Burma Stories Posted Before 10/2006

 Too much  was placed on Burma    So have had to break up into Two Pages   

Burma and Burma One

Burma One (this page ) shows the oldest stories

To read the stories please click blue line with title

1942 The Burma Trek


Strategic Memory Lane

Aussie Dekho

W O Arthur Williams RAAF

Khine's Report Oct 2004

Tributes paid to WW2 Martyrs

Myanamar to open wartime highway

Stillwell Road Sign

Stephen Brookes -through the Jungle of Death

Geoffrey Tyson Forgotten Frontier

D C  H.N. Das --history interpreted

Nominal Role of ITA Personnel


October 23 2006

Our thanks to Larry Brown. Larry Brown uses  Roots Web India-L, which provides a forum where those who have connections with India
are able to interact with like minded people and share
stories and experiences as well as to enquire about
 relatives who had been in India in the early days.
Sometimes a story appears which is very moving and
provides an insight into an event that many of us know of.
One such story is the Trek from Burma in 1942 by
Bonnie Arnall. Bonnie's grandson,Bob Needham,lives
in Port Macquarie,NSW. Australia, and he kindly gave
permission for us to share in Bonnie's story.

The Burma Trek 1942 ( Pt. One)

          by Bonnie ARNALL (nee BAY). 
         Made possible and forwarded by "R & P Needham"
Whose e-mail address is BobNeedham@bigpond.com.au 
Bob would be happy to answer any queries on the article
As a result of a recent offer to the list to share my Grandmother's reminiscences of her experiences on the trek quite a few listers have asked me to send them a copy. However I thought it might be of general interest to most of the list so with apologies to those who are not interested, here it is. My Grandmother was born in 1888 and was in fact 54 at the start of the trek. And she was actually 77 yrs. old when she wrote this in U.K. Granny was born in Maymo. The rather quaint way in which she writes is just as she used to speak. The family called it a "chi-chi" accent. My Mother, born in Rangoon, spoke like that also.

Most people thought they were Welsh. Finally my Grandfather, Asst. Collector of Customs - Rangoon) Frederick J. Arnall, was actually born in West Derby (Nr. Everton) and not Redruth. His Father, Henry, was born in Redruth. Once again apologies for the length to those who are not interested.
Bob Needham
N.S.W. Australia.

Mrs. Bonnie E. Arnall,
Tadley - Hants.
Age - 69 at present - 10.2.65.

Widow of the late F.J. Arnall of His Majesty's Customs, Rangoon. Birthplace - Redruth Cornwall, later of Everton, and daughter of the late Major Thomas Archibald Bay T.M.D. serving with the British Forces in Burma. This is how I happened to be in Rangoon when war was declared; age 52 years when I left Rangoon for the Burma Road. Below is the TRUE story of my sufferings, sleepless nights and losses from December 1941 to May 1945. I arrived in India after my long walk lasting nearly three months of countless miles through jungles and up hills.

In November 1941 I left Rangoon to have a holiday in South India and, while there, I heard the news that war was declared by the Japanese and the British, so I made up my mind to return at once to Rangoon, knowing that my two sons Donald and Jamie would be called up for Military Service and that our home would be left unprotected. I went at once to book my passage on the first ship leaving Madras for Rangoon. The route we took was longer than usual and lasted about 10 days. This was because Japanese submarines were supposed to be in the Bay of Bengal. We arrived at the mouth of the Irrawaddy River on the 25th December, 1941.

As we journeyed up the river the first sight we saw was the beautiful golden Shwe Dagon Pagoda, which is built on a small hill; it was glittering in the morning sun.

We could now see burning villages and smoke all along the banks. It was only then that we learnt from the Ship's radio that Rangoon had been bombed on Christmas morning. The Japs let Rangoon know that they were going to bomb the city, and give them 'plum puddings' for Christmas. This they did, just when all the people were out - some returning from Church. It was a busy day, also a day of death all over. I must tell you that my voyage across the Bay of Bengal were nights of terror, waiting for death perhaps from a submarine. We were in darkness all through the voyage, and no-one was even allowed to light a matchstick.

When I landed in Rangoon I was told by the Customs Officers that there were no conveyances, so I left my baggage at the Customs Office and started to walk all alone to my home on the cantonments, which was a good two miles.. As I walked through the town the sight that I saw was terrible. Broken bodies of poor women, men and children all lying, some on the roads, some just entering their homes. Shopkeepers - their bodies lying across their open stalls and, worst of all, was the horrible smell from these unfortunate people. In the cafes, which were also bombed, sat people at their tables - dead. It was a case of "in the midst of life, we are in Death". I was feeling ill, and sick, to see all this as I went along, and finally came near to my home. In the distance I could see crowds of people all gazing at something and, when I was near, I could see a huge crater - the result of a Jap bomb that was thrown that morning of Christmas at about 9 o'clock. There was not a sound in my home - my sons having been 'called up', but there were one or two people in a part of my home. Jamie was called up by the Air Force, and Donald joined The Battery. For a week I lived in terror all alone then news came that all the convicts, lepers and insane people were going to be freed, as all the officials in charge had run away for safety, and there would be no-one to look after their welfare. This bit of news added to my nights of terror thinking that every moment someone would enter my door. It was only on moonlight nights the Jap bombers came over and when the siren went (a whistle blown by neighbours who acted as wardens) my dog and I ran downstairs to the shelter, which was dug in my garden. Along with me were a few Indian women and children, and one of my servants (the others having run away). These people kept on praying as long as the bombers kept flying over. This went on for a week, as there were no British bombers to stop them. !

Later on one morning my son, Jamie, came in suddenly and told me I would have to leave the house as the pilot of the plane said he could try and find a place for me as he was flying on to India. On being told this I never suffered so much in my life. The thought of leaving a beautiful home, pet cats, a dog with puppies and poultry in the yard, which were to be left to
the mercy of the invaders, or thieves. Before I left in the lorry, after being almost carried down by my son, he ran upstairs again and brought down my favourite cat, Tibby, and put her on my lap, as I was crying so bitterly. I must tell you that I carried Tibby through the whole of my journey, in a Burmese bag slung over my shoulder. On arrival at the airfield, the officer in charge then told my son that, as another officer had turned up, he could not find a place for his mother.
My son then took me to a cousin living in Rangoon with her husband, who was a Sergeant in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps!

. She was Secretary to the Friends' Ambulance Unit, doing some work in Burma and who were at this time leaving for Upper Burma. These people were Quakers of America. They then agreed to take me along in their station wagon along with my cousin and her sister.

It was the month of March that we left Rangoon, reaching Mandalay after a journey of about 4 days. From here we went on to May Myo, a Hill Station. When in May Myo the news came over the radio's loudspeaker that there was a big fight between the Japanese bombers and the American (there were a few here who came to help). This set me thinking a lot - and if anything had happened to my son as a few British planes were also in the fight. I had no idea at this time where my two sons were.
We were at May Myo for a week during this period - the Japs came over every morning at 10 o'clock. Before they came my cousin and I used to cook a small meal, and then go out a mile and sit under some large trees in a deserted area until the bombers flew back to their base. Then we returned to our room - a small one in a broken down shop. My other cousin left with General Stilwell's army, along with the Quakers, to go on to Lashio in Northern Burma, where the lead mines were in the Lashio hills, hoping to get an aeroplane to India, but without success. After the bombers went back to base we went out to see what destruction they had done and, to our horror, we could see dead and dying all over, some in trenches, and some on the roads, even poor horses and other animals.

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The Burma Trek 1942 ( Pt. Two)

          by Bonnie ARNALL (nee BAY). 
         Made possible and forwarded by "R & P Neeedham

In the evenings the bombers never came as the mist was too 
great for them over the hills. Before we left for Mandalay again
 I went to see the Air Force officers stationed at May Myo, telling
 them I was the mother of J. Arnall belonging to the Air Force, 
and asking if they could get me away, being all alone, as I heard 
some other evacuees were sent away to India. The Officer in 
Charge, a Captain, promised to get me away, but that is all, for
 I never saw him again until I was on the Burma Road. We now 
left May Myo to go to Mandalay, being the route to India which 
we had to take. We were offered a place by the Military Accts. in 
some open trucks that were going to Mandalay. On the way to 
Mandalay we had to climb a hill and half way up we heard the 
sound of bombers, so the driver of the truck stopped still until 
they passed over. May Myo, I must say, was a big military objective 
for the Japs who wanted to destroy the Military Posts and
 Railways. We reached Mandalay !
and when we arrived there we
found Mandalay in flames and almost raised to the ground. From 
here the evacuees, including my cousin and me, were put into 
some open railway trucks with the sun's rays on our heads, which
 was something terrible. We journeyed on, sometimes in the pouring 
rain, when halfway to Moniwa we had an accident - the driver of the
train being evidently under the influence of drink, which led to the 
trucks running off the lines. Two trucks from the one my cousin 
|and I were in rolled over, dragging the others with them. The speed 
that the train travelled was terrible so all the passengers were being 
thrown from side to side. As soon as the front carriages stopped along 
with the engine we all ran to see the damage done, and if we could 
help in some way. The screaming and crying of the wounded was 
heartrending. Some were under the trucks and some pinned under 
the wheels. Some were calling to us to help them. There were no doctors 
or even medicines available to treat them. My cousin and I went to help
 an unfortunate Indian woman, and to try and bandage her wounds with 
some clothes we had, but an officer called us away and told us to get 
onto the train at once - a most cruel act. The train left, leaving these
 wounded people alone until help could be sent to them. We arrived 
in Moniwa where there was a small camp. A short time after some of
 the wounded from the train disaster were brought in for attendance. 
For some days after this I could not sleep, as the cries of these poor
souls kept ringing in my ears. From Moniwa we again moved on and 
crossed the Chindwin River by ferry and rested here a day where we 
managed to get something to eat and drink for payment to a Burmese
stall holder. From here we walked to Kalewa, another village, where 
we got two coolies to carry our baskets which contained a few of our
treasured possessions, such as family photos, a gold plated French 
clock about 80 years old give
n to my mother by her mother as a 
wedding gift, money and a little jewellery. Stayed here a day, got 
something to eat, and then started our walk again until we came to
another deserted village. It was here that three officers came up to 
us and asked us how we were faring. It was then that I recognised 
one of them - the Captain that I asked for a seat in the planes at May
 Myo. I thanked him very much for his kindness in getting me away!!! 
He said he was very sorry he could not find one available seat for 
me. I told him "well you have taken my son for military service, but 
could not help his mother, but left her to find her way alone to reach 
India somehow". At the time when they arrived I was making some 
tea which a kind evacuee neighbour
gave me - a pkt. of leaves. I offered
 them some in old broken mugs left back by other evacuees, which 
they accepted very gladly and said it was hours since they had a drink.

Of course the tea had no milk or sugar and it was made on a fire from 
the dry twigs of trees in the jungle. After drinking the tea the officer
 promised to come back and take my cousin and me for only a few
miles as they had to go on some duty. Well, they came the next day 
and we got into the Jeep with them. Also our baskets were taken.
After they left us on the road we started to walk again until we came 
to another deserted village. We were then feeling very hungry and 
tired and a lot of pain in our feet. In this village there was no-one and 
nothing to buy. From the other evacuees we begged a drink, and one
 family gave us two tins of meat which kept us going for two days. We
 had a drink of water at this village. I thank Jehovah that I was often
 given drinks of coffee and baked bread by the Indian soldiers, who 
were deserters and running away to India. I must say that it was not 
only the Japs that people were running away from but also the 
Burmese dacoits,
who were becoming very cruel to people of other 
countries. After a rest that night, the next morning I went to see what I 
could buy in the shape of food and drink from the other people around. 
At last I say down again with another lot of Indians. A cart drawn by 
bulls stopped near us and the driver said that there was a white man
 inside. The occupants of the cart said that they had found him lying 
by the roadside. We got him out at once and the Indian soldiers and
I tried to revive him. He was in a bad state having had a stroke of the
 sun. I had some Aspirin in my hut. This I gave him and the Indian 
soldiers managed to force a hot drink of coffee down. It was only the 
next day that the fever had gone down a bit. We took the man to the hut. 
I eventually found that he belonged to the Gloucesters, on the move to
 India. Next day again I stood in the middle of the road and stopped a 
passing jeep with officers on the run. They stopped though being 
annoyed at having to do so. I told them here was a British soldier very ill and to take him away, which they did. At the next stop again in another deserted village I helped another British soldier, who was ill also and hardly able to walk. His legs and arms were a mass of sores caused by shrapnel of Jap bombs. I was told that these sores are very hard to cure as there was a sort of poison in the shrapnel. I had some Condy's and a bit of ointment with me and attended to him. As my cousin and I were trained by the St. John's Ambulance I always carried a small box of medicines with me. The next day I again stopped another jeep with two officers and told them that a soldier was in my hut and unable to walk. The officers then came and took him away. I wonder where these boys are now, and some others, and if they are still alive in England.
 At this camp a little Indian girl, about 10 years old, died of fever, just near to where I slept. The parents were so distressed as they could find nothing to dig a grave.

Seeing their distress I went and got the loan of a wood chopper from 
a neighbour, with which they did the needful. I was heartbroken to see 
this child being carried on her father's shoulder to be buried in the
 jungle. Another sleepless night!!! We next stopped at an open space 
and rested for the night. The silence, and noise of the frogs and 
crickets, were terrible - no sleep could we get. Next we arrived at 
the village of Tamu which was also deserted, and the scenery around 
the hills was wonderful. We crossed over a rope bridge here from one 
hill to another.

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The Burma Trek 1942 ( Pt. Three)

          by Bonnie ARNALL (nee BAY). 
         Made possible and forwarded by "R & P Needham

At this place a bus came from somewhere and two officials in charge there put us in. In the hurry to get in one of my baskets was left behind containing my gold plated clock. I only missed it after getting out at the stop which we were taken to - about 10 miles. From the next stop we got two Naga coolies to carry our baskets, my cousin going first. They walked very fast and I missed them and I never saw my cousin until we reached Calcutta. She told me in Calcutta that she lost sight of the coolies, so this was the last of my worldly possessions gone. From now on I was alone going along with other evacuees - mostly Indians. My possessions now were my cat slung on my shoulder, tied in a handkerchief some jewellery, money and medicines. I got milk etc. for my cat from a young Persian couple with a baby, whom I made friends with. After a time I missed them on the Road. I carried on feeling very tired, and my feet aching, also hungry. I asked an Indian to cut me a nice stout bamboo; this
 I now used to help me up the inclines. The Naga hills were very high in places and it was dreadful to look down into the valley below, which one could hardly see. On the Road now I saw many awful sights as the people were feeling the walk they had done; some old people staggering along and kids crying. One old man was sitting by a tree on the roadside holding an umbrella. Everyone ran to look at him and, when I went up near him, I could see he was quite dead. I could not stop my tears from coming. I passed on and later found a running river. I stopped and, behind some bushes, I took off my frock, washed and dried it. While it was drying I did the same to my underlinen. In this stream one could see the dead bodies of other evacuees floating, but we had to use this water as no other streams were to be seen. For days I went on, not knowing the day or the month, having made no record since I left Mandalay.

I got a drink and a bit of food, now and again, from friendly evacuees and, with Jehovah's help, I carried on. Whenever we saw fresh water running from the side of a rock, we all made a dash for it, to quench our thirst. After some days I reached Imphal, a rather big place where some troops were stationed. I had a rest and a bit of food. The officials here took the evacuees a few miles out, left us then to carry on our walk. I must say that they took us out in lorries that they had spare. I walked on again until I reached Kohima -another fairly big place, had another rest and a meal and carried on until I reached Dimapur. Here all the evacuees were put on a train and taken to 
Sanhati. As soon as the train reached the station we were all given a paper bag with sandwiches and a mug of tea. We then went on a short distance, got out, and were put on a ferry which took us across the river Brahmaputra.
 On the other bank a train was waiting to take us into Calcutta. On arrival at Calcutta we were taken to a large Convent which was given for the use of evacuees arriving from the Burma Road. Here we were given a bath, clean clothes and shoes. When I arrived here my frock was almost in rags, and my shoes almost in pieces. We were given a wonderful meal. Each of us was given a bed to sleep on. You can just imagine the wonderful sleep I had, no fear at all this time when I laid my head down. It was here I met my cousin whom I lost on the Road half way to India. She then told me the story how the coolies ran away, so she went on with friends whom she knew in Rangoon. Before this she told me that my two sons, Jamie and Donald, came every day to see if my name was on the Arrival Board, as evacuees were arriving every day and this notice enabled relatives to see if their people had arrived.

Two days later my two sons came in and at last I saw them, after three 
months of torture thinking what had become of them. I thanked Jehovah
that their lives and mine had been spared and that he had brought us to safety. They both had suffered like myself, as both
Had to find their way also to Calcutta, by the Chittagong Coast. From Calcutta, after a stay of a few days where my sons bought me clothes etc., I went on to Madras in South India to stay with two cousins who were widows living in a small town not far from the Military Station of Bangalore. The name of the town was Ranipet. I was not two days there when I fell seriously ill with Malaria Fever and I was a month in bed looked after by my cousins, and an American doctor. My recovery was very slow due to the exertion I had travelling so many miles on foot, and the starvation I endured. I must tell you that my cat, Tibby, died two years after my arrival at Madras. Now my days of nightmares were over, and my mind at peace, and when I could no longer be afraid and could not hear the wild animals in the jungle. We did not see any as the tramp of the evacuees had driven them into the deep jungle. After four years living in Madras while the war continued I returned to Burma in 1946 after the Peace Treaty was signed in September 1945. In India I was supported by the Indian Government as my sons were still on duty and could just send me a small allowance. After a month I joined my sons in Rangoon.

We stayed about a year then made up our minds to make our home in
 England, another reason to rejoin my two daughters who were married 
and living there. At this time it was very unsafe to live in Burma as dacoitry as rife, so we left for England.

This is the end of my story which I have written as best as I could at the ripe old age of 69. Those awful 3 months I endured on the Road will always be in my memory. I do not believe that 9 out of 10 people in England knew what the people of Burma suffered, with no planes or troops to protect them. It was just a game of Chance 'Live or Die'.

The words below appeal to me always:

"Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom
Lead thou me on
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead thou me on
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me".

Mrs. Bonnie E. Arnall

(An Evacuee from Burma)  
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October 18 2006


Fighter pilot with the Flying Tigers who flew alongside the RAF 
against the Japanese and became known as the ‘one man air force'

Brigadier General Robert Scott,who has died aged 97, became 
an "ace" fighter pilot flying alongside RAF squadrons in Burma against
 the Japanese in 1942, an experience that he recorded in his classic
 wartime memoir God is my Co-Pilot: a film of the same name starring
 Dennis Morgan as Scott, was released in 1945.

Scott was a flying instructor in California when the Japanese attacked Pearl 
Harbor in December 1941. He immediately volunteered for active duty but, 
at the age of 34, he was deemed too old

Eventually, falsely claiming that he had flown a B-17 bomber, he managed 
to be assigned to a bomber force due to make a top-secret raid on Tokyo.  
When the operation was cancelled he was in Karachi and was soon appointed
operations officer for the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command, flying supplies
 across the Himalayas to, amongst others, General Claire Chennault and his 
American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the "Flying Tigers" who
 operated in support of Nationalist Chinese forces.

Scott struck up a close friendship with Chennault, and persuaded him to lend 
him a P40 Warhawk fighter, supposedly to protect the ferry route from attack. 
Scott operated over northern Burma and in the defence of Rangoon, the vital 
 port for supplies to China. In this fighter, which he called Old Exterminator, he 
carried out many ground-attack sorties against the advancing Japanese army 
and was soon in combat with enemy fighters: within a few weeks he had 
destroyed eight.

After the Japanese had occupied Burma, Scott and his pilots continued the fight in 
western China. The RAF air commander was full of praise for the AVG pilots, 
commenting: "Their gallantry in action won the admiration of both services.

When the Flying Tigers were disbanded in July 1942 and absorbed into the
USAAF Scott was appointed to command them with the 23rd Fighter Group 
of the China Air Task Force. By February 1943 he had been credited with 
destroying 13 aircraft -  the authorities would not confirm a further nine probables 
because his aircraft did not carry a gun camera. His successes made him one
of the first US air ‘aces' of the war. The enemy placeda reward on Scott's head 
and he became known as the "one-man air force". After flying 388 combat 
missions, he returned to the United States.

Robert Lee Scott was born on April 12 1908 at Waynesboro, Georgia and was 
educated at Macon Lanier High School before entering the US Military Academy 
at West Point.  After graduating as an army lieutenant in 1932 he toured Europe
 and Asia on a motorcycle before embarking on his pilot trainingin Texas

He gained valuable experience flying the airmail with the US Army Air Corps, then 
spent three years with fighters in Panama before becoming a flyinginstructor in 

After his servicein China in 1942-43, Scott toured the United States to help sell 
war bonds before becoming the deputy for operations at the School of Applied 
Tactics at Orlando, Florida.  He returned to China in 1944 to fly rocket-firing
fighter-bombers in attacks on rail yards and re-supply lines. The next year he went
 to Okinawa to fly similar operations against enemy shipping and remained there
 until the end of the war.  Scott was awarded two Silver Stars, three DFCsand 
three Air Medals

After the war he commanded the first jet-flying school, at Williams Field. Arizona, 
before assuming command in 1950 of the 36th Fighter Bomber Wing, flying F-84
Thunderjets from Fürstenfeldbruck in southern Germany.  In 1953 he entered the
 National War College in Washington, and on graduating was promoted to brigadier
 general and made Director of Information, working directly for the Secretary of the 
Air Force. His often outspoken style did not endear him to the Washington 
bureaucracy, and in October 1956 he returned to flying fighters when he took command 
of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona 

In the years after the war, Scott had been a strong advocate of making the air force
 a separate and independent service: he considered inter-service rivalries both 
needless and irritating.

In October 1957 Scott retired, becoming a prolific writer on aviation subjects:
 his books included The Day I Owned the Sky and Flying Tiger: Chennault of 

China.  H
e also lectured widely.  In 1980, at the age of 72, he spent 93 days
walking and riding a camel along the entire 2000-rnile length of the Great Wall 
of China.

In 1986 Scott returned to Georgia, which he described as a homecoming, and 
immediately became involved in the building and establishment of the Museum
of Aviation at Robins AirBase, south of Atlanta.  He continued to fly, and on his
88th birthday he flew in a F-15 Eagle fighter and a year later in the B-1 Lancer 
bomber.  Scott remained very active until the end of his life.  In 1996, at the age 
at 88, he ran with the Olympic torch along a section of Georgia Highway 247 
named in his honour.  For many years he worked regularly at the air museum.

Robert Scott, who died on 27thFebruary  2006, married Catherine Rix Green in 

1934: she died in 1972 and their daughter survives him.
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July 9 2006

   A  message from Khine about 2006 photos

This month, I would like to share with you photos taken by Charles
Peterson and Ronald Bleecker. I accompanied these gentlemen to travel
on Ledo and Burma Road in January 2006

Charles is absolutely fascinated by WWII Jeeps and Dodges and he has
posted information about the Burma Dodge trucks at:

Ron's photo album simply brings exciting and happy memories. A word of
caution though. You can spend about 2 hours looking at these photos!

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November 13 2005

We are indebted to Khine for passing on this interesting comments on the "ROAD"
and the way it is looked at today.

The Stilwell Road   
sometimes known as Ledo Road

Strategic Memory Lane 
(November 2005)

It is known as the "Road to Nowhere" or "Ghost Road," but there are hopes that political and  strategic problems can be sidetracked to resurrect the World War II-era Ledo Road, running  between India and China through Burma.

Scores of trucks driving along a double-track, all-weather road from India to China must seem  like a scene from a futuristic or sci-fi movie. But it is neither. It is the past. In 1945, a convoy  of 113 vehicles traveled from Ledo, in India's Assam State, to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, in southern China. It took 24 days to cover the 1,726 km route.

This long haul initiated the short lifespan of the Ledo Road-or the Stilwell Road as it is also  known, in honor of its builder, Gen Joseph W Stilwell, commander of US Forces in the  China-Burma-India theater of World War II, and chief of staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek,  Supreme Allied Commander in China.

The road was one of the greatest engineering projects of the time. Built by one of the most  international labor forces of all skin colors, under the supervision of American engineers and  under the fire of Japanese snipers, it was operational for only 10 months. Then the war was over.
 It had been built to provide supplies for the Allied forces in China and north Burma after the  Japanese occupation of Burma in 1942 had cut off the earlier line of war supplies shipped by  rail from Rangoon to Lashio, and then on to Kunming along the Burma Road. The construction  of a new line of communication from the railhead town of Ledo in India, via Myitkyina, to join  the Burma Road near the Chinese border, began in the same year. The road was formally  completed in May 1945, and served to haul an estimated 34,000-50,000 tons of ammunition,  guns and food to China during its brief operation.

Today, the Ledo Road is called "a road to nowhere" and a "ghost road," and embarking on it  can be a nail-biting venture. The poorly paved road and infrequent public bus service terminate  at Nampong, the administrative center and the base of the paramilitary Assam Rifles, who  enjoy wide powers in India's north eastern border areas. Whether the local commander allows  further passage depends partly on the position of military operations against the insurgent 
United Liberation Front of Assam. The remaining 11.5 km to the border make a barely passable  route for a good four-wheel drive. The border at Pangsau (Hell) Pass is not open for crossing  except for locals on market days in Nampong, although a kind Burmese army commander  may allow visiting the Lake of No Return, a few kilometers inside Burma. "Some activities"  have been recently reported on the 140-km section of the road beyond Pangsau Pass that was earlier thought to no longer exist.

Burma obviously has a say in the big question-if and when the Ledo Road is fully reopened.  The road runs 1,033 km through Burma, only 61 km in India, and in China comprising 632 km  of the historic "communication" line. But Burma has been publicly reluctant to proceed in any  talks about reopening the road. The parts of the Ledo Road passing through areas of Kachin  State, where the SPDC does not have full control, are generally believed to be the reason. 

The Burmese director of border trade said last year at the international conference on regional  cooperation in Assam that the project was so huge that more time to study its feasibility was required.

India and China have sometimes made calls to reopen the Ledo Road. They have come from  a visiting delegation from the Yunnan Provincial Chamber of Commerce at an international  trade fair in Guwahati, the capital of Assam; from the Federation of Indian Export Organizations  in Calcutta; and increasingly from a number of individual politicians and members of state  governments in India's northeast, especially from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Academics  have also raised the issue. A handful of people are upbeat about the tourism prospects- of driving air-con jeeps across the mountains and through jungles and exotic places from  India to China.

China appears to be the most prepared. It has already greatly upgraded its section of the  Burma Road, built in 1937-38, into a modern, partly six-lane mountain highway.

Indian paranoia about a flood of cheap Chinese products has increasingly given way to seeing  the benefits, particularly for its isolated northeast, from the potential trade and the opening up 
of its eastern borders. However, while its "look east" policy is in full swing, Indian enthusiasm 
about reopening the Ledo Road should not be overestimated.

"It is true that a number of individual politicians of the northeast, especially from Assam and 
Arunachal are pressing for the re-opening of the Stilwell Road, but one should not exaggerate 
it. It has not entered public consciousness and debates in any significant sense. Official 
India's ambivalence about China is a big hurdle," Sanjib Baruah, a visiting professor at the 
Center for Policy Research, New Delhi, commented to The Irrawaddy. The Ledo Road is not 
a part of India's present "look east" policy.
A Singpho community leader in Miao, a small village in Arunachal Pradesh near Ledo Road, 
said: "Yes, there would be trade. Chinese goods are cheap but of poor quality. From Burma,
 people would buy cloth and medicine. Burmese herbal medicine is highly appreciated here.
 But the Indian government talks more than it does. The Chinese government does. It develops
 all border areas."

At the local market in Nampong, everything-vegetables, household items, food-is in big 
demand by Burmese villagers, according to an Assam Rifles major, who takes credit for allowing 
a local market to operate for the benefit of both sides. "Most people in Nampong are Naga. 
They have relatives on the other side," he said.

The 25,000 Kachin (Singpho) living in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh wish that they were not
 so isolated from their brethren in Kachin State and China. The community leader in Miao, 
pointing towards Pangsau Pass, 78 km from his village, said: "Kachin State is so close. But 
it is so difficult to get there. We need a road. If a road were built, many people could travel 
and trade." The Kachin community in India was worried about "losing culture." The Kachin 
traditional manau festivals are held in India, as they are in Kachin areas in China and Burma. 
Occasionally, Kachin dancers from Burma walk for 15 days across mountains to attend.

However, the question of reopening the historical Ledo Road is not about connecting the 
Kachin in China, Burma and India, whose areas the road largely crosses. It is about geopolitics 
and the movement of goods, not people. And the green light has to come from Rangoon, 
with political will from China and India.

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November 12 2005


The following is taken from the December 2005 edition of the "AUSSIE DEKHO" WHICH IS THE JOURNAL OF THE NEW SOUTH WALES, BURMA STAR ASSOCIATION

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Below is page seven 

The Demise of our oldest Branch Member

The funeral of Major Gerard "Joe" Kenay took place at the Northern Suburbs  Crematorium on 18th August 2005. His time as a Tea Planter in Darjeeling and his war time exploits are recalled here in a tribute paid to his colourful life. Seen here, in the early thirties, leading out his team, as Captain of his University's First Eleven


I was fortunate in getting hold of a copy of Joe's memoirs that make for 
interesting & often amusing reading. Here are one or two short snippets, 
taken at random from his memoirs that illustrate his sense of humour, 
his tenacity, resourcefulness and concern for others.

The Cow's Tale

I found we had an addition. to the signal section, a cow had attached itself 
to our column. 16 Brigade in its long march south had acquired it some time 
before. Was it for milk on the hoof or as an insurance against starvation? 
 l must frankly say that it was a great blessing to me; the marching for the 
next few days was absolute hell, against the grain of the country. Straight 
up hills,the path almost perpendicular for 4,000 feet or so and then down 
again, only. to have a repeat time and time again. I used to hang on to that 
poor cow's tail when the going got steep and it never appeared to mind. 
After we joined up with the White City columns at Naungpong the cow 


His blackest Day

Next morning we left for Pankankyang, it was a 16 mile trip but fortunately 
for me all down hill.1 had a high temperature when we set off in the morning 
and it was not long before 1 found myself on my own. The column always 
stopped for 10 minutes every hour but 1 was not able to catch up until the 
column had stopped for the night. No one had noticed 1 was missing and 1 
kept quiet. The fever had gone by next morning.That lone walk was easily my blackest day.

Keeping up Appearances

We were not able to bivvy that night as the Japs were close by and kept fi ring 
on the column. We slept in column formation. That was the only time 1 missed 
out on my daily shave. I was one of the few who did not wear a beard.1 think 
Calvert and Rome also  shaved regularly.

Woops! A dropped catch.

We waited a long time for Stilwell's Chinese to join us at Mogaung. The only sure way
 to make them advance was to drop supplies away ahead of them. 1 remember a 
supply drop as they were reaching Mogaung. One of their soldiers was so eager to 
get his hands on a bag of rice that was being free dropped that he tried to catch it. 
You can guess the result! His fellow soldiers nearby were highly amused.

Praise for the US Pilots

The Americans really looked after their own. In the early days when we were running 
out of ammunition, Mitchell Bomber landed and unloaded a consignment of goodies 
for their men. At the time,this did not go down too well with the garrison who were 
screaming out for ammunition but what a job those fellows did in the campaign, with 
their L5's and P5 Vs. Without them there would have been no future for us men on
 the ground.

The Luck of the Irish

We were now into May and the Monsoon would not be long delayed.A column or so 
of 16 Brigade together with their Brigade commander Fergusson arrived in 
Broadway for evacuation. They had marched in from Ledo,had done a spot of 
fighting and were now worn out. ln my eagerness to meet up with their signal 
officer Moon 1 took a short cut to where they were camped and suddenly discovered
 that there were booby traps in all directions. Luck was with me and 1 was able to 
extract myself.

l met up with a young officer by name Srnylie....I often wonder if he finally reached
India unscathed, because the 319 were heavily involved in the Blackpool fiasco and afterwards...

Not exactly Gourmet.

During our march up from Broadway we experienced diffi culties due to the monsoon of getting regular supplies from the air. We were going through 
Kachin country and at one village a buffalo was purchased. I obviously had 
not reached the starving stage  because I just could not bring myself to eat my portion, so gave it to try Gurkha orderly  and he had no scruples. I made do 
with bits of vegetation from the jungle,not appetising  but at least filling.

As Signals Offi cer to Brigadier Mike Calvert.

It was at Lamai that 1 was fi nally introduced to Calvert. lt was here 1 reached 35, 
Calvert himself was only 31.

Fifty odd years later, Joe meets up again with Brigadier Calvert on a Pilgrimage to Mogaung in Burma. (See Aussie Dekho March 2004)


above is all of  Aussie Dekho! DECEMBER 2005 Edition Page 7  

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The search for what really happened to his uncle W/O Arthur Roland Williams RAAF
from page ten

Warrant officer Arthur Roland Williams RAAF

Missing believed killed.
Those who receive this kind of information must always wonder what really happened. One such person is Ivor Smith who lives at Gosford East NSW. For a number ofyears Ivor has been trying to discover what really happened to his uncle: Warrant Offi cer Arthur Roland Williams RAAF, who was a member of the crew of nine on Liberator BZ938 of 159 Squadron, reported missing in Burma on 31/01/45
He appears to be the only Australian crew member (RAAF), the others presumably were in the RAF. Detailed and intensive enquiries were undertaken in relation to this aircraft because of the subsequent War Crimes trial of six of the Japanese involved in the murders of four members of the crew, namely that of Woodbridge (George Cross), Bellingham, Snelling and Woodage.
Their fate was detailed in the last issue of the Aussie Dekho under the title "Courageous Airmen Defy Japanese Captors" Of the other members two were sent to Rangoon jail as Prisoners' of War.

Three members also were reported Missing, believed killed. Among these three was Ivor's uncle, Warrant Offi cer Arthur Williams. Because there is no known grave for the three missing airmen, Ivor's uncle and the two other missing members are commemorated on a memorial erected in Singapore to the memory of those who lost their lives serving in the Far East.

A report made by an RAF offi cer as early as 5th January 1946 gives details of a visit to Letpanbin, the site of the crashed Liberator B938, stating map coordinates

and condition of the area. He believed the aircraft crashed into the ground, probably exploded and burnt out. The only marks of identifi cation were one undercarriage leg and probably part of the fl aps. It was also believed that a portion of the wreckage was removed by the Japanese.
From more detailed information given by headmen at Letpanbin it was stated that one of the crew members was dead in the aircraft. (Could this possibly have been Ivor's uncle? - Editor)

That seemed to be the end of the matter, but Ivor was not to give up. For about twelve years he corresponded with Matthew Poole of Maryland in the United States, who was also involved in trying to get further information about a missing relative, a wireless operator/air gunner, shot down over Rangoon in February 1944. As both cases were similar they were able to exchange relative information. It was through this association that Ivor was fi rst introduced to Khine who also lived in Maryland. He learned about her part in the China Burma India Expeditions.

Accordingly, Ivor decided to get in touch with Khine & Clayton, leader of the expedition, who agreed to undertake the discovery of the missing aircraft aka "Wattowitch", in which Ivor's Uncle, W/O Arthur Williams, was part of the crew.

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Here is an abridged version of Khine's latest report:

Khine's Report - CBI Expeditions

It so happened in October 2004, my partner, Clayton and I were about to leave for Thailand to trek the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi and to continue our journey towards Burma. So I told Ivor I would try to locate the crash site providing that he would give me further information. I was sent a folder containing a lot of information but most importantly, the approximate location of BZ938. The crash site happened to be at a small village called "Letpanbin" near the town of Pyapone. When we arrived in Rangoon after our trek along the Death Railway, we stayed at a hotel called "Guest Care hotel" located near the Shwedagon Pagoda. As Clayton and I were having breakfast one morning in their main dining room discussing about our trip to Letpanbin via Pyapone, the receptionist, Ma Zaw came towards us and started to take interest in our conversation. She said she had overheard about our visit to Pyapone and wanted us to know that her uncle, who is a retired schoolteacher there, might be able to assist us. We were quite dumbfounded. She then made calls to her uncle, informing him about our arrival. We took off the next day from Rangoon to Pyapone in a rental car. The road that led us to Pyapone went through several townships at the outskirts of Rangoon, where both sides of the road were covered with rice fields. The condition of the road, generally speaking, was not too bad. It took us close to 3 hours to arrive at the meeting point in Pyapone, which happened to be Ma Zaw's uncle's home. He and his wife were waiting for us and immediately invited us for lunch.

According to U Khin Maung Lay, the retired schoolteacher, "Letpanbin" where BZ938 had crashed was located about one and a half hours from Pyapone. During the dry season from December to March, there is a truck route navigable from Pyapone to Letpanbin but since we were there in October, (the Delta region had heavy rainfall during the Monsoon), we were advised to rent a boat from Pyapone on the Rangoon River to reach this little village called "Letpanbin".

When we reached Letpanbin, we were led to the village Headman's house where we explained about our reconaissance trip. He was quite astonished to listen to our story and asked us why we wanted to fi nd something that happened 60 years ago. The Headman told us that Clayton was the fi rst "white man" who had visited their village since the end of Second World War.

After showing him some of the black and white photos of the crash site, the Headman told us that we should meet with the owner of the rice fi eld, a farmer named Ko Hla where he thought BZ938 had crashed. Ko Hla was quite amused, seeing city folk fighting their way in the mud, while he crossed the muddy ditches with hardly any effort at all.  As we walked towards the site, my mind wondered back to 31st January 1945 when the crew members bailed out from the plane and walked towards Letpanbin village. So I asked Ko Hla if he had heard anything about this B-24. He said that he remembered hearing stories from his grandparents, how they could not grow rice in the field due to the amount of gasoline absorbed by the ground and that they could light a match and the area would burn. (From an early document it was revealed that the petrol load consisted of 2,980 gallons that would give a normal endurance of 21 hours) He also told us that he saw "bullets in the ground" several years ago, which suggested there being a strong evidence of a crash.

I was somewhat disappointed that I could not see any hard evidence of the crash site: such as metal scrap or anything that suggested this was the site - as it was covered with water. But the GPS reading that Clayton took on the spot coincided quite closely with the original GPS reading of the crash site. Yet, I still was not pleased; as opposed to Clayton who was quite encouraged that the remains of the BZ938 were just below the surface. He said that with some minimal excavation, we would be able to establish the perimeter of the crash site. Plus, he explained that we were standing on a flat fi eld, which has not been subjected to erosion or significant fi lling. But since it has been almost 60 years, any significant debris was almost

certainly hauled to the village as usable material. That was confi rmed by Ko Hla who claimed that some villagers had old aluminum cups and plates made from the body parts of the plane.

Without any delay, we took several photos of the site and fi nally made our way back to Rangoon late that day via Pyapone. Ko Hla did not want us to cross the muddy ditches anymore so he led us by a different route. He took us back to Letpanbin in a small boat, slowly paddling along the muddy canals.

We gave our report about our findings to Ivor after we returned to the U.S.

Personally, I was disappointed not being able to give them a more concrete evidence of the crash site. Ivor and I, however, still keep in touch. As Ivor is now aged 77, he wishes to pay his last respects to his uncle and the crew members at the crash site of Wottowitch. I'd like to make this happen for Ivor and for the other family members of the Wottowitch crew. It would take one more trip for me during the dry season to see the crash site of BZ938, when the entire ground is dry. Geographical location and the poor telecommunication system in Burma have hindered me from making further progress. I have tried to call U Khin Maung Lay in Pyapone from the U.S. but have been unsuccessful. So I have sent am few emails to the "Guest Care" hotel in Rangoon, to the attention of Ma Zaw, the receptionist. I hope that she will call her uncle on our behalf to let him know that we are still interested to visit Letpanbin. I feel that I have an obligation towards Ivor, even though I do not know him personally. I also believe that every crash site has a worth while "human" story to tell.. I sincerely hope eventually to give Ivor some
final results as a closure to the case.  
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Aussie Dekho! DECEMBER 2005 Edition Page 11



.(Top) A shoot from the original famous Cherry Tree used as a sniper's
 post by the Japs was replanted & bore fruit in 1990.

(above) Presenting BSA (NSW) Banner to 29th Assam Rifl es in JCO's 
Mess at Assam Rifl e Range

(Top) Upkeep of the "Tennis Court" An icon that saw so much 
close quarter fighting for 64 days.

(Above) After hard day on the Imphal Plain, George relaxes with 
some creature comforts from local maidens.

Japanese Memorial marks           "Uncle Bill's" HQ in Imphal where he ate,                The Kohima Stone with Epitaph. the spot after which they                          drank, and planned his strategy
advanced no further

The Tiddim Road Axis where many battles were fought and many VC's won


   Here lies The "Gunga Din" of the XIV Army.. A symbol for all those who fought 
                                                 & died in the Indian Army

and now we come to Kohima

Japs caught by surprise

George saluting the Cameron Memorial, which he found in a Naga village, hidden amongst the houses, pigs & chickens. This is where the Cameron Highlanders, wearing sand shoes, crept on a Japanese HQ during the night. Close by, the locals have erected a long pole, topped off with a scimitar of Buffalo horns - an Angami Naga tribute to bravery & valour. George is seen here wearing a Naga coat, presented to him by Lt. General M Pillai, Colonel of Assam Regiment. Born 26 days after their raising, George is their senior son, & treated accordingly - viz. Like a three star General! George continues to maintain a close interest in the welfare of Gurkhas and their dependents.

The KOHIMA Epitaph 
A great deal has been said, quoted and written about the Epitaph that we use and refer to as the Kohima Epitaph. The version that we use reads as follows:

When you go home Tell them of us and say 
For your tomorrow We gave our today.

There are, however, slight variants of this. The original inscription on the Kohima epitaph read "their tomorrow" not "your tomorrow". This was amended on the plaque in 1963. The original version composed by J M Edmonds read

"When you go home, tell them of us, 
and say For your tomorrows 
these gave their today.

It is thought that Edmond's rendering of the Epitaph was probably influenced by

the original Greek written by Simonides of Cos (c.536-469 BC ) on the Cenotaph of Thermopylae. I have translated a very literal word for word translation of the Greek that has little linguistic connection with the text composed by Edmonds, though there is a similar sentiment:
O xein (O, stranger!) aggellein (tell) LakedaimonioiV (the Spartans) oti thde (that here) keimeqa (we lie) toiVv v v keinwn rhmasi (with their words) peiqomenoi [obeying]

Here are some possible paraphrases of the original Greek text:

Oh foreigner, tell the Spartans that here we lie, 
obeying those words. Go, tell the Spartans, 
thou who passest by, 
That here obedient to their laws we lie

Stranger, bring the message to the Spartans 
that here we remain, obedient to their laws.

Editor of Aussie Dekho says:

I am grateful to George Mackenzie for giving me some 
detailed valuable information of his own that I have 
summarised and used in this article.

Sincere Thanks to the Aussie Dekho Ron Boulton 
from Editor

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October 26 2005

This news cutting was kindly sent in by Ali Zaman about the 
"Young Travellers" paying their respects--thanks Ali


From Our Correspondent

IMPHAL, Oct 21--The sound of gunshots and war planes land­ing 
and taking off echoed at the historic Imphal war cemetery on 
Thursday when a 41 member team of Royal British Legion paid
 floral tributes to the martyrs World War 11 here.

The team comprised 17 World War veterans who fought gallant 
battles to defend Manipur The eld­erly war veterans are accompanied 
by their friends and relatives:  

A heart- touching ceremony with a guard of honour by the troops of 

22 Maratha Light
Infantry was also conducted under the aegis of 
Assam Rifles as war veterans laid floral wreath at the cemetery

The Commander of 9 Sector Brig VK Pillay also accompanied the war 
veterans as the troops of 4 Assam Rifles provided the be­fitting touch 
to the ceremony. Among the veterans is 94-year­old war 
veteran Lt Col Richard McCaig who is the eldest of the lot and 
had served in Indian Army for ten years and fought many battles 
against invading Japanese Army in Manipur.

While interacting with this reporter, he said those who wish to have 
war in this new era should dealt with properly. He, however, did not 
regret the war in his time although he expressed  unhappiness over 
the demise of four of his colleague British officers. Similarly 91 year 
old Hilda Martin Smith who served the British troops as a military 
nurse during World War 11 in Manipur was intears to recall that 
seventy percent of the heroes in the war cemetery breathed the last 
in her presence.

"Those days were an unforgettable experience in my life" Hilda Martin 
Smith who is accompanied by her daughter Melissa Cherry, said 
"I can't believe Imphal has now become such a big city"

The British Team paid floral tributes also to Indian world heroes 
at the Indian War cemetery
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Myanmar to reopen sectional wartime highway linking India, China

Source: Xinhua, June 15, 2005   http://english.people.com.cn/200506/15/eng20050615_190392.html

Myanmar (Burma) will reopen by next year its section of a wartime highway linking neighboring India and China after renovation to help facilitate trade between those two countries, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.

The 1,300-kilometer-long Ledo or Stilwell Highway, a strategic supply route between India and China via Myanmar's border town of Myitkyina in the northernmost Kachin state, was built during World War II by Chinese and American troops.

The highway extends as Ledo (northeastern India)-Myitkyina ( northern Myanmar)-Kunming (southwestern China).

The reopening of the Myanmar section of the highway, which will lead to the most convenient land route between China and India as well as to turn Southeast Asia into a key trading hub, was discussed by the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce and the India- Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the representatives of which visited Yangon last May, the 7-Day News quoted the federation's officials as saying.

The current trading route to ship most of India's exports to China, by contrast, is as long as 6,000 kilometers through the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean before reaching China's eastern coast.

The Ledo highway was built by Chinese troops and the Allied Forces of the United States in 1945 to transport logistic supplies to the beleaguered Chinese army when the Yunnan-Myanmar road, a crucial lifeline in China's war of resistance against Japanese aggression, was cut off by Japanese troops in 1942.

It was later renamed the Stilwell Road after General Joseph Stilwell, commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia who commanded the US forces in the China-Myanmar-India theater in World War II.

The road starts in Ledo (India) and divides in two routes at Myitkyina in Myanmar. The southern route runs through Bhamo and Namkham in Myanmar reaches Wanding in China, while the northern route passes Myanmar's Kambaiti, China's Houqiao and Tengchong, before connecting with the Yunnan-Myanmar road.

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This picture was sent in by Jim Beven as a memory tickler for old Koi Hais

The little boy in front is Richard "Rick" Beven, and his mother 
the late Jean Beven is to the far right of the photo.


Through the Jungle of Death
A boy's escape from Wartime Burma
by Stephen Brookes

Thanks to the good offices of Alan Lane and Larry Brown,  here is a heartfelt message from Steve the author, whose wife Maggie has sorted his e-mail and the rest of the technical stuff which enables Steve and I quote  "to enable me to talk to the world. Fantastic! I have finally joined the 21st.century!  

This is Steve's message 

 G'day world! This is the Jungle Boy from the Hukawang Valley saying Thank You and God Bless to all the tea planters from Assam. It was your organisation, your kindness, devotion to duty and amazing courage, that  enabled thousands of refugees to survive the terrible conditions of the trek from Burma in 1942. My gratitude is also extended to the plantation labourers who carried the heavy sacks of food and medicines over the steep hills and swamps of the Valley of Death, so that we might live.

To all of you - European and Asian alike, I now have the opportunity through this amazing computer, to tell you that without your help 63 years ago,  I would not be alive to-day to record the terrible events in Through The Jungle Of Death.

I must also tell you that in 1999, my Editor from John Murray decided that my manuscript was too long.  Although I protested at the time, she felt that it was necessary, and wise, to delete 60,000 words. She explained that the story should stop as soon as the boy reached Assam in September 1942 and that the rest of his difficult life and any reflections about the trek must be the subject of another book. So my gratitude to you, the tea planters and labourers, disappeared in the 60,000 words. I mention this, just in case you should feel that your tremendous help was not appreciated. So look out for the second book - if I live long enough!

It is almost midnight in Cambridge - and I have no doubt that tonight, as on many nights in the passing years, I will dream of the Pangsau Pass, Shingbwiyang, the monsoons, the deaths and the agony. That is why I avoid thinking or talking about the war before bedtime. But tonight is an exception - because I want to immediately put on record the help of the Assam tea planters in 1942..

Steve Brookes 

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December 22 2004

This is the start of the Book
Forgotten Frontier
 published  in 1945 and written by
Geoffrey Tyson

It gives an account of the task facing the Indian Tea Association at the time -there will be more to follow

Please read on

When it is finally written the full story of world war Number Two must inevitably include some account of the great movements of civilian populations, inextricably entangled with current military operations, which occurred during the years when Axis striking power was at its height. The hurried trek across France in the face of Hitler's triumphant armies, no less than the subsequent invasion and occupation of something like four hundred thousand square miles of Russia , produced mass movements of civilian population which were carried out under conditions of which as yet we have very little accurate knowledge. But, without drawing too freely on the imagination, we can conjure up a reasonably true picture of the scene.   Less known, perhaps, to the world at large is the epilogue to the loss of Burma, a story compounded of the same dark tragedy that stalked the mainland of Europe with the added difference that for thousands of British, Indian, Burman and other refugees, many of them mixed descent, escape from a ruthless and cunning enemy involved them in a struggle with the forces of Nature which must be one of the epics in the annals of human endurance.  By the time they began the journey across the border mountains to India they had for the most part placed themselves out of reach of the Japanese terror.       Few, however, can have realised the ordeal that lay ahead, an ordeal that was only partially mitigated by the relief columns that thrust out from several points along the Indian border, across hundreds of miles of wild, unknown and forbidding country-a veritable No Man's Land which, for a few inclement monsoon months, the swirling tide of war made for these children of the Empire an inhospitable refuge.            Many perished on the journey; but without the large scale relief that was organised from India's eastern border few, except the early parties who made their way under more favourable weather and ground conditions, would have survived.

This book is written from the standpoint of one of the chief relief agencies, whose work, by general acknowledgment, contri­buted very largely to the success of the evacuation as a whole.  I use the word `standpoint' deliberately, because whilst the succeeding pages are an endeavour to place on record a comprehensive account of the relief operations carried out by the Indian, Tea Association, it will be necessary to digress from time to time, to look at other parts of the several lifelines which were thrown out to the retreating victims of the Japanese occupation of Burma .

A more ambitious piece of writing would, no doubt; attempt a full length, co-ordinated narrative of the whole vast undertaking for which the Government of India made itself either directly or indirectly responsible. I have been privilege'; to see many of the official records of the time, and I hope that in due course they will be made available to the general public, for they constitute a record of which, in spite of some mistakes and errors of judgment, the authorities have good reason to be proud. But a book which would provide a satisfactory conspectus of all that happened in connection with Eastern Frontier projects and relief in the critical period of 1942 is beyond the compass of my present task, which is directly chiefly to placing on record the role of the Indian tea industry as a whole, and particularly that part played by its planter members, upon whom to a large extent fell the actual execution of this magnificent errand of mercy.        Their work lay literally in the valley of the shadow ; and if I may borrow a famous epitaph in which Edmund Blunden has immortalised the men who fought in the battle of the Somme, what the planters of Assam did day after day, week after week, and month after month 'will never be excelled in honour, unselfishness and love.' There are many more to whom these words apply with equal truth.

            The men of the tea industry, who worked in the camps and on the roads, know full well that these others gave themselves unsparingly to the job in hand, and it is no wish of theirs that even by implication, such outstanding devotion to their fellows should go unhonoured and unsung.          But in writing a story of the kind I now essay, an author must set himself certain severely practical limits.            To attempt to traverse all the ground which the various relief organisations in fact covered would almost certainly have bogged me down, and just as surely, as were some of the hapless victims whose vicissitudes and triumphs form the contents of succeeding chapters.           I have, therefore, confined myself to that part of the great trek over which the Indian tea industry exercised a bene­ficent and merciful supervision.     It is not the whole of the grim odyssey, but a big enough part of it to justify a volume to itself.


To understand the problem which confronted the authorities in India in the spring of 1942, it is necessary to take the reader back a bit, and to recapitulate events which now seem remote, but which are really set in the relatively recent past. We may take as our point of departure February loth, 1942, the date on which the partial evacuation of Rangoon was begun. Events, and the enemy, had moved quickly since the Japanese had invad­ed the Tenasserim districts of Burma early in December.      We know now that, hard pressed as we were on every front of a global war, and with a vast garrison tied up in Malaya, our re­sources for the defence of Burma were probably inadequate from the beginning of a campaign which, as time went on, necessarily partook of the nature of a defensive and delaying action. At that moment, however, we had some reason to hope, and believe, that if not the whole, at least the northern part of the country, might be held against the enemy.


     On the other hand, the dis­location by air raids of the life of the capital city, and the rapid advance of the enemy's forces from the south, had created a profound psychological effect, particularly upon the million Indian citizens living mainly in the districts of Central and Lower Burma . Their position, indeed the position of Indians in all parts of Burma , has never been fully appreciated except by those who have had prolonged and intimate contact with the Indian community. Up to the time of the Japanese occupation they constituted an important enclave in the country's economic life, their industry and attention to business constituting a source of wealth out of all proportion to their numbers.    

The Burmans have always regarded the Indian in their midst with envy, amounting sometimes to resentment ; nor in times of political or social tension has the Indian felt himself entirely at home in Burma, even though he and his forefathers may have been resi­dent there for several generations. Minority problems are not entirely confined to Europe , and the presence of a prosperous Indian community has always constituted Burma 's minority problem number one. In the circumstances that prevailed in January and February 1942 it was but natural that the first impulse to leave the country, which was by then partially occupied by the enemy, should be felt by the Indian minority.                                 Whilst there was still time many thousands left by sea for Calcutta and Chittagong , but with the progressive deterioration of dock facili­ties at Rangoon and its subsequent fall, further evacuation by sea became impossible.


Thereafter some refugees, mostly In­dians, essayed the journey to India by the southern coastal belt, following the line between the mountains and the sea entering India via Cox Bazaar and Chittagong, passing over country which was later to become the scene of a good deal of bloody fighting between ourselves and the Japs.                                                    

These refugees suffered a good deal of privation, a heavy incidence of disease and consequently a high death rate. This particular exodus forms no part of story, for such succour as they received was from purely official sources ; but their, misfortunes were a precursor of bigger thing, to come, and one may be permitted to speculate whether ill lessons of the occasion were fully assimilated by those in authority in India and Burma who were soon to be faced with the necessity of making plans upon the success of which thousands of lives were to depend.                                                    
For soon after the sea routes were finally close and this one ill-starred land attempt to leave the country ha proceeded on its way, there began the great trek northward an unnumbered multitude. The great majority were India seeking escape to their own country, by means of little known Iand routes into Assam .               
But not all were so disposed, and a considerable percentage of the vast concourse that made its way northwards were men and women of all communities who anticipated that, at some point or another, the Japanese armies would be contained and that part of Burma would be held and the invasion brought to a standstill.  I am not in a position to state whether this expectation was ever seriously encouraged by the civil or military authorities on the spot, but for many it undoubt­edly kept alive the flame of hope which was to flicker so tremu­lously on many occasions before the end of the long, or the last, journey was reached.

Movement inside Burma itself was conditioned by the fact that the country's main means of communications-road, river and rail-all run from south to north ; and after the limited possibilities of the one exiguous east-west land route via the Arakan had been finally exhausted, refugees in their thousands were driven northward in the wake of the swirling tide of battle, the fortunes of which continued to go steadily against the Allied armies. The focal points towards which this great concentra­tion of humanity advanced in a swelling stream were the towns of Mandalay , Kalewa, Bhamo and Myitkyina in Upper Burma , all of which at varying dates in May 1942 fell into enemy hands.

By the middle of May 1942 the Japanese were in control of all these jumping off places, and soon every gap in the frontier belt of hills which looked like offering an escape to India became a refugee route, even those in the far north-east which were known to be hazardous in the extreme. But, in order to reach these points of dubious vantage to make the main journey across some hundreds of miles of no man's land into India , considerable trials had first to be overcome in Burma itself.         Over this first section of the long pilgrimage the Indian refugees, for the most part poor, ignorant and defenceless, seem to have suffered most.   A number of writers, who saw their plight at first hand, have testified to their pitiable condition.         Mr. O. D. Gallagher in his highly con­troversial Retreat In The East describes how thousands of people without money or influence trekked the long road north, suffering great hardships-the small wage-earning Indian particularly, for not only was he short of every necessity, but he lived in fear, sometimes rightly, often wrongly, that he would be set upon, by the Burmese. All had the same blind hope of reaching their homeland, India . Many got there, despite all.

" I saw one such caravan numbering about 4,000 men, women and children. They could move only a few miles a day as their pace was regulated by that of the oxen who pulled their cumbersome carts.            I have seen refugees in Spain , China and France , but none to compare with these people . . . . They said the Burmese were too cowardly to attack them by day, but sneaked round the edges of the caravan under cover of the night, and silently slew with knives those unlucky enough to be remote from the main body. They then plundered the carts of the slain.

" They searched among their crowded members for someone who could speak English, and produced a man who had been a tailor. Through him they enquired about the best road to take to India.They had about 1,200 miles to walk They were so anxious to find someone to take an interest in them and their plight."


In Red Moon Rising George Rodger, a first class cameraman, journeying from north to south says

" As we went further south, the bands of refugees became thicker on the road until we found them struggling northwards in a continual stream Dock labourers, coolies and bearers plodded  side by side with clerks and government servants, their womenfolk and children trailing beside them. In endless streams they came-women tired out and hobbling along by the aid of sticks; men carrying babies in panniers from their shoulders, others carrying small children on their backs. Some of the women carried dry wood on their heads for, with such a large party, it was not easy to find fuel for their fires wherever they stopped for the night, and it was not safe to forage in the jungle where Burmans might be lurking. . . Most of them were already lame. The older people were obviously exhausted. Some of the men pulled heavy carts in which their women and children perched on top of their household goods, but the majority had been unable to bring more than a small bundle of personal things with them. I was struck by the incongruity of the articles that some of them had chosen to salvage from their homes, when nothing but the most indispensable things could be carried.    One man had a cross-cut saw over his shoulder, another lugged along a large tom-tom, several had umbrellas, and one carried a bicycle with the back wheel missing"        .           .           .          

So much for the general conditions in which the Indian refugees travelled to the outposts from which the supreme bid for safety was to be made.    By the time the last stage of the journey began many were already very near to mental and physical exhaustion. But they were not all. I asked an Indian Army officer, who served in a forward relief camp organised the Indian Tea Association from May to July, and to whom I am indebted for much background information, for an analysis of the national and social groups of refugees who passed through his hands. The tragic and motley crowd consisted of British a Indian subjects, comprising Britons, Gurkhas, mixed Indian stragglers from the Army in Burma, South-Indians, Ooriya , Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmans as well as some Italians, Pole,  Germans, Swedes, Jamaicans, West Indian negroes, Chinese troops and even one Red Indian.    These latter categories were not' numerically important, but they serve to illustrate the truly catholic nature of the mission in which the Indian tea industry ultimately found itself engaged.

All the authorities on the subject, as well as participants in the relief operations on the Indian side of the frontier, are agreed that one of the continuing handicaps in the situation was the absence of reliable information from Burma as to the scope and extent of the refugee problem. The lack of even the most approximate statistics imposed a very serious limitation on all kinds of forward planning.     I shall have occasion to refer to this matter again.

            I mention it at this early stage in the narrative because, even now, estimates vary very considerably as to the precise state of affairs in Upper Burma by the time the exodus northward had come to a halt, and the refugees began to turn west to India .          I have briefly tried to show how the bulk of the lower class Indian refugees fared in the first lap of the journey inside Burma itself. In order, however, to get the picture into proper focus it is necessary to go back on our tracks a little, in order to see how and in what circumstances Indians of other classes, and the great mixed population referred to above, essayed a journey which was to prove a most exacting test of the physical and moral qualities of those who undertook it.       By the beginning of May 1942 everyone: who intended to leave Burma had already gone, or had headed north for Mandalay and Myitkyina.            Those who failed to get away in the early stages of the exodus had follow­ed, from south to north, the two chief congested lines of communi­cation whose principal road, rail and river routes ran roughly along the lines of the Irrawaddy and Sittang valleys.        Mandalay had fallen to Japanese forces on May ist.           Up to this date theChindwin Valley had been the main route to Manipur and safety, and the small town of Kalewa on that river had been the collecting centre of refugees hoping to use the Tamu route into Imphal. On May i2th Kalewa was abandoned, and soon afterwards Bhamo and Myitkyina fell to the enemy. But for those in the extreme north it was hoped to arrange a mass air evacuation to India before the monsoon rains finally broke, and in this expecta­tion thousands of refugees concentrated on Myitkyina.      

As to a large part, they consisted of men and women who had stayed at subordinate posts in the civil and administrative life of Burma to the last possible moment. Many of them, in fact, represented the backbone of such resistance as the civil government of the country had been able to offer against the advancing enemy. The resources of the small town of Myitkyina itself were quite inadequate to the tremendous influx of refugees of all communi­ties from Lower Burma .       Every available nook and corner was occupied by waiting men, women and children, and those who were unable to find shelter of the ordinary kind were put into camps or housed in schools and other public buildings, whilst other groups lived in the jungles on the outskirts of the town. For many it was a grim curtain raiser to greater hardships to come, as they waited anxiously for a plane to take them on to what they hoped would be the last lap of their journey. The devil was indeed hard on the tails of the hindmost ; and it is one of the ironies of the Burma campaign of 1942 that those who stayed to the last at their posts, in support of the civil and mili­tary authorities, stood the poorest chance of getting away to India and, if they were successful in so doing, only reached safety by battling their way through conditons such as the earlier refu­gees never experienced.           As long as the Douglas transports were able to run to and from India they crammed as many as 75 into each machine, but even at this dangerous rate of transportation the situation in Myitkyina could not be appreciably relieved, unless many more aircraft were made available and the proposi­tion tackled in a big way. I have been told that a mass air evacuation of Myitkyina was planned for May 15th, but there is no record in support of this.

     Myitkyina aerodrome was bombed twice on May 6th and put out of action, and on May 7th it was evacuated.     Just as the first party was ready to leave on that date Myitkyina was again bombed.  On this occasion the town, as well as the aerodrome, was the target and vicious fires swept the place. The Japs entered on May 8th. A further decisive calamity was the breaking of the monsoon several days before due date. From that moment evacuation by air was severely curtailed, and finally petered out. Facing up to the new and

almost desperate situation, the authorities were obliged to tell: the hapless congregation that their only hope lay in making their: way to India on foot.     The effect of this last injunction can be better imagined than described.      Virtually the end of any organised government in Burma, it was a shattering blow to thousands of already sorely tried children of the Raj, many of whom, be it said, who had spurned earlier chances to get away as long as there was a job of work to be done in defence of the country.

Looking back objectively on those last fateful days in Upper Burma, it is a reasonable assumption that the vast majority of the refugees, who were to pass through the Indian Tea Association's relief organisation in the next few months, had already been sub­jected to a profound physical and psychological strain before they, began the last, and more arduous, stage of the journey to India.' The trek to Upper Burma in the van of a hostile army, sporadic enemy bombing, the frequent difficulty of finding food and shelter and the climatic conditions of the fag end of the hot wea­ther combined to create conditions that were a challenge to the stoutest heart and a tax on the strongest physique. It was at the end of such an experience that they had to bring themselves to face the sternest test of all.

     Reading the diaries, letters and other personal documents that have been placed at my disposal for the purposes of writing this book, I have sometimes wondered whether, having regard to the purely humanitarian aspect of the matter, such an evacuation as was to ensue presents many ad­vantages over 'staying put', even in the presence of such an unpredictable and barbarous foe as the Jap.   And yet, on second thoughts, I realise that had I been in the same predicament and faced with the same choice, I would have made the same decision as did these leaderless, and almost lost, thousands. The prac­tically universal ignorance of the distance and the rigours of the journey to India was, in a sense, a blessing in disguise; for it served to provide the kind of hopefulness that is an asset at the beginning of a hazardous journey. But there is no doubt that both in mind and in body many of them were ill-prepared for what was to come.      To take only one simple example, of what I mean many of the refugees who reached Upper Burma were really only prepared to be flown out of the country.     

Before reaching a place like Myitkyina, from where they had expected evacuation by air, they had already discarded most of their useful clothing, retaining their most expensive kit on their backs and such things as papers, jewelry and money which could be conveniently taken by plane.           By the time they found that evacuation by air was impossible there was nothing in the shape of blankets, boots or other necessary articles to be bought in the bazaars of Upper Burma , and they started to foot it to India in the expensive, but not necessarily utilitarian, clothing they had chosen for the pro­mised air trip. That is the reason why many women ultimately arrived in such flimsy garments, and not a few were found dead at lonely spots in the Naga country, clad in the fine evening gowns which in happier times they had purchased in London , Calcutta or Rangoon .   In the proper sense of the words, it was quite impossible to integrate and organise the great bulk of the refugees who came over the northern land routes.    Even if there had been time, it is doubtful if stores and equipment in the necessary quan­tities were available for the purpose in Upper Burma, and as I have said before, in the mass, the refugees were leaderless and largely without guidance, at least until they reached the outposts of the Indian relief organisation which had been thrown as far as possible across the no-man's land of the Indo-Burma border of  that time.                  

The big concentration of refugees at Myitkyina, and other places, broke up into small parties for the journey, and human nature being what it is these parties automatically threw up their own leader or leaders ; though it is doubtful if the latter were as important to the success of the enterprise as the odd member of a party who could cook decently. Those parties which included a man or a woman whose cooking, however pri­mitive, was also wholesome and clean came through best and with least demoralisation.     For, as we shall see, malnutrition was the basis of almost all the illness which was to take such a heavy toll in death and suffering of those who had now turned faces to the Indian horizon.

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December 17th 2004


This is an article from the Assam Tribune kindly forwarded by Gordon Simpson and we thank him

A very interesting piece of history plus the interpretations and up to date commercial comments by a former
 Deputy Commissioner --H.N.Das

Lord Louis Mountbatten, as the Supreme Commander of the South East Asia Command (1943-45),

submitted a detailed "Report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff' of the Allied Army at the end of the Second World War. In this valuable chronicle of those times he has left behind nuggets of information about Assam and the neighbouring countries. It is replete with maps, charts, annexures and appendixes 1

I got hold of this book in November, 1967, when I was at Dhubri as Deputy Commissioner of the erstwhile united Goalpara district. Then I plodded through the nearly 300 pages of this double column small print book at the instance of late SK Banerjee, the then Commissioner of North Bengal Division, stationed at Jalpaiguri. My early childhood memories of wartime Guwahati came zooming

back to me. One of the scenes fixed in my mind was that of the handsome, dignified and uniformed Mountbatten striding imperially into the Arya Natya Hall (presently AMSA house) at Sukleswar, Guwahati. This place was then used by the Allied Army. Our headmaster late Bhairab Chandra Adhikary had thoughtfully lined up the children near the windows of our now demolished primary school building, which was next to the Hall, so that we could have a full view of the momentous event. We had then heard that Mountbatten used to pass through Guwahati quite often. That probably is the reason why his knowledge about this area was so deep. During his last visit to Guwahati in 1947, when he was Viceroy of ' India , Mountbatten addressed a public meeting in the Judge's Field. He spoke quite deprecatingly of Burma and said that Burma will never be a great country.

In the present book Mountbatten has written as follows: "On the 27th January (1945), the Ledo Road was opened. 38 Chinese Division of NCAC established contact with Chinese Army Group of the Yunnan Force on the old Burma Road at Mong Yu, on the Burma side of the frontier about 20 miles south of Wanting. On the following day, the first American Chinese convoy from India , led by Brigadier-General Pick, crossed the frontier with appropriate rejoicings." The map shows Wanting, on the Chinese side, to be 483 miles from Ledo. On the Burmese side the farthest post of Namhkan was 444 miles from Ledo. The last post on the Indian side was Loglai, 51 miles from Ledo, which connected the nearest post of Tazaplug Ga on the Burmese side which was 80 miles from Ledo. The most important place on this road in Burma , Myitkyina, which was a Railway, Road and Pipeline junction and a big market, was 253 miles from Ledo.

Mountbatten had a running fight with his American Deputy, the redoubtable 'vneager Joe', whose real name was General JW Stilwell. Both of them were great soldiers. But they had different ideas and points of view. Anecdotes and incidents regarding their differences of opinion cover many pages of the book. Mountbatten had personally aired his complaint against Stilwell to the US leaders. In the book Mountbatten notes with dismay that his Deputy used to communicate with Washington directly "'without informing me of the fact."

Stilwell held several simultaneous appointments including that of Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kei Shek, the supreme leader and President of China .. This relationship also soured. As observed by historian John Keegan in his book on 'the Second World War" Stilwell

"displayed an impatience with the Chinese that was exceeded in degree only by his rudeness towards the British with whom he was co-operating." Keegan further notes that Chiang had ultimately "tired of Stilwell's lecturing" and that "the vitriolic Stilwell, who had definitely fallen out in turn with the British, the Chinese and ultimately President Roosevelt" had to be removed by Roosevelt on October 18,1944 .

But both Mountbatten and Chiang were magnanimous and broad-minded

enough to appreciate Stilwell's contributions. Mountbatten records in his

book as follows: "The Generalissimo christened the road the " Stilwell Road ," as a compliment to the man who had the courage and the skill to push through the project and who until three months previously had commanded the forces that had carried it out."

It is relevant to note that the enigmatic Chiang had vehemently opposed US President Roosevelt's proposal to put Stilwell "in direct command of all Chinese troops, both Nationalist and Communists" because he felt that it would be an insult to China . What is surprising is that on that occasion Mao Zedong had supported Roosevelt and declared that by this behaviour of refusing the American proposal Chiang: had "forfeited his position as leader of the war of resistance against Japan ". This is really puzzling. But Mao probably wanted to see, an end to Chiang's corruption. He must have hoped that Stilwell would stop corruption in the Chinese Army at least.

The Stilwell Road is a marvel of engineering excellence. It was built at such a huge expense because it was important for the Allied powers to win the war against Japan . By making direct supplies possible to China it assisted in the war effort. in that theatre also As mentioned, by Mountbatten the Americans were "thinking solely in terms of China and of Northern Burma as a supply route to China ." They were "primarily interested" in the "permanent security of the Ledo Road ." For that purpose they ordered the "pushing ahead with opening the land route into China as fast as possible." The Americans believed that the "main advantage" of the Stilwell Road lay "not in the actual tonnage the road would carry, but in greatly increased supplies of petrol (gasoline) which the pipe line, running parallel with the road, would bring to the China-based air forces." The map shows three pipelines. One US pipeline ran from Calcutta (then) to Tinsukia and then on to Mogaung near Myitkyina. The second US pipeline ran from Chittagong to Dimapur and Tinsukia. These two then jointly ran from Tinsukia to Bhamo in Burma and to Chanyi and Luliang beyond Kunming in China . The British pipeline ran from Chittagong to Dimapur and then to Tamu on the Burma border. What a configuration? And the effort and the expenses?

Chiang and his wife Sung Li had convinced Stilwell to build the road so that the petrol pipelines could be played and protected. China needed the petrol for the Allied airborne forces operating against the Japanese from airfields in Assam , Burma and Yunnan . When Sung Li died at the age of 106 at New York on the night of October 23, 2003 , I happened to be in Taipei . From talks with Chinese friends and the newspaper reports in the next couple of days I realised how important Sung Li and Chiang were for Chinese and world history. Sung Li inspired Chiang all through his chequered career. Sung Li was one of the most powerful women of all times. Born to one of the richest families of Shanghai she was a rang beauty in her youth both in China and in the USA , where she had her education. Michael Calvert notes in his memorable biography of Field Marshal William Joseph Slim that she "had great influence in the United States " and that she "hated the British." Slim had campaigned simultaneously with Mountbatten against the Japanese General Renya Mutaguchi's army and conquered Burma jointly. After Chiang won the war against Japan he had to retreat to Taiwan in 1949 when China was taken over by the People's Liberation Army of Mao. But he and Sung Li together built up Taiwan as one of the richest countries in the world. It has a per capita income which is seven times that of India .

I got my first opportunity to travel on the Stilwell Road only after I joined at Dibrugarh as the Deputy Commissioner of the earstwhile united Lakhimpur district in late 1969.,It is then that I realised what an engineering feat that the Allied Army accomplished in building the road. But the scenery was breathtaking The  flora-was exquisite- I had never seen such beauty and variety.in orchids anywhere... else, not even in the North East of Thailand where thousands of Americans go to see orchids in the hills near Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Nong Khai

Long before Stilwell built the road there was some path linking China 's Yunnan province and Assam . In the Comprehensive History of Assam,.edited by late HK Borpujori, it has been recorded as follows: "It appears that there had been an old route from south-western Yunnan to Assam . The Tais possessed knowledge of the topography through which the route passed and also of the Brahmaputra.valley.." In_ any case the Tais (Ahoms) came to Assam crossing the Patkai range of mountains from an area on the Burma-China border.

There is a recent move to re-open the nearly 1,800 kms, long Stilwell Road . On the Chinese side it is now a Super Expressway stretching 1,150 kms. On the Myanmarese ( Burma ) side out of 525 kms the road is reportedly bad only for 160 kms, which can be repaired and rebuilt. On the Indian side, 71 kms from l.edo in Assam to Pheng Sau in Aruanchal Pradesh, are covered by a National Highway . Only a small portion from Pheng Sau to the Myonmarese border will need complete rebuilding.

It is true that international trade can be fostered if the road is reopened. But it will be necessary to ensure that India will gain from such trade. I have toured extensively across China during September ­October, 2002. I have seen what tremendous economic development is taking place in that country. One believe how China is being transformed into an economic superpower has to see to. In 1990 India and China had the same per capita income. In 2002 China 's per capita income became double that of India . It is going further ahead. Can India compete with that country? Already smuggled Chinese goods abound in the markets of the North Eastern states. These appear to be low-priced and of better quality.

Then there is the question of insurgency. The jungles on both sides of the Stilwell Road provide excellent hideouts for the Naga, Manipuri and Assamese insurgents. A super highway will provide easier passage not only to the insurgents but also to the drug mafia from the nearby golden triangle.

All these questions will need deeper and detailed examination before any final decision is taken.  


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 This is the official record of the brave folks who served so well all those years ago in the retreat from Burma



 Alexander J.H.
 Alexander J.C.
Aitken G.
Archibald A.N.
Dr J.R. Anderson
Major C.H. Brennand
Black  R.B.
Burgh J.H. (AR&TCompany)
Bruce J.D.
Bennet N.
Bishop H.C.
Blair A.
Barron J.C.
Berry A.G.
Brodie A.T.
Birnie C.D.
Blacklaws T.A.
Burnside P.
Dr D.M Bertram
Bryant E.W.
Dr P.N. Baruah
Collins J.C.
Creech C.L.
Crombie E.L.
Cruden T.
Connell W.A.
Cooksey W.
Duchart D.R.
Dempster H.F.
Duckworth L.S.
Everett H.L.P.
Evans F.
Lt Esslemont N.M.
Fitt H.
Flux C.J.
Farquharson R.F.
Fairhurst G.
Fairfield T.A.
Major A.W. Gilroy
Gordon A.R.
Gellatly J.W.
Greig J.
Gleed F.G.
Griffiths G.S.
Grant G.H.
Major C. Henniker Heaton
Lt Col D.C. Hodson
Haslewood W.B.
Hill J.C.
Harris H.
Hayne L.C.G.
Hunter S.
Heaney H.
Hughes H.
Hardwick H.J.
Harrison C.J.
Hutchins P.P.P.
Hunter J.
Heefke G O'C
Capt H.D. Haywood
Irwin C.T
Ingram G.E.
Johnston I.
Johnston F.A.
King W.T.H.
Kerwood D.
Kay M.W.
Kenny E.W.
Lovie J.M.
Low A.J.D.
Lessels H.C.
Lindsay D.D.
Levick N.
Lury H Dev
Capt D.W. Lancaster
McDonald  W.M.
Murray   H.S.
Mackrell  G.
Masson  J.A.
McGown  E.G.
Marshall  J.F.
Mackie  W.F.
Macaulay  M.
Moor  F.A.W.
Marshall  R.
Macara  N.
McIntyre  C.D.
Millett  H.
McIntosh  J.L.
Owen  H.G.
Olding  W.G.
Poole y  K.
Rowden  W.A.
Reid  W.A.
Dr T.H. Rose
Robertson J.R.
Ross  J.C.
Lt J.T. Smith
Stuart  I.G.
Spurr G.R.
Scott -Fowler R
Stoneman  J.O.
Scott  W. J.
Spurling  A.P.
Smith  J.A.
Stewart  W.
Smyth C.G.
Swannell  H.O.
Capt H.T. Street
Lt G.A. Simpson
Thomson  R.M.
Taylor  W.A.
Thom  R.P.
Tate  L.J.
Tapner   C.
Tew  C.
Taylor  K.A.S.E.
Vipan R.H.
Wooley-Smith  F
Warren  A.
Wilson  J.R.
Watson  A.C.
Williamson  W.
Warner  M.C.
White  H.A.
Wilkie  C.
Warner N.A.B.
Young  S.G.
West  L.R.

ITA Personnel at Dibrugarh Reception Camp
Aiton  J.
Lawrie  A
Palmer  R.A.
Thomson  H.C.
Stevenson R.C.
Mrs R.A. Palmer--accommodation
Mrs J. Aiton - Catering
Mrs B.H. Routledge
Mrs W. Gow
Mrs F.W. Hockenhull
Mrs R.C Stevenson

Mrs J.A,D. Main

Mrs W. Lawrie

Mrs A. Bell

Mrs L.R. Harvey

Mrs P. Gothorp

Mrs L.R.Paget

Mrs H.C. Thomson

Mrs J.G. Mitchell

Sister E. M Oliver

Miss M.V. Sallberg

Miss Stevenson

Miss Montague
Miss Franklin

ITA Medical Staff at Panitola Hospital
Clark   H.F.
Dutt  S.
Ferrier G.A.
Joss  J.
Patterson  W.A.
Mountain  C.W.
Robertson  J.
Smith  A. M
Mundy N.S.
Taylor  J.

Ladies who worked at  Silchar Dispersal camp

Mrs E.T. Taylor
Mrs H.P. Taylor
Mrs W. B. Leggee
Mrs I.D. Stephens
Mrs J.H. Heaney
Mrs K.G. Smith
Mrs T.A. Thomas
Mrs T.A. Everard
Miss E.M. Lloyd
Miss O. Rees

ITA personnel at engaged on Manipur Road evacuation Centre

Beattie  A.
Blennerhassett F.W.
Coutts  A.
*Davies  C.A. P.
Crearer A.N.
Dumma W.S.
* Gardner O.
Hay  D.
Hearn F.T.H.
* Hamilton A.C.
*Meston D.
McNeill H.
Middleton  C.
Morris  D.H.
Palmer S.G.H. (also worked onBishenpur Silchar route )
*Pizey  R.M.
Petch G.F.
Reed  H.R.
* Rogers T.E.
Robertson  G.
Spaull  C. M.
Thomas  F.W.
Tullie  J.
Whittaker  A.
Whyte  V.C.
Wilson D.
Mrs F.W. Blannerhassett
Mrs R.B. Boswell
Mrs T.R. Clark
Mrs A. Anderson
Mrs C.G. Humphrey
Mrs H.A. lakin
Mrs A.H. Pilcher
Mrs K.L. Phillips
Mrs P.V. Thomas
Mrs A.C. Tunstall

Ladies who worked at Chapermukh, Pandu etc.

Mrs T.R. Clark
Mrs G.K. Farquharson
Mrs P. Jamieson
Mrs E.G. Taylor
Mrs S. Reid
Mrs G.S. Ross
Mrs W. Henry
Mrs F.M. Carmichael
Mrs M.V. Palmer
Mrs R.S. Wood
Mrs Booth
Mrs A.E. Ross
Mrs G.B. Alexander
Miss Mary Simmonds
Mrs W. Milburne
Mrs R.B. Scott
Mrs H. Sheldrake
Mrs R Danter
Mrs E. Showers
Mrs R.F. Stephen
Mrs Thomas

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