|About the Book|
Burma, 1941. The Indian Army. 9th Gurkha Rifles. Intelligence Officer. The Last Ditchers of Rangoon.My story starts in Intelligence but becomes an unpredictable set of Odd Jobs because we were dealing with situations that looked anything but normal administration. It began on my 28th birthday. We became the Last Ditchers of Rangoon – The Club was still open with its reasonably well-stocked bar and we had weekly dances. It was all within walking distance of my house and I didn’t know how lucky I was! I started my Section training here and this brought me to an unequal collision with Mad Mike Calvert who became the famous Column Commander of the Chindidts. He was under cover and training British Other Ranks to become guerrillas. The 1st Burma Division was relieved by the Chinese VIth Army. The lack of discipline of the Chinese and their habit of shooting the Burmese on sight led to innumerable difficulties for us. Most especially when all their transportation depended on Burmese Government Agencies. My Retreat actually became a race against the weather. We were into May, the month in which the monsoons break. The 7th Gurkhas’ Company Commander was drowned while trying to swim the swollen Chindwin after finding himself surrounded by the Japanese. I confess that heading south instead of north, with the real possibility of running straight into the Japanese, reduced my courage to a very low ebb. But my orders were unequivocal: no exceptions, no excuses and as a last resort I was given plenary powers to shoot anyone who disobeyed. Finally returning steadily north, we found Lashio, the last town of any size before the Chinese border. Enormous numbers of Burmese, Shans and Chinese had poured in to open shops, hotels and eating houses. It was their last frenzied effort to get rich quick. But for us it was just an indication that we were getting closer to the safety of China. The Hukaung Valley Route- Stilwalls Route- Sun’s Chinese Division Route- 2nd Burma Brigade’s Route- British Army Route- Intelligence Lieutenant General N M S Irwin- Lieutenant General T J Hutton Lieutenant General H A L Alexander- Lieutenant General William Slim- Lieutenant General E N Goddard- Major General J G Smyth – USA- Lieutenant General J W Stilwell – USA- Major General Sun Li Jen – China.