"Blackpool" and the 111th Indian Infantry Brigade

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Hebridean Chindit, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    No let's not. :peepwalla:

    Just checking about the lecture, as this was also part of the Lentaigne collection, along with some sort of script for a Chindit play, not written by himself you understand.
     
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  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have just stumbled across this in a search for the missing of the Blackpool Stronghold. Taken from the Newcastle Journal 2nd November 1944.

    More King's 010.JPG
     
  3. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Always amazes me what turns up all these years later...
    A little part of me still holds out hope that the photos taken of my dad's 13 platoon, carrying wounded onto that self-same strip after emerging from the jungle, with my blood-spattered dad on point with his Bren (that were taken by an American photographer who grabbed his camera to take the shots when he was by the Dak he had come in on) finally turn up... It was the only occasion he remembered seeing a camera at Blackpool...
    The only confirmed "Blackpool" pics I am aware of are a handful on the 2nd Kings Own site...
    (yep, corrected my own stupidity... :banghead:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Do you mean the 2nd King's Own HC?

    King's Own Royal Regiment Museum
     
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  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Steve,

    many thanks for posting the link to those KORR photographs. Most of them I haven't seen before. I recognise the Frank Baines photograph. I was surprised to see the remains of a glider at Blackpool. I am clearly going to have to get my copy of the road past Mandalay out again, as I thought that everyone marched in and only Dakotas landed once the airstrip was completed.
     
  6. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    DOH...! :banghead:
    Might be, Me Ol' China... corrected... I'm out of practice... my excuse and I'm sticking to it... :D

    Simon, iirc the gliders were used to get the bulldozers/graders in... checked my notes and references in TRPM are circa page 222 (my dad's paperback copy)... there were fatalities...
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the clarification H.C., it is appreciated.
     
  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    A somewhat gargled account of the events in and around the Blackpool block.

    Chindit staying in Berwick. One of Wingate’s Men.


    Spending his leave in Berwick just now is one of the famous Chindit men belonging to the late Gen. Wingate’s Expedition in Burma. He is Cpl. Graham Scott of the Cameronians, son of the late Mr and Mrs Scott of Stranraer, and now residing at 25 Magdalene Drive, Berwick. Cpl Scott joined the Army six years ago, and was stationed with the K.O.S.B. at Berwick for two years. Before joining up he was employed at Glasgow as a welder with the firm of Vickers.

    After going abroad in 1942 he joined Wingate’s Special Force in 1943. One of the worst experiences he encountered, said Cpl. Scott, was when they were landed behind enemy lines on March 10th 1944. The soldiers were taken by gliders under Gen. Wingate, and dropped at Blackpool Block, known as the Tobruk of the East. Over 800 men marched into the place, but only 169 men came out, and they had to march 1,100 miles.

    The Chindits were the first troops in this war to be landed by gliders behind enemy lines, manned by American pilots. The first American pilot to land with men and mules was the well-known Hollywood film star, Jackie Coogan.

    On 25th May, 1944, said Cpl. Scott, a Japanese Division came against the Battalion, and for 17 days they fought, until the Chindits were forced to withdraw over the mountains 4,000 ft. high, leaving so many men behind. For five days these men marched over mountains, some barefooted, and others half naked, without food, until the West African Column arrived with food and supplies, and brought the Chindits out over the mountains. The sick and wounded were flown out by Catalina flying boats, which landed on a huge lake in Burma. When Wingate was killed in April 1944, the Chindits came under the command of Gen. Stillwell until the final march out in September 1944.

    The Berwickshire News and General Advertiser. 18th December 1945.
     
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Another not particularly detailed account of the events at the Blackpool block.

    He Marched with Wingate’s Men and defended the “Blackpool” Block.

    Various 001.JPG


    A member of the world-famous Chindits, the gallant band of men that swept down from the skies in gliders to form the “most fantastic base in military history,” behind the Jap lines, is Aircraftman McGunigle, of 6, St Michael’s Street, Penzance.

    Major-General Wingate, later killed in an aeroplane crash, led this audacious attack. “He spared no one, not even himself.” Said Lieut.-Gen. Slim, G.O.C.-in-C, 14th Army. “The number of men who are irreplaceable in this war can be counted upon the fingers of one hand. Wingate is one of them. The force that he built up is his own, no one else could have produced it. He designed it, trained it, led it, inspired it and finally put it where he meant to place it – in the enemy’s vitals.”

    A.C. McGunigle, was attached to Gen. Lentaigne’s “Ghost Force” that was hit and came back. These men were perpetrating Wingate’s work in their gallant defence.

    The Brigade, who were defending the “Blackpool” Block, were claimed destroyed by the Japanese radio. It surprised the Japs when they reappeared north by many miles and forced the enemy to withdraw from his dug in positions in the hills between the Indawgyi Lake and Mogaung.

    It was said that their flanking thrust helped very considerably in the eventual withdrawal of the Japanese and the subsequent capture of Taungyi to the south.

    The Cornishman, Penzance. 28th February 1946.

    651511 A.C. McGunigle. Joseph Blee. Royal Air Force. Born Penzance 1920
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  10. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Nice finds and worthy additions, HW... :D
     
  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Whilst one of the two Sergeants did not win his Military Medal at "Blackpool", I have included the whole article for clarity's sake.

    Liverpool Sergeants Win M.M.

    Mahon 002.JPG

    Led Charge Across Open Ground.


    Two Liverpool Sergeants, Leonard Mahon, King’s Own Royal Regiment, of 125 Church Road, and J.B. Palmer, Royal Artillery, of 374a, Smithdown Road, Wavertree, have been awarded the M.M. for distinguished services in Burma.

    “On the night of May 24-25, at the junction of the Silchar - Tiddim Road, Sergeant Palmer accompanied by his troop commander, Lieutenant W. Widdup, M.M. on a reconnaissance to ascertain the strength and location of an enemy party which was attacking his troop H.Q., says the citation.

    “It was found that a party of Japs had occupied a bunker outside the perimeter and in a position of the highest tactical importance.

    ACROSS OPEN GROUND.

    “Sergeant Palmer immediately volunteered to lead a bayonet charge across open ground. Firing a Bren gun from the hip, he charged the bunker and his party accounted for three of its four occupants. The remaining Jap blew himself up with a mine, wounding Sergeant Palmer and his men. Sergeant Palmer’s courage and determination cleared up what would have been a difficult position if the Japs had time to consolidate.

    “During the whole of the action, even after being badly wounded himself, his coolness and leadership were an example to all ranks”.

    Sergeant Palmer, who is aged 31, has been wounded three times.

    SAVED WOUNDED COMRADES.

    Of Sergeant Mahon the citation states: “At Blackpool Block, near Pindaw, Burma, on the night of May 14-15, 1944, frequent attacks were made against the position, all being repelled with heavy loss to the enemy.

    “Sergeant Mahon was in command of a section occupying one of the two forward section posts. After the dawn attack the enemy withdrew after suffering heavy casualties, leaving at least four snipers covering the forward posts.

    “The gunner in the machine-gun pit of Sergeant Mahon’s section was killed and the No. 2 wounded.

    Sergeant Mahon, with the utmost bravery and complete disregard for his own safety, dashed to the trench and pulled out the wounded man. He was subjected to rapid automatic fire from a sniper throughout his action.

    “Throughout the campaign, Sergeant Mahon’s conduct has been of the highest order, and his leadership and personal example have been an inspiration to his section and platoon. On two previous occasions during the campaign he accounted for enemy tree snipers by his single-handed action.”

    Sergeant Mahon is married, and before the war was employed by the Bootle Parks and Gardens Committee.

    The Liverpool Echo 28th November 1944.



    827744 Sgt. John Berry Palmer. Royal Regiment of Artillery. (Liverpool 15). London Gazette, 5th October 1944.

    Wounded 15th March 1944 and 25th May 1944. 87/82 Lt. A.A. & A.T. Regiment. R.A.


    3713918 L/Sgt. Leonard Joseph Mahon, The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster). (Liverpool 21). London Gazette, 31st August 1944.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    L/Sgt. Mahon's full citation transcript:

    At BLACKPOOL Block, near Pinbaw, Burma, on the night of May 14/15, 1944, No. 2 Platoon, 41 Coln were occupying the position known as DEEP. This locality had been subject to heavy infantry attack and shelling during the preceding two nights and was under constant fire from snipers during the day. On the night May 14/15 frequent attacks were made against the position all being repelled with heavy loss to the enemy. L/Sgt. Mahoon was in command of a Section occupying one of the two forward section posts. After the dawn attack the enemy withdrew after suffering heavy casualties leaving at least four snipers covering the forward posts. The gunner in the L.M.G. pit of L/Sgt. Mahon's section was killed and the No. 2 wounded. Several attempts were made to reach the wounded man but all failed. The Platoon Comd Lieut. T. Jordan directed L.M.G. fire and grenades on to all suspected sniper post in an attempt to dislodge them. Immediately afterwards he moved back dragging the wounded man with him. L/Sgt. Mahon with utmost bravery and complete disregard for his own safety had dashed to the trench and pulled out the wounded man. He was subject to rapid automatic fire from a sniper throughout his action.

    Throughout the campaign L/Sgt. Mahon's conduct has been of the highest order and his leadership and personal example has been an inspiration to his section and platoon. On two previous occasions during the campaign he accounted for enemy tree snipers by his single-handed action.

    (Signed) J.Masters, Major, A/Comd. 'Profound'
    (Signed) D.Tulloch, Brig.

    Recommended By
    Lt. Col. A.W. Thompson,
    O.C. Profound I.

    Honour or Reward-Military Medal

    Signed By

    W. Lentaigne, Major General
    Comd Special Force

    W.J.Slim Lieut-Gen
    G.O.C-in-Chief, Fourteenth Army

    G. Giffard, General
    C-in-C 11 Army Group

    (London Gazette 31 August 1944)



    Mahon recommendation.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
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  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Cheers B43,

    it just goes to show that the newspapers don't give you the whole story.
     

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