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Thread: Mystery crash, S. Burma, 6 Sept 1946 ('45?)

  1. #21
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    Hello,

    The following doesn't add much to the mix, but I'll pop it in for what it is worth:

    6-9-1945
    No.117 Sqn.
    Dakota KK118

    Japanese search party located red? near Bingyi(?), 16.59N:67.31E. Only 25 unidentified bodies recovered, therefore all classified missing - particulars unknown.

    163768 F/O SQUIRE, R.H.T.
    1566944 F/Sgt TRAILL, E.W.
    164723 F/O ROSS, J.M.
    179971 F/O SISSONS, E.M.

    1 RAF Passenger, and 21 Army passengers

    This was on a contemporary Roll from 1946.

    Col.

  2. #22
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    Naming inconsistencies:
    Crash site was reported as 20 miles south of Binhli, in Bayin state


    Bayin Nyi - current name used in Myanmar
    Bingyi - name used in Indian Official History of 8th Burma Rifles
    Byngi - name used in Commonwealth War Graves Commission copy of War Office graves concentration list
    Binhli - name used in Colin Cummings book "Price of Peace"

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Mystery crash, S. Burma, 6 Sept 1946 ('45?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Stanyer View Post
    Naming inconsistencies:
    Crash site was reported as 20 miles south of Binhli, in Bayin state


    Bayin Nyi - current name used in Myanmar
    Bingyi - name used in Indian Official History of 8th Burma Rifles
    Byngi - name used in Commonwealth War Graves Commission copy of War Office graves concentration list
    Binhli - name used in Colin Cummings book "Price of Peace"

    The war against Japan ended in August 1945. This was followed by the Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees, known as RAPWI. In Bangkok, the arrival of two hospital units by air gave an immediate fall in death rates, according to the official New Zealand war history. This led to an urgent operation to fly PoWs to ports for hospital convalescence, and homeward travel by sea.


    Five Dakota transport squadrons in Burma (now Myanmar) were therefore tasked to fly 100 sorties per day to recover PoWs, according to Nigel Warwick's book Constant Vigilance. Their principal task was to fly from east to west with PoWs for medical care and ships at Rangoon. Flying west to east, they mostly carried garrison troops to Bangkok in Siam (now Thailand), and to Saigon in French Indochina (now Viet-Nam). This shuttle began on Monday 3rd September 1945.


    On 25th August 1945, Lt Bryan Pattie wrote to his sister Mary “The food is excellent although the rations are being cut down due to our POWs coming back. We don’t mind giving rations up for these poor fellows.” He added “It rains most of the time, so we are generally pretty wet.” He ended “I had hoped to get into Rangoon today, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I hope to next week.”


    As this was the monsoon season, it was dangerous flying weather. Two RAF Dakotas flying RAPWI missions in Burma crashed with the loss of life on 6th (KK118) and 8th (KN593) September 1945. It is probable that pilots were then instructed to take no risks in bad weather, but to return to base. Brigadier Eric Goodman reported that his RAPWI Dakota on 8th October returned to base, due to monsoon weather.


    On Thursday 6 Sept 1945, a Dakota IV registration KK118 of RAF 117 Squadron took off from Hmawbi airfield, near Rangoon, Burma. It was en route for a refuelling stop at Bangkok, Siam, before heading for Tan Son Nhat airfield, near Saigon in French Indochina. That morning, sunrise was at 5.52 am, and the plane took off at 6.06 am.


    The regimental history of the Queen's Royal Regiment states that "A party of two officers and thirty-seven other ranks had on 3rd September been sent to Bangkok, in Siam, on special duty. A week later the tragic news came that the plane carrying Lieutenant Pattie, C.S.M. Goodchild and nineteen men had crashed and there were no survivors."
    The departure three days after the movement order suggests that there was a two-day wait for an available aircraft.


    On board were three RAF crew, two RAF passengers, and 21 QRR troops. The grandson of one of the passengers, Private Edward Sullivan, states "he had been chosen to represent his division 1st Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment and the forces for an inspection from General Slim." This is consistent with a Pattie family memory that 2nd Lieutenant Bryan Pattie, Royal Fusiliers - attached to the Queen's Royal Regiment - had been chosen for the Bangkok ceremonial parade owing to his tall and well-turned-out appearance.


    The Dakota KK118 crashed at 6.40 am, 80 miles into the journey to Bangkok. Colin Cummings, author of The Price of Peace, states "The aircraft entered a cu-nim cloud and broke up in the air; either due to overstressing in heavy turbulence or because the pilot lost control."


    The crash site was attended by local villagers and Japanese troops. Of the 26 aboard, 20 bodies were recovered but not identified. The 20 were buried in individual plots at Thanbyuzayat Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.


    The 20 grave markers are each engraved:


    "A soldier or an airman of the 1939 – 1945 war, the Queen's Royal Regiment or Royal Air Force, 6th September 1945, known unto God."


    Shropshire soldier Edwin Kearsley was waiting that afternoon in Saigon. He recalled "On September 6th, the first party of PoW’s were to be repatriated by air, but no planes arrived, so it was cancelled.”


    There is no record that the planned September Bangkok parade and inspection took place.


    Before the arrival of British troops, SOE agents Hector (Brigadier Victor Jacques) and Priam (Major Tom Hobbs) had hidden in the house of a Siamese prince to represent British interests. This may have led General Bill Slim to expect a prompt September agreement between the Siamese government and his forces, to be marked by a ceremonial parade.


    However, historian Nicholas Tarling has stated that no agreement was signed until 1 January 1946, since a slow four-sided tussle took place between the British government, the friendly Siamese government, the suspicious Siamese opposition, and the US State Department (which suspected British colonial ambitions). At stake were 1.5m tons of surplus Siamese rice, needed for famine relief in neighbouring countries.


    After the New Year agreement, King Ananda Manidol and Lord Louis Mountbatten held a ceremonial parade in Bangkok on 19 Jan 1946, four months after the loss of life in Dakota KK118.

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