Wingate and SOE

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Force 136 Rich, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Having just found out that Wingate was loaned to SOE for his GIDEON force operations in Abyssinia, and finding out that Orde therefore has an SOE HS 9 personnel file, I have a question:

    Chindit cooperation with Force 136 does not seem to have been very (for want of a better word) complimentary, and I wonder why. They did of course try, with Major Lovatt-Campbell manning a DZ reception that never got to welcome any Chindits.

    I have some thoughts:

    1) many officers who encountered SOE in the ME (Slim and Wavell) for example had a very low opinion of SOE. Was Wingate similarly influenced due to his experience?

    2) was Wingate so intent upon LRPG that he saw F136 as a rival for resources, such as the all important air lift requirements for behind the lines work?

    3) was the lack of cooperation due to the the lack of experience / success of Force 136 by March 1944 when Thursday went in.

    Any thoughts / knowledge shared appreciated in advance.

    Rich
     
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Having just found out that Wingate was loaned to SOE for his GIDEON force operations in Abyssinia, and finding out that Orde therefore has an SOE HS 9 personnel file, I have a question:

    Chindit cooperation with Force 136 does not seem to have been very (for want of a better word) complimentary, and I wonder why. They did of course try, with Major Lovatt-Campbell manning a DZ reception that never got to welcome any Chindits.

    I have some thoughts:

    1) many officers who encountered SOE in the ME (Slim and Wavell) for example had a very low opinion of SOE. Was Wingate similarly influenced due to his experience?

    2) was Wingate so intent upon LRPG that he saw F136 as a rival for resources, such as the all important air lift requirements for behind the lines work?

    3) was the lack of cooperation due to the the lack of experience / success of Force 136 by March 1944 when Thursday went in.

    Any thoughts / knowledge shared appreciated in advance.

    Rich

    I think point number 2 is a strong contender, especially in 1944 in regard to air supply aircraft and the demands on them. Earlier on it could have been more basic resources and finance, once again when you consider how many likely candidates there were to fill the leadership roles in F136/OSS/LRP.

    There were several cross-over personnel for the two organisations before 1944, but as you say not many.

    Wingate was so disliked by India GHQ that I wonder if that was the reason for the lack of cooperation. As we all know no one seems to like a maverick and he was such a polarized character, you either loved him and followed or you thought he was mad and ran the other way.

    Not much there really, sorry.
     
  3. No need to apologise - thanks for comments.

    Having just read McNab's Mission 101, it seems Wingate did a lot to annoy General Cunningham in Abyssinia. The 'Nelsonian' pursuit of the last Italian forces is what McNab says really miffed the general. Yet Wavell seems to have stood by him. McNab's opinion is that in June 1941 Wavell had other challenges to deal with...

    His SOE PF shows that SOE would / wanted him back for future ops, and that Wingate wanted to be given a role in the western desert. Instead it was attempted suicide and back to Blighty.

    McNab also says Wingate wrote an "appreciation" of the Ethiopian mission. That would make for interesting reading if I survived. I am going to have a look...it might provide more clues about his SOE thoughts. Ultimately I think the obvious answer is he wanted autonomy, and working with SOE he might have seen as compromising this...
     
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Wingate's personal papers are held by the IWM. They were put up for sale at Sotherby's in 1996 and the IWM acquired the 'Early life, Abyssinia and Chindit/Burma papers, whilst a Mr. Steven Forbes (New York) bought the Palestine papers for his own private collection. I think Forbes gave permission for the IWM to examine and make notes on his purchase before they left the country.

    To view them you will need to make a visit to the museum.
     
  5. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    ... which is now closed until July...
     
  6. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    ... which is now closed until July...

    The research branch is still open; it's been moved to the annexe building on Austral Street during the interim.

    Best, Alan
     
  7. ethan

    ethan Member

    As others have said, I think 2) is the answer. Other people's distrust/dissatisfaction with SOE would probably have made Wingate more, rather than less, likely to get involved with them, contrarian that he was. Also they weren't completely under his control, so he wasn't interested.

    It's also possible that (and this as very much a minor concern) -as with Israel and Ethiopia- he was all for the natives (ie the Burmese in this case) taking charge of their own affairs and not relying on the British, and wasn't interested in propping up the empire in Burma (neither were the OSS as it happens).
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The research branch is still open; it's been moved to the annexe building on Austral Street during the interim.

    Best, Alan

    Thanks Alan,

    I was hoping to pay at least one visit this spring and to order some papers online to save another.:)
     
  9. In an auction like that, presumably a family member would have put the papers up? How does it work? Who did Mr Forbes pay?

    Glad to know we can still get to IWM, I was wondering.

    Ethan - interested in your comment that Wingate was 'for the natives' in Burma. Any particular ones or all of them? By that I mean was he pro Burman, Kachin, Karen or all? Most opinion about the Burmans from my research has been quite scathing, with the Kachins and Karens especially well regarded.
     
  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    In an auction like that, presumably a family member would have put the papers up? How does it work? Who did Mr Forbes pay?

    Glad to know we can still get to IWM, I was wondering.

    Ethan - interested in your comment that Wingate was 'for the natives' in Burma. Any particular ones or all of them? By that I mean was he pro Burman, Kachin, Karen or all? Most opinion about the Burmans from my research has been quite scathing, with the Kachins and Karens especially well regarded.

    Hi Rich,

    Yes, the family put the papers up, so I guess they received the monies.

    Both Chindit forces were told that any misbehaviour toward the locals in Burma would be punishable by court martial. I'm not sure Wingate did this out of 'love' for the natives, more that it was better to have them on side than against.

    Steve
     

Share This Page