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75th Anniversary of VJ Day

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75th Anniversary of VJ Day

Old 15th Aug 2020, 12:26
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.His Burma Star somehow disappeared in the family many years ago. Seeing one on the TV this morning recollected it. Is there any central record of them by which I could get just an image. Were they serial numbered ?
All WW2 stars and medals to British recipients were issued unnamed, and without any service details (those to South Africans and Australians were named). If you wanted to replace the Burma Star that has gone missing any reputable dealer will sell you one for under £20. I can give you a recommendation if you PM me. I would avoid ebay, as there are a lot of modern copies of WW2 medals on there masquerading as originals.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 13:43
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WHBM yes RAFAT are due over Chelsea at 1730 BST but they have already cancelled Edinburgh and Cardiff due to the met conditions. They are due to depart Prestwick for NI as I type and Belfast is still on

Updates are available on their twitter feed https://twitter.com/rafredarrows

Full Route as Published
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a9671871.html

MPN11 - It is was very sad that Danny42C is not with us to share his thoughts.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 15th Aug 2020 at 13:51. Reason: correcting to WHBM
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 14:21
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I have a copy of a chap's logbook when he was OC10 Sqn at VE day. His last bombing sortie was on 25 April 1945 to 'Wangerooge'. This was the Halifax . His next entry is July 12 with the Dakota Mk IV. Four Group was being turned into a transport group and sent to India and Burma with the 'Dak'. His log book contains several entries of flights in India and just stops on November 28 when I assume he was repatriated home and being HO, demob. It must have been a very bitter pill to those who survived their bomber days to be then sent away to India as the for all they knew the war against Japan could have dragged on for years.
I did once meet an ex POW of the Japanese who was adamant that the A bomb saved many a POW life. He said he was told by his captors that they had orders to kill all prisoners, civilian as well as military when the first allied soldier set foot upon the main Japanese homeland.

Last edited by ancientaviator62; 15th Aug 2020 at 15:08.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 15:36
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Originally Posted by ancientaviator62 View Post
It must have been a very bitter pill to those who survived their bomber days to be then sent away to India as the for all they knew the war against Japan could have dragged on for years.
As with Mr WHBM Senior, described above. Did his first tour on Halifaxes, all voluntary of course, didn't put down for a second, someone else can have a turn ... next week sent to Burma.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 16:50
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ancientaviator62,

I don't know the provenance of this source, but it was certainly my understanding that the POWs were to be killed if allied forces landed on the main islands of Japan.
Taiwan Documents - Order to flee, Order to kill all POWs

I undestand both sides of the argument and, as horrible as the use of the atom bomb was, I believe less people (Japanese included) died as a result than would have been the case had conventional weapons been used.

And please, everyone, don't attack me because I expressed that view. I am no supporter of nuclear weapons (quite the reverse), but perhaps they did end WW2 with less slaughter and perhaps they also saved us from WW3.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 17:17
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The end game would almost certainly be an invasion of the Japanese mainland, and that was a fearsome prospect. It was soberly estimated that such an operation would cost a million Allied lives, quite likely including my own, given what was known about the fanatic fighting quality of the Japanese soldier in defence. Japanese civilian losses would be horrendous, as experience in Okinawa had shown.
From In with a Vengeance, Danny 42C's account of his dive-bombing experiences in Burma as a member of the Forgotten Air Force supporting the Forgotten Army -- though never forgotten by all who shared his company on the Brevet thread. If anyone wants a copy please PM your email addy to me. RIP our dear pal Dennis, from Brian48nav, Chugalug, Harry, pzu and all who shared our virtual crewroom over many years.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 23:25
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
I trust colleagues will not think it inappropriate fo me to mention our sadly-departed Danny42C, who contributed in his small and self-deprecating way to the eventual victory. He's the only personal contact I have ever had with someone who served in that awful war theatre, fighting an enemy whose human principles were so different to ours.

"Bless them all ... " and especially you, Danny, if your celestial laptop is still functioning and you can read this.
Very nicely done and very nicely phrased - BZ MPN11!

Jack
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 23:48
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Slim's Navy

Also remembering today the Forgotten Navy of the Forgotten Army http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/slimsnavy.htm

Jack

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Old 16th Aug 2020, 08:52
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Thank you MPN11 and Geriaviator for reminding us that Danny 42C brought the Forgotten War to life here on the WWII Pilot Brevet thread. In doing so he ensured that neither he nor the Burma Campaign will be forgotten on this forum. A remarkable man from a remarkable generation (sorry Dennis, I know how much you blanched at such a description, but the proof was in the pudding).
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 10:16
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I was working for the BBC yesterday at the National Memorial Arboretum VJ day 75th Anniversary. I stood with all the others present for the two minute's silence. Fascinating to see uniformed representatives of all the Eastern campaigns.

Could I thank the pilots of the Lancaster/Hurricane/Spitfire fly-past. Absolutely glorious. Flying right overhead at about 500' and brought tears to my eyes, as the sound of Merlin engines in flight always do, because of what they achieved for us. Thank you guys
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 12:30
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When I was a boy, my father told me his first-ever flight was in a Dakota while he was with the 14th Army, but he didn't explain the circumstances. Only by going through his army papers have I been able to surmise the reason for the flight.

In March 1944 while serving in the artillery with 23 Indian Division at Shenam near Imphal, he contracted typhus and was hospitalised in, from what I can gather, Calcutta, several hundred miles south-west – where he remained for two weeks. With a high fever, I doubt he remembered the RAF evacuation flight out of the line, but probably the return trip to Imphal (or Palel airfield) in April.

Like so many he rarely talked about his two-plus years in the Imphal/Shenam region, but surprised us one year with the story of how he'd been placed in the 'not expected to survive the night' room in the hospital.

Needless to say he pulled through; the others in the room did not. Then it was back by Dakota to the mountains of the 'Shenam Saddle' in time for the big scraps with the Japanese, who were intent on surrounding Imphal.

Many lives were saved by the RAF Dakota units based at Imphal, not just with casevacs but also with supply drops over the jungles.

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Old 16th Aug 2020, 13:01
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Mog senior "arrives" on Indefatigable after attack on Palembang. Donk stopped on short finals due to Jap bullet in the glycol tank from the flying boat that he had just shot down.

Note the disembodied port wheel and prop blades heading over the side!

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Old 16th Aug 2020, 14:30
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So taking hits is a family habit?

Impressive that he got it on deck and then he could walk away from that, I assume he couldn't or chose not to lower his hook? I have always thought Seafire pilots had to be bloody brave to fly one never mind fight it.

Strikes me 894 NAS's war service would have made a great book.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 15:01
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft View Post
So taking hits is a family habit?

Impressive that he got it on deck and then he could walk away from that, I assume he couldn't or chose not to lower his hook? I have always thought Seafire pilots had to be bloody brave to fly one never mind fight it.

Strikes me 894 NAS's war service would have made a great book.
Tongue in cheek question - are there any photographs of Seafires landing on which don’t show them turning themselves into a large jigsaw puzzle?

The Seafire pilots seem to have accepted the inadequacies of the type as a deck landing aircraft with a degree of equanimity; the relative lack of coverage of the FAA’s efforts in the Far East is as surprising as the failure to cover the work of the RAF ‘over there’.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 15:09
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Originally Posted by Bergerie1 View Post
ancientaviator62,

I don't know the provenance of this source, but it was certainly my understanding that the POWs were to be killed if allied forces landed on the main islands of Japan.
Taiwan Documents - Order to flee, Order to kill all POWs

I understand both sides of the argument and, as horrible as the use of the atom bomb was, I believe less people (Japanese included) died as a result than would have been the case had conventional weapons been used.

And please, everyone, don't attack me because I expressed that view. I am no supporter of nuclear weapons (quite the reverse), but perhaps they did end WW2 with less slaughter and perhaps they also saved us from WW3.
Frankly, I am grateful for the dropping of the atom bombs, horrible as the effects on those nearby were. I also understand that it saved many lives, both allied and Japanese. The Japanese could have surrendered after the first bomb, the writing was on the wall, and saved those who died at Nagasaki.

My father had not long been awarded his wings and would no doubt have been posted to the pacific, if the war had continued for much longer. My father in law, was on embarkation leave from 619 squadron, prior to departure to the far east. He married my mother in law on August 6th, only to be immediately recalled and miss his honeymoon.

I suspect that there was a good chance that neither would have survived, if we had to fight the Japanese to their last man standing.

My wife's uncle had just turned 19 when he was killed in Burma. Although he was from Anglesey, he was a Private in the Devonshire regiment and having no known grave, is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial and Exeter Cathederal.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 15:38
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RAF Squadrons in India and Burma

SLXOwft listed many squadron numbers but this list contained neither Nor 117 nor 215 Squadrons, both of which were actively engaged in operations in that theatre. I know this as my late father flew for both units during the Burma campaign, and for the interest of my family I have researched this carefully. Some of the details are as follows:

In 1940 my father flew Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain from RAF Hullavington in defence of the aerodrome. Then in 1941 he transferred to RAF Marham where he flew 24 operational sorties over France and Germany in Wellington 1Cs, on one occasion crash landing at night near Cromer after the fuel ran out. (He had instructed the crew to bale out, which they did successfully, but 'somebody nicked my parachute' so he had no option but to stay with the aircraft.) In 1942 he was posted to Air Headquarters India arriving in Delhi in July and remaining there until October when he was posted to HQ 227 Group at Bombay. In January 1944 he was again posted, this time to No 215 Squadron at Jessore after converting onto Wellington 10s where he became their 'B' Flight Commander. At this point he and others were permitted to wear the ribbon of the 1939 - 43 Star (later to become the 1939 - 45 Star). In May 1944 all but two crews were detached to support No 117 Squadron at Sylhet to fly C47 Dakotas on Army supply missions: in three weeks he flew 20 sorties each of which lasted up to five and a half hours, and frequently encountered low cloud. On the 14th of June he flew a Dakota back to Jessore with 29 crew members on board!

In July 1944 No 215 Squadron converted to Liberators and moved to Digri. My father, now promoted to Acting Wing Commander and commanding the Squadron recorded that it contained aircrew from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, eight from Canada, six each from New Zealand and South Africa, one from the USA, one from Brazil and one from Fiji - and the Equipment officer was from India. Feeling somewhat outnumbered by their colleagues from other lands, the English made up and wore their own shoulder flashes bearing the word ENGLAND! Typical targets were Prone, Anisakan (Mandalay), Kalewa, Vinn, Korat and Pyinama, but on the 10th of December they attacked the railway station at Kanchanaburi, which as I am sure many will know is the 'real' Bridge over the River Kwai. I have unearthed a statement from a POW who was lying in a ditch as the attack took place and commented just how much this lifted their morale believing, incorrectly, that the aircraft must have come from Rangoon (which was relatively close) meaning that the allies were advancing quickly. In fact 2,500 miles would have been a more accurate measurement. Anyhow the flak was heavy at 500ft, as my father recorded in his pilots flying log book, but the bridge was damaged by those bombs that struck it. Later in the month the crews re-converted onto C47s to join the newly established Combat Cargo Task Force, at which point my father was released to fly back home having completed 40 operational sorties and accrued 242 hours in so doing. The journey home took just three days! By now additional Stars had been awarded: Burma, Pacific and Aircrew Europe.

And on that point, little mention was made in last night's otherwise excellent programme of the Pacific Star that I noticed several veterans were wearing, for this too was part of South East Asia where the fighting continued until at least the Japanese surrendered. My father had qualified for this Star, too, as the Squadron had flown over French Indo-China (as it was then) but could wear only the Burma Star plus a Clasp bearing the word 'PACIFIC'. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership on operations, of which he was justly proud.

One final word. Like others here, I knew that some of my friends had lost their fathers in the course of the South East Asia campaign, and if they read this they should know that they were in my thoughts last night. Overcoming a rapacious enemy was a joint effort for which a heavy price affecting very many families had to be paid, but for as long as we continue to remember those who sacrificed their lives or suffered terrible lasting injuries on our behalf I am sure we will do all we can to prevent this ever occurring again. "Lest we forget."
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 15:52
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Originally Posted by XV490 View Post
Many lives were saved by the RAF Dakota units based at Imphal, not just with casevacs but also with supply drops over the jungles.
This is just what Mr WHBM Senior (see above) was doing with their Dakotas. Never heard about medevac, they principally did missions for the ground forces, apart from all sorts of other transport jobs. They went out (and back) by sea from Glasgow to Bombay, then by rail to the far east of India in Assam, where they picked up the aircraft. The most notable missions were food resupply to the army below, who were principally Indian enlisted men with British officers. Aircraft came in low at about 2,000 feet, circled the jungle clearing drop zone, no airstrip, all those below just stood clear. Supplies, principally rice, loaded loosely in bags, about 1 ton per bag. Open the door, put the aircraft in a tight bank, several (Indian) aircraftsmen at the back start booting the first bag over the door lip, slowly and slowly out it goes ... WHAM ! . Suddenly gone. No parachute, hence the very loose loading of the bags. Keep going round for the next one. The men at the back were entirely unrestrained, working close to the open door in the banked aircraft. Occasionally the bags burst on landing, not seen as too much of an issue, because, to make a first person quote "Well ... it was going to be boiled anyway, they just scooped it up".
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 17:16
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Nugget90 - just for clarity my list was of UK squadrons that are currently active , in one form or another, which have relevant battle honours plus 202 which had a Catalina in Ceylon when a fleet the IJN including five Aircrat Carriers and four Battleships attacked on Easter Suinday 1942. As my father served on a ship that was based in Trincomalee I have a particular interest in WW2 events in Ceylon (Sri Lanka as it now is). Of this raid Churchill said "The most dangerous moment of the War, and the one which caused me the greatest alarm, was when the Japanese Fleet was heading for Ceylon and the naval base there. The capture of Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean, and the possibility at the same time of a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring and the future would have been black."

On that subject I must mention the late Air Commodore Leonard Joseph Birchall, CM, OBE, DFC, OOnt, CD "The Saviour of Ceylon", who two days after arriving from Sullom Voe was on patrol in his Catalina of 413 Squadron RCAF and sighted the Japanese fleet; his crew managed to get off a warning signal while under attack from c.12 Zeros, he and other survivors were repeatedly beaten as the Japs tried to establish if a signal had been sent. The signal enabled necessary actions to be taken.

No 11 Sqn and the fairly recently disbanded 30 Sqn were among those involved in the defence.

I am aware many other squadrons served in theatre but they are no longer active. From an RN perspective there are some with farly recent existance such as 800, 801 and 848 NASs.

Addition: I have always thought the Burma Star (and Pacific Clasp) or Pacific Star (and Burma Clasp) - was a bit rough - mind you given how long the Artic Star took to arrive may be not. For those who don't know those eligilble for both only got the first earned plus the clasp for the other. HMG seems less mean these days; I am sure many of us remember serving with men with multiple clasps on the GSM as the only visible recognition of their active service.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 16th Aug 2020 at 17:27. Reason: Addition re Pacific Star
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 17:48
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Geriaviator,

Many thanks for including me in the tribute to our dear departed Danny.

In my short RAF career 65-73 I must have come into contact with or even flown with veterans of the war in the Far East - but if I did they never spoke about it! I only found out about the fact that 'Jolly' Jack Huntington ( who was on 30 at Fairford with Chugalug2 and me ) had flown Vengeances in the Far East from the book 'Flat Out', the history of 30 Squadron.

In those far-off days there was still loads of WW2 veterans at both Nav' Schools and on Hercs - in fact on 48 we had a former BofB Hurricane pilot - again very few of then ever spoke of their war service.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 18:52
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[QUOTE=WB627;10862465]Frankly, I am grateful for the dropping of the atom bombs, horrible as the effects on those nearby were. I also understand that it saved many lives, both allied and Japanese. The Japanese could have surrendered after the first bomb, the writing was on the wall, and saved those who died at Nagasaki.

I concur. My Dad was on Tinian preparing for the land 'invasion'.
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