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Thread: BURMA 1944 OPERATION THURSDAY

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    BURMA 1944 OPERATION THURSDAY

    LOOKING FOR INFO ON THE ABOVE AS MY FATHER SERVED WITH THE BLACK WATCH AT THIS TIME AND I AM BUILDING A HISTORY IN THE TIME HE SPENT IN BURMA. LOOKING FOR ANY INFO ON THE ABOVE OPERATION AND WHERE THEY WENT IN BURMA, HE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY AND HE WOULD BE APPROX 84 IF HE WAS STILL ALIVE HIS FULL NAME WAS WILLIAM MACKIE HAMPTON FROM BLAIRGOWRIE, HOPING SOMEONE CAN HELP? CONTACT malcolmhampton@bigpond.com MANY THANKS.

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    Re: BURMA 1944 OPERATION THURSDAY

    You will find a chapter on the 2 Battalion's experiences in India and Burma in "The Black Watch and the King's Enemies", by Bernard Fergusson printed by Collins in 1950. Much of the action was with General Wingate and the Chindits with the BW making up Cloumns 42 and 73. I couldn't find a reference to Operation Thursday in my quick scan, but events seem to be well chronicled.

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    Senior Member Eddie2200's Avatar
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    malcolmhampton,

    I found this particular item at: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWburma.htm

    Burma and the Second World War

    In December 1885, Burma was established as a province of the the British Indian Empire. Anti-British riots in the 1930s led to the passing of the Government of India Act and in April 1937 Burma became a British crown colony with a certain amount of self-government.

    Burma was invaded by the Japanese 15th Army on 11th December 1941. The island was defended by only a few units of the British Army and a locally recruited 1st Burma Division and the 35,000 Japanese soldiers had little difficulty in making early gains.

    In March 1942, General William Slim was given command of all Allied troops in Burma. Soon afterwards he was joined by General Joseph Stilwell and two Chinese armies. On 2nd May 1942, General Harold Alexander, Allied commander in Burma, ordered a general retreat to India.

    During the summer of 1943 Slim attempted to recapture Akyab but the offensive ended in failure. After Lord Mountbatten arrived to become head of the Southeast Asia Command Slim became commander of the 14th Army. In March 1944 he successfully defended Assam against the Japanese Army.

    In February 1943, Orde Wingate and 3,000 Chindits were sent to Burma. Their task was to disrupt Japanese communications, attack outposts and destroy bridges. The operation was very costly and of the 2,000 who returned, 600 never recovered to be able to fight again.

    Orde Wingate met Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1943 and explained his theory of Long Range Penetration. Churchill was impressed and agreed to expand the size of the Chindits and Wingate was promoted to major general and given six brigades (3rd Indian Division). Roosevelt also decided to create a similar group led by the the American officer, Frank Merrill.

    Wingate returned to India in September 1943 and began to plan Operation Thursday. The plan was aimed at destroying Japanese communications from southern Burma to those fighting General Joseph Stilwell in the north and William Slim in Imphal and Kohima.

    On 24th February 1944, Major General Frank Merrill and his troops, known as the Merrill's Marauders, attacked the 18th Japanese Division in Burma. This action enabled General Joseph Stilwell to gain control of the Hakawing Valley.

    Operation Thursday was launched by Orde Wingate in Burma on 5th March, 1944. The Chindits established Broadway, a jungle clearing 200 miles behind Japanese lines. This included an airstrip that enabled supplies and reinforcements to be flown in and the wounded flown out. Over the next few months the Chindits destroyed Japanese roads, railways, bridges and convoys. Once again the Chindits suffered heavy losses. Wingate was himself killed when his plane crashed into a hillside near Imphal during a storm on 14th March 1944.

    By May 1944 Major General Frank Merrill had lost 700 men and had to be reinforced with Chinese troops. On the way to Myitkyina the Marauders marched for 750 miles and fought in 5 major engagements and 32 skirmishes with the Japanese Army. Casualties were high and only 1,300 Marauders reached their objective and of these, 679 had to be hospitalized. This included Merrill who had suffered a second-heart attack before going down with malaria. The rest of the Marauders had to wait for reinforcements before Myitkyina was taken on 3rd August 1944.

    In October 1944, General Joseph Stilwell was recalled to the United States and was replaced by General Albert Wedemeyer. He made steady progress and with the help of the Chinese 11th Army were able to reopen the Ledo-Burma Road after the capture of Wanting in January 1945.

    General William Slim and his troops captured Meiktila on 4th March. Lashio followed three days later. On 3rd May 1945, Operation Dracula, an attempt to capture Rangoon began. The operation included amphibious landings and troops parachuting in behind Japanese lines. The war in Burma was brought to an end when Rangoon was taken by General Frank Messervy and his 4th Corps on 6th May 1945.

    I hope that this helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by malcolmhampton View Post
    LOOKING FOR INFO ON THE ABOVE AS MY FATHER SERVED WITH THE BLACK WATCH AT THIS TIME AND I AM BUILDING A HISTORY IN THE TIME HE SPENT IN BURMA. LOOKING FOR ANY INFO ON THE ABOVE OPERATION AND WHERE THEY WENT IN BURMA, HE HAS SADLY PASSED AWAY AND HE WOULD BE APPROX 84 IF HE WAS STILL ALIVE HIS FULL NAME WAS WILLIAM MACKIE HAMPTON FROM BLAIRGOWRIE, HOPING SOMEONE CAN HELP? CONTACT malcolmhampton@bigpond.com MANY THANKS.
    Welcome MALCOLMHAMPTON
    To the Black Watch site.
    I am from Blair.
    do you have any details of your father in Blair?
    Have you requested your fathers Army records from Glasgow? this will give you a lot of details.
    I have also posted your request on "Blair Folk" you never know,there are quite a few auld folk on the site.
    Joe
    Last edited by ARMAGH; 22nd August 2011 at 20:23.

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    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Hi Malcolm,

    I am also from Blairgowrie.

    Try Amazon for a book called 'Beyond the Chindwin' By Bernard Ferguson. It is an account of the Number Five Column of the Wingate Expedition into Burma, 1943.

    In the meantime have a look at Chindit.net -
    http://chindit.net/GliderborneEngine...THURSDAY1.html

    There is a photo gallery on the Chindit.info site - http://www.chindits.info/Photos/Index.html

    There is also some footage on YouTube that gives you an idea of what was involved. I'll give you a starter:








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    Chalky That is very interesting,well done do,nt ferget Fred Patterson from Blair is book on his service there.

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    Senior Member chuckdonachie's Avatar
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    Operation Thursday

    On 5 February 1944, Fergusson's 16th Brigade left Ledo for Burma. They avoided Japanese forces by traversing exceptionally difficult terrain. The rest of the Brigades were brought in by air to create fortified bases with airstrips.
    Three landing zones, codenamed Piccadilly, Broadway and Chowringhee were selected. Calvert's 77th Brigade prepared to fly by Hadrian glider into Piccadilly on the night of 5 March. A last-minute aerial reconnaissance revealed Piccadilly to be covered with logs, making landing impossible. In some accounts of the incident, Wingate insisted that the operation had been betrayed and that the other landing zones would be ambushed. To proceed would be "murder". Slim accepted the responsibility of ordering a willing Calvert to proceed with the operation, using Broadway instead.[18] While Piccadilly had already been used to evacuate casualties during the first Chindit operation in 1943, Broadway had to be selected from the results of aerial reconnaissance. It turned out to be a poor landing landing ground and there were many casualties in crash landings, but Calvert's men were just able to make the strip fit to take transport aircraft the next day. Chindit gliders also landed on Chowringhee the next day, without opposition.
    It was later revealed that the logs on Piccadilly had been placed there to dry by Burmese teak loggers. The real problem was the failure to maintain continuous observation of the landing zones (e.g. by high-flying Spitfire photo-reconnaissance aircraft) before the forces were deployed.
    Over the next week, 600 sorties by Dakota transport aircraft transferred 9000 men to the landing zones. Chowringhee was abandoned once the fly-in was completed, but Broadway was held with a garrison which included field artillery, anti-aircraft guns and even Spitfire fighters for a brief period. Fergusson's brigade set up another base named Aberdeen north of Indaw, into which 14th Brigade was flown. Calvert's brigade established yet another, named White City at Mawlu, astride the main railway and road leading to the Japanese northern front. 111 Brigade set up ambushes and roadblocks south of Indaw (although part of the brigade which landed at Chowringhee was delayed in crossing the Irrawaddy River), before moving west to Pinlebu.
    Ferocious jungle fighting ensued around Broadway and White City. At times, British and Japanese troops were in close combat, bayonets and kukris against katanas. On March 27, after days of aircraft attack, Japanese attacked Broadway for several nights before the attack was repulsed with flown-in artillery and the aid of locally-recruited Kachin irregulars.
    However, a setback occurred when Fergusson's brigade tried to capture Indaw on 24 March. The original intention had been to seize the town and its airfields on 15 March but Fergusson had to report that this was impossible. Wingate appeared ready to change the brigade's mission but on 20 March, he reinstated Indaw as the target.[nb 3] The brigade was already exhausted from its long march, and there was no time to properly reconnoitre the objective. The units were dismayed to find that the Japanese controlled the only water sources. Fergusson expected that 14th Brigade would cooperate in the attack, but they moved west instead. Also, Japanese reinforcements had moved into Indaw, which was a major road and rail centre. Fergusson's battalions, attacking separately, were each repulsed. After this, most of the tired 16th Brigade were flown out.
    Chuck

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    Senior Member chuckdonachie's Avatar
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    Chuck

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