Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings

The Chindits – A Photo Record (Vol. 1)

Most of these photographs came from specific collections. Some are refreshingly new — some I hadn’t seen until recently. Unless mentioned otherwise, all photographs are from 1944. If you have a photo that you would like to contribute, kindly e-mail it to me. Naturally, all photos will be appropriately credited. Numbers indicated in brackets below are Imperial War Museum reference numbers.

The Calvert Collection

Brigadier Mike Calvert (far left) with Lt-Colonel Freddie Shaw and Major James Lumley (right) in the ruins of Mogaung town. Driven to the breaking point by the U.S. Lt-General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell (incidentally, well portrayed by Robert Stack in Steven Spielberg’s movie 1941), Calvert led out the surviving Chindits, badly emaciated by disease and heavy casualties.

Major Lumley’s daughter is the British actress, Joanna Lumley, who famously starred in the Pink Panther series and on television. (MH 7288)


(LEFT) Two survivors from the first Chindit expedition. The expedition was the first Allied success in the campaign for Burma after a disastrous defeat the year before — witness to the British Army’s greatest retreat in history. On the left is Regimental Sgt-Major William Livingstone (MC) and Company Sgt-Major Richard M. Cheevers (DCM), both of Column 8. (RIGHT) A Chindit flamethrower operator aims his No. 2 Mk II weapon. Nicknamed the “Lifebuoy” for its unique round shape which aided maximum gas pressure, the weapon had a maximum range of 40 yards and fuel for only a ten second sustained burst. The flamethrower was the one infantry weapon feared greatly by the Japanese – understandably so.


(LEFT) Wingate (holding cane) with Major R.B.G. “George” Bromhead, planning the first Chindit expedition from his headquarters in the Imphal Golf Club. Success here would elevate the eccentric Wingate to that of a mythical figure. (RIGHT) Two weary Chindits with a supply-carrying mule. Most of the pack mules had their vocal cords cut to to keep them silent in the field – an act that blanched many of the Chindits. (SE 7910)

A batch of Chindit replacements gather their arms and mules at a fortress airfield.


(LEFT) Wingate (in pith helmet) briefs the C-47 Dakota pilots of the U.S. 1st Air Commando at Sylhet in Assam. Immediately behind him is one of the Air Commando leaders, Lt-Col. Philip Cochrane (wearing cap). (MH 7877) (RIGHT) The attackers inspect latest intelligence at Lalaghat. From right — Brigadier Tulloch, Wingate, Calvert, RAF Air Marshal Johnny Baldwin, Lt-Colonel Scott, US Lt-Colonel John Alison. Rest unknown. (MH 7884)


(LEFT) Last minute intelligence showed that tree trunks had blocked a landing field codenamed “Piccadilly.” Despite concerns that the Japanese might have caught news of the imminent airborne landings, Wingate decided to proceed with the operation, with “Piccadilly” crossed off the list as a feasible landing zone. The trees were later discovered to have been felled as part of a routine logging operation. (RIGHT) The night of the assault, just before take-off. From left: John Alison, Calvert, Captain George Borrow (Wingate’s Aide-de-Camp), Wingate, Scott and Calvert’s Brigade Major, E. Francis Stuart. Three of the men would be dead before the year was out: Wingate and Borrow in an air crash that March, and Stuart, by battlefield-contracted tuberculosis in July. (MH 7873)


(LEFT) Maj-Gen. W.D. “Joe” Lentaigne (on left) with the tough and much-respected Brigadier Henry T. Alexander at headquarters. Alexander would go on to become one of eight Chindits to reach the exalted rank of Major-General. (RIGHT) A Gurkha section walks at “Broadway.”


(LEFT) An aerial view of “Broadway,” a fortress carved out of the heavy jungle. (RIGHT) A heavy weapon section at the perimeter of a Chindit jungle airbase, probably at “White City.”


(LEFT) A British 40mm AA crew at “Broadway.” (RIGHT) Lancashire Fusiliers from the Commando Platoon of 50 Column at “White City.” The man in front seems to bear a passing resemblance to the present-day American actor, Dylan McDermot.


Calvert’s final war chapter. After the Chindits were disbanded in February 1945, Mike Calvert was transferred to Europe where he took over command of the famous Special Air Service (SAS) Brigade in March. Composed of five SAS battalions, including two staffed entirely by Free Frenchmen and one of Belgians, Calvert held command until the end of the war and like in the Chindits, was immensely popular.

(LEFT) Calvert consoles the widow of a French SAS officer who has been killed in action. (RIGHT) Calvert (in center with officer’s cap), inspects the Frenchmen of his command during an official ceremony at Tarbes in the south of France. The ceremony transferred the men from the British to the French Army. (B 15783) As he had with the Chindits, Calvert witnessed the disbandment of the SAS (in October 1945) as the largely conservative senior army leadership of the time saw little worth to special forces.

LIFE Magazine

At the “Aberdeen” fortress, U.S. Lt-Colonel Philip Cochrane of the 1st Air Commando (on left) discusses the evacuation of wounded men with British Officers.


(LEFT) In rare agreeable mood, Stilwell dashes up the steps to his headquarters to keep his appointment with the pretty journalist, Claire Boothe. Captain Frederick L. Eldridge smiles at the exuberance of his normally dour commander. (RIGHT) Two-day rations for the Chindits. It contains biscuits, dates, cheese, sugar, salt, chocolate, matches, tea, powdered milk and cigarettes. The pack seen standing is for parachute drop, and contains the equivalent of 10 days worth of  items displayed.

Weary and wounded Chindits wait by an improvised air strip for evacuation back to India. These men were part of a small raiding force which had attacked the Japanese south of Myitkyina. Two men stand on guard, not for protection but to watch a handful of Burmese collaborators and a Japanese soldier who have been captured (barely visible at the left of the picture).

Casualties from an attack on a Japanese roadblock the night before lie in a makeshift tent in enemy-held Burma. Although they have been evacuated from the frontline by light planes, another trip in larger Dakota transport planes to a regular hospital in India awaits them that night.


In these two 1943 photos, British load-masters push parachute cargo pallets out. While two men push, a third who tied himself to a brace, kicked the load out. Static lines tripped parachutes open (as is displayed in the photo on the right). According to the photographer, William Vandivert, one crew member almost fell out on this trip. (RIGHT) Signal fires guided the supply planes to the patch of gray-green jungle in the Burmese mountains east of the Irawaddy. Although fighter protection was slim, on this occassion, the Dakotas had an escort of four Mohawk fighters, small match for Japanese Ki-43 Oscars.


In these 1943 photos, Major Walter Scott, in a strange quilted vest, shakes hands with the crew of a landed Dakota while his men hastily pull the plane’s loads of food and ammunition out of sight into the forest (shown in right photo).


(LEFT) A group of tired Chindits bring out a stretcher case towards the photographer, immediately behind whom is the light jungle airstrip. The man at left carries two Enfield rifles, the other being the wounded man’s. To his right is a Black West African Chindit who watches the jungle for Japanese raiders. The men, from First Platoon, 41 Column, 2nd King’s own Royal Regiment have been identified as: Front-from left (excluding the West African) — Denny Dennison, Mike Shere and Sgt. Guy. On the back left is Pvt. Stan Berry, a batman to Lt. J.D. Harrison who is himself half-hidden behind Shere. (KY 481781, Info: Capt M.E. Williams)

(RIGHT) In this photo of 1943 Chindits, a Dakota transports a group of 17 back to India, many of them wounded and ill with disease. The aircraft rigger hands a cup of water from a captured German jerrycan (of all things) to Corporal Jimmy Walker who was suffering from dysentery and an infected hip. In an interesting contrast to the differing features of Asians — on the left is a Gurkha sitting on a seat, while on the right is a Burmese.


(LEFT) Two Vultee L-1 Vigilant light planes at the “White City” airstrip which had been carved out of rough ground and jungle. Note how close the runway is to the rail line at the bottom of the photo. The Japanese repeatedly attempt to break through to this runway, only to be held back at the perimeter by the defenders. (RIGHT) In this 1943 photo, survivors from the first Chindit expedition celebrate at the hospital. Incidentally they are some of the same group of men photographed in the aircraft in the row above. On the far left is Sgt. Leslie Flowers from Manchester. The two men in the center with raised bottles are Sgts. McElroy and Tony Aubrey. Fed on two bottles of beer a day and two chickens apiece for lunch, the men are on their way to recovery.

In this 1943 photo by LIFE photographer, William Vandivert, a British Dakota flies over enemy territory to airdrop supplies to Chindits deep behind enemy lines. Its crew is on high alert for enemy fighters, especially its dorsal gunners who vigilantly man their Lewis machine-guns.


(LEFT) Stilwell, in another one of his light moods, speaks with his American-born Chinese Aide, Lt. Richard Ming-Tom Young. This is Stilwell’s living room at his headquarters in Maymo. Note that a picture of the Alps hangs above the fireplace. On Stilwell’s epaulets are the three stars of a Lt-General. After the fall of Myitkyina, he would get a fourth star. (RIGHT) In this 1943 photo, a worn-out group of Chindits wait under the wing of the Dakota for an ambulance to take them to the hospital. These are the same men who were photographed while in the aircraft, three rows above. The bearded man in the center is Sgt. Tony Aubrey.


Two 1943 survivors: (LEFT) Showing the bullet that went through his back and came out of the hole in the belly, Pvt. Jim Suddery of Islington had a miraculous escape. Fortunately the bullet was of a small caliber. (RIGHT) Pvt. John Yates of Manchester. Despite his wounded hand, and suffering from a touch of fever and the usual jungle sores, he smiles broadly for the camera.


(LEFT) Chinese artillerymen from Stilwell’s American-Chinese Army fire their 75mm US-made Pack Howitzers down the Hukawng Valley Road. An American liaison officer watches them work.

(RIGHT) An American C-47 Dakota comes in low on 9 August 1943 to drop supplies without parachute to the Chinese. Many of the Chinese rank and file were pings, of the peasantry class, ill-treated by corrupt officers who sometimes denied them food and pay, and as a result they behaved as any class of destitute people frequently do —  abominably, often stealing and looting supplies whenever the opportunity arose. Drops like these had to be carefully supervised by American officers. Anything less would result in whole swathes of supplies being stolen right under their noses. The drops were frequently made on ad-hoc jungle airstrips, numbered for quick identification with silk from parachutes.

In this 1943 photo, Chindits wave an enthusiastic farewell to the LIFE crew who are about to fly out in a light plane, knowing full well they themselves would only get to India by foot, still 170 miles away. When one of the men suggested a cheer, an officer said, “Cheer, but don’t make a sound,” because of the danger of nearby Japanese patrols.

The Imperial War Museum


(LEFT) The Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, General Sir Claude Auchinleck, inspects whites from a West African Brigade stationed at Bhopal in March 1944. (IND 2953) (RIGHT) The Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, knights Slim and three other generals on the field of Imphal in January 1945. Sir Robert Thompson, an ex-Chindit who later became internationally famous for defeating a Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1960s, found this photograph haunting. ‘I see the ghost of Wingate present [every time I see this picture],” he said. “He was unquestionably one of the great men of the century,” who deserved his fair place among those honored. (CI 872)

Chindits wait insouciantly by their gliders to be flown out to “White City.” Other British and West African troops march behind them. Note the man marching in the immediate foreground – his rifle has a cup grenade launcher attached to the muzzle. (EA 20832)


(LEFT) A clean-shaven Wingate speaks with Cochrane. (RIGHT) A small detachment from the RAF’s 81 Squadron, together with a servicing party were based at “Broadway” in March. On the 13th, the Japanese discovered the airfield and attacked with 40 Ki-43 “Oscar” fighters. Getting airborne, the RAF pilots took on the enemy for 45 minutes, shooting down four planes and damaging several others. A brief respite followed, but on the 16th, more Japanese raiders appeared, only to lose one plane. Undeterred, another large group of Japanese fighters appeared on the following day. Only three Spitfires managed to get airborne. They shot down one raider before two of their own were killed, including the CO . The surviving pilot, Flying Officer Alan Peart, managed to get away to India, marking the end of the detachment’s service from the Chindit fortresses.

A Chindit Anti-aircraft crew watches a Dakota as it drops supplies in the perimeter of their fortress.


(LEFT) Men of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC) usher along their mule train deep behind enemy lines. Aside from transport planes, mules constituted the next major transport element for Chindit columns in the jungle. (IND 1885) (RIGHT) Gurkhas cautiously edge forward through the Burmese undergrowth. (IND 3803)


Wingate, in typical unabashed style, tries out one of the mule pens on board a Dakota. On the right, he is shown moments later, straddling his Enfield SMLE No. 4 long-range rifle. These are some of the last photographs taken of him before his death. (EA 20828 & EA 20829)


(LEFT) Japanese troops probe a Chindit perimeter. (RIGHT) Lt-General Renya Mataguchi (without helmet), the stubborn commander of the Japanese 15th Army speaks with one of his men. Mataguchi’s testimony and that of other Japanese officers on Wingate’s efficacy, countered many of the negative things said about the Chindits after the war.

This group of tough hombres, from the HQ company of the 81st West African Division, pose for the photographer, their Enfield rifles held out. The most muscular among them seems to be the cook in the white apron, and any typical complaints of army food were probably not forthcoming. (SE 205)

Private Thomas Maycox of Salford, Lancashire, shaves in the jungle. Being on operations offered scant opportunity for proper hygiene and grooming, so moments were snagged when they could. Maycox belonged to a Mortar platoon as is evinced by the small 2-inch mortar lying in front of the foxhole, but his exact unit is unclear. (SE 3764)


(LEFT) A meeting of senior officers at Lalaghat – From left: US Brigadier-General William D. Old of the American Troop Carrier Command, General William “Uncle Bill” Slim, Wingate, Major Gaitley and Derek Tulloch. (MH 7881) (RIGHT) A Japanese-dominated bridge goes up in flames and smoke at Henu. (SE 7924)

Wingate waits at “Broadway” for C-47 Dakotas. To his left is U.S. Lt-Col. Clinton B. Gaty holding a signalling light and on the far right is Captain Baker. The popular Gaty commanded the Air Commando’s Light Plane Force, but would go on to lead the Air Commandos later in the year. He never returned from a combat sortie against Japanese-held Meiktila on 26 February 1945. (MH7882)

Both combat types of the Air Commando captured on film at Hailakandi airfield – P-51A Mustangs overhead and a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber taxiing on the ground. (EA 20833)

“The ChinditsBooklet

These photo were published in a 1945 booklet written by Frank Owen for the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia. Layout was by Fred Oxtoby. It was printed by Don A. Lakin of The Stateman Press, Calcutta, India.


(LEFT) Chindits stroll past the physical embodiment of their insignia at newly-cleared Mawlu — the mythical Chinthe. (RIGHT) West Africans board a Dakota bound for White City. The timely arrival of the Africans would help win the battle there. (IND 7046)


(LEFT) West Africans hack an airstrip out of the jungle. (RIGHT) Men from Brigadier Lance Perowne’s 23rd Brigade prepare for a good bath after weeks of action against Japanese invaders in India.

A column of West Africans out on patrol, led by a white officer.


(LEFT) Using Lake Indawgyi near Hopin and the “Blackpool” fortress as an evacuation zone, the RAF flew in Sunderland flying boats to take out the wounded. (RIGHT) Gurkhas wait in ambush for the Japanese.


Hoofing it by air and sea: (LEFT) A mule is forcefully ejected from a transport plane onto Chindit-held Burma. Many of the mules had to be sedated for flight. (RIGHT) Other mules cross the 450 meter-wide (550 yards) Irrawaddy River.


(LEFT) An RAF liaison section in the field. Men like these were critical in keeping the air link open to the RAF and American 1st Air Commando Group. (RIGHT) Chindits safely back in India take the chance to rid themselves of their beards, cultivated in the field, partly to keep mosquitoes at bay and partly because there was little time or means for grooming on the battleground.



For a full bibliography of all Chindit writing on this site, check the bottom of this post: Chindits – In 1944.

104 responses to “The Chindits – A Photo Record (Vol. 1)

  1. Kate Klarr Long November 11, 2011 at 11:36 am

    That is my dad, Jack Klarr. I still have all of his photos from the 1st Air Commandos. He was the one who was supposed to rendevous with Col. Gaty when Gaty disappeared. He searched for days for the Col. They didn’t find out until many years later that the Japanese had shot him down. Dad used to talk of transporting the Chindits and their mules. He was also trained to fly gliders and had one of the first P-51 A Mustangs. He was one of the first group of helicopter pilots to train in WWII. They were going to use the helicopters to evacuate the wounded in the jungles of Burma, but most of the helicopters were damaged during transport to India. My father was pleased because he viewed the early helicopters as unreliable and dangerous to fly.

    • Akhil Kadidal November 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Ms. Klarr,
      Thanks for your message. I did know that your father was one of those who searched for Colonel Gaty, but I wasn’t aware that he was one of the first Y-4 helicopter pilots. That’s very interesting. If you are willing to share any of his photographs, kindly let me know. Thanks.

      • Kate Klarr Long November 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

        Most of his pictures are of airplanes or tourist places in India or of people on the streets. I think my brother has one picture of the helicopter crews with my dad. I will be out of town for two weeks, but when I get back I will go through the pictures and see if any are interesting. There are lots of pictures of the planes painted in the “Invasion of Burma” stripes. Most of the pictures are not labeled as to where they were taken or when. I would be glad to send you copies of any that are interesting. This was a part of the War that most people know nothing about and it is not mentioned in many books. Especially about the helicopters. There is a case devoted to the First Air Commandos at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. My dad did get to visit it before he died and was very pleased to see it. Thank you for your interest.

    • Winson Saw October 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Hello Kate,

      Do you have any picture of Brigadier Lancelot Edgar Connop Perowne ?.

      • Kate Long October 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Sorry, most of his pictures are of planes and the members of his squadron. I don’t think there are any pictures of British troops, just some “tourist” pictures of India.

  2. Glenn S. Goldsher March 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    My dad, Norman Goldsher, was in the 1st Air Commando Group, 6th Fighter Squadron. He was an aircraft mechanic and worked on P-47s and P-51s stationed in Asansol and Harpers Ferry, India. I have some pictures of him and some of his group with the planes. He died May, 2012 at 92 years old. He didn’t talk much about the war but was proud of his service and liked his airplanes, (especially the P-47). I have often wondered if any of the people in his unit survive.

    • Akhil Kadidal March 14, 2013 at 2:05 am

      I believe there may be an Air Commando association you could contact, in order to find surviving members – if any. Albeit, chances may be a little slim, however.

      If you are willing to share any of those photographs on this site, do let me know.

      • Glenn S. Goldsher August 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm

        I have five or six pictures of my dad and some of his crew on my computer. I probably could send them in. Where do I send them?

  3. Nathan Harris June 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Hi, the photos are truly amazing to look at. My late grandad was in the Chindits but my knowledge of where he was based in the war is a little limited. He went by the name Jimmy Harris from Forfar. And because of my limited communication with my father and my late grandad I’m a little short on what I know of his role and regiment.

    Please if anyone knew of Jimmy Harris and could supply me with stories or if in fact they knew him it would be much appreciated to here. I’m so proud of him and for all served in conflict it can never be forgotten.

  4. Steve Johnson June 8, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Hi, I’m presently doing my family tree and I too am looking for information about my grandad. His Name was Henry Ingram, from Leicestershire, (known as Harry I believe) He served with Colonel Wingate in Burma but not sure if it was 1943 or 44. I’ve googled ‘The Chindits’ and followed all the links without success.

    Any info would be great or a link to a site that lists the soldiers names.

    Many thanks for any help anyone can give me.

    • Akhil Kadidal June 8, 2013 at 5:57 am

      You could try and contact Steve Fogden, an authority on the 1943 expedition. He possibly may have a list of all the 1943 Chindits. He’ s a very helpful guy. His website is at;

      You could also try to request information from the Ministry of Defense, which has records on every serviceman. It would really help if you knew his regiment or even what sort of decorations he had.

  5. David Winn August 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

    The photograph of the air gunners in the Dakota shows my late uncle Thomas “Wilber” Wright . He is manning the Lewis gun on the left in the photograph. He was a Warrant Officer, wireless operator air gunner. He talked very little about the war but he did tell me they took Vera Lynn from one location to another.

    Also, while flying over the hump they had to throw equipment from the aircraft as they could not gain height due to icing. My father said they also threw out the mules they were transporting but I never heard this from my uncles lips. He was a serving police officer before joining the RAF and on demob returned to the police force in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He retired as an Inspector in the 1970’s

  6. Anonymous September 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    My late husband’s uncle was in the chindits and wrote an article for a magazine about his escape from Burma his name was Tom Hatton and he lived in Southport.

    • Adrian Berry July 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Anonymous, can you direct me to Tom Hatton’s article about his escape from burma. My dad was in the same group of men.

    • Anonymous August 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      I used to live next door to Tom + Gladys hatton in hesketh bank
      Tommy was very proud of the Burma stars – a lovely man

      • ebsy18 October 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm

        Thomas was my Great Uncle. He was a fantastic man and I think of him fondly. My mum has the Ministry of Defence manuscript of the escape at home. He was a true hero.

  7. jo mcnab September 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    My father was in the chindits in Burma but I have no idea about his exploits. He died soon after I was born (1951). His name was Joseph Sheldrick and I would like to hear from anyone who has any information to share.

  8. Barbara October 8, 2013 at 5:01 am

    My father was also a chindit in Burma in the early part of 1944. He left a rudimentary war diary, which briefly mentions an awful battle. He also mentions his commanding officer, Michael Calvert, by name. In his diary Dad mentioned scant rations and having to keep in water to avoid detection. He was hospitalized for quite some time after it all and rarely spoke of his experiences once us four children were old enough to really ask questions. I don’t suppose I’m alone in wishing that I’d shown more interest and asked a lot more questions once I’d grown up.

    • Akhil Kadidal October 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Hello Barbara,

      I was wondering if you could tell us more about this battle mentioned in the diary. Calvert’s 77th Brigade was indeed in the thick of some outrageous close-quartered combat.

  9. Barbara October 8, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I should have added that my father’s name is Albert Thomas Pegler. He was billeted in Blackpool before leaving the UK, but his home was in Dagenham, Essex. I would appreciate hearing from anyone with knowledge of his war experiences.

    • Danny Lawrence October 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Barbara

      My grandfather was also in the same campaign and from dagenham.
      William F. lawrence (d. 1989)
      I’m trying to trace some history on him, maybe they knew each other as he was also billeted to Blackpool. I have one photo from his time in durban with two others on a rickshaw! Before his journey to burma.
      Does this ring any bells?

      Sry he was attached to 2nd bat yorks & lances reg….

      Long shot but you never know


  10. Barbara October 9, 2013 at 7:50 am

    He talks about how ‘Everyone was running, even the officers and then the Japanese opened fire and killed nearly all my men.’ Most of this and more is heavily scribbled out but another comment he makes is ‘digusted with the army.’

  11. Frankie November 24, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Barbara, the battles could have been White City or Mogaung. Many of Calverts 77 Brigade were killed, wounded or died of disease before they were finally evacuated out to India. My father also there and survived.

  12. Frankie November 24, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Barbara is there any means of viewing your fathers diary? I am trying to fill in some gaps and write about my fathers experiences.He also wrote a diary but stopped writing, possibly because the events were too painful.

    • Adrian Berry June 24, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Hi Frankie, My Dad was in Mogaung and the area as a medic he had a diary. I am going to Mogaung in January to check out a few places. Get back to me if you want.

  13. brian December 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Barbara (or others)
    My father was radio opp for gurkas and was I am told awarded a leather
    medal by the chindits. Are any pictures or information about chindits medals available

  14. Frankie December 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Special forces Roll of Honor website has listings of many Chindits from both years. Also people on have masses of info.

  15. Peter Hayden January 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Fantastic site,
    My Dad is a Chindit.
    His name is Philip Hayden.
    Still going strong at 93 years old.
    He was homered by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool Yesterday for being the last Chindit left in Liverpool.
    1st battalion, Kings Liverpool redgt.
    He was flown into broadway by Glider at night and was one of the lucky ones that made it.

    What amazing men they were.
    They endured the most awful conditions with Malaria, Sand fly Fever and leeches.
    Lack of sleep and Malnutrition.
    And still had to fight.

    Total respect for these heroes.

  16. richard hudson January 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Do you have any info on Bertrem Arthur Hudson who served under Colonel Wingate?

    Regards, Richard, his son
    Thank you

  17. Anonymous February 11, 2014 at 9:18 am

    My father Matthew John Flynn MM and bar served with the chindits he spoke very little about his time in Burma apart from the photo of his presentation we do not have any other photos during that time

  18. JFoster February 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    My uncle was in the Chindits but I never met him. Where is the best place to search for his name as such.
    Leslie C Cryer was his name.

  19. Jon Symes March 3, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Fred Symes [no relation to Brig.G.Symes] my dad was 21 column queens with 16-ferguson. The walk from ledo near killed all of them and then the small amount of fighting with no food and water finished off those that were in bad shape. Dad only had a few contacts in the jungle and reckoned they were on the run the whole time. He spent time then back in india recovering only then at the end of the war to guard the japs at changi prison…which hurt as he saw the carnage they dished out. Next they sent him to java to fight the uprising which he had zero interest in. spent five years away fighting from italy to java with burma in between.
    needless to say he was a tough old cookie with no teeth!
    Died 2012 aged 90. RIP dad.

    Great web site and well done with huge thanks.

    • Akhil Kadidal March 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks much for sharing this touching, intriguing story. Yup, 16th Brigade had it rough. Feel free to elaborate on your tale if you wish,

      The part about the “tough old cookie with no teeth” made me grin.

  20. Jane (sister) March 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Looking for information pertaining to Trooper Fred Pett. 44th Recce. Corp. MIA, Burma 1944. Would really appreciate any news at all.

  21. Jesse June 27, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Trying to find service records or any information on my granddad Peter Dyer (Service no 1650448).

    Tried all different sites. Any information would be appreciated.

  22. Marie Gray July 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Does anyone remember Acting Warrant Officer/Staff Sergeant William James Gray (known as Bill) who lived in Gunness, Scunthorpe? He is my father and served in Burma with the Chindits and was in the REME.

    I would love to know more of his time with the REME and would appreciate any information. Email:

    Many thanks.

    • Akhil Kadidal July 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm


      Can you tell us anything more abut your father’s service with the Chindits? Did he take part in the 1943 expedition? Which column was he with? Any details at all could perhaps help someone get back to you with pertinent information.

  23. Jane (sister) July 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    So many still missing but still wondering and remembering my brother
    Fred Pett – Many years ago I wrote:

    There have been countless numbers
    of men and women, friends or not
    erudite or frivolous, they left their mark
    But, the short life of my Brother
    determined how I lived Mine.

    I do not know how he died
    A nation famous for its manners
    lacked the grace to inform.

  24. Anonymous August 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    My father was a Chindit.
    His name was Bertrand William Stedeford (Bertie)
    He was killed in 1950 serving in Malaya and is buried at Batu Gaja
    I have a photo of him as a Chindit but cant see how to send it

  25. Kate Klarr Long September 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Akhil,
    There is a new book out titled “Project 9, the Birth of the First Air Commandos in WWII”. By Dennis R. Okerstrom. It is available at I saw an interview with the author on C-SPAN and then ordered the book. He was interviewed with 3 surviving members of the !st Air Commandos. They were much more interesting than the author was. The book is very informative on the formation of the squadron and does mention Wingate and Chindits quite a few times. A lot of the information is what we already know and he was very light on pictures. Still, it was so nice to see that someone is still interested. I ordered 4 copies of the book for my children and siblings.
    Thank you for keeping the memory of the Chindits and the 1st Air Commandos alive.
    Kate Klarr Long

    • Akhil Kadidal September 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Kate,

      I glanced through this book a couple of months ago. I noticed that it had a great deal of information on the Chindits.

      I didn’t buy it, however. But I’ll get it at some point in the future and if there is any new information, I’ll be sure to update the site.

      You’re right. It was surprising to see a new book on the Commandos. Seventy years on, and what with all the insanity going on in the world today, people are still writing about the Chindits and the Air Commandos. I was glad.

      And thanks for the kind words. I hardly think I’m doing anything altruistic by writing about the Chindits and the Burma War – because the work is driven by a personal connection. Possibly others are doing more, especially like this Okerstrom gentleman. But I appreciate it nonetheless!

  26. Michael Austin November 9, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Hi, does anyone have any information on William Austin? Served in the Chindits.

  27. Alan Chorley November 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

    My father-in-law was a medic in the Chindits in the second world war. His name was William Stokes Davison.

  28. Gita November 29, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Candy short for Candade was in the chindits pathfinders.Survived the war to serve in the cavalry regiment of the Indian army& full colonel .After hearing the war heroics as a child I his daughter am amazed at the fund of information available on the web.

    Proud to be the daughter of a braveheart
    Gita Ramaswamy

  29. John Birk December 2, 2014 at 9:09 am

    was the letter any good for your website?

  30. Pat Trotter December 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Does anyone remember my dad, Stewart Trotter, a Chindit originally from Glasgow who sadly died in 1978?
    Best wishes
    Pat Trotter

  31. Diane Mellor January 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I am trying to locate any photos of one of the Daks my Dad – Stan Mellor, flew in on supply in Burma and I believe was the first in to a POW camp? Also transported Neru. The Dak was aptly named Dumbo and Dad had painted the character on the nose. Trying to put a few surprises together for his 90th birthday.
    Diane Mellor

    • Akhil Kadidal January 20, 2015 at 1:06 am

      If anyone can help Diane, kindly post a response. Thanks.

      Diane. Do you know which unit your father was in?

    • Trevor Baker February 22, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Diane. If your father was Stanley Samuel Mellor (service number 2210028), I have a Visitors Book from RAF Leuchars, which he signed on 30 July 1958 when he was stationed at RAF Honington. If this is your father, I’d be pleased to send you a scan of the page he signed.

  32. Sherri February 25, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Hi..we have only recently been told that my dad served with or in the Chindits….he was born in 1926 so I am guessing it would have been 1943 -45…but we can not find out any more information or if indeed he was with the chindits. His name was Ken Hoskins. We have several photos of him in uniform and the hat worn is very similar to the ones worn by the Chindits.

    Any information would be very much appreciated. And like many of the soldiers I have read about, my dad did not talk to us about his days in the Army, may be due to the fact that we were born a long time after.

  33. john woods June 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    hi, my partners father was a chindit , now 93 Denis Durkin though in poor health can still tell his stories under Wingate , says to this day , you had to be mad to want to be part of it. great fellow but even at the age of 93 he is no push over and certainly scared of no one. Bless him , a great chap !

    • Akhil Kadidal June 9, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Hi John, which unit did Mr Durkin serve with? I’m sure the community at large would love to hear some of those stories – if you feel like sharing.

      • john woods July 5, 2015 at 4:21 pm

        hi Akhil, from what we can make out Dennis joined up earlier than he should have. Dennis is known in york for his very near miss following a German raid on the city (noted in the york press) he was on guard on top of a gas tower on watch out out for bombers, little did he know that a bomb was meant for that particular tower ‘ luckily it missed , some fíftyplus years later Dennis actualy met the German bomber officer who’s job it was to drop the bomb , Dennis thanked him for being such a bad shot ! (noted in the local press). Dennis then went in to the regulars , joining the Royal Engineers, Dennis , a well known scrapper in york , though not very tall , had the reputation as a fiesty fighter. During his time in the RE,s , Dennis longed for a greater adventure and became aware of a new section within the forces , Dennis volunteered at the start and soon found himself serving in the far east as a chindit , as so his adventures begun.

      • Akhil Kadidal July 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

        Thanks much for the details, John. Interesting.

      • john woods February 27, 2016 at 5:45 am

        Hi Akhil,
        i t has been recently suggested in one of the UKs well read papers (The Sun) that the last known surviving chindit had sadly passed away at 97 ? not sure if you were aware of this? but I can gladly say that my father inlaw (Dennis Durkin) is alive and well , sat here at the moment having a cup of coffee and also in his 90s. Are there others out there that can challenge the report and that there are in fact other chindits still here to tell the story. Regards John.

      • Akhil Kadidal February 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

        No, I wasn’t aware of The Sun’s story, but I just read it. You should write an editorial, informing the paper of its mistake. I wonder how they determined he was the last Chindit.

  34. Vera Phillips. Nee Skinner August 2, 2015 at 7:48 am

    I have just photocopied pages of a Special Forces letter sent out to my Father, Frank Skinner, signed by Major Gen, commanding Special forces, 26th April 1943 for those men going on leave. It was lodged in behind some of Dad’s medals and the Chinthe cloth badge that he was so proud to wear.

    At the time of serving his country he was living in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire, and I believe was attached to the York and Lancs regiments.

    His army number is not visible in the papers I have found but I would dearly love to find out even a very small amount about him as he rarely spoke of the Burma campaign other than to praise Gen Wingate, Slim and the Gurkhas who he held in very high esteem.

    I am now 77 years of age and would be so thankful to get any further knowledge to pass to my son and son in law, both members of the forces.

    A very proud daughter
    Vera M Phillips

  35. Anonymous August 16, 2015 at 5:31 am

    My dad was a Chindit. Bruce Dransfield from Barnsley. He died in 2004. Does anyone know anything of him, or how I might research his time in Burma?

  36. Maxine senior August 16, 2015 at 10:49 am

    My dad Douglas Crossley was a Chindit but he never spoke of it. Thank you for all the information I have been able to read on this page, sadly dad passed away in 1995, so proud of him x thanks

  37. Anonymous August 19, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    My Mothers Brother PVT James Higginson 4461538 2nd Bn Durham Light Infantry was one of the Chindits that went into Burma on the first disastrous campaign.Sadly he passed away in the Jungle during the withdrawal on 5th April 1943 aged 27.My mother always mentioned how spick and span he was and very clean.After reading of his and the other men who went on this learning expedition,I have nothing but utter admiration for them and the utter atrocious conditions they had to endure.Wingate was the only guy with the guts and gumption to get the Japs out,but on this first foray into the enemy I think he pushed the men far to hard,hence the high rate of loss.

  38. Neil Palmer September 18, 2015 at 6:33 am

    My Grandfather, Samuel Oliver Alec Palmer, WOII (CSM) 1st. Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was KIA on 18 June 1944 at the battle of Moguang, thank you for the information on this site which has enabled me to better understand the Chindit missions. Sadly we do not know which Company he was with.

    He originally joined the Essex Regiment (he was a Romford boy) in 1928, he left to the reserve in 1934 and re-joined in 1939. His wife’s family suffered 3 killed in 1940 (HMS Argylleshire, 1 June, SS Mill Hill, 31 August and HMS Jervis Bay, 5 Nov. He remained home service until 1943 when we went with Essex draft to India, he was then transferred to the Scottish Rifles and from there to LF. He was British 6 mile champion in 1939 and was in the London to Brighton road race team that won 3 times in the 1930’s.

    • Akhil Kadidal September 18, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Amazing story.

      Glad my short pieces on the Chindits were of help to you. The battle of Moguang was a frightful affair. If I discover additional, pertinent details about the battle, I’ll update the post.

      • Adrian berry October 11, 2015 at 3:48 am

        I went to Moguang last year to follow my fathers diary. He made the trek up the ledo rd and we found the airstrip Wazzarup in north Burma that took Dad to India. I have photos. I can send photos etc. he was in the medical corp. it was an adventure in itself.
        Adrian berry (son of Tom Berry) Chindit

      • Akhil Kadidal October 11, 2015 at 3:49 am

        Sure, I’d love to see those photos.

      • Adrian berry October 11, 2015 at 3:58 am

        There’s a story too. So I am not sure how much space you have. I have been meaning to put it all together. The bridge at Mogaung still exist but not the Red House. But the railway line and we found the temporary air strip and Burma village. A bit of trouble up that way still!

      • Akhil Kadidal October 11, 2015 at 4:06 am

        Fascinating. Were you able to discover where exactly the red house was located? In my map of Moguang, I had guess the location, based on narratives. No one could tell me the exact location, not even the historian at the Gurkha regimental center, UK.

        Very interesting to hear that you found the airstrip and Gurkha village. Would love to hear all about it and possibly include your experiences in modern-day Moguang on the site. It would offer a lot of perspective. Would you kindly shoot me an email with your thoughts?

      • Adrian berry October 11, 2015 at 4:32 am

        Just about. When you enter the village from the south (where the bridge where the ferocious fighting took place,)the railway station is straight in front of you and you can gauge where the Red House was as the railway bridge heads off to the right. That bridge is on all the maps. Google Earth helps a lot. We took photos of the bridge. Rifles were found there not too long ago.There are still Burmese soldiers guarding the bridge because of insurgents. They let us take photos as we had a guide and we had our wives! The whole village was very friendly and bought us breakfast each day. They do not get too many visitors. To put Dads diary with the photos and where we went might take me a while.
        It was just incredible being in the places where such events took place. Dad was flown in and out of Mogaung as he carried wounded back to India but eventually had to do the trek back to Warrazup with everyone else. He lost his photos and glasses InThe mud and was lying exhausted when an elephant walked past. He said he wished he was on its back.
        How do I send you photos?

      • Akhil Kadidal October 11, 2015 at 4:43 am

        Very, very interesting. I’ll have to go back and check/update my map.

        You can just email the photos and information to me at

        Take your time.

        I can imagine the exhilaration of your trip. I really envy you, actually. A tour of central Burma would really be awesome, especially for those who are aware of what transpired there during the war.

  39. Adrian berry October 11, 2015 at 3:59 am

    Sorry I mean the Gurkha village

  40. D. Munns November 8, 2015 at 5:52 am

    My dad was a chindit. William Walter Adams. he was wounded and died later in 1950…

  41. Shirley Rust November 9, 2015 at 7:41 am

    A very interesting web site, I’m trying to find out as much as possible about my uncle Major John Henry Brooker, Royal Norfolk Regiment attd. 3rd West African Aux Group, Gold Coast Regiment, died 5th February 1944, I belive he was swimming a river when he had a heart attack. As he could speak Urdo he answered an advert in the times for volunteers, althought he was I think to old at 44 -45. He is buried in Rangoon.

    • Akhil Kadidal November 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Sounds like a very interesting man.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have as much information on the West African regiments as I should. They were a very quixotic bunch. What they must’ve thought of India and Burma…

      Perhaps a visitor to this blog can help.

      Will write if I come across any pertinent information in the figure.

  42. Diane November 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I am currently working on my husbands family tree. His dad John Morris died when he was only 1 year old in 1950 so not much info available. We believe he was in the 77th Brigade (Calvert) 1st Kings (Liverpool) Regiment / Lancashire Fusiliers. Any information you could provide would be helpful. His DOB is around 1922 / 1923. Love the site great informaiton

    • Akhil Kadidal November 18, 2015 at 7:40 am

      It would be highly advisable to find his records with the National Archives. it’ll provide clues about which direction you can proceed to uncover more information.

      You could also contact Steve Fogden, a very nice guy, who has built up a veritable archive of Chindit records (albeit of the first expedition). You can google him.

  43. Anonymous December 5, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Does anyone knows something about Jeffrey Lockett, he was a Major in the B. A. and served with the Chindits in Burma

  44. paul gibson February 18, 2016 at 2:10 am

    trying to find out about my uncle ALAN HARDWICK a chindit ,does any one know of info !!!!

  45. Rachel Naylor March 30, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Does anyone know anything of Bruce Dransfield? He was a Chindit in Wingate’s expedition.

  46. Mike Guy April 5, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    I would be interested to know whether Sgt Guy was my father, David Guy.

  47. Annie Marr April 15, 2016 at 10:38 am

    My father was a chindit. John McVey Royal Engineers and joined 14th I believe.

    • Douglas Dwyer May 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Before the Chindits was V Force with elephants to provide intelligence my father-in-law ,was there for years behind the lines promises were made to locals that were not honoured by UK.
      Douglas Dwyer .

  48. Richard Fitzgerald May 9, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Can anyone help i am trying to find information regards my Grandfather Leslie Richard Parker, 1st Essex (Column 44 & 56) 23 Brigade, not much seems to have been written about this brigade even though they were involved in the jungles around Kohima & Dimapur. if any has any info or knows of any diaries that might be able to help i would be grateful

    • Edward Robinson May 20, 2016 at 9:37 am

      My late father Bob Robinson was a Chindit medical officer with the 1st Essex. You are right, not much was written about them because that brigade alighted with their mules from a train near to Dimapur and marched in, unlike other brigades who were towed in gliders that landed in prepared jungle strips. Dad’s brigade were covert in every sense of the word, so little was reported. Its role was to cut off the enemy supply line and slow down the Japs. It was a success exactly how Wingate had planned it with no direct confrontation and the we managed to hold Kohima, and arguably India, as a result. His brigade walked hundreds of miles through thick mud on jungle tracks taking him across rivers and over mountains up to 6000ft, eventually relieved at Ulkuru. Illness was probably 100%, but the death rate of their own men was lower than other Chindit columns. Whole columns of the enemy lying there dead in their tracks were passed, confirming the the strategy as outlined by Wingate was the right one.

  49. Anonymous May 10, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Our dad William Henry Brindley was in the Chindits but never knew anything about it until the day I was watching our local Uttoxeter poppy parade and a man that knew about our dad said to me: “DID YOU KNOW that your dad was in the Chindits?” I said I knew nothing about what was telling me.
    He told me to go to our local library and ask them to help me to find out about the Chindits. So I did and now I have details about our dad and replicas of his medals that he won. I am sorry to say our dad Bill as he was known has passed away. And after the war I was told he was a changed man. All through our childhood he had lots of mental breakdowns and was taken away for treatment for his illness. It was hard on our mother bringing 6 children up on her own. She died very early at the age of 46. Which left me to look after my brother and sisters.
    It is all water under the bridge now and we have all turned out well and have loving families of our own. Our dad was a very brave man and we never really knew him because of the war. But he had to do his duty. God rest his soul.

    • Dougfgd May 11, 2016 at 6:24 am

      My father-in-law in VForce had non- physical problems for many years after . I was always in admiration how an accountant could be transferred to the jungle for 5years after a lifetime at a desk. I believe he was selected for the ability to navigate in the jungle. The Nothern tribes were absolutely essential survival.

  50. Simon Thompson May 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    My dad was in the Royal Signals, I know he was in Burma/ Malaya in WW2 but he, like so many, never spoke of it. There was some talk of him being involved in the destruction of the Bridge over the River Kwai, but I don’t know if that’s right. I watched a TV programme about Burma’s Secret War and “The Chindits” rang such a bell with me I wondered if that was who he was with. He was very much affected by his service, he suffered a lot of after effects. I would really appreciate it if anyone knows anything about him, his name was: Angus Thompson, an RSM, I think, with the Royal Signals

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