Chindit 2 General maps, including Strongholds and Landing Grounds.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by mikky, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Hi, guys,

    I've been out of the loop for a long time...and need to catch up on some things, for others.

    I'm at work right now, but it just so happens that I started helping someone who will be searching for the wreck of RAF 81 Sqn C.O. "Babe" Whitamore's crashed Spitfire not far from the Broadway landing ground where he'd been stationed when shot down by a 204th Sentai Oscar on 17 March 1944.

    At home I have downloaded the latest Google Earth imagery of Broadway and it compares VERY nicely with wartime photos.

    I'll add them when I have a chance.

    Sorry to friends I've let down in recent months.


  2. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Great that you're back with us Matt.
  3. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    In the Google Earth Burma thread Mikky (Mike) in Sept 2010 posted a GE image showing clearings, but he wasn't sure which was Broadway. I have this one figured out; see attached.

    From an unknown printed source came the two 1944 air photos, one before Operation Thursday, one after. These matched up wonderfully with a sketchmap on pg 186 of "Air War for Burma" by Christopher Shores, in which four crash sites are x'd -- two Japanese "Zeros" (really Oscars) and what are the 81 Sqn Spitfire crash sites of the C.O., W.M. "Babe" Whitamore (17 March '44) and F/Sgt Alexander Campbell on 13 March.

    I have annotated the book photos accordingly to identify things seen in the map, and then I matched the area to the leftmost opening seen in Mike's posting. Then I went to GE and saved an image of Broadway, and annotated it. I only put the Whitamore crash area on it, in a rush.

    So, then, I'm fully confident of Broadway's location. There will eventually be a search for Whitamore's wreck -- and I'll point out the estimated location of the Campbell crashsite, too. Both men are still missing, though in dense jungle the wrecks were not found post-war by the RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service. Finding them now will be difficult.

    (Um...pardon my itchy, scaly skin seen in that shot holding the book. Poison ivy!! I'm healed now...)



    Attached Files:

    von Poop likes this.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Matt,

    Great work as always. I tinkered with Google Earth a few years ago to seek out Broadway, and came quire close, pin pointing what is called the 'swampy area' on your image from the book.

    Attached is a link to a BBC news story about a Chindit veteran's return to Broadway some years ago. Peter Heppell flew in by glider in the original working party and experienced all the chaos of that tumultuous evening first hand. He is a lovely gentleman.
    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  5. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    Be great if they could be found at last
  6. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member


    I'd never seen Peter Heppell's BBC video before -- wonderful.

    His family's amazing journey to Broadway was in 2006, arranged and led by my dear and loyal friend, Khine Tun, of Rangoon, who I'd met when she lived near me in the Washington DC area.

    I realized that I have two other accounts of this visit to Broadway -- Peter's daughter Sally Lockhart's own written story, and also Khine's longer trip summary.

    For some reason, I cannot paste from an MS Word file into this message box, so instead I am attaching the Word document. And I'm attaching Khine's pdf file on her report, and two photos from the March 2006 trip: Peter and family at Broadway, and the GPS receiver proving where they were. Wonderful stuff.



    Attached Files:

    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for those. I have met Peter two to three times, he is such a kind and helpful man. Hopefully I will get the chance to speak with him again next month, at the Chindit Old Comrades dinner. I'll pass on your regards.

  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Excellent Posts on this very informative thread.

    Reading the attached files really makes it feel like you are parat of the Party.

    Very well done to all concerned.

  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    CL1 likes this.
  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi HC,

    I will email you direct, but in any case; have you got the map coordinates (lats and longs) for the landing strips at Piccadilly, Aberdeen and Chowringhee?


  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    The Chindit stronghold created and used by Bernard Fergusson's 16th British Infantry Brigade, amongst others in 1944. This Brigade was the only unit to march in to Burma from India that year. It comprised of:

    2nd Queen's Royal Regiment-Columns 21 and 22.
    2nd Royal Leicester's-Columns 17 and 71.
    51/69 Field Regiments, RA-Columns 51 and 69.
    45th Recce Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps-Columns 45 and 54.
    54th Field Company RE.

    Seen below is a plan of the Block, taken from Bernard Fergusson's book, 'Wild Green Earth'. Also shown is a contemporary map extract matching the diagram to the actual geographical location.

    To access the full map follow the link here:

    Aberdeen .JPG Aberdeen NG46-16.jpg

    All discussions mentioning the Aberdeen stronghold on this forum can be sourced by placing the term 'Aberdeen stronghold' in our search box found in the top right hand corner of every page.
  12. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Google Earth detailing to create your own "My Places" map...

    This was originally part of my research for the 111th but spread out somewhat...

    Anyway, Google Earth has updated its satellite imagery, about a year back, and if you enter the latitude and longitude details below you will find yourself almost directly in the centre of the "Blackpool" Block, as it looks now...

    25.0519731082, 96.5702349845

    If you back out a bit, and look slightly south and just above the lower river and off to the east where the rivers join, this area of relative flat-land is where the strip was...
    Namkwin is slightly up and to the east. The road and railway line is pretty much as it was, route-wise, at the time...

    A bit of playing with Google Earth and you can alter your perspective and view-point to get a better idea of the location...
    Back out a bit further and to the north-west, beyond the mountain range, which I believe peaks at 3144m, you will find Lake Indawgyi...
    "Plymouth" was at the lower south-east corner and "Dawlish" was a few miles south on the eastern shores of the lake...
    Use their search-engine for Dibrugarh and that is roughly where the Sunderland's flew to-and-from...

    If you have a compatible joystick, and the capability to fly with one, you can do just that and get as true a perspective of how difficult the terrain between Indawgyi and Dibrugarh is; then you will have a better understanding of what risks were taken by the crews of Gert and Daisy...

    Key points around Lake Indawgyi...
    The best easily available map is referenced as NG 47 09 which can be located via the links below - this shows the areas around "Blackpool", Lake Indawgyi, and Point 2171... For others, the map also shows Mogaung and Myitkyina...

    Lake Indawgyi...
    To find this you need only enter the name as it is now considered a nature reserve; there are numerous modern images of the area on-line...

    Mokso Sakan...
    25°10'5 N 96°25'28 E
    25° 9'33 N 96°26'56 E
    As far as I can see on the present maps that are available, they are no longer shown; I can only presume that the locals moved on. Using the campaign maps within Barton's Narrative the above map references are the best location I can find - there appears to be two places commonly referenced - Mokso Sakan, by the edge of the mountain/swamp region, slightly north of the river, and Mokso, which was up-river east a few miles... The CIA maps show three differing locations for Mokso; that is not unusual as once an area was played-out they upped (bamboo) sticks and moved to another location...

    "Plymouth" and "Dawlish"...
    It gets more difficult to accurately be certain of the location of "Plymouth" or "Dawlish" because although they are referenced on Barton's copies of the maps the name appears but not a specific point, so the location is subjective...
    I'm going to go for a location shown as a stop-off point for the 111th on their way in to Mokso Sakan and on to "Blackpool". the point was known as a small village called Lepon but is no longer at the location shown on Barton's map.
    25° 3'56N 96°20'34E
    There is a natural point on the maps which is not visible in GE as it is obscured by a cloud... this aligns with the approximate location on Barton's map, so, best guess for now...
    25°12'57N 96°22'9E

    This is a location within GE so all you need do is enter the name... why this location...?
    Fact 1: 230 Squadron's diaries reference at least three pick-up points on the lake - south, north, and on Gert's final trips in a reference on 30th June to a "new area at the extreme northern end of the lake..."
    Fact 2: One of the 3rd Indian Division diaries notes "Commando platoon now at NYAUNGBIN. Constructing hospital and flying boat base…

    This location is also within GE, so you only need to type it in...
    Fact 1: Reverend Mackay... although he incorrectly notes "Maggie the Sutherland flying boat", his article clearly notes troops going to "the jetty at Hepu" presumably to await collection from the lake, but was it...?
    Fact 2: The Barton's maps clearly show the 14th Infantry Division stopping at Hepu, and as the sick/wounded of the 111th and 6th WA had been left in their care...

    Regarding maps...
    The following are links to maps for almost all of Operation Thursday within Burma, but you will need to know where to look and all the relevant names of places - the relevant maps on both links are NF-46-12, NF-46-16, NG-47-9 & NG-47-13.
    These are 1" = 4 miles maps, as are the maps within Barton's Narratives...

    "White City"
    24°28'60.00"N 96°11'9.00"E
    The landing strips were pretty much adjacent to this marker, on either side of the railway line...
    Matt pointed out my typo here, which meant White City straddled the railway/road... not the air-strips... (where did I leave my dunce cap?)

    Pagoda Hill
    24°28'47.69"N 24°28'47.69"N
    This one is bang on the money... top of the present Pagoda location...

    24°30'25.00"N 96°46'20.00"E
    Obviously, this one is a bit subjective as it was famously "sabotaged by logs" just before the fly-in and was therefore abandoned prior to them ever going there - location was ready-reckoned from the marker on one of Barton's maps and a nice clearing showed up where this point landed...

    24°34'36.00"N 95°57'13.00"E
    The Barton map is a bit unclear here so it has taken it bit longer to figure the most logical location - Mahnton is shown, as is the upper reaches of the Meza river, and the marker for Aberdeen - it is possible that the small village adjacent this location is the present Mahnton...

    23°55'24.00"N 96°23'2.00"E
    As above, the map is not so good for this one so ready-reckoning had to be done... the Shweli river to the north and the Irawaddy to the west with the village of Inywa still on the map gave the locations for this one and the choice was where it shows the streams joining in relation to the Barton map... this is adjacent to a flood-plain area so much may have changed and the fields in the area are all cultivated...

    24°43'41.00"N 96°42'45.00"E
    Did this one pretty much from Barton's maps and came to the same area as per Matt Pooles' location details once pinpointed...

    The Chindit Navy...
    The operating area was the lake and the Indaw River, which opens into the lake near the upper east side...

    Indaw Chaung... outflow point into the lake...
    25°13'57.00"N 96°23'6.00"E

    They operated up to Chaungwa, which I now believe was also code-named "Autumn"...
    Chaungwa - "Autumn"
    25°16'58.00"N 96°27'53.00"E

    Point 2171 - Taungni Bum...
    Taungni Bum (remember that bum is the Burmese word for mountain) is a given location in GE so use that as a search - this was the area the final battles involving the 111th took place and also the location Jim Blaker earnt his posthumous VC...

    Kyunslai Pass...
    24°59'9.00"N 96°23'15.00"E
    This is the route between Lonton and Hopin that is mentioned in several accounts - a route used by several brigades...Another few to add to the list for the Chindit Navy...

    The primary outflow of water from Lake Indawgyi, and the route the Chindit Navy took, is the Indaw Chaung, which flows into the Namkawng Chaung at Kamaing, passing through Chaungwa and Manwe on the way; Lakhren was also a diversion off this route...

    Again, a known site to Google Earth so just use the name for the general area...
    Kamaing was the location of a hospital at that time, which was pretty much the end of the line for what was left of the 111th, the 14th, the 6thWA, and possibly a variety of other parties... 282 personnel were noted there for most of the last ten days of July 1944, excluding the very end when it jumped to 550 on 28/29th July, then slid 431/30th 393/31st... presumably they were relocated further from the front line...
    A more precise location is the outflow point where the Indaw Chaung merges with the Namkawng Chaung
    25°31'43.00"N 96°42'50.00"E

    Manwe no longer appears to exist - from the various maps this appears to be the most likely location...
    25°25'3.00"N 96°33'48.00"E

    The location I've chosen appears to have signs of habitation and again is the most likely point - Lakhren is mentioned in several accounts associated with 1st Cameronians and the 111th...
    25°24'29.00"N 96°35'14.00"E

    I've been unable to locate any signs of habitation in this jungle region of the mountains, so this has been reckoned from the maps - again, several mentions and 1st Cameronians, etc - a mid-point en-route to Point 2171...
    25°21'1.00"N 96°42'11.00"E

    I think that's it all copied over... My personal copy of "my places" in Google Earth has all the drop areas and "Strongholds" identified by little airfield symbols, sad little person that I am... :biggrin:
    CL1 and bamboo43 like this.
  13. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    Anyone know where Eddie's been hiding as I've got the detailing he wanted for the 16th march-in...

    Me ol' Bamboo... is it worth re-titling this thread to include all Chindit maps so we have a general place for it all...?
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks HC. Yes, good idea, I'll do it. :)
  15. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Ooooooh! I wrote an e-mail to Bamboo yesterday asking if he had coordinates for any of the landing grounds other than Broadway, which I already have. I'd pondered...should I just post my query here, or specifically just pester my ol' mate Steve? E-mail it was...and he has posted to the forum, and the answers appeared lickety split! Thanks, Bamboo and Hebridean Chindit!

    My intention is to get over to the National Archives here to see what aerial imagery they have covering some of the landing grounds. My initial focus was just going to be Broadway, but I might as well see what they have for some of the others, if time allows.

    Initially, based on lat/longs, I intend to photograph the flight line overlay sheets, so that I can figure out which cans of film cover each landing ground. That's all.

    Ordering, then viewing, film is a tedious process. Not sure when I can accomplish this (including some photography to share on the forum), but that's my long-term goal. Nothing in the short-term will materialize due to the ponderous nature of ordering the film from underground storage in the central US, to be delivered back east to the National Archives. Then, to find the time to view the film, and take digital images...and manipulate it...and share it... It's a slog, but well-worth it in the end.

    I might just keep it simple at first, concentrating on Broadway and a couple of other sites.


  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    This was the codename given to a large open piece of land that Chindit Column 8 stumbled across when dispersing from Burma in April 1943.

    Commander, Major WP. Scott examined the location with a view to having a plane land on this space and flying out his sick and wounded back to India. This was eventually achieved and 17 men were air-lifted to safety aboard a Dakota.

    Wingate, remembering this location when planning his second operation in 1944, earmarked 'Piccadilly' as one of the Chindit landing strips. Famously, the strip was shown to be covered in logs just a few hours before the Chindits were scheduled to fly in by glider. 'Piccadilly' was abandoned as a landing base and everyone was put down at 'Broadway'.

    Seen below are images in relation to this Chindit landmark. These include some pages from the Col. 8 war diary in 1943. A map of the area showing the rough location of the 'Piccadilly' landing strip. A newspaper cutting showing the crew of the rescue Dakota.

    For a more detailed account of the Dakota rescue in 1943, please follow the link here:

    For the full map showing the area in which 'Piccadilly' was located, please click here:

    If you click on the map it will enlarge on the page for you.

    DSC07921 copy.JPG DSC07922 copy.JPG

    Piccadilly area NG47-13.jpg Dakota crew copy 2.jpeg
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    White City Block:

    Perhaps the most famous Chindit stronghold, created and held by Mike Calvert and his 77th Indian Infantry Brigade in 1944. The block was extremely well positioned, expertly fortified and held out against numerous Japanese attacks for several weeks. After Calvert and his unit had left it was briefly held by the West African troops of the 14th Chindit Brigade before being evacuated in early May 1944.

    The pilots of aircraft visiting the Block to supply rations and ammunition, or those who flew out the wounded and sick, used to remark that they did not need instruments to find White City.
    "We used to navigate, by the smell of the rotting Japanese corpses on the Block's barbed-wire defences."

    For more information on this Chindit Stronghold please click on the following links to previous discussions on this forum:

    And something very interesting and very recent:

    The full map from the Texas University Library website:

    The images below are:

    A map showing the location of the Block. Some photographs of the area previously occupied by the Chindit Block taken in 2008.

    White City NG47-13.jpg Pagoda hill (Henu)..jpg

    White City landcscape copy.jpg White City 2008  copy.jpg
  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    This was another of the Chindit landing bases in 1944, named after the district in Calcutta much loved by Allied servicemen for its entertainment and atmosphere, the base only operated for a few days whilst the Chindits settled down and began their work inside Burma.

    From the website pages of the Burma Star Association:

    At dusk on 6 March, twelve gliders took off from Lalaghat to seize the second stronghold, CHOWRINGHEE. On board were an airfield control party, engineers and three platoons of Gurkhas for security.
    The LZ was about 1000 yards long by 200 yards wide and in better condition than BROADWAY. Eleven gliders landed safely but unfortunately, the twelfth, piloted by 1LT Robert L. Dowe, crashed. He overshot and made a 180° turn, but hit a tree and cartwheeled across the LZ. Onboard were a bulldozer and two engineers, CPLs Harold C. Coker and Billy F. Boen, who, along with Dowe, were killed. The dozer broke loose and was destroyed.
    1LT Jerome A. Andrulonis was in charge of the engineers. Without a bulldozer there was little he could do to prepare an airstrip that night. LTC Clinton B. Gaty, maintenance officer of the 1st ACG, was in charge of the LZ. He radioed COL Alison at BROADWAY for help. They laid low in the jungle all day on the 7th to avoid detection by Japanese planes.
    At sundown Andrulonis started the Gurkhas cutting the elephant grass on the LZ with their kukri knives. They had cleared 12 acres by 2100 when they heard transports overhead. Two gliders, piloted by FOs Vernon Noland and William Mohr, had been snatched out of BROADWAY loaded with a bulldozer (and CPL Hybarger) and jeep. Fifteen minutes later, three gliders arrived from Lalaghat with a grader and another dozer and jeep. All five made safe landings. The engineers were working by 2130 and prepared a 3000’ long airstrip in only four hours. The first C-47 carrying the 111th Brigade landed at 0130 on the 8th.
    All that night the engineers leveled and graded the airstrip, continuing the next day and into the next night. PFC Robert Bennett fell asleep and fell off while running a dozer; he looked back to see that CPL Ronald J. Cain had also fallen asleep and off the grader. SGT Joseph D. Walker and PFC Kay C. Eminhizer took their shifts operating the machinery.
    The fly in of the 111th continued the next night. One hundred and twenty five C-47 sorties brought in half of the 111th; the other half was landed at BROADWAY. The Brigade moved out on its missions near Pinlebu.
    CHOWRINGHEE was abandoned on 10 March. That morning the engineers left by C-47, their equipment was snatched out by glider and returned to Lalaghat. Only two wrecked gliders were left at CHOWRINGHEE. The Japanese bombed and strafed the airstrip just hours after the last Chindit column left the area.

    Seen below is a map of the area around Chowringhee, which was the only landing base to be used south of the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Shweli Rivers.

    Also shown is a report on the events of the fly-in to Burma, by the first wave of WACO Gliders carrying the Chindit raiding parties. These landed at both Broadway and Chowringhee.

    Chowringhee main thoroughfare, Calcutta 1945.

    Chowringhee  locale.jpg Gliders info.JPG

  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    I am going to leave it up to Matt to post something on this thread about the landing base codenamed, Broadway. So, no pressure there Matt.

    However, I will link to a family video of a returning Chindit, Peter Heppell, who re-visited 'Broadway' in March 2006.

    Also a link to the Chindit.Info website and the recommendation for the award of the DSO to Lieut. Col. Walter Purcell Scott of the King's Liverpool Regiment. Colonel Scott led the initial glider landings at Broadway and although his battalion suffered over 60 casualties in doing so, they quickly secured the area allowing the base to be developed for Dakota landings the very next day.
  20. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    ...a link to the Chindit.Info website and the recommendation for the award of the DSO to Lieut. Col. Walter Purcell Scott..."A number of gliders through no fault of their own crashed killing and wounding their occupants. Out of his total force of 750 embarked only 380 had arrived. Under these circumstances he might well have felt despondent."

    On the Vimeo video you may see some of these crash landings (or is it from other occasions?).

    On a technical note; I wonder.. wouldn't some sort of 'anchor' on a rope tied to a winch/flywheel have helped to brake /reduce speed at touch down ?
    More deceleration to the occupants, but when strapped in properly , better than to risk crashing into anything on the field over a long stretch of land.

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