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Thread: Greetings and a question re SEAC daily summaries....

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    Default Greetings and a question re SEAC daily summaries....

    Good day to all,

    My first post on here so thought I would briefly explain my interest before diving in with a question!

    Following my father's service in the RAF during the war, I'm interested in the bombing operations carried out by the Wellingtons and Liberators of 99, 159, 215, 355, 356 and (briefly) 358 Squadrons over Burma and the Far East. Since I retired a couple of years ago I have been actively researching these using the ORBs etc at Kew.

    Now we know that 215 Squadron started their operations from India around May 1942, but no record of these appear in Squadron ORB, just a generalised statement written to cover the period. I presume either some original records were lost, or no-one thought to keep them.

    I have a copy of Steve Bond's 'Wimpy - a detailed illustrated history...' and he mentions that his information comes from SEAC Command daily summaries.

    Does anyone know where these summaries can be seen please?

    Regards,

    Geoff

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    Hello, and welcome to the Forum.

    You will find a very early account of No.215 Sqn ops in India/Burma (1/2 May, 1942), in the following publication:

    Wings Of War Airmen of all Nations Tell Their Stories 1939-1945.
    Lucas,Laddie (ed.)
    Hutchinson:London,1983
    See: Part Four - Indian Nightmare by Ralph Fellows (Observer, 215 Sqn.), (pp.198-202).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 4th April 2019 at 13:35.

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    Welcome as well

    The Daily Summaries will be at Kew somewhere. Overseas Commands are in Air 23. If you have plenty of time you could try an advanced search using "daily summaries" and "Air 23" with the appropriate date range. I think if you search on "South East Asia Command" you will have a problem because that was not established until sometime in 1943. I think at sometime the RAF used "Far East Command" but that may have been much earlier in the War. I am not sure how the Command was designated before SEAC but I guess it had to embrace the various Allied forces - Australian, American etc.

    Steve

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    Col / Steve,

    Thanks for the replies. I had fought with the National Archives search engine unsuccessfully but will have another go now with more confidence I'm on the right track.


    And it will be good to find a witness account of these early raids too. Another thing on my 'to do' list!

    Geoff

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    Hi, Geoff, and welcome to the forum.

    It's too late for me to delve into my files, but I have seen some daily summaries at Kew, some being in bound books. I'll look this weekend. No promises I'll come up with anything of much use, but it's worth looking.

    Also, regarding 159 Squadron, I must make an unabashed plug for RAF Liberators Over Burma by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole (hey, that's me). It covers Bill's 32 ops with 159 Sqn from his arrival on the squadron in April '43 until his departure just over a year later. For more book details, go to amazon.co.uk, where there are a couple of long reviews. Simply search on "Matt Poole" and you'll see the book. Also navigate here, courtesy of Jagan, our benevolent webmaster, who kindly offered me an outlet for advertising the book's release: http://www.rafcommands.com/books/raf...-159-squadron/ .

    More, hopefully, soon.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Hi Matt,

    Good to find you here too; I'm already a contented purchaser of your most excellent 'RAF Liberators Over Burma' having caught it on the RAF Liberators Forum.

    Would be grateful for any info you can provide, as I ran a couple of searches for material using the 'AIR 23' and 'daily summary/summaries' keywords. After extensive pruning of the results, I found a number of files covering the parts of the period from December 1943, starting at AIR 23/4942.

    My original search threw up some files for 221 Group, so I decided to also search on that. I'm hoping that AIR 23/4405 is the file I am looking for: 221 Group Bomber Operations 1942 - 1943. My next trip to Kew will tell if I am right!

    Kind regards,

    Geoff

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    Hi, Geoff,

    Humble apologies for not putting one and one together to know that we had corresponded on Gary's forum, and specifically about the book!

    Thanks for your kind words about the book, too.

    Now, I found a file where I'd typed up some references to Kew files back in the ancient 1990s after a visit to the then-Public Records Office. And I have several photocopied documents from that time. Here are the most pertinent file references for you, though these are just from my scribbled notes. I also added one file reference found at the top of a photocopy sent to me by the Air Historical Branch, and possibly it might give you clues to other AIR 23 files that could be of use to you.

    I do recall that there were numerous bound volumes of monthly SEAC intelligence summaries, chock full of interesting things. These references are found in AIR 24. In my limited and very rushed time, I was mainly concentrating upon early 1944, and I zoomed through these thick books. It was in a time before digital cameras were commonplace, so if I didn’t request something to be photocopied, I took notes in pencil and later typed them up. No laptop at the time of my visit, either.

    I also found an interesting report on bombing operations over a period of time covering my specific focus of 29 Feb 1944.

    Kew is loaded with gems. It’s finding them that is not easy!

    This is the best I can offer, Geoff. Hoping this gives you a lead or two.

    Cheers,

    Matt
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    PUBLIC RECORDS OFFICE DOCUMENT CITATIONS OF NOTE

    AIR 23/4067: Detailed Interpretation Report No. M. 278, Kemmendine - 355 & 159 Squadrons Damage Report (no photos)

    AIR 23/4945 (last digit looks more like a 5 than a 3): Daily Operational Summary No. 564 Including Reports of Operations Up To 07.30 Hours 1/3/1944

    I was sent one page of this report by the Air Historical Branch. Maybe this will give you clues to other similar AIR 23 files.

    AIR 24/1295: Bound book: SEAC Intelligence Jan - Feb 1944

    This, and other similar summaries have tons of info, worth going through them all at some point. Wide range of varying info, such as: broadcasts from Japan, AA and Searchlight info, Japanese use of "stalking planes," Daily enemy air activity, Jan-Feb, general Burma war news, summary of ".

    AIR 24/1296: SEAC Intelligence Summary, March '44

    AIR 24/1302: SEAC Intelligence Summaries, Aug '44

    AIR 24/1303: SEAC Intelligence Summaries, Sept. '44

    AIR 24/1305: SEAC Intelligence Summaries, Oct. '44, Vol. II.

    AIR 22/348: War Room Monthly Summaries: Air Command South East Asia
    (Lots of statistics)

    AIR 24/1352: Review of the Night Operations of 231 Group, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (17th February - 16th March, 1944)

    AIR 23/4301: Operations Analysis Report: Review of the Operations of the Strategic Air Force for the Period 1/9/43 thru 5/31/44

    This is a rather scathing analysis of bombing raids by US and RAF heavy bombers written by John C. deWilde, Foreign Economic Admin. Consultant to Operations Analysis Section, HQ, Army Air Forces, India Burma Sector, CBI Theater, Sept. 1944.

    AIR 41/64: Narrative: Volume IV, South East Asia, Nov. '43 - Aug. '45

    AIR 22/106: RAF Daily Summary of Casualties

    AIR 23/3870: Mingaladon Military Area files

    SEAC (South East Asia Command) Combined Photo Interpretation Centre, Interpretation & Bomb Damage Assessment Reports. These are reports on specific bombed Japanese targets in Burma (with photos & diagrams) including:

    AIR 23/3630: Ava Bridge (Sagaing, Burma)
    AIR 23/3676: HLAWGA airfield
    AIR 23/3677: HLEGU airfield
    AIR 23/3831: MANDALAY Rail Station
    AIR 23/3832: MANDALAY Marshalling Yard.
    AIR 23/3869: MINGALADON airfield
    AIR 23/3870: MINGALADON military area.
    AIR 23/4032: PROME dumps
    AIR 23/4032: PROME military area
    AIR 23/4033: PROME rail station
    AIR 23/4034: PROME industries
    AIR 23/4055: RANGOON
    4056: RANGOON
    4057: RANGOON
    4058: RANGOON airfields
    4059: RANGOON central rail station
    4060: RANGOON docks
    4061: RANGOON foundry
    4062: RANGOON dumps
    4063: RANGOON defences
    4064: RANGOON powerhouse
    4065: RANGOON POW's (one minor report only)
    4066: RANGOON rice
    4067: RANGOON railways
    4068: RANGOON hutted camps
    4069: RANGOON industries
    4070: RANGOON Malagon marshalling yards
    4071: RANGOON military area
    4072: RANGOON Sule Pagoda warehouses
    4073: RANGOON Twante Canal
    4074: RANGOON wireless station
    4075: RANGOON Violin (?) hosiery works
    4076: RANGOON Watson motor works
    4084: SAGAING shore rail station & sidings

    EASTERN AIR COMMAND Target maps, reports, photos. Includes:

    AIR 23/4557: MANDALAY
    4564: MINGALADON
    4592: RANGOON

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    Hi Matt,

    No worries! And many thanks for the list of documents. Thank goodness for digital cameras is all I can say, as there's a lot to go through and I never get chance to look at it properly when I'm there. Its just copy as much as possible and digest at my leisure later at home...


    I much appreciate your help,

    Geoff

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