February 14th 1943


We get three Mohalks down as escort for photography. I am due to go up when the escort “scrambles” due too an air raid “red”. Suddenly the Bofors open up at a kite I see over the strip. I dive down a trench, covered in overhanging foliage, and see nothing of the ensuing battle. Two “01′s” race up the strip at nought feet and two Mohalks give battle, and a regular dog fight ensues. The noise is terrific and I venture out once to see something attacked, roll onto its back, and dive towards the ground. The Hurricanes are up too, and result is one confirmed (out of six ’01′s’) and a few probables.

I then dash over to Rathedaung where I catch a sampan on the ferry; one ‘red lungi’ leaps overboard, but I catch another one of the crew.

Yesterday Wagstaff and I and two pilots drive down to 55 Brigade. Our guns are firing all the time, and I am not used to it. We are taken up to Point 566, a gunner observation post, and observe Donbaik and the Jap front line forward of it through field glasses. The guns are shelling the front line and we see a dump of some sort catch fire. A Jap mortar opens up and we see the bursts in the hills on our left. A bit of ‘tack-dunging’ (JDW: ?) like in Waziristan. As we are climbing the O.P. three “97s” come over the hills through a perfect storm of Bofors and drop their bombs on Brigade HQ. Two land harmlessly, four on the beach and the remainder in the sea.

We have lunch at Brigade HQ in the jungle, very thick, with paths hacked from office ‘hole’ to office ‘hole’, and get back as the sun goes down. The 224 Group Welfare Officer has arrived with a bottle of beer for every man and two bottles of “Old Angus” for the Mess. Add this to the rum ration drawn on Saturday and we are ready to get as pissed as newts. However I go to bed fairly early after not too much.

Today I do a photographic sortie around Laungchaung area and also the Jap front line nullah with Peter Bond (S/L) and three other Mohalks as escort. On finishing, I give a good squirt to the Jap front line and come home. I very much doubt the photographs will be much good. Day before yesterday I and Wagstaff go and drink a bottle of gin Hugh Moule has in A.S.C. and talk with John Lewis and one Major Brown, ex Burma Forestry Service.

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This entry was posted in 1943/02, 1st Arakan Campaign (Burma 1943). Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to February 14th 1943

  1. Andy Wright says:

    G’day JDW

    Fascinating to see an account of Mohawks in action. Not something you come across every day. Garry Beauchamp wrote a good book about their service in India and Burma. Forgotten aircraft in a forgotten campaign.

  2. James Dunford Wood says:

    Thanks Andy. My father spelled them Mohalks for some odd reason… I guess I should correct it if they crop up more frequently.

  3. graemeharwood says:

    Your old man in good form here!!  ” We are ready to get pissed as newts “…..” Bottle of gin between two “…..

    Sent from Samsung MobileeA Story of War wrote:

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