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Dizzy

Help identifying WW2 uniform or regiment

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Can any of you help ?

 

This is a photo of my grandad in his WW2 uniform.

 

We don't have any records of his time in the war and have no idea which regiment he would have originally signed upto etc.

 

All we know (providing other memories are correct) is that he was in the 14th Army (lost army?) and fought in Burma mainly hand to hand combat and in the jungle :? We think he was in the Chindits

 

Seems all the WW2 records are locked until 2020 and no point me applying to the MOD for his records as we don't know anything other than his name, road he lived in and his date of birth.

 

Any help identifying the uniform or any other info of how I may be able to find out would be very much appreciated.

 

How I wish I had asked this question years ago as someone may have even known him :cry:

 

Alfredcolourbalance-1.jpg

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Dizz, although your Granddad's does'nt have the metal badge the flash denotes he was in the Royal artillery.

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Algy I could kiss you :D

 

Does it matter that his hat was different to the one you have :oops:

 

Right next question...

 

I he lived in Latchford and was in the Royal Artillery where do I look now to find more info? :oops:

 

As you can tell I don't know much about regiments or the war but I will do soon :D:?

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No, the hat was part of the original uniform of the Australian armed forces and adopted by General Slim & General Wingates troops in the Burma campaign during WWII. The metal badge on the picture I posted denotes that the wearer of the hat was a 'Bombadier', the equivelant of a Corporal as that is what the Royal Artillery called Corporals. I shall endevour to find more details for you. :wink:

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Dizz, assuming that he was in the Royal Artillery and that he was in Burma or the Far East, he would most definetly have been awarded the 'Burma Star' medal and may have been a member of the Burma Star Association, I have attached two links for you, it may be worth joining both forums and post on there, someone may have known him or if he was a member they would have his details. I have posted some information from one of the sites to give you an idea of what the organization was like. Your Granddad would have been with the:

ENTERPRISE 16th Brigade.

1ST BN THE QUEEN'S REGIMENT ; 21 AND 22 COLUMNS

2ND BN LEICESTER REGT ; 17 and 71 COLUMNS

51/69 ROYAL ARTILLERY 51 and 69 COLUMNS (INFANTRY COLUMNS MADE UP OF R. A PERSONNEL)

45TH RECCE REGT ; 45 AND 54 COLUMNS ( INFANTRY COLUMN MADE UP FROM RECCE UNITS)

 

 

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/chindits.htm

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/index.htm

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/slim.htm

 

THE CHINDITS

FOR CHINDIT QUERIES, PLEASE CONTACT Sue Robinson ON pagodahill@hotmail.com or visit her website at www.chindit.org.uk

 

 

 

Bibliography compiled by the

Chindits' Old Comrades Association

 

OLD COMRADES ASSOCIATION & FORMER CHINDIT NAMES

STORY OF THE SCARVES

60 and 88 Column Chindits 1944

'March Divided But Fight United'

 

by Rolfe Hedges

The Chindits were the brainchild of General A Wavell and Ord Wingate. Wavell then C in C in India sent for Wingate in 1943 with the task of organising guerilla activity against the Japanese forces in Burma. The name 'Chindit' was a corruption of the Burmese word for winged stone lion - the guardians of the Buddhist temples.

 

The original Chindit formation was officially known as the 77th infantry brigade - assembled for Wingate's operation Longcloth in Burma in 1943. Wingate assembled British, Gurkha and some Burma rifles and using innovative training methods welded them into a seven column brigade totalling about 3,000 men, with hundreds of mules, Oxen and Elephants carrying their supplies.

 

The unit comprised:

 

13 Battalion Kings Liverpool regt

3rd Bn 2nd Gurkha rifles

2nd Bn Burma rifles

142nd Commando company

 

With these men Wingate penetrated deep into Burma - the objective being to a)cut the main railway line between Mandalay and Myitkyina B) harass the enemy in the Shwebo area c)if possible cross the Irrawaddy and cut the railway between Mandalay and Lashio.

 

The first objective lie 150 miles to the East. The number one priority was to reach the target undetected. The start of the mission was made by 2 Gurkha columns from the force crossing the Chindwin 50 miles to the south and by a diversionary attack by the 23rd Indian division at Kalewa. This succeeded and the main force reached the railway in 2 weeks without encountering any Japanese, They were also re-supplied at the target by the RAF. However at the railway line - 2 columns were ambushed and incurred heavy casualties. The rest of the column managed to blow up the rail line in over 75 places over a distance of 30 miles.

 

The Japanese were now buzzing 'as if they were an angry Wasp's nest' believing the British had a division of commandos in the rear. Wingate managed to cross the Irrawaddy, but had to disperse his force. The result of this was that they became near impossible to re-supply by air, sickness and the heat were also taking their toll of. So before reaching his third target Wingate ordered a general dispersal and retreat back to India - they had lost 883 men out of the 3,000. They had spent twelve weeks in the jungle and marched almost 1,000 miles. Wingate saw this as a dismal failure.

 

Impossible Possible

 

However 'Longcloth' lacking in material results, was a real breakthrough in strategic thinking. It showed that in the war in the jungle - alien to the British ; the impossible was possible. They could take the war to the Japanese.

 

By the end of 1943, the Japanese had given up on invading India, believing the jungles beyond the river Chindwin in Burma were impassable - they would sit tight and hold onto what they had. The British too were more or less content to defend India. However, American strategy in the theatre as a whole was to divert as many Japanese away from the pacific as possible and also to win back Chinese territory in order to build air bases on China's pacific coast. They wanted action from the British, who were sitting on a vast reserve of mainly Indian manpower on the sub continent.

 

At the summit conference 'Quadrant' in Quebec August 1943 future Allied military policy was the agenda - the British were under pressure to take action in the far east, Churchill took with him Wingate and after putting his ideas to the Allied chiefs Wingate was given the Green light on his Long range penetration ideas.

 

His initial plans were to airlift whole divisions to liberate territory using guerrilla tactics. But after several top level political arguments - especially conflict with the Americans and problems with the American general Stilwell ( who hated the British) the formation of' special force' and what was to be known as 'OPERATION THURSDAY' was finally agreed.

 

The basic theory was 'to insert himself in the guts of the enemy' with hopefully the bonus that he didn't know where you had landed. This idea had to have two central themes a) the power to penetrate deeply, and, B) the power to stay there.

 

Wingate stuck to the heart of the British system - morale and motivation - using the regiment as the building blocks of his 'new' army. He used men mainly from Symes British 70th division - known for its high levels of training and morale. And at the heart of the unit were veterans from the original 77th brigade.

CHINDIT ORDER OF BATTLE JANUARY 1944

 

The Chindits were officially known as 'Special Force' or the '3rd Indian Infantry Division.'

 

N.B. The title 3rd Indian division was only given in order to deceive the Japanese.

 

There were six brigades -- each referred to by a nickname. Each brigade had its own HQ situated near an airfield and an HQ column in the field (numbered separately from below).

 

GALAHAD 5307TH COMPOSITE UNIT (PROVISIONAL) US ARMY

 

Also known as Merrill's Marauders and after being trained were handed over to Gen. Stilwell's Northern Command.

 

1ST BATTALION; RED AND WHITE COMBAT TEAMS

2ND BATTALION; BLUE AND GREEN COMBAT TEAMS

3RD BATTALION; KHAKI AND ORANGE COMBAT TEAM

 

THUNDER 3RD WEST AFRICAN BRIGADE

 

6TH BATTALION NIGERIA REGT; 66 and 39 COLUMNS

7TH BN NIGERIA REGT; 29 and 35 COLUMNS

12TH BN NIGERIA REGT; 12 and 43 COLUMNS

 

JAVELIN 14TH BRIGADE

 

2ND BN THE BLACK WATCH: 42 and 73 COLUMNS

1ST BN BEDS AND HERTS REGT: 16 and 61 COLUMNS

2ND BN YORK AND LANCASTER REGT: 65 and 84 COLUMNS

7TH BN LEICESTER REGT: 47 and 74 COLUMNS

 

ENTERPRISE 16TH BRIGADE

 

1ST BN THE QUEEN'S REGIMENT ; 21 AND 22 COLUMNS

2ND BN LEICESTER REGT ; 17 and 71 COLUMNS

51/69 ROYAL ARTILLERY 51 and 69 COLUMNS (INFANTRY COLUMNS MADE UP OF R. A PERSONNEL)

45TH RECCE REGT ; 45 AND 54 COLUMNS ( INFANTRY COLUMN MADE UP FROM RECCE UNITS)

 

EMPHASIS 77TH BRIGADE

 

3RD BN 6TH GURKHA RIFLES: 36 and 63 COLUMNS

1ST BN THE KINGS REGT: 81 and 82 COLUMNS

1ST BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS: 20 and 50 COLUMNS

1ST BN SOUTH STAFFS REGT: 38 and 80 COLUMNS

3RD BN 9TH GURKHA RIFLES: 57 and 93 COLUMNS

 

PROFOUND 111TH BRIGADE

 

1ST BN THE CAMERONIANS: 26 and 90 COLUMNS

2ND BN THE KINGS OWN ROYAL REGT: 41 and 46 COLUMNS

3RD BN 4TH GURKHA RIFLES: 30 COLUMN

 

MORRIS FORCE

 

4TH BN 9TH GURKHA RIFLES: 49 and 94 COLUMNS

3RD/4TH GURKHA RIFLES: 40 COLUMN

 

DAH FORCE

 

KACHIN LEVIES

 

BLADETL (BLAINS DETACHMENT)

 

GLIDERBORNE COMMANDO ENGINEERS

 

ROYAL ARTILLERY Supporting non-mobile units designed to defend Chindit Jungle Fortresses.

 

R, S AND U TROOPS 160TH FIELD REGT (ALL 25 PDRS)

W,X,Y, AND Z TROOPS 69TH LIGHT ANTI AIRCRAFT REGT. (40MM BOFORS / 12.5 MM HISPANO GUNS)

 

SUPPORT UNITS

 

NO 1 AIR COMMANDO USAF -strike and casualty evacuation (until 1/5/1944 only)

EASTERN AIR COMMAND - supply

U. S ARMY 900TH FIELD UNIT (engineers)

 

ORGANISATION

 

The column was the main unit and all operations were column biased - the column was referred to literally, because all personnel moved through the jungle in single file - a tactic to be copied 20 years later. Each column was essentially of company strength. The unit as a whole was supported by about 1,000 mules.

 

Each column had 4 rifle platoons, 1 heavy weapons platoon ( 2 Vickers mmg, 2 - 3 inch mortar, 1 flame thrower, 2 piats ), 1 commando platoon ( demolition and booby trap skills ) and 1 recce platoon with a British officer and Burma rifles ( Karen and Kachin tribesmen ).

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The photo of your granddad looks amazingly like a younger version of a chap I once knew (T.P) who lived in S/Heath, his son still does, behind the Mull somewhere. He was in Burma as a p.o.w. on the infamous Railway Of Death. He did survive it, but only as a mere skeleton of himself when he got back home. I last saw him over 30 years ago. He was a quiet man, but his hatred of the Japanese, for what they had done to him, and for what he had seen and gone through stayed with him for the rest of his life.

 

Try to get hold of the book "The Jungle Is Neutral" by F. Spencer Chapman. It has a forward by Field Marshall Earl Wavell.

 

Col. Chapman 4th/5th Seaforth Higlanders Territorials was responsible for setting up Guerilla fighting forces behind enemy lines in Burma and Malaya. He called them smash and grab raids.

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Gosh thanks Algy although I must admit I'm going to have to read.. read.. read and read again as my brain is frazzled and it's not making any sense to me :oops: Although I understand the bit about 'Columns' I cant for the life of me figure out which bit you mean he may have been in. Can I pm you my phone number :lol:

 

He was definately in Burma though and definately dropped behind enemy lines but like many who were lucky enough to come home he was frail and not the man who had gone there.

 

I very much doubt that he would have joined the Burma Star Association or indeed collected any medal that may have been awared to him for his service.

 

We must be on the same wavelength though as I emailed the Burma Star Org/association today although my sister also emailed them a few years ago and never got a reply. Also the link you have given to www.chindit.org.uk no longer works... as I found out too.

 

I need a lie down in a dark room as Grandads war years along with my ancestry family tree search is taking over my life and I never give up on things once I start :oops::?

 

Thanks again.. going to print your info off now and digest :wink:

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Dizz, there were six Brigades each Brigade consisted of different regiments, it looks as if your Grandad being in the Royal Artillery would have been with the Enterprise 16th Brigade as this was the only Brigade with a Royal Artillery Regiment in it, being the 51st/69th

Royal Artillery, this regiment's role in the British Army is the firing of large guns, however due to the nature of the battle terrain in Burma being mainly jungle and not suitable for the transportation and use of field artillery, your Granddads regiment were being used as infantry, marching and carrying/firing hand held weapons eg. rifles, bren guns etc. It was a very hard campaign, my uncle was in the same regiment as your granddad and when the war ended and he came home he would not sit on a chair as he had spent two years of the war sitting on the jungle floor when they ate their meals or rested. Dizz, if you wish to PM me his name I would willingly have a go at finding him, any info you have would be helpfull however if you would rather not I would understand.

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Thanks once again Algy.. it makes sense to me now :oops:

 

I will send you a pm with a little more info if you don't mind looking and your help is very much appreciated.

 

Alas the like I say though the info we have is very brief :oops:

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I will enjoy doing a bit of research Dizz, get me away from my latest task, attempting to find out if there was a dungeon in Dungeon Lane Grappenhal, that's driving me to distraction at the moment and need a rest from it. :wink:

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Oh great.. thanks Algy :shock:

 

Guess what else I will be pondering about now....bloody dungeons in Grappenhall.

 

Maybe if you find it you could stick me in it for a week to give my family a rest from all my questions and nattering :wink:

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Diz,

My late Father was a member of the Burma Star Association. He was a Major in the 8th Sikh Engineer Battalion, 14th Army and they got out minutes before the Japs over ran where they where.

 

The following info. is from one of the Burma Star Assoc. journals dated Summer 2005:

 

The B-- S-- A

4 Lower Belgrave St. SW1W 0LA

email: burmastar@btconnect.com

 

OR

North Western Branch.

 

E(Ted) Lewis

5 Wellington Rd,

Broughton

CH4 0PE

 

01244 532036

 

Don't know whether you can get any info from the above but they might be worth trying or they might know someone who can.

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Thanks Peter...

 

Your father had a lucky escape there eh :shock: I presume ex servicemen like your dad chose to join the association and if so there is no way my grandad would have joined. I have already emailed them and sent them the photo but as yet have not had a reply. I think my sister contacted them a year or so ago too but didn't get a reply. Maybe I will write to them instead, thanks

 

I've had a lovely reply today from an old Captain at the Lancs Fusiliers though (I emailed them the other days and sent the picture as the uniform looked like the ones on their website before I had the sense to ask on here :oops: )

 

Anyway, he says he "cannot identify which regiment he was in, mainly because the pics are hand coloured"

 

Oooh I never thought of that as presumably they didn't have colour cameras in those days. Personally though I would have thought that whoever coloured it would have based it on the actual uniform and badge colour.

 

He also suggests that his next of kin applies for his service records but that can take upto 8 months :cry: Now would his next of kin have to be his oldest surviving child or could another child of his apply? Mmmm if it's the eldest that could hamper things a bit.

 

One thing that I forgot to mention which may be important is that my aunt remembers that when the war ended grandad and some others did not come home... everyone else was celebrating the end of the war and the return of their family members but not our family as no one knew if Grandad and the others were alive or dead or even where they were.

 

They were eventually found still in the jungle very ill suffering from malaria amongst other things and it was some time before they were well enough to come home. :cry:

 

I'm sorry if I am boring you all or rambling but you know what I'm like when I get a bee in my bonnet.... I wont give up until I get there. I've been told that on this years census I should put 'obsessive' under the health question :oops::lol:

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Dizz, In your PM you say your dad was born in 1930 then later on your dad thinks he was born in1939, the date is very important as, if your dad was born in 1940 and his dad was in the army they always put the army number on the birth certificate (or so I'm told).

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Sorry about the typo Algy I must have been having a 'dizzy' moment ... my dad was definately born in May 1939. Shame it wasn't a bit later eh.

 

Re the comment about 'thinking he was born in 1939' I meant that he was unsure as to wether he was born at the first family home address or the other address as he is unsure when they moved. So we don't know which address would have been on grandads enrolment papers... although it would definately be one or the other.

 

Thanks and I will try and keep my brain in gear today :wink:

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Dizz, I have placed requests for information on a number of forums relating to military service and had only one reply (early days yet), it gives a web address and would almost certainly yield results, however their is a cost incurred.

The site is called: Veterans.UK run by the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence.

To send for your Granddads service record go to:

www.veterans-uk.info/service_records/service_records.html

to obtain his service information it will cost ?30, you will also need a death certificate.

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Ohh I was just about to post similar Algy...

 

I rand Mr Lewis at the Burma Star Associaten (who's number Peter gave) and what a nice old gent but alas he couldn't help as he is no longer involved with them fully. He was in Burma though but with the gurkahs most of the time. Anyway he gave me the number of the BSA'a head office where records of members of the association are held. I have had to leave a message as the phone does not seem to be manned.

 

So then I rang one of the army departments (cant remember who) and they told me to look at the info on the veterans site you mention and to download the next of kin request forms to obtain copies of any records that may be available.

 

As obviously I didn't know his service number or 100% sure on his regiment I then also rang the 'Army Disclosure' department for deceased persons just to see if they would be able to locate any records with such limited info.

 

The lady was so helpful and said as his surname was unusual (is it?) she would check her database just to see if he showed up and yes the name and a matching date of birth was on it so she is sending me some request forms to complete :D

 

Sadly her database shows nothing more other than a name and date of birth though but hey at least he's on it which is a start. Just hope there weren't two people with the same name and D.O.B.

 

Now for the frustrating bit.... once we send the forms back along with his death certificate (which we do have) she said it is currently taking around 9 months for them to apply for and retrieve whatever papers/info 'may' be in the archives. And in some instances there is not actually a lot of info held anyway.

 

NINE MONTHS... I can't wait that long especially if it turns out that they have nothing particular :shock:

 

She also said that if there were details and if any showed he was entitled to medals but he had not requested them then we could then apply for those later. We very much doubt that he would have asked for them though as he wouldn't talk about the war or even listen to the radio or watch tv if the war happened to be mentioned.

 

There must be a quicker way of finding all this out... maybe someone will remember him and can confirm his regiment or column but then again as he would be 105 now I guess most others will have passed on by now :cry:

 

Here's hoping though eh Algy and you are doing a superb job... very much appreciated and thanks :D:wink:

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forgot to add Algy... that thanks to dimwitt dad looking on his own birth certificate after being prompted :wink: we now know that grandad would have lived at

 

31 Secker Avenue, Latchford when he got called up for duty.

 

Handsome chap though eh

 

AlfredDakinarmydays.jpg

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The photo of your granddad looks amazingly like a younger version of a chap I once knew (T.P) who lived in S/Heath, his son still does, behind the Mull somewhere. He was in Burma as a p.o.w. on the infamous Railway Of Death. He did survive it, but only as a mere skeleton of himself when he got back home. I last saw him over 30 years ago. He was a quiet man, but his hatred of the Japanese, for what they had done to him, and for what he had seen and gone through stayed with him for the rest of his life.

 

Try to get hold of the book "The Jungle Is Neutral" by F. Spencer Chapman. It has a forward by Field Marshall Earl Wavell.

 

Col. Chapman 4th/5th Seaforth Higlanders Territorials was responsible for setting up Guerilla fighting forces behind enemy lines in Burma and Malaya. He called them smash and grab raids.

 

Wingy... I am so sorry I just had a re-read of this topic and must have missed your post :oops:

 

Thanks for that and I will add that book to the list of 'to reads'.

 

Re the chap you knew.....my grandads initials weren't (T.P.) though as his were (A.D) but it may have made my search a little closer to home eh.

 

Dad remembers my mum talking to a chap who used to live over that way near the park/Fairfield road and it could well have been the same gent you are talking about as he was also in Burma and was a POW and suffered terribly from his ordeal and health because of it. Dads sure his name began with 'R' though.

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AlfredDakinarmydays.jpg

Dizz, he was a fine looking fellow. I hope you don't mind I have carried out a few repairs (crease removal) to your photo.

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Just a little update....

 

I have had an email from the Burma Star Association today and as I expected my grandad did not join them so they have none of his records. Drat !

 

They are going to ask one of their veterans to see if he can identify the regiment etc from the photo but of course Algy has almost certainly already done that :wink: No harm in them asking about too though :D

 

Onwards and upwards eh.. or in my case is that sidewards and backwards, onward, upward and repeat again and again :lol:

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