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The luggage going all the way by bullock cart about eleven miles.

Battle of Sittang Bridge

We walked for four and a half miles to a place called PANTHA with the children in a couple of bullock carts with us, and there we got in an almost derelict bus, and proceeded along a most frightful road to TAMU. Other people in charge of the evacuation are Mr. Wright and Mr. Davies, both of the BBTC.

After a considerable amount of fuss on our part, Charles Cook finally said he would move us to the proper camp, a couple of miles outside TAMU, the camp was practically finished with the bunks in and everything, so why we were not put there on arrival is beyond me. It looks as if we shall be in TAMU for sometime as coolies are unobtainable at the moment, owing to the reduced rates of pay, and fright, a BBTC elephant gored a coolie yesterday. Fay and I found an attractive pool in the river that runs by the camp and had a lovely swim.

There is no further news of coolies this morning. Fay and I had another swim in the river and on our return to the camp, were thrilled to learn that coolies had been found and that we were due to leave in the morning. It will be marvellous to start off, as an enormous party of non-Europeans had arrived this morning and had filled up the camp.

The whole camp was up and ready to start at dawn, the other party coming with us, the coolies were late in turning up!

Retreat In Burma - April / May 1942 (0)

We finally got started about We left the other party behind as they had insufficient stores. We were only allowed one coolie each, and they refused to carry a bedding roll and a suitcase, so we had to repack frantically all the clothes from our suitcases into our bedding rolls, making our beds up on our clothes , as we had to discard our thin mattresses. The first mile was on the flat, but we began to climb rapidly after that, it was very hot owing to our late start. We got into camp about 2.

Jim Davies arrived about 4. The water is contaminated and we have to be very careful with it. We got up early, and had a certain amount of trouble with the coolies, after their injections last evening. We marched seven and half miles, climbing for about five and the remainder going down to the camp. It was very steep and we arrived at the camp pretty exhausted. We had our meal and rested all the afternoon. After tea Fay and I had a bathe in the small stream that runs below the camp. The Indian camp which is further downstream, through which we had to pass to get to ours was burnt down owing to the Cholera outbreak.

We were rather late getting started this morning, the coolies were ready before us, and we were still eating our porridge!! We got into camp about The camp consists of half a roof and nothing else! We are all established in one long line under the half that is finished. We had our meal and the flies swarmed around us, this is the only place we have been troubled with them. The afternoon passed in the usual manner i. We had just got our bedding and nets ready for the night when there was a most terrific storm and most of us got drenched.

We got up early but had a disturbed night, the coolies were coughing and spitting all over the place. And some of our coolies seem to have run away which is annoying, but we seem to be able to manage without them. I have got some nasty blisters, which are painful. The march today was pretty stiff but we have nearly finished with it now. There are two Assam tea planters who are in charge of the camp, so things are in a slightly better condition. There is an acute shortage of water, and we are rationed to a pint or so each. We are over 6, ft.

Our highest point was about 7, ft. We were up early before 5 a. The march was fairly easy as it was mostly down hill and of course we are getting into training. The camp is quite nice and we were given dinner and it was good, we had proper plates, cutlery and glasses for the first time for days and also BREAD. We got up about a. We had three buses between the party. The buses are really converted lorries and had no seats and we have to sit on our luggage. We have to go miles like this but we do not mind anything now that we are nearly at the end of our travels.

Those in our bus are Mrs. We stopped at a place called MAO for lunch. We passed a party of British Tommies on the road and we waved madly at them!!

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They worked on the assumption that a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet's base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, would enable the Imperial Japanese army, air force and navy to attain the warlords' territorial aims before the western Allies could react. The raid at Pearl Harbor on 7 December was a devastating blow to the Americans. It failed, however, in its main aim, that of sinking the American fleet's aircraft carriers. This was because, providentially, they were out at sea on that day - sometimes known as the Day of Infamy.

On hearing this intelligence, Admiral Yamamoto, the gifted master planner of the enterprise, knew that the war was already as good as lost. Despite this, Japanese plans elsewhere worked beyond expectation. Hong Kong and Indo-China fell to them without difficulty, but the greatest triumphs occurred on the Malay peninsula and in Singapore, where British, Australian and Indian troops were forced into humiliating surrender. The Japanese completed their triumphs by overrunning the Dutch East Indies, spreading out into the western Pacific by capturing numerous island bases, and threatening the security of Australia.

Firstly the Japanese knew it would serve them well if they cut overland access to China from Burma via the famed Burma Road.

Burma Star Association - Sapper Posties Burma

Along this road a steady stream of military aid was being transported from Rangoon, over the mountains of the 'Hump' and into Nationalist China, but if this supply route was closed, the Japanese could deprive Chiang Kai Shek's Kuomintang Nationalist Chinese armies of their life-blood, permitting the Japanese to conquer all China. Furthermore, possession of Burma would place the Japanese at the gate of India, where they believed general insurrection against the British Raj would be ignited once their troops had established themselves in Assam, within reach of Calcutta.

To this end they cultivated the services of the dissident Bengali politician Chandra Bose, who recruited thousands of Indian troops captured in Singapore into his Indian National Army - to fight the British. Entering Burma from Thailand, the Japanese quickly captured Rangoon, cutting off the Burma Road at source, and depriving the Chinese of their only convenient supply base and port of entry.

He ordered his commanders, against their better judgement, to defend well forward. They, however, were aware, as he was not, of the deficiencies of their commands. The troops were raw, lacked combat experience, and were inadequately trained and equipped to take on the aggressive and bold invaders.


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Apart from two experienced light tank regiments and an infantry battalion brought in from the Middle East, whose presence in the long retreat up-country undoubtedly saved Burma Corps from total destruction, no other reinforcements reached Burma Command. The British 18th Division, destined for Burma, was redirected to Singapore on Churchill's orders, reaching it just in time to march into Japanese prison camps. Operating a scorched-earth policy as it went, Burcorps, now under command of Lieutenant General William Slim, fell back up the Irrawaddy river, accompanied by tens of thousands of wretched Indian refugees, harassed and murdered by the Burmese population as they struggled to gain Indian soil.

In May the retreat finally ended, and the shattered remnants of Burcorps began to prepare for return to Burma. There followed many months of stalemate, as both sides tried to probe each other's strengths and weaknesses. Wavell, anxious to re-assert British military influence and raise depressed morale, ordered an advance into the Arakan, the coastal region of Burma, at the end of It stalled and was bloodily repulsed - and morale sank even further.

Things were only lightened by the propaganda value of Brigadier Orde Wingate's first Chindit expedition. In this the Allies enjoyed some success in using guerrilla tactics against the Japanese, despite incurring heavy losses, thus proving that British troops could take on the Japanese in the jungle. His influence obtained much needed air support for what now became the 14th Army, particularly in the field of transport aircraft, and re-supply by air became the norm for the forward troops.

Himself - Narrator voice Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Walter Boller Himself - Major, R. Sydney Bowers Himself - Sergeant, R. Leonard Brown Himself - Private, 14th Army Michael Calvert Himself - Gunner, 14th Army Neville G. Himself - Captain, 14th Army Urikuro Honda Herself - Morale Booster Louis Mountbatten Himself - Supreme Allied Commander S.

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Himself - Japanese Imperial Army as Lt. Teruo Okada J. Himself - 17th Div. Smyth V. Freddie Tomkins Edit Storyline Allied forces were totally unprepared for the Japanese invasion of Burma in Edit Details Language: English. Runtime: 52 min.


  • 6 Retreat from Burma: 11 December 1941–20 May 1942?
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