January 10th 1943 – Chittagong

Arakan campaign map
Map of the Arakan – the Battle of Admin Box was to take place in February 1944

We fly down to Chittagong via Dun Dum on 7th. Lunch in C.N.A.C. canteen, and arrive Chittagong about 3.30pm. Half an hour’s taxiing to the dispersal and then we have to wait from 4 to 6.15pm in the duty pilots office until someone signs a 658 (JDW: anybody know what this was?) and we can get to town.

We go to Group mess, where we meet Paddy O’Malley and More-O’Ferrell and G/C Hank Moore. We stay two nights. I find myself a bed in a small house, tended by some orderly who is so jungly he puts his boots on the wrong feet. However, he brews hot shaving water which is all I want. We go and see the effects of a Jap pilot who was shot down and captured. He had a map with some of the projected strips in Bengal, shown as pukka landing grounds, so the intelligence must be good. The usual F/L and a lot of photos of a girl and of himself as a sort of cadet, leaning on the tailplane of his first aircraft. Also some Japanese rupees for use in Burma. Well then yesterday I come down here, Maungdaw in Burma, to fix up this and that as the detachment will be here eventually. Joel and two ‘Lizzies’ (JDW: Lysanders) here, and Major Vir Singh as A.L.O. It’s a kattcha strip build by ‘Scottie’ (C.W.Scott, now a S/L) and we doss down in native huts. I go to lunch with W/C Ford who is running 22 A.A.S.C. at 14 Indian Division HQ (Major General Floyd) and then try to fix myself a bed as I have brought no camp kit in the Hurricane. I get a bamboo bed put up in about 40 minutes, borrow a valise and stuff it with a straw and am OK. The jungle drips all night onto the tent and in the morning everything is wet and steaming as the sun rises. We are about 30 miles from the front here and about 50/60 from Akyab, so should get hell soon. A moon is getting up now too!! Now I am standing by to do a contact recce, but have not the right way lights so it won’t be a great success.

There’s an old Jap dugout near my tent and all the villagers have Jap rupees, but those are all the traces left. They were driven out from hereabouts about three weeks ago. All 165 Wing fighters are due down here soon, so the local peace and quiet will soon be shattered. We have to be self-supporting here so Burt Mann has signalled for a cook and some utensils. I see I.N. Bayles (S/L) in Chittagong – I used to be at the Beacon with him. (JDW: my father’s prep school near Sevenoaks).

The birds and the scents are the same, and the atmosphere reminiscent of the last time I was in Burma.


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2 responses to “January 10th 1943 – Chittagong”

  1. 658 must be the Form 658 Authorisation to use RAF Transport.

  2. […] Mike, Waggers and co. in the dugout mess of a night over the […]

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