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View Full Version : Blue on Blue on ground at Imphal by 60 Squadron and 113 Squadron



Jagan
27th January 2014, 02:30
I was recenty in touch with Chris J who was doing some reasearch on his father - a Sgt Major on the ground near the Imphal battlefield in 1944.


"7th April 1944 113 Sqn were tasked with attacking the former site of my father's unit 20 Reinforcement Camp at Kiethelmanbi milestone 110 on the Imphal- Kohima road as it was believed the Japs were using it.

Two flights of five Hurribombers led by FO Seitz and FLt Rolls took off from Tulihal at 16.10 and 16.20 respectively and attacked the target area scoring direct hits on bashas and setting fire to a tin roofed building. A second attack on the same target was given to 60 Sqn with two flights of six Hurribombers led by FLt Busbridge and FLt Butler taking off from Palel at 16.50 and 17.10 respectively. Now this is where things go wrong and both flights mistake the target and hit the defensive and large stores area at Lion Box Kanglatongbi milestone 118.

At the time the whole area was being evacuated south to Imphal after a three day action as the Jap pressure increased on this defensive area mostly manned by administrative troops. Both flights made repeated attacks bombing and strafing the whole area destroying huts, motor transport and fuel supplies. Sadly many casualties both Indian and British were taken during this time including my father's runner.

Raj (Who had visited the site on the ground - Jagan) can confirm this attack as he has recovered large amounts of 250 pound bomb casing shrapnel and 20 millimeter canon shell cases from the area during the course of our research of Lion Box.

I have copies from the relevant pages of the operations books for 60 and 113 Sqn's and 221 Group. Just recently I acquired aerial photo's of both places taken before and after the actions but are bit difficult to see in great detail because of the height they were taken, 30,000 feet. If you would like copies I can email them.

What I would like to know is whether there was any enquiry held as to what went wrong with the attack by 60 Sqn? Do you know if there is any other documentation such as pilots log books etc? Any information would be helpful and will add to the story which I'm hoping to put into the revised edition of my original book.

Incidentally, there is a photo of FLt Johnny Busbridge on page 161 of The Air Battle of Imphal by Norman Franks.

A quick check on CWGC shows about 39 casualities in India on that date on the ground, many from the Royal Engineers, Indian Engineers and Indian AMC.. and another couple of dozen the next day.

Any other sources , logbooks etc available on this incident?

Chas Stewart
1st January 2017, 08:04
Hi,
I'm sorry to pass on to you that this was not the only 'friendly-fire' incident involving 60 Squadron in 1944. Early in his operational career, my father Frank Stewart was flying as part of an attack on Yazagyo on October 26, 1944 when the squadron was ordered to bomb. My father suspected they were not in the right place, and his later log book entry says simply: 'Wrong target. Our own troops suffered losses'.
Chas Stewart