Alex or Alec HEIGHTON - Chindit in Leics Regt KIA 1.5.44

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Skoyen89, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    I am trying to find out more about the life of Alex or Alec HEIGHTON who was a Chindit in the 2nd Bn Leicestershire Regiment and who died in Burma on 1st May 1944. He is buried in Taukkyan Cemetery, having been initially buried at Sahmaw Cemetery, He enlisted in the Leicestershire regiment on 24.6.1940 and was a Private (No 4863341) aged 24, when he died.

    He was born in Leicester and living there in 1940 when he enlisted.
    He was born at Peckleton and i
    t looks like his mother was Emma Heighton (1893-1929) and his father was unknown.
    His grandmother, Emma Jane Heighton, appears to have died in 1942.

    Given he was orphaned it probably accounts for the fact that he has no details or inscription on his headstone, and his CWGC record says ' no address'. there doesn't seem to be a Peckleton War Memorial covering the Second World War.

    2 Bn Leicesters made up 17 and 71 Columns in 16 Brigade. They had moved to Aberdeen after the Indaw operation and started to fly out from there during the night of 29/30 April and it was completed during the night of 4/5 May. Aberdeen seems to have not been under attack. However two planes were lost in the fly-out and 12 were killed. Could Heighton have been one of them?

    Does anyone have the Leicesters War Diary or other information on them at this time? Is there a place that lists aircraft losses supporting the Chindits? Any help much appreciated.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Alec Heighton
    Registration Date: 1920
    Registration district: MT bosworth
    Inferred County: Lincolnshire
    Re-registration Year: 1920
    Mother's Maiden Name: Heighton
    Volume Number: 7a
    Page Number: 150

    Family Tree
    Alec Heighton
    Birth: 1920 - Peckleton, Leicestershire, England
    Death: 1944
    F: - -
    M: Emma Heighton

    Just to add to the confusion
    Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Alex Heighton
    Given Initials: A
    Rank: Private
    Death Date: 1 May 1944
    Number: 4863341
    Birth Place: Leicester
    Residence: Leicester
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: Burma
    Regiment at Death: Leicestershire Regiment
    Branch at Death: Infantry

    Seems as though the military call him Alex, but the civilian side call him Alec

  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Skoyen89,

    I think these are the pages you require from the 2 Leicester's diary:

    P7890481 copy.JPG P7890486 copy.JPG P7890491 copy.JPG
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  4. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Thanks bamboo43....that is totally wonderful! I came across him when looking for something else on the CWGC site and the absence of any information or a dedication on his headstone struck me so I decided to try to find out who he was and make sure he was recognised and remembered. Like TD I had done the family history stuff but these three pages explain the sad end he came to. many thanks!
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    His death is also stated on the 16th Brigade Traces Map for April/May 1944. See attached. This plots the locations and some of the deaths for the Brigade during Operation Thursday. The image is cropped from a larger map, so large in fact that it could not be photographed very easily at TNA.

    Heighton is recorded in the back box headed 17 Col. killed in Dakota crash 30.4.44

    16 Brigade Traces Map.jpg
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  6. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Thanks Bamboo43. The map/chart looks interesting. A great pity other units did not do this!
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    The full maps for 16th Brigade are extremely detailed, sometimes too much in that they become somewhat confused. But, as you say they are a valuable and interesting record of the Brigade's pathway in February/May 1944.

    Former WW2Talk member, Eddie Chandler actually photographed these during his initial research work to do with the 2nd Leicester's.
  8. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Is Eddie still contactable? I'd like to see if I could find a photo of Heighton - slim chance I know but it has paid off in the past. .

    Interesting that J Wright who died with him has little on his CWGC record as well. Coincidence or something else?!
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Last year I took out a month long subscription with FMP and collected quite a number of newspaper bulletins in relation to the men of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment and their missing status in Burma. A few of these included photographs of the men.

    You never know what might turn up for Heighton? It will depend on whether the local newspapers of Leicester were as prevalent in posting these sorts of things as they were in Liverpool.

    Eddie's research was fairly specific and I know he has put this on the back burner of late.
  10. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    There were two Dakotas lost in the fly out from Aberdeen:

    On 30 April 1944 Dakota FD849 of 216 Squadron crashed on take-off. It was flown by WO KE Robinson and crew. All the crew and 12 soldiers on board died. The aircraft was operating on attachment to the US 64th Troop Carrier Group.

    On 1 May 1944 another Dakota of 216 Squadron crashed. It was a Dakota III numbered FL549 and flown by a crew led by F/S WF Mitchell (a Canadian with the RAF) who all died along with Heighton and Wright.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    If I remember correctly, Aberdeen was located in a fairly hilly area and aircraft take off required a steep initial climb and for the pilot to turn almost blind soon after getting airborne. If poor weather condition were involved, I would imagine it got pretty hairy at times.

    Aberdeen  copy.JPG Aberdeen NG46-16 copy.jpg
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  12. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    The above came from various books and internet lists but it is wrong. First the crewlists do not add up as Robinson and Mitcell were listed in both crashes in various sources. So I have just downloaded the 216 Sqn ORB and there was one 216 Sqn Dakota lost on 30 April 1944 and not two as said. It was FD549 which was operating on attachment to the US 64th Troop Carrier Group. It took off at 2213 on 30th April from Aberdeen crashed and burnt out. The crew was WO KE Robinson (pilot), F/S WF Mitchell (second pilot), F/S Jones (Nav) and Sgt Crook (WOp). In the RAF documents it says two Army Dispatchers were killed but we know from the Army records that they were mule handlers (Wright and Heighton).

    The errors could have been caused by the 219 Sqn ORBs showing the crash in the entries for both 30 April and 1 May. It is pertinent that the number for the other lost aircraft is FD849 very close to FD549. In the erroneous mentions of FD849 it mentions that the Leicesters lost 12 men in the crash - perhaps these men were not lost after all?
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  13. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Completely missed this, folks... I do have photos of all of Barton's maps in my files, if needed... I did post these maps up, areas around the bases, when we did the "live" views a few years back... might have lost the plot here though... or never found it... :D
    Has Eddie completely dropped off, me Ol' China...? Missed that...?
    Mind you, I'm a bit crash-and-burn of late m'self... o_O
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

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