W. Festing, who later became affectionately known to the troops as "Front Line Frankie".

    36th Division found itself under XV Corps, Fourteenth Army and, during the initial phase of the Arakan offensive in February 1944, was held in reserve. They took part in the successful relief effort during the battle of the Admin Box, and in March and April 10th Battalion took part in the resumed offensive before the monsoon set in. This part of the fighting involved the capture of two railway tunnels which had been occupied as fortresses by the Japanese, and the capture of Hambone Hill, near Point 551. Lieutenant Gardner recalled a few months later several incidents that took place during the Battle for Hambone Hill:-

    "I went up into the centre of the position and was soon chatting to the Platoon commander. His story, briefly, was that they had reached the North Feature without trouble and on the arrival of the second platoon - commanded by a Sergeant - the Patrol Commander had sent them through to see what was on the South Feature. They approached down the west side and reached the summit without seeing anything. Then the leading Scout (a Pte.Venn who received the M.M. for his part in this battle) looked over the top and saw two Japs, stark naked, sitting on the edge of a trench. He coolly walked over the top and shot them both, and then advanced towards a bunker position beyond. Grenades started to rain on him, but miraculously did him no harm. He in turn threw his grenades at the slits in the bunker but unfortunately failed to hit them. The rest of his section came up and fired a bit, but owing to the proximity of darkness they decided to withdraw as the position was a very strong one. This they did, and in such good order that there were no casualties and no one was even lost.

    "They then consolidated the North Feature and waited for darkness. The Japs' first effort was a bold advance down the saddle between the features, throwing grenades which proved to be comparatively harmless, being used more for the noise effect apparently. . . . The attack was easily beaten off as were all the rest of the attacks which were put in, on and off, all night. Thanks to their thorough consolidation, no casualties at all were received. Although daylight showed no Jap bodies, they knew that several had been shot at point blank range and a good deal of groaning etc. had been heard. The Japs must have removed all their casualties as they went back."

    In May 36th Division was moved into Reserve at Shillong, and in July the Division was transferred to the American General "Vinegar" Joe Stilwell's Northern Combat Command, operating out of China into northern Burma. The entire 36th Division was flown from Ledo to Myitkyina in a five day airlift. The Japanese held city of Myitkyina had long been under siege but the capture of its airfield by Merrill's Marauders allowed reinforcements to be sent to the Stilwell's army. Major Richard Butler of 10th Battalion described the Gloucesters' flight in and their first meeting with their new American general:-

    "As the Japanese held absolute air superiority over Myitkyina, I felt I ought to ask what protection we had whilst flying in. There was a long silence on this, and then the suggestion was made that we stuck the Bren gun through one of the Dakota's windows ands shot down the fighters. I thought I had better not tell the advanced party about this until we got into the aircraft.

    "Next day we had a pleasant quiet flight over thick jungle country until, eventually, we saw two high plumes of blackish smoke ascending into the sky. This turned out to be Myitkyina airfield and the smoke was arising from two aircraft blazing on the runway. As soon as we landed we were met by a very excited party, who said the Jap fighters had just left, after shooting up the two planes. As they were expected back any minute we were hurried off the airfield and put behind a large stack of something for our protection."

    After a short but strenuous march the advance party of 10th Battalion arrived at their camp later in the day:-

    ". . . We had all settled down and I had just marked out the area for each company when three jeeps arrived. Out of the first one got the famous General Stilwell, "Vinegar Joe", who had come to "Greet the British." The general was a small thin man dressed in American combat uniform with a rifle slung over his shoulder. We fell in on parade and he asked me the name of my Regiment. When I said it was The GLOSTERS he said "He was mighty pleased," and then gave us a most comprehensive talk on the County of Gloucestershire in general, and about Broadway down to the last detail. We were all dumbfounded. He then said to me, "Say, how many of your Boys come from Gloucestershire?" Now, this was a very awkward question to be asked suddenly as my party was composed of five members from each company, it was a wartime battalion, and I had only seen the other companies' representatives the night before. I did not wish to tell the General that I did not know, so I said "50% Sir." With that the old devil turned towards my party and said "All those boys that come from Gloucestershire, put up their hands." I hardly dared look up to see the result, but when I did I was very glad to see exactly 50% with their hands up. Vinegar Joe then went round and counted them himself. This guess really impressed the General and he could not have given us a more cordial farewell. After he had gone I complimented my advanced party on getting the percentage exactly right. I had a feeling that they must have overheard the GeneralÂ’s conversation."

    The task that fell to 36th Division was to establish a road link to the south, all the way back to Ledo, from where they had flown. The first objective given to General Festing by Stilwell was Taungni which, after a long march by the division through difficult country following the line of the jeep railway line and some opposition, fell on 19th August. 10th Battalion lost many more men to sickness than combat, although numbers were restored somewhat after a period of rest. The British were soon to come up against the veteran Japanese 18th Imperial Division, which had taken Singapore in 1942. At Pinwe, 10th Battalion was to have a hard fight against these troops during November.

    In the morning of 22nd November 72nd Brigade with 10th Battalion began its assault after the enemy positions had been softened up by artillery and air attack. Progress was slow, through difficult bamboo country. The Japanese launched several counter-attacks, and for a time the Gloucesters were isolated. Some of the fighting is described by Major Butler:-

    "The company repulsed two counter-attacks from the left; luckily the enemy gave away the direction of his attack by shouting "Banzai" before coming in. "B" Company suffered many casualties from snipers in the trees whilst digging in on the near bank of the chaung [stream]. The trees in this area were ideal for snipers. Twenty feet above the ground the trunk divided into arms; this formed a natural bowl in the middle and the bowl area was overgrown with ferns. A sniper could rest in safety in the bowl, and so get excellent concealment from the ferns whilst firing. The company commander, Major Steadman, and his two subalterns were killed during this period. Major Steadman had commanded "B" company for three years and his death was a great loss to the battalion. The only remaining officer in "B" Company provided some comic relief to the battle. After consolidating his Company, he reported at Battalion Headquarters fully armed and equipped, but minus his trousers. These had been ripped off when struggling through the bamboo during the advance. He explained that he felt very vulnerable without his trousers, and could someone lend him a pair."

    The Gloucesters were relieved on 26th November, and Pinwe fell two days later. By the end of the year 10th Battalion were across the Irrawaddy and concentrated at Kunchaung.
     
    dbf likes this.
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Couple of pics from Osprey MAA 187 British Battle Insignia 2 1939-1945 by Mike Chapell.
     

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  9. kevin mears

    kevin mears Member

    Many thanks to englandphil and to Owen.

    I have the piece by Major Butler and have seen parts of the second piece. I have been told by TNA that they do have the War Diary for 10th Battalion and I am waiting for an estimate. The curator has also sent an account from the Gloucestershire museum and am currently trying to piece it all together.

    It seems to me a fascinating story, my interest being kindled by a chance enquiry from a family member of Private May. They have also applied for his Service Record.

    A fascinating area I know little about but thanks to help like this I am learning more every day.

    Regards,

    Kevin mears
     
  10. Trow76

    Trow76 Junior Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I don't know whether this might be of any use to you, but my Grandfather (George William Hedge) fought for the 10th Glosters in Burma and like Private May was from Yate, near Bristol (as all my family are).

    I've recently started looking into what he got up to during WW2 and my Aunty Gwen (his eldest child) informed me that on returning from Burma, Grandad visited the relatives of two local lads who had died during a mortar attack on a medical tent. I'm not sure about dates and exact details, but it's widely known that a medical tent was hit during the battle of Pinew in November 1944 where the popular M.O Gould and five of his staff were killed.

    Whether this was the incident that lead my Grandad to later visit the relatives of the deceased or is in fact where Private May passed away I have no idea, but I thought I'd relay the story anyway.

    All the best.

    By the way - have you had any luck tracking down the war diaries for the 10th?




    I'm not sure whether you're still checking this forum or not Kevin, but I've noticed a photograph on the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum's website that features three graves follwing the battle at Pinwe.

    The three grave markers note Pte Young, Pte May & Cpt Gould. Now obviously Gould is the MO that was killed as I've noted above, but Pte Young is also a Bristol boy and therefore my Grandad could have easily gone to visit his relatives following the war.

    Obviously none of this is conclusive, but it is interesting that they were all buried together.

    All the best,

    Phil
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  12. Trow76

    Trow76 Junior Member

    Thanks Drew5233,

    That's amazing.

    I don't suppose you have any idea what reference the 1944 diary would have do you?

    I find the NA's system very confusing.

    All the best.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Drew5233,

    That's amazing.

    I don't suppose you have any idea what reference the 1944 diary would have do you?

    I find the NA's system very confusing.

    All the best.

    :lol: Why do folk always want whats not there? <just kidding>

    I'm no expert at Kew either but it appears there isn't one for 1944. What you may wish to consider looking at is the Battalions Brigade of Div diaries-The ones I've collected recently (1940 stuff) contain a wealth of information.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  14. Trow76

    Trow76 Junior Member

    I've amazed myself and found it:

    WO 172/4881 - Jan to Dec 1944
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    See....You're better at this than me ! Well done :D
     
  16. Dean May

    Dean May Junior Member

    Phil and all

    I am Pt Fred May's great Nephew, and it is on my behalf that Kevin had so kindly done this work.
    It is believed that my Uncle was shot by Japanese snipers, I have a good account of the 10th Glosters movements during the battle for Pinwe & The Gyobin Chuang, and the lead up, and aftermath of his death. The thing that is missing is which Company he served in (a, b, c or d), so it is hard to pinpoint exactly which section of the battle he died.
    Phil, have you got a link to the photograph you refer to regarding the 3 graves on the Gloucestershire Museum website?
    All my family are from Yate Phil, alot still live there, I currently reside in Wickwar.
    I assume your grandfather has passed?
    Phil I have a good document containing the battalion's war diary (alot of the info is brief), I had to pay for it so I am not sure if it is covered by copyright laws.

    Anyway as a side note, I want to apply for my great uncle's service records. Can I get my dad to apply, with him claiming he is the next of kin so we can get more detail in the records? I am completely useless looking round all those National Archives documents too so some help would be appreciated.

    My Great Uncle's Memorial stands in the church in Coalpit Heath, nr Bristol.

    Thanks guys, really appreciate all your help.

    Rgds

    Dean

    p.s. Does anyone know whether my Uncle would have been awarded a Burma Star? He was out there for 2-3 years before he died, are they awarded posthumously? Thanks.
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    p.s. Does anyone know whether my Uncle would have been awarded a Burma Star? He was out there for 2-3 years before he died, are they awarded posthumously? Thanks.

    Yes he would but you have to apply for them.
    Link for forms to apply for medals here. < click



    Ministry of Defence | Defence For... | Veterans | Medals | Burma Star

    Criteria
    Star awarded for 1 or more days’ service in Burma between the above dates.

    Those serving in Bengal and Assam (in India), China, Hong Kong, Malaya or Sumatra between certain other specified dates will also qualify.
    Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939-45 Star before the Burma Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea, restricted to the Bay of Bengal within certain specified boundaries.
    Certain special conditions apply governing award of the Star for those Naval personnel entering service less than 6 months before the end of the qualifying period.
    RAF air crew engaged in operations against the enemy will also qualify provided that at least one operational sortie has been completed.
     
  18. Dean May

    Dean May Junior Member

    Hi Owen

    Thank you for the reply. Just a quick question regarding this form if I may.
    I don't want to get it wrong hence why I ask but I am going to get my dad to apply for his medal as my dad was his Nephew. In section 2 I would assume he would sign part F?

    Thanks again

    Rgds

    Dean
     
  19. Trow76

    Trow76 Junior Member

    Hi Dean,

    Here's the link for the photo - I hope:

    GLRRM : 06672.8 -

    If the link doesn't work just cut and paste it into your browser.

    My Grandfather passed away back in 1978 when I was two so I don't even have any memories of him. It was my Aunty Gwen, his eldest child, who told me about the two young privates that were killed in a medical tent by a Japansese mortar bomb. He was apparently hit very hard by this - particularly as he lost his three year old son, Teddy during the 10th's campaign in Burma. He visited the families on arriving back after the war. Obviously if you have evidence he was hit by a sniper, your Great Uncle's family wouldn't have been one of them. It does seem rather odd though that he was buried with another Private and the medical officer (Gould) who were killed in the same attack - unless I've got it wrong and Captain Gould isn't the Medical Officer that was killed at all!

    I've learnt through other family members that Grampy was the RQMS (Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant) for the 10th so would have had a lot of contact with the men from all companies in the battalion. He was offered a commission into the Indian Army at some point, but refused on the grounds he didn't want to leave the 10th, especially after everything he'd been through with his mates.

    I have the reference number for all the years of the 10th Battalion's War Diaries and I live in London so I plan to go and have a look through them at some point - it's just a case of finding the time.

    All the best,

    Phil
     
  20. Dean May

    Dean May Junior Member

    Hi Phil

    That's interesting about your grandfather, thanks for sharing .All the word from my family is that Uncle Fred was shot, part of the war diary I received from the Glosters Museum hinted towards large losses from Japanese snipers, this is where I am thinking he was killed. I would have thought that the war diary would have enlightened me to the fact that he was killed in the tent that got struck, but just as an aside to that a good friend of mine has done some research and he said because it says my uncle "died" on the 23rd Nov, and not "killed" it is likely he died of wounds after he had been hit. Another conflicting report that I have read in 2 or 3 different places is that Capt Gould was killed along with 4 (or could have been 5) of his fellow workers within the field tent. My uncle was not working as a medic. Also if that is my uncle's and Capt Gould's temporary grave (along with Pvt Young) then where are the other 2-3 that were killed? I would have thought they would have all been together.
    I will contact the Glosters museum again and ask them if they can confirm, or at least decipher the service number on the cross that is stuck in the grave, because if my uncle was killed in that field tent then I am back to square one with my research and I will be bitterly disappointed. 18 months of research for not alot of information will have almost have been wasted.

    Phil if you do get to see the records I would be most grateful for any information you can glean about the movements of the 10th etc. I'll pay you half of anything that it cost you. If I am allowed to post the part of the War Diary that I have here without copywrite infringment I will do so.

    Thanks for your help

    Rgds

    Dean
     

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