Stories of survival in Burma WW2
Tens of thousands of civilians of many races and the British Army, together with Chinese soldiers and many Indian soldiers were forced to flee northwards in Burma in 1942. The invasion was swift and by May almost all of the country had been overrun by the Japanese. The last airfield at Myitkyina was taken in May and now the only way out was on foot through dense jungle and over high mountain ranges to India.
Many did not know how far they would have to travel and where safety could be found. Many had already travelled 100's of miles from the south in the heat before the monsoon.
Captain Gribble was used to working in the jungle areas in Kachin State but he would never normally have travelled in the monsoon which started as many thousands were struggling along remote tracks in the jungle which were to become waterlogged and very dangerous.
Many died of illness, exhaustion and hunger.
These four stories give a vivid impression of these historic journeys. One was written by the author's mother, Josephine Chapman whose journey covered over 700 miles from Rangoon to Imphal.
Records of outstanding ITA rescue missions were given to the author, together with photos taken on his fraught journey by Dr Farrant Russell.
This was a huge exodus about which not much is known.
Published: 3 June 2016
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