2nd Bn, Welch Regiment

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by westcountryman, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. westcountryman

    westcountryman New Member

    Hi guys,
    I'm a newbie on here, so please excuse me if I ramble on. I am tracing my father's service in the Burma Campaign. He was Sgt John Ebenezer Morgan, 2nd Battalion, Welch Regiment.
    Sadly, my dad passed away three years ago, but, before he left us, he spoke with me about his experiences in Burma.
    He concentrated on the Toungoo, Miektila, & Rangoon operations in 1944/45, so any information forthcoming about the involvement of the Welch Regiment in the Burma campaign would be very helpful.
    I've trawled through countless books and articles about the Burma campaign, but with little or no success.
    It's almost as if the battalion was invisible, giving credence to my Dad's suggestion that they truly were the forgotten army.
    I'm now in my 60's, but I'm still incredibly proud of what my father, his battalion colleagues, and all involved in the Burma campaign did.
    Any assistance would be very gratefully recieved.
    Thank you.
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  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a brief summary of the WWII service of the 2nd Battalion, The Welch Regiment:

    2nd Battalion, The Welch Regiment

    Dehli (Independent) Brigade Area – 3 September 1939 to Early December 1939
    The battalion was located at Akbar Barracks, Agra under the Delhi Independent Brigade Area until early December 1939, when it moved to Bombay on relief by the1st Leicestershire Regiment.

    Bombay District – Early December 1939 to October 1941
    ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies were located at Deolali while the rest of the battalion was at Bombay and Colaba.

    Madras District – October 1941 to July 1942
    The battalion moved to Bangalore in October 1941 to relieve 1st Wiltshire Regiment at Baird Barracks. The battalion was mobilized in February 1942 at Bangalore and moved to Calcutta to embark for Rangoon with 2nd Border Regiment and 1st Northamptonshire Regiment on March 7th. Since Rangoon fell before the convoy arrived the battalion returned to Bangalore. It moved to Madras in March 1942 with the 2nd Worcestershire Regiment. It then moved to Conjeeveram in July 1942 to come under 62nd Indian Infantry Brigade.

    62nd Indian Infantry Brigade – 3 August 1942 to Mid-July 1945
    It joined 62nd Indian Infantry Brigade on 3 August 1942. It was detached for a brief period from July to mid-August 1945 under 19th Indian Infantry Division. The battalion moved to St. Thomas Mount, Madras in March 1943 and trained on the Malabar Coast. It was located in Madras until 29 January 1944, in the Bombay area until 7 October 1944, on the Burma/Assam border at MS 113 Camp, Imphal until 19 November 1944, then in Burma. It was locagted at Paungbyn on 29 November, at Thazi on 12 December, at Tinmhaw on 25 December, at Myemun on 4 January 1945, at Makauk on 11 January, at Kule of 20 February, at Taung-in on 1 March, at Maymyo on 12 March, at Mandalay on 21 March, at Paleik on 25 March, at Singainmyo on 30 March, at Myaukkaing and Nyaungbinuwa on 3 April, at Subaw and Gonwya on 11 April, at Pyasakan on 22 May, and at Toungoo on 24 May.

    19th Indian Infantry Division – Mid-July 1945 to Mid-August 1945
    The battalion came directly under the division and was replaced in the 62nd Brigade by the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment.

    62nd Indian Infantry Brigade – Mid-August 1945 to 31 August 1945
    The battalion returned to the brigade for the rest of the war. It was located at Kalaw in September 1945.
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  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    You might want to also try a local or university library for copies of the regimental history:

    Lomax, C.E.N. The History of the Welch Regiment 1919-1951. Cardiff: Western Mail and Echo Ltd., 1952.
    Murdo Duncan likes this.
  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Have you received his service records, perhaps you could post some more details such as his service number?

    Please bear in mind that although an individual may be recorded as serving in one unit or another at a particular time, it was not unknown for service personnel to be transferred between battalions or regiments so you need to be sure you research the correct unit.

    Unless you are very unlucky, service records will give a timeline showing units, promotions (and demotions!), embarkation / disembarkation dates, award entitlements, hospitalisations (although not medical records) etc etc.. This will enable further research via the relevant unit’s war diaries or other sources of information thereby building a complete and accurate picture of their service.

    The process for obtaining records can be found here: Get a copy of military service records
    Really is the only place to start.
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  5. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    Hi and my father arrived at Colaba Barracks in May 1941 and mentioned that the CO (doesn't mention his name) rode around on a big white charger and that if anyone ever saw the beast out of the corner of his eye, they'd salute it! He was quickly moved to B Company in Deolali where the CO was an ex-Sergent-Major promoted to Major. Major Millar and nicknamed Dusty Millar. He also said he returned to Deolali as a patient with malaria. THat's all I know but I would be interested to know the the CO was on the white charger and if anyone has any photos of either him or Major Millar!
  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    (Copied from a previous post) I have seen mentions of Deolali Camp, sometimes referred to as Deolali Transit Camp and it is 100 miles north-east of Mumbai. There is a slim Wiki entry: Deolali transit camp - Wikipedia and a map via: Deolali - Wikipedia

    During WW2 it was also called British Base Reinforcment Camp (BBRC) - holding unit for men recently arrived in a theatre of war. From: Help deciphering War records please (World War Two) Page 1 RootsChat.Com It was also the setting for the BBC series ‘It aint half hot mum” and origin of the phrase ‘go doolally’; from: https://www.morganfourman.com/articles/donald-morgan-in-india-1946/

    There are numerous threads with Deolali and this appears to be the largest thread: Base Reinforcement Camp, Deolali.
  7. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    Hi David and that is very interesting and I shall have a good look later.
  8. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    In May 1941, the football team of the Welch Regiment played in and won the All India Cup or Championship. Would anyone know who their opponents were and who was in the Welch team?
  9. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    My father told this story from February 1942...... We didn’t waste time of course. We got stuck into weapon training particularly. That Welch Regiment, which I said had been in India for a long time, had never seen Bren guns it was only the drafts out from the UK who had handled Brens, so there was quite a bit of that weapon training and, typical of someone’s army, not one of these Bren guns had its firing pin. So, although we did a lot of dry drills, we had hoped to fire them into the sea at least, but that was out of the question. However we were lucky enough, dead lucky, because on the 5th March I think was when Rangoon fell and our poor steamer turned about and steamed back to Calcutta." Can anyone tell me the name ship?
  10. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    In around May 1941, my father was posted to B Company in Deolali where a Major Miller was the CO and where there must have been a hospital for troops who caught malaria. Would anyone have any other info or photos by any chance?
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

  12. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    Many thanks Bamboo. Wasn't it used as the theme for It Ain't Half Hot? or something like that? No photos I suppose?
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Yes that's right. There are some useful links on the thread I highlighted and some good maps, but no photos I'm afraid.
  14. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    My father wrote that the Battalion arrived in Bangalore from Bombay around May 1941 and after he had been in Deolali. He and several other officers were lodged in a maharajah's palace which is now a school https://web.facebook.com/auroschoolsulsoor/photos/a.442144359174670/442146325841140/?type=3&theater). Here is a wee story from there: "Somehow or another, I arrived rather late and found that they had teamed up in pairs in various bedrooms they had booked and I was left in the big central bedroom; a sort of hexagonal bedroom with the others around about it. And there were five, maybe seven doors leading into my bedroom and through it to the bathroom, which was attached to my bedroom. The amount of traffic backwards and forwards was shocking. One day I was lying quietly on my bed having a doze when they started up with a tremendous amount of shouting and banging. I stuck it for a minute or two then I got up to see what was going on and there were a couple of Welch officers, who had actually been policemen before the war, throwing gym shoes up at a bat hurtling around the ceiling. I watched them for a while. They hadn’t a hope in Hell of hitting it. So I said, “Give me a gym shoe” and I studied the flight of that bat, and when it came around one corner, I aimed at the opposite corner! Got it! Flattened it against the ceiling and it dropped dead. What thanks did I get? That night when I pulled back my top sheet, there was the dead bat nestling in the middle of my mattress."

    Attached Files:

  15. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    The Battalion moved near there in April 1942, giving up their comfortable quarters for tents. My father was OC D Company and the Battalion received a new CO who had been in WW1 and had the thinnest legs my father had ever seen but a legacy from the Great War. Would anyone be able to tell me his name?
  16. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    When the Battalion was in Bangalore, it received a new C.O. who had served somewhere in WW1. Would anyone know his name or have a photo please? My father said he had the thinnest legs he had ever seen but the CO told all it was a legacy from WW1..... that is all I know apart from his was the acting Brigadier but of what? I'd also like to know the name of his adjutant if possible please.
  17. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

  18. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    Sorry so what do I have to do? Can I cancel the thread?
  19. Murdo Duncan

    Murdo Duncan Closed Account

    Hi Dryan and do you happen to have a copy of this book by any chance?
  20. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the page from the above history on the 2nd Battalion Welch Regiment's abortive trip to Burma:

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