LENNON WYLIE
Belfast street directories   -   home   -   WW1 & WW2 Stuff   -   Genealogy Links
Please sign my Guestbook 

please donate

http:--www.lennonwylie.co.uk
 

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

8th Belfast H.A.A. Regt.

aka   'The Twelve Mile Snipers'
message board

 

WW1 Soldiers database               8th Index               WW2 Soldiers database

meems@marylennon.co.uk

The Men

Sergeant William Adrain - Diary and Biography

D. J. Bailie - War Diary and Photographs

Colonel Wm. N. Brann

Sgt. Thomas Herbert Coulter (Herbie)

Jimmy Cunningham's Private Army Comes Home

Bdr. William (Buttons) Hunter

Irvine Brothers 23rd Battery

Bdr. J. C. Irvine 23rd Battery

Bde. Thomas Henderson Kane

 Gnr. Jim Lennon's War Records - Photos

Sgt. Joseph Harold Lynn (aka Harry-Joe)

Matchett Brothers 23rd Battery

 Jimmy McKittrick

Bdr. Thomas McLaughlin

Colonel Harry Porter

Sidney Ernest Wright - Diary & Photographs

NOMINAL ROLLS, etc.

N-O-K- Dec'd Personnel 21/22/23 Hy.A.A.

Posted/Repatriated from 23 HY A.A.

List of Additional Soldiers

List of names, no addresses 23rd Bty.

Memorial Service Book (list of names) B Troop

22nd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

23rd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

RHQ/REME Memorial Brochure, addresses

Nominal Roll 21st Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 22nd Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 23rd Bty. all ranks

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 21st Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 22nd Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 23rd Battery

Alterations & Additions to Nom. Rolls 23rd

RHQ / REME Nominal Rolls

other WW2 stories

Cpl. William F. Davison

Belfast Telegraph Tuesday June, 6, 1944 Invasion

 Poppy Appeal 

 

 

 

 

FreeFoto.com

Newspaper Clippings

Assorted Clippings 1

Assorted Clippings 2

Correspondence

SEAC March 1944

 

Photographs

Sport & Small Groups

8th Belfast Band

Individuals & Friends

Large Group Pictures

Donated Photos

8th Belfast Band items

Documents  *  Items

MEMORABILIA

Old Comrades Section

Burma Star Luncheon 2009

St. Annes and Lansdowne Court Hotel Laying-up of Burma Star Standard 3rd October 2010

 

Misc.

Obituaries  *  Memorials  Changi Prison Chapel

8th Belfast HAA History
by Colonel Murray Barnes, OBE , TD.

A short History of The 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve)
by Harry Porter

Poems

Dean Houston McKelvey's Sermon
3rd October 2010

Extract from Coralie Kinahan's book
'Behind Every Great Man'
"Robin's War"

 

Video Page

Harry Porters film of the Twelve Mile Snipers
(in 3 parts)

Burma Star Luncheon

The Last Parade

and more....

SEAC (South East Asia Command) Magazine March 1944
sent to me by 2 people, Herbert Coulter and John Nodwell
thank you guys, both were great as photos weren't clear in one of them

SEAC Souvenir of the Arakan Epic
PUBLISHED BY THE DAILY NEWSPAPER OF SOUTH EAST ASIA COMMAND AND PRINTED BY COURTESY OF THE STATESMAN IN CALCUTTA, MARCH 1944


The Pass is ours, Relieving transport and infantry move into the narrow and difficult Nyakyedauk Pass, just taken from the Japs.

          "You have given the Japanese a crack they will remember," said Supreme Allied Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten in his Order of the Day, February 29, 1944, marking the Arakan victory.   "The Japanese have been challenged and beaten in jungle warfare in Burma," cabled the Prime Minister in his message to the Fourteenth Army.  And now SEAC, the daily newspaper of South East Asia Command, retells the Arakan Epic.  It is the story of how an enemy counter-offensive, which had as its ultimate objective the invasion of India, was smashed.   It was smashed by the sheer endurance and high-hearted courage of our men on land, at sea and in the air and especially by the resolute stand of the men of the cut-off Fifth and Seventh Indian Divisions.

                    The tale begins early in February in the hills of the Mayu Peninsula where the stubborn enemy has long dug in and barricaded himself against our pressure.   We were advancing - but slowly.  Then the enemy struck back with a force of 10,500 men.  It was a shrewd stroke.  More than 3,000 Japs began a frontal demonstration to pin us down.  The task of 7,000 more was to pass round our eastern flank, cut our communications and compel a retreat.  This plan, carried out stealthily by night, came within a knife's edge of success.


Defender of the Pass

THEY STOOD FAST

                    But our men, one brigade of the 5th Indian Division and two brigades of the 7th Indian Division, did not retreat.  They organised themselves into all-round fighting defence.  They "stayed put" through ten days of fierce fighting in the jungle-covered hills.  In this action the Allied air forces, RAF, I.A.F and U.S.A.A.F, played a decisive role.  The Japs believed that by cutting our communication by road, they could disintegrate our front.  They over looked the power of the air, and underestimated it.  Because we possessed this power we did not retreat, and the whole enemy plan of battle went astray.

AIR SUPERIORITY

                    The possession of a strong force of transport aircraft was not in itself, enough.  This force would have been hamstrung if our fighters and bombers had not already established their superiority in the air.   Flying low over the Jap positions aircraft brought our troops supplies of food, ammunition, petrol - and even their daily newspaper.   This was their only link with the world outside their desperate corner.   But now came reinforcements from the north.   Artillery and dive bombers blasted the Japanese, tanks harried them.   The event which had been hailed in round the clock Axis propaganda as the prelude of disaster to the Allied Arms gradually established itself as a major victory for the Fourteenth Army.

JAPS SCATTERED

                    The Jap outflanking force was scattered; the Pass was cleared.   We took more prisoners than ever before and 4,500 Japs were killed or seriously wounded.   Since the main battle much more has happened:  Razabil has been surrounded by the 5th:   Buthidaung has been taken;   British troops have crossed the Chindwin after a 100-mile jungle march;   waterborne raids have been made south of Maungdaw and airborne US and British troops have been brilliantly landed in the Jap rear in N. Burma.     The campaign continues.   But the February victory marked the turn of the tide.

PM's MESSAGE TO THE FOURTEENTH

          The Prime Minister sent this message to Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander :   "I congratulate you and the Fourteenth Army heartily upon the successful outcome of the series of fierce encounters with the Japanese in Arakan.   It must be a great satisfaction to all ranks and races engaged in our common effort that the Japanese have been challenged and beaten in jungle warfare in Burma, and that their boastfulness should have received a salutary exposure."


Lord Louis Mountbatten

"I SALUTE YOU"

The Supreme Allied Commander issued this for publication in SEAC on February 29, 1944:-

ORDER OF THE DAY

                    To the Fourteenth Army, the Eastern Air Command, and the Arakan Naval coastal forces.   You have come victoriously through your first battle since the formation of the Fourteenth Army and the Eastern Air Command.   You have given the Japanese a crack they will remember.   They are learning that, just as wars cannot be won by sudden treacherous assaults, so, too, battles are not decided by surprise attacks.   Three weeks ago the enemy sent a large and formidable force through the jungles to cut your lines of communication and attack you in the rear.   They launched a major offensive in the Arakan in the hope of defeating you and sweeping on into India.   You have met the onslaught with courage, confidence and resolution.   Many of you were cut off and encircled, dependent on supplies dropped from aeroplanes.   But every one stood firm, inspired and strengthened by the knowledge that powerful support was at hand from land, sea and air.   Now, after bitter fighting in the jungles and in the skies, the Japanese attack has been smashed.   The enemy forces which infiltrated into your rear have been destroyed or scattered.   The threatened passes are clear, the roads are open.   You have gained a complete victory.   Your splendid spirit was clear to me when I visited you recently.   Now that spirit, that tenacity, that courage, have been demonstrated to the enemy and to the world.   I salute you.


THEY SUFFERED A ROUSING DEFEAT !

                    General Slim's 14th Army has gained its first victory in the Campaign of 1944.   The Japanese enemy, thrusting boldly across the Arakan lines of Communication in an attempt to encircle and annihilate our 5th and 7th Divisions, has been defeated and dispersed with heavy casualties.   This enemy counter-offensive had as its ultimate object the long boosted "March on Delhi."   It was hailed by the Axis propaganda machine as the beginning of the collapse of British arms in Burma.  Now the world, Axis as well as Allied, realises that it is the Japanese who have suffered a rousing defeat.   And though it was South East Asia Command's first battle since its formation in October, 1943, for many of the troops who gained the victory by their courage and resolution it was a full-blooded revenge for the losses they had suffered in the battles of the previous Arakan Campaign.

ORIGINAL PLAN

                    Originally a British plan to make an advance down the Mayu Peninsula, the Battle of Arakan, 1944, opened towards the end of January, when British troops were exerting considerable pressure upon the enemy forces holding the Buthidaung-Maungdaw line.   Fighting in the hills and valleys of the Mayu Peninsula is mainly a matter of rifles, machine guns, grenades and bayonets.   There are few places where much artillery can be deployed, and fewer still where tanks can fully manuoeuvre.   Each enemy position, deeply entrenched into the hillside, must be surrounded and reduced by a series of laborious and dangerous operations.   Hidden machine guns and booby traps must be dealt with one by one, and each Japanese fought to the death.   The troops engaged on this work must have the quality of courage that sends a man forward in cold blood to deal with a concealed and determined killer.

STEADY PRESSURE

                    These are the reasons for the slow progress that our forces had made by the beginning of February.   But it was clear that our pressure was severely harassing the enemy.   Many counter-attacks were launched by the Japanese, and several attempts were made but their efforts came to nothing. they were also extensive in casualties, particularly in aircraft.   The fact that we were advancing, even though it was step by step, and that we were killing a large number of Japanese had a tonic effect upon the morale of our troops and airmen - a morale that was already very high, as a result of the feeling that we were now fully equipped and trained for the strange war of the jungle.   And then the battle took a surprising turn.   A large enemy force moving mainly by night, and hiding in the thick undergrowth by day, escaped the observation of our reconnaissance aircraft, and passed round our eastern flank.   On Feb. 4th this force struck violently at the rear of our main positions.

JAP INTENTION

                    As the battle developed, the enemy's intention become clear.   It was to cut our communications, force the division on the left to retreat by the narrow and difficult Nyakyedauk Pass, risking destruction in the attempt, and then for the enveloping column to turn south and roll up our forces along the remainder of our original line.   The plan was well laid, and might well have succeeded.   But again the unexpected happened.   Our troops did not retreat.   Under the inspiring leadership of General Christison they formed themselves into an all-round system of defence and sat tight while our air transports kept them well supplied with rations and ammunition.   To those of our troops who were new to jungle warfare this disjointed battle, fought out amongst the densely covered hills of the Arakan, must have had a nightmare quality.   Ambush and counter-ambush, savage fighting at short range - the only contact with the outside world the supply-dropping aircraft that fed them and their weapons, brought them their mails, medical supplies, and even their newspaper.

POSITIONS HELD

                    After ten days of fighting all the British positions held fast.   The enemy's force was broken up into a series of independent and unsupported detachments, still full of fight, but no longer controlled by their Higher Command.   Large British reinforcements were driving southward.   In their path they forced the Japanese, now once more on the defensive, against the rifles and bayonets of our troops holding the main position.   Days passed.   Our southern line held firm and the pressure from the north increased.   The Japanese troops were living by looting the villages of cattle and rice but they became short of ammunition.    Battered by our dive bombers and our artillery, chased from pillar to post by our tanks, one by one they were driven out of their points of vantage.   The scattered survivors drifted away down the valley paths that led towards their lines and the threat to out front was over.   The enemy did something very significant.   He left behind him more prisoners than have ever been taken before.

AIR ATTACK

                    Throughout the battle the Allied air forces, R.A.F., I.A.F and U.S.A.A.F attacked the enemy positions and communications without pause.   They put up a magnificent show in supplying our troops who were cut off from road communications.   The British squadrons of the supply-dropping aircraft were led by Brigadier General Old, of the U.S.A.A.F, and under his gallant leadership a very great weight of ammunition and stores of all kind were safely delivered to our troops.   In spite of attacks by enemy fighters and of heavy fire from enemy only one of these aircraft was lost.   The work of delivery was carried on by day and by night, and the greatest credit is due to the air crews who flew to the point of exhaustion, and to the maintenance staffs and loading parties who worked round the clock without relief.   Another outstanding feature of the battle was the evacuation by air of the wounded from the positions isolated from road transport.   In one of these areas the troops themselves made a 350-yard strip in the paddy fields, and with the help of a force of British and American light aircraft evacuated 700 wounded within shot and within sight of the enemy.   The runway was protected on three sides by riflemen and machine gunners who kept the enemy off while two by two Fox Moth and Stinson light aircraft flew over the tree-clad hills to carry away their burdens of injured men.

AXIS LIES

                    Interesting and very informative to follow was the flood of propaganda that poured from the Axis broadcasting stations during the period of the battle.   Our battered and encircled troops of the Fourteenth Army were destroyed again and again - on the air - our generals were deserting their men - by air - when a divisional headquarters was overrun by a raiding party the yelps of triumph went up.   The other, authentic side of the picture was naturally not given, since it would have shown the General Commanding the Division, a pistol in one hand and a grenade in the other, rallying a force of staff officers, signallers, orderlies and cooks and fighting his way through the attackers to the security of another position.   Here, he re-established his headquarters and resumed control over his troops.   Fantastic claims were made of the number of men who were supposed to have surrendered and of the despair and confusion among our forces.

WISHFUL THOUGHT

                    Perhaps the Jap High Command were misled by the reports of their troops who told of successes that were based on wishful thinking.  Probably the unfortunate state of the Japanese Forces in the Pacific makes a success somewhere an urgent necessity.   And so Imperial HQ took the risk - well, they have lost.   Once again they are shown to be unthrifty liars, and they have lost more "face."   The struggle in Burma continues from Fort Hertz,  in the north, to Maungdaw, in the south west, along the vast front of 700 miles as the crow flies, and far more as the soldier walks or clambers up and down the steep hill sides or slashes his path through jungle.

THESE ARE THE MEN.....

                    Three Jap officers' swords and 12 battle flags are among the trophies of a Sikh company of a Punjab Reg.   They were won in 14 days struggle east of the Pass.   Major Harry Oakes of Liverpool said,  "We buried 63 Japs, took three prisoners and many others were killed or wounded on patrols.   First of all we shot up supply columns.   We were the first company to bump the enemy when a brigade was sent off to deal with the Jap counter-offensive."

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    The Pass was completely closed by an enemy force which struck north through the jungle hill tracks which run down to Kalapanzin river, and reached the village of Taung Bazar, (Bazaar) where their presence was reported by Indian State Force cavalry.   They then split into three groups.   All three groups travelled light with mules as transport.   The first was fought to a standstill by tanks manned by British cavalry and supported by Scottish, Gurkha and Punjabi infantry.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    HQ of the Division were over-run.   Staff officers and clerks joined with the infantry in confused hand-to-hand fighting.   General Messervy and his staff fought their way out and slipped through the Japanese screen by wading shoulder deep down a river bed.   Hour after hour this desperate game of hide-and-seek went on until the party reached safety inside another British perimeter.   Here, General Messervy reorganized his HQ.


Major General Messervy, Commander 7th Indian Division.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Many successful counter attacks from the box were launched with the West Yorks by Brigadier G. Evans, of the 5th Indian Division, who commanded the defence of 7th Admin Box.   The offensive fighting which cleared the Pass was done chiefly by another brigade of the same division.   That left only one brigade to hold the remainder of its front, including the vital defence of Maungdaw.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Throughout these three weeks individual men and units covered themselves with glory.   There were men of the Lincolnshire Regt.,   veterans of the last Arakan campaign, who came back to push southwards at a moment when the situation was most tense.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    The King's Own Scottish Borderers, after stiff fighting on the "Able" feature north of the Maungdaw - Buthidaung road, were among the troops sent to meet the Japanese thrusting southwest from Taung Bazaar.   Punjabis and Gurkhas, meeting the first onslaught with the K.O.S.B.'s, did valiantly through days of confused struggles;   another battalion of Gurkhas fought and moved continuously for five days, twice killing large numbers of enemy and capturing a number of mules.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Gunners gave magnificent support over and over again and the 25th Dragoons, manning the tanks, celebrated their arrival at the right place at the right time by being concerned in almost every successful "party."   Fuelled and ammunitioned from the air, they accompanied the infantry on innumerable attacks and offensive patrols and claimed large numbers of victims with negligible loss to themselves.   In addition, they were used for carrying supplies from one box to another.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Then there were the 700 pioneers - non-combatants - who were hurried from their normal jobs of road-making airfield construction and similar "civilian" labour to carry food and ammunition over the hills.   Madrassis, Mahrattas and Bengalis are far from being hill-men, yet they went over gradients so steep that ropes had to be used.   More than one man lost his life by falling down ravines.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Even the Navy (Royal Indian) took a hand.   Coastal forces stood by throughout the action to intercept any Jap attempt to cross the mile-wide estuary of the Naaf River and land on Indian soil.   Their presence prevented a Japanese commando raid on Taknaf Peninsula.   Enemy concentrating near the coast were dispersed by naval bombardment.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Subedar Karim Khan of the 1st Punjab Reg., led his platoon against a Jap company, routed it in an hour.   It took eight mules to bring back the captured equipment and supplies.   The Subedar led the frontal attack, got within 10 yards of the enemy, charged.   And his prize souvenir is a fountain pen dropped by a Jap officer.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

                    Lt.-Gen. A. F. P. Christison, paid this tribute to his men :   "For the first time British and Indian troops have scored a major victory over the Japanese.   I cannot be too proud of their magnificent courage and devotion to duty during this difficult battle."

I FLEW WITH THAT CRAZY CIRCUS
by Paul Chadburn

Chadburn  "Parade"  Reporter

                     Destruction does not as a rule advertise, especially in jungle warfare.   But the roar of heavy planes rising over our bamboo bashas that first night east of the Brahmaputra seemed to spell something fairly considerable bound for the enemy.   We were wrong.   Something very considerable was being delivered both night and day, but it was not bombs and it was not to the Japs.   Hundreds of tons of supplies were streaming over the Jap positions to keep the Seventh Indian Division fighting in the Arakan.   This is what had happened.   On Feb. 5, the Seventh Indian Division, composed of British Indian and Gurkha troops, found itself in the position of either having to retreat or stay most hazardously put.

ACROSS THE PASS

                    The Japs were across the east end of Nyakyedauk Pass, sole connecting land link with the div's sources of supply.  It decided to stay put and confound the Jap's knavish tricks of infiltration and encirclement - tricks which had partially succeeded last year.   Our men were then in much the same position as were the Germans and Italians when they were boxed up in Halfaya Pass.   It was up to the R.A.F. men and the U.S.A.A.F men composing the Troop Carrier Command of South East Asia to keep that Division fighting until it could be relieved by land.   So they got cracking.   They collected every available transport plane, every conceivable sort of supply-rations, fuel, ammunition, spare parts, medical supplies, vast quantities of parachutes.   Besides the crews, volunteers were needed, air stevedores, to have the supplies overboard from mid-air.   An SOS was circulated among all men of the Seventh Indian Division who for one reason or another - sickness or leave - had left their unit before it became encircled.
                    We volunteered our services, the only way to see what was being done - they were taking no passengers on the run.   We sat on the bamboo crates with two men of the Division a Yorkshire-man and
Londoner, as the heavily-freighted plane swayed up off the runway and turned southwards with four others towards the Arakan front.   We were now well within range of Zeros and it seemed at least a point of view that this "Carter Patterson circus" would be easy meat.   Some of the planes - not ours - had two small machine guns firing from the removed emergency exists (exits) on either side.   But it was not a formidable armament and bullets would be deflected by the air-stream.   The look-out man was reassuring.   First of all, he pointed to the sky;   there above us were confidence-restoring Hurricanes.   "They give us a cover for the last part of the run,"  he told us,   "and their patrolling makes the Jap pilot think twice about getting into the air.   The whole supplying force has only written off one plane so far."   He pointed out of the side window.   "That's Buthidaung - Jap pockets all around there."   It seemed to us we were flying very low considering.   It was hilly country, jungle-covered with a good many clearings in which you could see cattle browsing peacefully.

SHELL BURSTS

                    Civilian life was going on here as usual, but a couple of miles away spouts of smoke came out of the ground, probably shell-bursts.   "We'll be dropping the stuff in a few minutes now."   The two wireless operators and air gunners left the cabin and we scrambled after them over the crates.   From then on during the next half hour everything went "nuts." The plane seemed to go crazy, rolling and pitching and at intervals frantically buzzing  (the pilot's signal to heave away),  the ground went crazy - it kept on rising against the open doorway  (we'd taken the door off),  Bofors guns seemed to be pointing at our heads like pistols;   fore-shortened figures were standing about on the sides of green precipices;  we had gone crazy ourselves frantically scrambling among the crates, heaving them into piles by the door, tying them with cords to a fixture in the doorframe and then as the buzzer wildly and insistently rang out, hurling them overboard into the rush of the air-stream, where the carefully-tied cord broke and the parachutes opened.   The volunteer from Yorkshire had lashed himself to the fuselage to stop his body following the bales.   We were stripped to the waist, running with sweat;   the bamboo crates tore your fingers;   the lurch of the plane as it rose suddenly to clear a hilltop  (we dropped the supplies from 250 ft.)  sent us blundering about like drunks;   once, only a sudden horrible drop enabled us to avoid collision.


Sailing Down, just before the parachute opens.

CONFETTI

                    With an escorting Hurricane we began circling erratically;  the turns jerked our hearts into our mouths.   Round and round, following the plane in front that seemed to be behaving so soberly, sailing round slowly on an even keel ....   And what was happening to the ground or whatever it was that kept on blotting out the view of same blue sky across the hatch?   It looked as though a Brobdingnagian wedding had taken place and it had been strewn with great multi-coloured bits of confetti, green, red and black.  The parachutes, of course, the parachutes ...   Yes, it was a crazy circus while it lasted.   But to the men who have been on the game every day - with a night trip thrown in, very often - it was just routine, just a job, just the part of a job:  for they weren't through when the last bale of ration biscuits and bully, the last load of shells had snapped their parachute cords. And now there came for our particular plane the second half of the outing.   We had dropped medical supplies to the cut-off division.   But that was not enough.   Casualties had somehow, to be got out of that embattled patch of Arakan jungle to expect hospital treatment, some of them to life-saving operations.

IMPUDENT

                    The Troop Carrier Command comes in on this, too.   The transport planes that delivered the goods to the Seventh Indian Division loaded up again at a medical staging post on the way back with casualties who had been nipped out of the beleaguered position in a most impudent way.   Midgets - RAF Moths and American liaison planes - darted into jungle clearings, seventy-five yards long or less, whisked away the wounded - often from under the noses of the Japs - and flew them off to the nearest landing ground for troop transporters.   Here it was that we saw these little life-savers, some of their pilots.   While the stretcher cases were being taken aboard the D.C. we strolled over to have a shufti at one of the midgets.   A lanky American OR was lolling in the cockpit, scanning that day's copy of SEAC.  Fourteenth Army's own newspaper.   Beside him was a tommy gun.   Altogether he looked rather like a commando - which, in fact, he was:  a flying commando of mercy - he was his own boss, took care of himself, serviced his plane.   That morning he'd flopped down in a jungle clearing a good deal smaller than a football field, and snatched off a lanky, humorous Londoner in his arms.   By such methods and such men were the "lost" divisions saved and sustained, and a desperate situation transformed into a triumph.

WE FOUGHT THE BATTLE OF THE BOX - AND WON !
by the Author of "Infantry Officer"

                    When John woke me, I sat up and in all seriousness said ...   "Have you got that line through to Delhi yet?  I must have it by this afternoon ..."   Then straightening my gun-belt I climbed past him and dropped into the small trench that constituted our command post, to take over watch.   Hour on, hour off, twenty four hours a day for more than ten days, and one is apt to see and say queer things, and, understanding, hear them in others without remarking.   For nearly a fortnight we had literally had our backs to the wall, and we were tired to death, filthy, often terrified yet somehow supremely confident.   The Japs were going all out to get a footing on Indian soil, this we knew from captured plans, and we were not only stopping him, we were giving him as bloody a nose as ever he has had.   Twice he managed to break into the Box, and twice a handful of Yorkshire-men, supported by tanks, kicked him out.   We wanted him to attack, so that we might kill him the more easily.

SHEER GUTS

                    For months now, I have been in the Arakan and I've been able to get a pretty fair picture of the worth of our men.   The thing that has impressed me most is the way that they have smashed the fallacy that the Jap is a superman and become acclimatised to the remoteness of the jungle.   Ever since Hong Kong fell, our ears have been filled with stories of incredible victories gained by the Japanese, and of the horrors perpetrated by them.   How narrow the margin between Hate propaganda and Fear.   But by sheer guts our men held the Jap and now looked on him as the brute that he is.   Now we have fought him and really taken his pants down and as a result are justifiably confident in the future and in our superiority.   Of course the Jap is an unpleasant animal, he knows no rules of war, save to kill the enemy.   We took some prisoners and I talked to a couple.   They are not human in my eyes, and they are most certainly not super-human.

THEY'RE STUBBORN

                    But let no one run away with the idea that they are not good fighters.   As infantrymen, they are stubborn, hard-marching, hard-fighting and as tough as nails.   They live by the word of the manual and the pre-arranged plan and that's where we have them beat.   They lack personal initiative and have nothing to compete with our secret weapon ... common sense.   For many days running the Jap walked in parties into a chaung.   In their original plan the chaung was their rendezvous.   The fact that we held the place had apparently not altered the situation, and so our chaps had some pretty successful shoots.

MOMENTS ...

                    I have not been away from the battle long enough to put the happenings of the past six weeks in their proper order, but there are moments and people that stick out and are good to remember.   Of all those who fought through those days, perhaps most praise should go to the doctors of the Field Ambulances.   Under the most impossible conditions they worked and saved men's lives.   Once their hospital was over-run and they had to crawl through the jungle, wriggle on their bellies out of their tents, over which stood Jap sentries, to escape.   Many failed to get away.   They were mortared and shelled and sniped and the chaung, in which lay the hospital, was never out of range of even small arms fire.   The two surgeons, unshaved, tired out, wearing blood besmeared rubber aprons, and looking for all the world like a couple of knackers,   performed miracles of surgery and endurance, with depleted staff and little equipment.   Many scores of good men owe their lives to these two.   Then there was the Yorkshire cook, who managed to produce two hot meals every day we were in the Box.   One day, during a particularly sharp bout of shelling, I saw him lying on the ground, protecting with his body a dozen eggs, scrounged from God knows where.   And there was the Gurkha mule driver who wandered into a battle, seemingly lost.   I asked him what were his worries and he told me that he was looking for some fodder or his Cutcha.   We found some for him and he walked out of the flying mess, quite oblivious of it all, and only interested in his mule's feed.   One morning four of us played a crazy game.   The Jap was letting us have it fairly hard.   Each time we heard a shell whistle, we tried to judge how close it would fall and duck accordingly.   The idea being that the winner ducked last and least.   So much happened.   There was the colonel who would insist on trying to put out an exploding ammo dump with a spade and some sand, and when his resultant wounds had been dressed, picked up his spade and had another crack.  And the slit trench that held one section ... two colonels, a major, a subaltern and three Gurkhas, all mucking in.  Then the officer who spent most of his days sewing buttons on peoples' trousers and coats.

"THINGS" AT NIGHT

               There was the sensation of almost regret when The Pass was eventually opened and our immediate fate decided.  The nights when one felt that death was inevitable, and all one's past flooded out to the ears of the nearest neighbour.   The dragging of the eyelids. towards the end of one's sentry watch.   The rum ration that came round in the early hours of the morning.   The incredible "Things" one saw in the moonlight.   I remember waking John up and getting him to verify something that I had seen ...   "About sixty Japs, wiring ..."   That's what I thought, so I called up the bren gunner, and he saw them too.   I hate to admit it, but I let "them" have a burst and they turned out to be about a dozen bamboo leaves.

ILLUSIONS

                    Then I saw my whole family sitting about ten yards in front of me.   John saw them too, only they were, in his case, his old school team.   I once saw a six foot Jap cleaning his teeth inside my post.   All of us suffered from these illusions, and it is a good chit for the discipline and fire control of the troops that very few cases of shadow shooting occurred.   Not it is all over, the Jap must be a very worried man.   He has, without a doubt, worked out his whole offensive for this year, from China down to the Bay of Bengal, on the assumption that we would retreat when cut off.   With the troops we now have, and the wonderful support given by the R.A.F. and the U.S.A.A.F, both in keeping the Jap out of the sky and in supplying us with food, we need never again withdraw if threatened from the rear.   Stand, and fight, and kill, and having killed, advance against a depleted and demoralised enemy.   Of all the lessons that February's fighting has taught us, this is the most important.   We have beaten the Jap at his own game, and we can go on doing it.


NGAKYEDAUK PASS - One of the bends on the now famous pass which has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the Arakan campaign
THEY SWEPT THE SKIES CLEAN OVER ARAKAN


No wonder the Chiefs smile.  Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin, Commander, Third Tactical Air Force and Lt.-Gen. William Slim,
C-in-C, Fourteenth Army, snapped after the victory

                    The story of Arakan would not be complete - as the Victory of Arakan would not have been possible - without the conquest of the skies over Arakan.   This we owe to the R.A.F., I.A.F, and U.S.A.A.F., in general.   In particular the vital area over the battlefield was swept clean of the Jap enemy by the dauntless and tireless pilots of Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin's Third Tactical Air Force.   And when their own special task had been thoroughly fulfilled, the boys in the Hurricanes, Spitfires, and Vultee Vengeances dived in close support of Fourteenth Army infantry, engaging targets only 20 yards ahead of the assault waves.   Protection of the Supply dropping squadrons was the next, and even more essential work of the fighter pilots.   The Allied air fighters not only kept the skies open to our own  troops.   They closed skies, roads, and rivers to the enemy, a magnificent all round achievement.   It was the Fourteenth Army who sent this striking tribute to the Vultee Vengeance pilots  "You've altered the whole face of the Arakan.   Our maps are fast becoming worthless.   You've blasted away so many hill tops that the contours now marked are just hopelessly out of date."   In the R.A.F. they called it Arakan "Face-Lifting."


Loading Up.  R.I.A.S.C men at a rear airfield load the transport with supplies

VENGEANCE DIVES

                    An I.A.F. squadron, flying Vultee Vengeance dive bombers, were reported by army observers as operating 20 yards ahead of the advancing troops, diving in such a way that they were pulling out over the Jap lines, not our own.   An I.A.F. Hurricane Squadron earned the title of "Eyes of the Fourteenth Army."   The arrival of the comparatively slow flying transport craft over the front provided a fresh incentive to the Japs, well thrashed out of the sky in previous straight forward scrapping with the British fighters.   The story of one of their most bitter air combats lies behind the recent score of 1 destroyed, 2 probably destroyed and 2 damaged out of 25 Jap fighters which attacked a supply dropping mission escorted by Hurricanes east of the Mayu Range.   Our losses in pilots were nil.   The squadron was escorting transport aircraft which had just started to drop supplies when, 3,000 ft. below, they saw 15 plus Jap fighters bust ground strafing.   The Japs immediately climbed to attack and the Hurricanes dived to intercept.   As the supply droppers were returning to base at 1,500 ft. 10 more Jap fighters made a second attack on them over Bawli Bazar. (Bazaar) Hurricane squadrons, on Feb 15, received orders to sink every enemy boat they could spot.   The Hurricanes took up rivercraft busting with relish.   So successful were their efforts that after a day or two the Arakan and Akyab waterways were practically cleared of sampans and other craft, with disastrous results to Jap supplies.

TOP COVER

                    Although patrols for rivercraft busting, strafing enemy positions, and covering supply aircraft occupied much of their time, the Hurricanes also accompanied dive-bombers on their missions.   At other times, they provided top-cover for Spitfires re-fuelling after a combat.   As for the Spitfires, as feared over Arakan as ever they were over Britain, they engaged ceaselessly in patrol over the battle for six or seven hours a day, dealing with Jap fighters as Spitfires do.

For This Relief . . .  Pictures by Gidal, of "Parade"

For three weeks men of the 5th and 7th Indian Divisions were cut off.   Under the leadership of Lt.-General A. F. P. Christison (above right) Commander of the 14th Army forces in the Arakan, they organised all-round defence.   Other pictures were taken after the relief: Above, left:  Major-General Messervy, Commander of the 7th. congratulates the cook.   Below, left:  Tanks advance in swirling heat and dust against retreating Japs.  Below, right:  Sikh gunners pound Peak 1301.  Bottom:  Victory lunch; tea bully beef and bread - the bakery kept going all through the fighting.


Maj.-Gen. H. R. Briggs, Commander 5th Indian Div.