"Gert and Daisy" - the Sunderlands in Burma

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Hebridean Chindit, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I've not found any significant mention of this oddity of the CBI conflict on here so far - my own findings have altered quite a bit over time - one of the Chindits I'm presently in touch with turns out to have been on the last flight one of these two aircraft made and although being in pretty poor condition due to jaundice distinctly remembers the water coming in and the shouts of "Get them out quick, get them out quick...!"

    My own interest is that my dad was one of the passengers on one of these unique tourist flights through the lower levels of the Himalayas...

    There is something "holistic" about the circumstances, being that the music-hall characters these two aircraft were named after were the sisters of Jack Warner, with my dad being regarded as "the real-life Reg Dixon" - the "Station-Sergeant" rank died when he retired from the Met in 1977...

    How much is known here...?
  2. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

  3. sol

    sol Very Senior Member


    Flight Lieutenant E "Ted" Garside lands Short Sunderland Mark III, JM659 'Q', of No. 230 Squadron RAF on the Brahmaputra River at Dibrugarh, India, loaded with casualties evacuated from Burma. In June 1944, two aircraft of the Squadron were detached from their base at Koggala, Ceylon, to Dibrugarh in Assam, in order to evacuate Special Force casualties from Lake Indawgyi, situated behind the enemy front lines in northern Burma. In thirteen sorties between 2 June and 3 July, the Sunderlands evacuated some 537 men of 111th Brigade, and flew in medical stores, rations and combat troops. On 20 June, JM659 was rendered unserviceable when a DUKW collided with her at Dibrugarh, and on 4 July she sank at her moorings after being struck by a whirlwind.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron


    You already have my input with regard to these planes, but nice work as always from sol!!:)
    Hebridean Chindit likes this.
  5. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Enes' does it again... B)
    I noticed a significant input on that thread from a certain B43 as well... ;)

    The following reference from the above links spook me as it describes my dad's condition and (primary) wound, his third...

    "In the next few days we gradually increased the number carried and we were soon bringing out a full load. Most of the men were badly wounded or were sick with typhus, enteric, dysentry or malaria. One Briton was the sickest man I've ever seen. Wounded in one thigh, he was also suffering from malaria and double pneumonia."

    He would have been one of the earlier people sent out as he notes being in hospital on his 21st birthday, which was 30th June...

    The earliest reference I've found in the 111th diaries to the "flying boats" is dated 26th May, the day after the fall and when the brigade was still out of communication with command... a lot earlier than inferred in any of the books...

    I have been aware of a certain controversy regarding the naming of these aircraft for some time - the picture posted by Enes (nice links) is one I have seen numerous times and can be purchased from IWM - there are several (stills from one of the films listed by Enes) on the AWM site - I am wondering if the simple lettering on the side may have been part of this issue - the images of JM659 "Q" - Queenie and of DP180 "O" Orange - from a distance they could be seen to look like a "G" and a "D", but then again they were reputedly known the other way round...

    To add a further spanner into the equation (and confirm the existance of the code names, as commonly known) the 111th diaries reference the original codenames as being "Cheesecake" (first aircraft flown in) and "Walnut", but a direct order on 4th June requested these be changed to "GERT & DAISY".
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron


    From a recent visit to my second home, have you seen the attached before?

    They come from WO177/1959, the medical reports for 111th Brigade. Not much I know but something.


    Attached Files:

  7. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Ah... another reference file to investigate (Steve is a personal demon on my shoulder, "another file for you...", but a very welcome demon - and there was me, thinking I was done :D keep em coming...)

    Time ran away again this evening - I spent a couple of hours talking to one of the regular 1st Cameronians I'm in touch with...

    Also trying to pool all the sources for a crew list - the notes seem to mix up between the info found/posted...

    It would be interesting to try and bring that thread posted by Enes (had some posts from Steve in it) back to life as a poster was a relative of one of the crew-members...
  8. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Ken maybe you can try to find more about crews in these two docs

    AIR 27/1423 - No 230 Squadron: Operations Record Book - 1943 Jan.- 1945 Dec
    AIR 27/1425 - No 230 Squadron: Operations Record Book: Appendices - 1941 Jan.- 1945 Jan
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    We will never be done with our research Ken!!!:)

    It (hopefully they) has chosen us and it will never leave, NEVER!!:D
  10. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Ken maybe you can try to find more about crews in these two docs...

    Enes... (Ken, busy picking his jaw off the floor) how do you do that...? B)

    (Steve, I think I may have more than one Personal Demon... :D)

    I think I feel an urge to visit Kew coming on... (and that's not cos I fancy buying Andy a cup of coffee... ;))
  11. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Just a bump as not posting anything significant, just an update...

    Now have copies of the relevant squadron diaries from Kew and have more for my files...

    Most significant things for me...
    DP180 making an original 10 sorties to Lake Indawgyi taking out 269 wounded personnel...
    JM659 (which I believe made 3 sorties prior to loss) has scant info and looked like she was very much a spare aircraft - not even a crew listing or any flights recorded during that period or in the preceding month (April to June)...
    There is a reference to a "full" report due in June 1944, along with a photo-mosaic of the lake but sadly none of this is present in the file...

    I'm going to try cross-referencing with the 111th diaries now I've finally finished tidying and dating my images...

    I've also made a direct contact with 230 Squadron to see if they can aid in this research and had an initial reply which is positive...
  12. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I don't know if this adds anything to the discussion, but using the AWM collection search and the words Burma & Sunderland provides a batch of photos (about 30).

    One of them is titled "The captain, Flight Lieutenant Jack Rand, at the controls of a Sunderland aircraft DP180 of 230 Squadron RAF operating in Burma. The aircraft was one of two on Operation River conducted between May and July 1944. The two aircraft operated from Bramaphutra River in to Lake Indawgi in Burma to bring out wounded members of the Chindit Raiders, a guerilla group conceived of by Major General Orde Wingate and led by him until his death in a plane crash on 25 March 1944. The group continued to operate successfully but with high numbers of casualties."

    plus other photos showing "co-pilot, Flight Sergeant F Wright"

    or a crew list - "Members of 230 Squadron RAF standing on the wing of a Sunderland aircraft. Identified left to right: Flight Lieutenant Jack Rand, pilot; Flying Officer Noel Verney RAAF, navigator; Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) F Wright, co-pilot; Warrant Officer R Geurtin, RCAF, 1st Wireless Officer; Flt Sgt R Tucher, wireless operator; Flt Sgt D Butcher, wirelss operator; Flt Sgt R Webber, flight engineer; Flt Sgt H Neeve, flight engineer; Flt Sgt J B Knox, air gunner; Squadron Leader J L Middleton, detachment commander."

    & a nice shot of one of the aircraft under tow, by what looks like a DUKW.....


    Attached is "Back at base on the Brahmaputra River a wounded man on a stretcher is lifted through the bomb hatch of a Sunderland aircraft of 230 Squadron RAF operating in Burma. Two aircraft from this squadron flew on Operation River, conducted between May and July 1944. The two aircraft operated from Bramaphutra River in to Lake Indawgi in Burma to bring out wounded members of the Chindit Raiders, a guerilla group conceived of by Major General Orde Wingate and led by him until his death in a plane crash on 25 March 1944. The group continued to operate successfully but with high numbers of casualties."

    Attached Files:

    • Gert.jpg
      File size:
      24.1 KB
  13. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The RAAF crew member (Flying Officer Vernon Noel Verney 405891) has had his pers file digitized for on-line access by the NAA.

    For their part in the evacuations he and FLTLT Rand RAF were both awarded with the DFC - shortly afterwards Verney was returned to Australia himself on medical grounds.

    Attached Files:

  14. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Keys to memories, Sunderland flying boats and the name Ken. 1994 we had moved to a house near Eastleigh airport (Southampton) sitting in the garden a sound - what on earth is that? Passing very low overhead a Sunderland conversion. Noisy old girl, she did a couple more low passes and then rather noisily climbed out. Later the photographs were published in the local press - the Pilot Captain Ken Emmott was named and shown ready to fly Excalibur to Kermit Weekes collection USA. Some years later my wife had picked me up as we were heading through Hedge End (Southampton) a car from a side entrance hit us my side as passenger within twenty yards of Old Bills house! I was chatting to the coppers very reassuring they were too, insurance and all that! We were joined by a smallish gentleman who said I was behind you saw it all and he handed me a piece of paper name address and Tel No and then said to the PC if you need me for anything. my name is Captain Ken Emmott!

    The ATC people at Eastleigh would ask passing aircraft of interest to do a low pass. The BoB would often be seen at low level along the river Itchen approach to Eastleigh.

    Looked her up - ML814 and then - GBJHS
  15. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Great story, Wills, and all part of that small-world-syndrome stuff... that Sunderland is the lone flying example in the world now and Kermit Weeks' site has a nice detailed section, even down to the peculiarities of operation when starting and shutting down engines...

    Here's a link to the page...

    Fantasy of Flight's Short Sunderland

    A search for those registration numbers throws up some interesying links too...

    The 230 Squadron aircraft were MkIII's which were somewhat underpowered and (top of my head) FoF's aircraft is a conversion to a MkV...? mostly due to the (at the time) far superior Pratt and Whitney engines...

    Dave, thanks for the heads-up on that but my 19(Bamboo)43 compatriot pointed me in that direction a while back - it is a great and nicely detailed article...
    The DFC reference I had but not the citation - cheers!

    I'm aware of the fact that there were Australian (and Canadian) crewmen at the time, hence the AWM link...

    The pictures on the AWM article are (mostly, I think) stills from short films, copies of which are also held at IWM and referenced on their site - chindit/sunderland will bring up the links at the site - I still haven't worked up the nerve to ask how much they would cost to purchase them as I would certainly like copies for my personal archives - maybe it's time I did...

    I also have RCAF references to a nearly fatal incident due to full engine failure on one flight...

    With reference to 230 Squadron, they have kindly offered to let me take up an "associate" membership, offered to assist in my research in any way they can, and have suggested that I could offer an excerpt from the book for their newsletter - I think I could be up for that... ;)

    All I now need is the lottery win so I can give my company the Johnny Paycheck song and concentrate on the book full-time... :D
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Is it a roll-over this week then?:D
  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    The DFC reference I had but not the citation - cheers!

    Flight Lieutenant John RAND (118181), R.A.F.V.R., 230 Sqn.
    Flying Officer Vernon Noel VERNEY (Aus.405891), R.A.A.'F., 230 Sqn.

    These officers were pilot and navigator respectively of a flying boat in which they undertook numerous flights to evacuate personnel from a zone of operations in Northern Burma. Extremely adverse weather prevailed throughout. Their course took them over difficult terrain. Flight Lieutenant Rand and Flying Officer Verney proved their great skill and resolution, however, by successfully evacuating a. large number of personnel. They displayed devotion to duty of the highest order.

  18. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    I'd settle for a no-rollover and all six numbers, pretty-please... :D

    Enes, how do you do that...? bit like your Hurricane... that's the same text as in the citation image posted by Dave above...

    Have you hacked into the TNA by any chance...?:D

    As an aside, that citation you sent through that related to my dad's platoon - finally found the full citation - three pages worth, followed by the original hand-written notes... mucho puno hvala...!
  19. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Some citations for DFCs were published in the London Gazette, seems not all but mostly those for Australian and Canadians recipients.

    I'm glad I could help and you're welcome :)
  20. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    A couple of miles up the road! Sandringham (Sunderland III originally) Southampton Hall of Aviation.


Share This Page