Aerial photographs of Allied bombing raids on Japanese occupied Burma.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Kaunghmudaw, the famous "tit" pagoda, supposedly modelled on the shape of the perfect breast of a Burmese Queen.

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have just watched Paul Kightley's excellent and well researched film. A splendid tribute to his father's crew.
  3. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Whoa! I just realized that your two posted photos from the 28 Feb '45 attack on Korat, Thailand were from a 215 Sqn raid -- but for some reason "my" guy, Roy Andrews, and his crew were not on this one, though they were flying ops before and after this date. I'm slogging my way through an edit/revision/expansion of Roy's memoir, and momentarily I thought, wow, I might have stumbled onto a photo taken during Roy's raid. Nope, but it's his squadron, and the nature of the op was similar to some of Roy's other ops. Simon, it's still a ways off, but I will be considering using one of these two photos if the memoir gets published!

    QUESTION for you now: Do you know which aircraft and skipper(s) the photos came from? (I haven't looked online yet for the RAF Museum's caption, just in case it mentioned the aircraft and maybe the skipper.)

    I'm going to write you separately with a query about something else.


  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    I have two enlargements, numbered 12 and 13, of the raid on Korat photograph that came in a job lot of other aerial photographs, some of which were numbered with the same red crayon. The same photograph is held by the RAF Museum with the identification code: PC71/19/1739. The caption reads, Korat Railway Station under attack by RAF Liberator aircraft, 28th February 1945.

    I have several other 215 Squadron photographs.

    One dated 25th January 1945 of the Amarapura Raid taken from aircraft A, flown by W/O Temple-Smith.

    One dated 31st January 1945 of the raid on Kyaukse, taken from aircraft D, flown by F/S Miller.

    One dated 3rd February 1945 of the raid on Jumbhorn, Siam, taken from H, flown by F/O Waddington.

    I have two clipped photographs of the raid on Taunggyi dated 24th February 1945. The RAF Museum have both of these, PC71/19/1666/1 and PC71/19/1666/3. I also have an original photograph from the same raid taken from aircraft S, flown by W/O Cameron.

    One dated 27th March 1945 which was taken from aircraft D, flown by F/S Miller during the raid on Klong Bang Chak.

    You have seen the 8th April 1945 Kawkadut photograph.

    I also have a photograph taken on the 10th April 1945 of four 215 Squadron members outside a flattened hut blown over in a storm.
  5. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Thanks, Simon. The wireless op/air gunner whose memoir I'm editing at the moment, Roy Andrews, was on the two ops in January that you mentioned, and also the 3 February and 27 March op -- none aboard the aircraft where the photo was taken. Then, on 24 Feb, he was on an op, but to Myingyan, Burma -- not to Taunggyi. Myingyan was the only target for 215 Sqn that day.

    However, on 25 Feb, the following day, the squadron attacked Taunggyi (only op of the day for 215 Sqn -- eight Libs)..Roy wasn't on that op.

    I just checked the RAF Museum photo archive, and they have the wrong date for their Taunggyi images. Off by a day, assuming it's the date that is incorrect, not the geographic location. Both Taunggyi and Myingyan are sizeable built-up areas now, and on quick look in Google Earth, I couldn't match either to the RAF Museum photos. I didn't try too hard.

    There is probably a greater likelihood of the date being in error, not the target, but if I eventually figure this out, I'll be sure to let you know so that you can update your records.

    Wonderful goodies you have, Simon. (But I already knew you were sitting on a goldmine -- that is, gold to you and me, and a few others...who view, for example.) Eventually I'll ping you for copies via email -- I did receive your PM today -- thanks for answering so swiftly.
  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    you are correct that the 215 Squadron photograph with the marginalia for the Taunggyi attack is dated 25th February. The other two photographs are enlargements printed on RAF paper and have only the word Taunggyi written on the back. They came with the Rangoon photographs numbered in red crayon. I eventually found them on the RAF Museum website and used their description for my notes. Like you, I have looked on Google Earth and found that getting a matching location isn't easy as the area is so built up. Even on a war time map I haven't been able to locate the precise area.


    Taungyi 001.JPG
    Taungyi 003.JPG
    Taungyi 004.JPG
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Taunggyi map.

    Taunggyi map.jpg
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  8. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    I found the Taunggyi photo locations! Have visual proof linking the wartime images to Google Earth and to the wartime map. Must create comparison graphics when I have a chance...can't get to it now. But, Simon, rest assured, I've solved this location mystery without having access to a target graphic.
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  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I cannot be completely sure but I think the location of the photographs marked 6 & 7 is between the map references 690145 and 690157.
  10. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Good try, Simon, but not close. (Let me lord over you, as if I'm a mapping guru...which I'm not.) I found the precise location, with my eagle-four-eyes. I've only had time to do a quick overlay of one of your 25 Feb '45 Taunggyi images upon Google Earth, but there are undeniable landmarks that are still there. The second image you posted has additional telltake landmarks, too, but they're covered by smoke and dust in the one image I played around with.

    The main sweep in the road helped in finding the spot, but the road has been re-engineered a little bit, I think, so that its centerpoint may not be precisely as it was 75-plus years ago. I've definitely pinpointed the spot, however. The Google Earth fit is not precise, I must emphasize.

    I haven't had time to crop the map and to try to drop it atop Google Earth, or to fit the second image atop GE, or to do side-by-side comparisons of then-vs-now, but these graphics should help you to see where the target was located, on the south side of Taunggyi.

    The golf course is a good landmark on the modern imagery for seeing this general location south of Taunggyi town.




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  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    excellent work as always, I am very pleased that you have located the exact spot. What I don't understand is why we would bomb a golf course. Damn it, we are British and we have standards to uphold, it is just not cricket.

    Looking forward to your other photographic insights.

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  12. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    British humo(u)r -- I love it. My mother (from Liverpool), brothers, sister, and I would roar at Monty Python on the telly, while my dad, a bloody Yank true and true, would scratch his head and say, "This isn't Bob Hope. What's so funny?" I'm glad I have the humor genes from my mum!

    Maybe a couple of those bomb aimers were trying for a hole in one? Or their errantly-aimed bombs formed the basis for some future sand traps. The photo interpreters would have said they missed the target by a country mile. The bomb aimers would have said, "I'm coming back one day, golf clubs at the ready, to do my aiming from ground level next time."

    I don't know if the mighty Bengal tiger roamed as far into Burma as Taunggyi, but I suspect so, since "Taunggyi" in Burmese means "Woods of the Tiger". OK, please don't believe that's true, because in this part of the world it really means "Singh of the Vijay". Well, Vijay Singh is from Fiji...which is about the same distance from Taunggyi as is S. Africa, so maybe "Taunggyi" means "Els of the Ernie"?
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  13. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    And here are some more graphics. No need to explain, I don't think.

    Taunggyi,war,map_vs_GEarth.jpg Taunggyimap_vs_GEarth,notes.jpg Taunggyi,25Feb45_vs_GEarth,c.jpg Taunggyi,25Feb45_vs_GEarth,d.jpg
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  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Come on guys - the reason is always an insurance scam, possibly to rebuild the clubhouse, might even be an inside job :ninja:

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  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Superb stuff Matt, many thanks. It is often said that post war town planning did far more damage to historic British towns than the Luftwaffe did. I get the impression that Burmese town planners probably went on the same university courses. What a load of infill building there is. The town of Taunggyi was a Hill Station used to escape the heat of the plains, a sort of Surrey in the Burmese Hills.

    Having been to both Simla and Ootacamund (Snooty Ooty), I have seen first hand what uncontrolled expansion can do to a Hill Station and it is not pretty.

    Interesting to see that the block of twelve buildings in the lower photograph in post 153 have been reduced to nine now, perhaps as a result of uncontrolled town planning by the boys of 215 Squadron.
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  16. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Somebody once said that future historians would be able to see the outline of the British Empire by studying the Golf courses scattered over the planet. We seem to have taken both Golf and Cricket everywhere we went. I have a couple of examples of this phenomenon in my collection.

    The first is a pewter tankard given as a prize at the Rangoon Golf Club in 1940, I am not sure who won the prize in 1941 but I would guess that the competition wasn't held again until 1946 at the earliest.

    Tankard 002.JPG
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  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The second is slightly post war and was bought in the Rangoon Market over thirty years ago. I am not sure if the Bassein Golf Club is open to non members so you had better check if you are planning a golfing holiday.

    Tankard 003.JPG
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  18. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    25th February 1945. 08.41 - 15.50 hours. Taunggyi

    8 aircraft were detailed for a Day Bombing Attack upon Japanese Administrative and Stores Areas at Taunggyi, on the Hlainguet?? - Lenmong Road. Unfortunately, the leading aircraft bomb sights became u/s two minutes before bombing, and, as the attack was in formation, only one stick of bombs fell in the area, the remainder being outside to the west. One aircraft returned early, owing to engine trouble, jettisoning its bombs in the sea. No opposition was encountered, and the weather was good.

  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The R.A.F. Museum has this photograph of the Taunggyi raid, PC71/19/16666/2.

    Taunggyi PC711916662.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Seems Munro-Millar was a good golfer as he won a number of those cups


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