katyjay

Burma Star Association

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My dad served in India and Burma during WW2, and was proud of his Burma Star medal along with the others he had. He belonged to the Burma Star Association, which met monthly at the Drill Hall at the top of Derby Rd. I used to go on outings with the group, where they usually marched in a parade at their destination. I remember going to the Senotaph one time. Anyone elses dad in Burma or India?

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Kath,

You are so right to be proud of your Dad fighting in the Far East.

I knew several men, on our Amesbury Circus, who did the same....some were taken Jap prisoners and others were on the notorious Burma/Siam Railway...many died prematurely.

IIRC, the Sherwood Foresters served in the Far East, hence so many Midlanders went there in WWII.

Last time I went to Thailand I visited the River Kwai, and the scene of so many British deaths. Also visited the immaculate military cemetry, superbly maintained by the Thai's.

Attach a picture of a headstone...which could be of a distant relative.

Several teachers at Pavement also went through the same horrendous experience...and a couple of them died within a few years of returning home.

Cheers

Robt P.

post-12-1174774589_thumb.jpg

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There were lots on the Bells Lane estate that were in the Sherwood Foresters, weren't there Rob? My dad kept in touch with a lot of them, plus men he'd gone through school with at Southwark St, Basford were fighting along side him. Dad was a Chindit, under Ord Wingate. My husband's uncle is 89 this summer, he was on the Burma Railroad, and was missing for 4 1/2 yrs before anyone heard he was alive. He has never in his life spoken of his time there, it was so horrendous. I wish he'd get it down on paper though, folks need to know his story before he's gone.

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My dad was captured by the Japanese in Singapore.

After the fall of Singapore may dad got shipped to Japan by cargo ship, while in the Cargo hold a Yank sub decided to put several holes in the side of it making it a floating colander having the effect of it not being able to stay afloat for long, he spent several days in the water clinging to wreckage and watching the sharks taking the other survivors one by one.

He and several more of his fellow comrades who hadn’t been chosen by the sharks for supper got picked up reluctantly by a passing Japanese patrol boat, I say reluctantly because my dad said the Captain of the patrol boat looked as if he didn’t want to stop for the fear of being torpedoed, only a few got picked up, the rest was left for the sharks, my dad was one of the lucky ones well if he hadn’t I wouldn’t be writing this?

My dad told me he worked on the railway and later went to Japan to work in an open cast coal mine and that’s where he stayed to the end of the war. One of the vivid memories I have of my dads tale was when the yanks flew over the prison of war camp at the end of the war, up until then he hadn’t know that the war was over, and dropped food parcels which contained tins of Pineapple, nothing else but tins of pineapple, whether a tin opener was provided I never thought to ask.

When my dad died a representative from the Sherwood foresters was there at the funeral, several weeks after the funeral a reporter from the Nottingham Evening post phoned and asked if he could do an article on my dad, he did and it got published.

My dad too never liked talking about what had happened to him until that day he sat me down and he told me all about it, up until then he very rarely mentioned the war.

For years after I said to him why don’t you write all your memories of what happened to you down, needless to say he didn’t but I reckon someone has made a film about a similar event.

Several years ago my wife and I went to Singapore to see where he got captured, visited the war Cemetery in thailand also walked across the Famous Bridge over the river Khai also took a train ride over it too.

Bip.

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What a story, BiP! His story alone would make a good film. My dad started to write down all his memoirs, unbeknownst to us. It wasn't until he died suddenly, and my brother was going through his stuff, that he found all the hand written pages. My brother typed it all up, put in photos my dad had gone, and made each of us 3 kids a copy. It never was finished though, he died before it was done. My dad never forgave the Japanese, and would not buy a single thing made in Japan [which was hard to do, seeing how they had cornered the electronic market]

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Well at least Katy your dad did start to write his memories of those evil days; it was great what your brother did too.

After my dad had been liberated by the yanks he spent several months in an army hospital in Canada before coming home, he flew back in the bomb hold of a Lancaster bomber.

By the time my dad was strong enough to come back home all the streamers had been put away and the brass bands had gone back to their practising, not even a shake of ones hand was offered, not even a thank you.

He had to make his own way home to St Anne’s, can you imagine my mums surprise when she opened her front door to find her husband standing there of whom she hadn’t seen for nearly four years and had only a couple of letters from.

While out in the Far East he had contracted Malaria of which he nearly died, many of his comrades did.

He suffered for many years after with the symptoms, they got that bad sometimes he would have to go back into hospital for treatment.

He told me that at one stage while working on the railway he thought he was going to be shot by one of the guards, this guard dragged him in front of the headman whom then gestured to me dad in Japanese on how he thought the way to make a cigarette looked.

What had happened was somehow he had found out that my dad before the war had worked for a Cigarette firm, he was trying to tell me dad that he wanted him to make some cigarettes for him. He had got some tobacco leafs but he didn’t know what he had to do next to make a cigarette.

Me dad told me they were more like cigars but still he was satisfied with what me dad had made him, at least he didn’t get shot for his efforts.

When the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Japan my dad was there luckily not in the city it was dropped on.

My dad was opposite to yours Katy in as much he did buy Japanese goods; he never held a grudge against them even though he suffered at their hands so terribly.

Bip.

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My grandfather served in both Burma and India after being evacuated from Dunkirk. I am trying to research his service history but like most of the men mentioned he was reluctant to talk about it. I don't even know his regiment so it's going to be hard work.

I would like to eventually be able to claim the medals that he never bothered to and to be able to tell his story.

Paul

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Have you tried contacting the British Legion?

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My Uncle was in Burmu and India during the war, I have his diaries and a great many documents, photo's, letters and art work relating to his time there.

During my childhood he lived only 3 doors down from me and visited every single day - never once during that time did he mention the war, he would talk about being in Burma/India but never in connection to the war. He talked of snakes, people he met, friends, food, scenary etc until one day when I was around 18 years old he said ...

"I have book I want you to look at", he opened the book, pointed to a passage and sat silently as I read of how he had rescued his injured commanding officer whilst under fire, continued to 'call in' enemy positions and stopped many times to pick up wounded and dieing Indian soldiers in his truck, returning them to safety - he was awarded the MM.

When I finished reading it I looked at my elderly uncle again as he took the book away from me, packed it neatly into its box then he said "we'll saw nowt more about it" and true to his word he never mentioned his bravery again or the war again.

His only comment that betrayed his feelings about that time was during a discussion about his very old TV set, which had been repaired many times and was about to breath its last - he discussed how difficult it was to buy British made goods and how everything was now made in Japan - "they are very good though uncle" I told him. "Aye, they might be Ellie, but if you saw what those buggers did, you would never put a penny into their pockets".

I have been researching his journey and one thing that truely amazed me is that this Bulwell lad set out from Logan Street, Bulwell in February 1942, he arrived home 3 years and 10 months later, having travelled (as the crow flies) some 34,541 miles - the reality is that he would have travelled much further than this due to the terrain.

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Fanatastic stories, but I thought I'd tell you this.

Having landed at D-Day and fought in every major European battle afterwards, my old man sighed with relief and looked forward to the end of it all. Not a bit of it, following the Nazi surrender, he was whisked away and told he was part of Tiger Force, shoved on to a troop ship and sent off to India, after all he did, he was only given a weeks leave at home with his baby son that he'd never seen, then sent off to fight the Japanese as part of the proposed invasion of Japan.

On arrival in India, the Yanks dropped their nukes and he was saved from combat against the Imperial Japanese Nutters.

He did, however get involved with all sorts of dangerous situations out there with regard to the inevitable partition of India and Pakistan. In the end, he didn't get back home until late 1946.

The powers that be decided that he didn't qualify for a Burma Star, despite the situation regarding the Japanese still being regarded as well dodgy when he got there.

I thought it was ridiculous, but, he wasn't interested in medals for what he'd done, and thats another story. My Uncle, who'd earned the Burma Star for being in the Royal Navy Pacific Fleet, tried to get him involved in the Burma Star Association, but the old man wasn't interested, shame, I have his medals, the Burma Star would be the icing on the cake, I always felt that he deserved it, he was dragged out into this new combat zone at the time, all the blokes that went out there having fought their way through Europe deserved some recognition, but the powers that be said no.... I always thought it was a sad opinion, but an unsurprising one, given the attitude of Civil Servants at the time, our pals the draft dodgers.

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When I was serving my apprenticeship at Clifton Colliery, one of the electricians I worked with, Doug Brompton, had been a "guest of the Japanese" during WW2. Needless to say he didn't like them too much, no I'll rephrase that, he hated their guts with a vengeance, his only regret was that the US hadn't bombed every city in Japan with nuclear weapons and wiped them off the face of the earth. My guess is he had the Burma Star.

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The Japanese certainly were a very cruel race, how they lived with themselves after the war, is beyond me. Same with the Nazis and all they did to the Jews. I know my dad never forgave them, and he wasn't captured or tortured.

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Fanatastic stories, but I thought I'd tell you this.

Having landed at D-Day and fought in every major European battle afterwards, my old man sighed with relief and looked forward to the end of it all. Not a bit of it, following the Nazi surrender, he was whisked away and told he was part of Tiger Force, shoved on to a troop ship and sent off to India.

Hi Firbeck,

Quite a coincidence, my father started his service at 18 in 1943 in the RAF Coastal Command working as a mechanic on the Sunderland flying boats. By late 1944 the war against the U Boats was finished and he was drafted out of the Air Force into the Army - Royal Armoured Corps to be trained and sent out to Burma for the final "big push". On the slow boat to Burma the war came to an end so he was dropped off in India - stationed in Poona (now called Pune). He was stuck there until 1947.

Now for a happy bit: whilst in India he received a letter from a young lady in the UK addressed "to a soldier", (he had no girlfriends in the UK). Dad corresponded until he came home and met the young lady on Ashford railway station - and were married in 1948. So, for me something good did come from the conflict.

I've done this image before, dad (driver) in his 'company car' in India.

tank.jpg

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Littlebro

What a fantastic picture, have you any more.

So didn't your old man qualify for the Burma Star either then.

It's interesting to note how he was switched from Coastal Command to the Tank Corps, what a wierd thing to do. There must have been thousands of well trained and battle hardened tank crews around following VE day, why stick novices in tanks and hope to send them against the fanatical Japanese. I can only assume, that as the Japs didn't have a warfare system based on fluid tank movements as the Germans had with their Panzers, that they thought it would be a walk over with regard to tank battles, after all, the Jap tanks were pretty pathetic, I've seen one, no match for even the crappy old Sherman, the worlds most over-rated tank.

My old man ended up in Deolali, which was the biggest British base in India, I think that they lived the life of Riley for 18 months, heres a picture of the dreaded sergents 3, my old man in the background, taken in Deolali in September 1945:-

scan0001-1.jpg

I still have that jacket and belt that he was wearing at the time.

If you can recall the TV series 'It Ain't Alf Hot Mum', well the old man used to watch it avidily because it was set in Deolali and based on real characters, and he knew them all and couldn't believe how accurate it was, he was a particular pal of the RSM prominantly featured in the series and reckoned his portrail was spot on, I have a suspiscion that it was the character featured bottom left of the photo.

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Hi Firbeck,

No, no Burma Star as he did not get there! If he had arrived, there is no medal after the Armistice.

I have some records somewhere; I will dig them out with a few other images.

Dad loved the Air Force but was not so fond of the Army years.

The tank in the image is a Sherman, it appears to be new, there is little to no wear on the track pads. He was 20 or 21 when the image was taken. Talk about 'It ain't Half Hot Mum', it must have been HOT in the tank, no air con!

See the reinforced plating on the side of the tank, the ammo is stored just behind the plates and quite vulnerable on earlier versions!

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I thought that the Sherman was an appalling design. It was not only initially undergunned but had too much of a front profile. It was always said that it took 6 Shermans to take out a Tiger, 4 to get destroyed on a frontal attack, then two lost as they sneaked behind and managed to get a shot off into the Tigers engine compartment, the Germans nickname for them was 'Tommy Cookers', I wonder why!

My old man was providing artillery support for Operation Goodwood, the attempted eastern breakout from the Normandy beaches. 450 Shermans were lost that day attempting to take on a smaller number of German tanks of the 21st Panzer and SS Adolf Hitler regiments, unfortunately the German tanks were mainly MkIV's, Tigers and Panthers, no contest against Shermans, despite being massively outnumbered.

The thing was, Shermans were being chucked off the production line like Honda saloon cars, the 450 lost during Goodwood were replaced within days, something the Germans weren't capable of doing with their complex Panthers.

The British had up gunned some Shermans with 75mm anti-tank guns and called them Fireflies, these were capable of taking on a Tiger and having a chance of winning, unfortunately, the story goes that the Americans were not prepared to accept a British gun in their Shermans and their crews suffered as a consequence.

Anglo-American tank design during the war was pretty naff, they should have taken a leaf out of the Soviets book, their T-34 was superb, cheap, easy to build yet pretty invincible, it defeated the mythical Tigers and Panthers at the greatest tank battle of all time at Kursk which led to the German collapse on the Eastern Front.

Having had my rant against the Sherman, I'm sure it would have gone through the Japanese like a knife through butter, I'm glad your old man never got the chance to test out that theory, I gather that the US Supreme Commander General Marshall had the opinion that the casualty rate amongst the Operation Downfall invasion of Japan could be as high as 1m, terrible thought.

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Hi Firbeck,

I think the original training and plan was to use Churchill tanks into Burma. I recall being told that, as there was no natural horbour/landing into Burma, they were to drive the tanks off landing craft, if it sank, "get out quick" as another would drive over the top. End us with a causeway of submerged tanks!

I cannot verify this now, dads long passed away.

Perhaps the Sherman was delivered for peacekeeping after the armistice rather than use an 'Imperial British warhorse' in India.

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The Churchill was a hideous, old fashioned, over designed lump, undergunned and having a complicated drive system. It seriously screwed up during the Dieppe debarcle when it's tracking wheels couldn't cope with the shingle and they ground to a halt and got taken out by the German defences. It was still used post D-Day when better tanks, such as the Cromwell, based on the Tiger, were coming into use. It's not a well known fact, but the Centurian, which was still used until comparatively recently, was actually designed and built during WW2 and a dozen examples were sent out to the front in 1945, but never saw action.

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On his way out to the war in Burma my uncle crossed the equator. He had his 'equator crossing card' signed by many who were with him at the time (summer 1942), I thought I would post the list of signatures and their home towns here - you never know, perhaps the names mean something to someone and if nothing more as a memorial to those soldiers.

NAME LOCATION

? Ramsden Surrey

J. Bain

J. Huggan Hawick

M. Atkinson Catford

S. Wilkins London

P. Johnson Annesley Woodhouse

W. Loadlitter Newcastle

A G Belt Bridgend, Glamorgan

Cliff Wilks Newport, Mon

R S Roberts Senghenydd, Caerphilli, Mid Glamorgan

E. Brown Nottingham

A Kinninmont Fife

R A McNeech

J G Smith Middlesex

A E C Chalmers Bow E3

H T Williams South Wales

M J Nightingale Lewisham

L A Ealand Catford, London

H F Clark Sidmouth

Charlie T Abey Greenwich

Wallace R Porter

A G Hunt Norfolk

F Lindsey Lewisham

G McKenzie Edinburgh

Alf Hunt Norfolk

NEPTUNE!!!!

Guy Richardson

Groom

C W Sharpe Lewisham

K Holland Lewisham

R H Da Hukamdad Dagyk, Yuli

L J Milles Roehampton

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MPs are discussing prosecuting people for wearing medals they're not entitled to did Prince Edward finish his training in the Marines?

 

CyIFRDpXgAAX0cw.jpg

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He's got nothing to worry about, none of those gongs are military. His mam gave them to him so he wouldn't feel left out. 

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Bowed String ... sorry wrong game :sorry:

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Just what does he look like .!

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