British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 23:09

Richard Anderson wrote:
04 May 2021 17:09
I'm a little surprised that no one seems to have brought up just how "minor" the requirement was to bring the "teeth" of the British divisions up to strength? According to Peaty it was just 121,600 infantry reinforcements required in 1944 in order for all the British divisions to be brought up to strength. Given the "combat strength" of the army was 1,719,961, the "total teeth" of the Army, amounted to 62.39% of the total army strength. Thus they needed a reinforcement of only 7.07% of the total, 121,600 men, in order to bring all formations up to strength. Should have been simple and easy, eh?
Simple and easy? Hardly.

Doable? Yes, given a commitment to where the focus of the Allied offensive in 1943-45 was and what manpower was available to Britain in the same period that was used for purposes other than keeping what became 21st AG up to strength...

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 23:15

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
04 May 2021 22:20
EwenS wrote:
04 May 2021 20:58
Do you have the page refs in Boyd for me to follow up? It is some time since I looked at it.
Yes, I’ll post tomorrow when I get home. It was in his book on Naval Intelligence rather than his “Eastern Waters”.

Thanks for all the great research too, very interesting. My point is not to deny that over time (whether days, weeks or longer) allied intelligence coalesced around a consensus that the IJN’s immediate intentions were not offensive in the Indian Ocean more that the the IJN retained the potential capability to do so, and one that couldn’t simply be dismissed except with the benefit of hindsight. The British are, after all, much criticised for allegedly complacent intelligence assessments of the threat from the Japanese armed forces prior to the outbreak of war.

It would be interesting to know whether the 3 IJN carriers at Singapore had full air groups onboard and what allied intelligence assessed their effectiveness levels to be. Interesting especially when compared to the details you provide about the state of Illustrious’ air group.

Regards

Tom
Considering the results of the Philippine Sea in June, not much.

It's also worth considering that at roughly the same time, when the IJN was present in strength at Singapore, the US 7th Fleet was landing and then sustaining the forces in western New Guinea at a time when 7th Fleet's largest covering force warships were cruisers... apparently Kinkaid et al managed to figure out the correlation of forces.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 May 2021 01:37

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 23:09
Simple and easy? Hardly.
Well, yes, exactly.
Doable? Yes, given a commitment to where the focus of the Allied offensive in 1943-45 was and what manpower was available to Britain in the same period that was used for purposes other than keeping what became 21st AG up to strength...
Indeed, along with a rather huge passel of hindsight.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 05 May 2021 04:51

Richard Anderson wrote:
05 May 2021 01:37
daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 23:09
Simple and easy? Hardly.
Well, yes, exactly.
Doable? Yes, given a commitment to where the focus of the Allied offensive in 1943-45 was and what manpower was available to Britain in the same period that was used for purposes other than keeping what became 21st AG up to strength...
Indeed, along with a rather huge passel of hindsight.
No hindsight, really; pretty simple tradeoffs. Sticking simply to the maneuver shortfalls that led to breaking up 1st Armoured, 50th Infantry, and 59th Infantry divisions in 1944, the British needed to find 24 infantry battalion equivalents and three RAC battalion equivalents (since 2nd Armoured Brigade lasted as such until until the end of the war), for a total of 27.

Forming 6th Airborne Division in 1943 required (beyond battalions that already existed) one RAC battalion and four infantry battalions (two became para units, two became airlanding units); (5)
Deploying 234th Brigade to the Dodecanese in 1943 cost four infantry battalions; (9)
Using the motor battalions from the the five non-divisional armoured brigade groups that were deployed in Europe in 1943-45; (14);
21 battalions of AA troops and RMs were deployed to the Continent as infantry in 1945, before V-E Day; (35, or eight more than necessary);

And that's not even getting to the RAF Regiment, RMs beyond 116th Brigade, Bevin's Boy conscripts, or not using infantry battalions in beach groups...

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9483
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 May 2021 08:06

Hi daveshoup,

You post, "Deploying 234th Brigade to the Dodecanese in 1943 cost four infantry battalions;". It almost sounds as though you would prefer for the British to fight the war without taking operational risks or suffering casualties. Disbanding an armoured division and two infantry divisions would contribute to this same end!

If you include 234th Brigade, you should also, by logical extension, also include the loss of 51st Highland Division in 1940, 2nd South African Division at Tobruk,18th Division at Singapore, etc., etc..

I get that shuffling round manpower within the armed forces could have made up the numbers with more foresight, but the idea that wars can be fought without operational risks, mistakes, or losses is unreasonable.

Omelettes are not made without breaking eggs.

I think you should drop this reference to 234th Brigade. It is in substance different from your wider point and detracts from it. Poor operational judgement is different from poor organizational judgement.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. Also. any formations retained would require additional replacements, so the demand for additional manpower would be rather greater than just their establishment in battalions.

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 09:15

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
04 May 2021 22:20
EwenS wrote:
04 May 2021 20:58
Do you have the page refs in Boyd for me to follow up? It is some time since I looked at it.
Yes, I’ll post tomorrow when I get home. It was in his book on Naval Intelligence rather than his “Eastern Waters”.

Thanks for all the great research too, very interesting. My point is not to deny that over time (whether days, weeks or longer) allied intelligence coalesced around a consensus that the IJN’s immediate intentions were not offensive in the Indian Ocean more that the the IJN retained the potential capability to do so, and one that couldn’t simply be dismissed except with the benefit of hindsight. The British are, after all, much criticised for allegedly complacent intelligence assessments of the threat from the Japanese armed forces prior to the outbreak of war.

It would be interesting to know whether the 3 IJN carriers at Singapore had full air groups onboard and what allied intelligence assessed their effectiveness levels to be. Interesting especially when compared to the details you provide about the state of Illustrious’ air group.

Regards

Tom
Thanks. Looks like another book on the to buy list! Is it worth the read?

I have additional information which I will post in chunks in case I lose some/all of it while typing!

Re Illustrious’ squadrons. Only 810 Barracuda sqn had seen operations, having been with Illustrious off Norway and Salerno in 1943. 847 only formed in June 1943 and its first carrier deployment was when it went aboard Illustrious at the end of Nov for a short work up before sailing east at the end of Dec.

The two Corsair squadrons formed in the US in June/July 1943. Other than some DLT in the US, Illustrious was their first carrier. Their brief Dec work up highlighted a lack of DLT with a new aircraft type that still had bugs in it (for example too much bounce). One squadron got time on Ravager to increase experience.

En route to the Far East the only flying by the Barracudas seems to have been AS patrols. As for the fighters, they only flew training sorties while transitting the Med. Norman Hanson’s “Carrier Pilot” has a bit on this trip.

Come the 22 Feb, Hanson ties in with Rowhers “Chronology of the war at sea” that this was Operation Sleuth, a search for blockade runners / U-boat supply ships. It involved only Illustrious Gambia Sussex and 2 DD. This makes some sense as one was sunk on 12 Feb and another on 12 March.

So by the time Illustrious reached Trincomalee on 28th Jan she really did have a very green air group, that needed all the training time it could get.
Last edited by EwenS on 05 May 2021 16:13, edited 1 time in total.

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 09:41

Next up the Japanese fleet’s arrival in Singapore. This wasn’t a sudden arrival of everything at once. Having looked at the TROMs over at Combined Fleet the arrivals at Singapore were as follows (each group also had some DD).

13 Feb. Shokaku, Zuikaku, Chikuma and Yahagi. I’ll come back to the air group in my next post. Zuikaku left again for Japan on the 20th.

21 Feb. Nagato, Fuso, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone

14 Mar. Haruna, Kongo, Mogami And Zuikaku with more aircraft.

4 April. Taiho (fresh from the builders yard and in need of working up)

9 April. Atago, Takao, Haguro, Chokia and Noshiro

1 May. Yamato and Maya.

These ships were coming both from Japan itself and from ships moving from areas endangered by US carrier strikes.

According to Willmott, the intelligence reports of 23 Feb to the Chiefs of Staff spoke of 2 fast and 5 slow battleships, 4 heavy cruisers, two dozen destroyers plus Shokaku and Zuikaku. So broadly those ships that actually arrived between 13 Feb and 14 Mar but a bit heavy on the Battleships.

Having arrived over a period of 2 and a half months, the whole lot left for Tawi-Tawi on 11 May.

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 10:33

The Japanese Carrier Groups.

This period saw a reorganisation of JNAF Carrier Groups. Broadly speaking there was a move away from separate groups for each carrier to the provision of a single large group for each carrier division. Air Group 601 personnel came together at Iwakuni, Japan in mid Dec 1943 (but was not officially formed until 15 Feb ie after its arrival at Singapore). It was formally posted to the 1st Carrier Division on 10 March 1944. It was to provide 81 Zero fighters, 81 Suisei dove bombers, 54 Tenzan torpedo bombers and 9 carrier recce aircraft to be split equally between Taiho, Shokaku and Zuikaku.

Personnel came from various homeland air groups as well as personnel that had just completed flight training and some from seaplane units. Added to that around the turn of the year were surviving veterans from Rabaul and the Marshall Is who had been returned to Japan. So it was a real mix of experience and needed time to be moulded into a cohesive unit and worked up for carrier operations.

Shokaku and Zuikaku left Japan on 6th Feb to transport aircraft for the group to Singapore. Some personnel went with the carriers others were flown via Formosa. As noted Zuikaku then made a second transport trip. Note these are transport trips, not carriers deploying with worked up air groups.

The Shokaku and Zuikaku elements settled at Seletar in Singapore and the Taiho element at Batu Pahat, Johore, Malaya. Intensive training then began with carrier operations following in April ie after the arrival of Taiho. Again it is noted that the reason for the move to the Singapore area was to put them close to avgas supplies due to shortages in Japan, much of which was coming from the refineries at Palembang and Balikpapan.

When the fleet moved to Tawi-Tawi in May carrier training was limited to twice a month due to fear of US subs operating in the area and it was feared flying skills would degrade.

The above taken from Hara & Izawa “Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II”

When compared to the Illustrious air group, I would say that the RN had the advantage since each of their squadrons had individually 8 or more months of living and working together, even if the squadrons had only come together in Dec on Illustrious.

To determine just how big a threat that air group and its ships were perceived to be, the real question is how much did Allied intelligence know about their state of training when they arrived, and how much additional information were they able to obtain, and how quickly did it roll in. Oh and what were their sources.

As for aviation fuel shortages in Japan itself, it was more a case of stockpiling and preserving what was there for the final battles, rather than an outright lack of fuel. There is an interesting thesis here on Japan’s oil problems. P65 onwards looks at the early 1944 period. https://fireonthewaters.tripod.com/JapanOilPuzzle.pdf

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 11:35

On going back through my notes on ship movements into and out of the IO in late 1943/early 1944, something has occurred to me. It is always referred to as the “reinforcement” of the EF in early 1944. But I’m now questioning that at least in terms of numbers of major warships.

Between Aug and Oct 1943, Resolution, Revenge, Capetown, Ceres, Despatch and Durban all left for home and reserve or secondary roles. But Ramilles, Emerald and Danae arrived. That period coincides with the running of the last WS troop convoys around the Cape. After that everything went via the Med. So a net reduction of 1 BB and 2 cruiser.

Then in Jan 1944 QE, Valiant, Renown and Illustrious arrive and Ramilles leaves (the escorts that took them to Alexandria took Ramilles back to the U.K.). So a cumulative +1 BB, +1 CV and -2 cruisers.

As I noted previously, between Jan and early June 1944, 6 British cruisers joined the EF. But in the same period of the cruisers already in the EF, 1 reduced to the status of accommodation ship, one went home to refit (Sussex) and 4 went home to join the D-Day bombardment fleet (Frobisher, Hawkins, Emerald and Danae). For a net 0 addition to the fleet. One final note is that Birmingham was en route to join the EF in Nov 1943 when she was torpedoed in the Med.

The 3 Dutch ships had been on convoy duty out of Fremantle in 1943, moving north with the prospect of a much more active British participation in the war against the DEI. Including her (cruiser Tromp, the others were DD) makes it a cumulative +1BB, +1CV and -1 cruiser.

During the same period we also see the last 4 AMC in the EF leave for home and other uses - Carthage (11/43), Chitral (12/43), Alaunia (3/44) and Canton (4/44). Again no longer needed for convoy escort.

So I’m now beginning to consider all the movements as less of a “reinforcement” in terms of numbers (at least in everything other than carriers) and more as an exchange of vessels as the focus of the EF moved from being a defensive posture, protecting the western part of the IO and its vital convoy routes for which the old ships were more than adequate, to an offensive posture that required more modern ships with better AA armament to carry the war to the Japanese.
Last edited by EwenS on 05 May 2021 15:03, edited 1 time in total.

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 14:59

double post removed

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2623
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 May 2021 19:19

EwenS wrote:
05 May 2021 09:15
Thanks. Looks like another book on the to buy list! Is it worth the read?
Andrew Boyd, 'British Naval Intelligence through the Twentieth Century'. pp.538 - 549 covers 'Redemption in the Far East' and provides some details of the improving intelligence infrastructure and the growing pains of Anglo-Australian-US liaison. On p.542, Boyd discusses what was known, at a very high level, about the IJN relocation to Singapore in February 1944 and how 'by March, further SIGINT decrypts on IJN dispositions suggested there were no preparations consistent with an early [offensive] operation, and that the move to Singapore was to keep the main fleet out of the reach of the Americans. Proximity to Sumatra oil supplies was a further factor'. For those few lines he references 'The Somerville Papers, NRS Vol 134, items 361, 363, 365; and Straczek, pp.320-322. The latter being an unpublished thesis: Josef H. Straczek, 'The Origins and Development of Royal Australian Navy Signals Intelligence in an Era of Imperial Defence 1914 - 1945, University of New South Wales, 2008.

I wonder if the documents on-line on the Australian War Memorial website provide any useful sources as Boyd suggests it was Australian DF and traffic analysis that first revealed the IJN's build-up at Singapore.

Is it worth the read? Apologies, I couldn't say as although I've had it since Xmas it has remained in my 'to read' pile as my research focus has wandered around like a drunk man coming home from the pub in the dark. 8O It was a bit of a knee jerk purchase as I had been so interested by his book 'The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters'. It certainly is deeply researched judging by the notes and the bibliography. I guess the key question is whether you want an overview of 90-odd years of naval intelligence or are more interested in a single period or a single theatre. I've just flicked through the introduction and he seems to make some well judged remarks, at least in my opinion, about the limits of intelligence assessment and the way in which contemporary intelligence assessments have 'to accommodate both secrets and mysteries, and [...] cannot offer certainty'. I would have added that only hindsight offers certainty and 'internet hindsight' often seems to provide indignation as well. :lol:

Many thanks for all the detailed research you have posted up. I'm in the middle of Ashley Jackson's 'Ceylon at War' which offers a fascinating insight into the lives of all those British imperial subjects who reached 'Ceylon' during the war either as part of its permanent garrison or on the way to more active fronts. Jackson's books certainly opened my eyes to the extent to which Britain's empire contributed to the war effort in ways that those fixated, like I used to be, by NW Europe fail to appreciate.

Anyway, I'm off to see if I can find the 'Coral' decrypts that revealed what Vice Admiral Katsuo Abe found during his tour of the Atlantic Wall in
April 1944 and which of the Y stations that Boyd mentions were tasked with maintaining special watch to obtain that traffic actually came up with the goods (Freetown, Mauritius, Abbotabad or Brisbane). :thumbsup:

Regards

Tom

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2623
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 May 2021 19:25

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 23:03
Given what Roskill did for a living, that's your interpretation.
It is.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
05 May 2021 04:51
or not using infantry battalions in beach groups...
Wouldn't that depend on what happened to the men in those battalions once the Normandy beachhead, for example, was secured? Which came first, the disbandment of 59th Infantry Division or the transfer of the personnel of the infantry battalions in the beach groups?

Regards

Tom

EwenS
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by EwenS » 05 May 2021 19:50

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
05 May 2021 19:19
EwenS wrote:
05 May 2021 09:15
Thanks. Looks like another book on the to buy list! Is it worth the read?
Andrew Boyd, 'British Naval Intelligence through the Twentieth Century'. pp.538 - 549 covers 'Redemption in the Far East' and provides some details of the improving intelligence infrastructure and the growing pains of Anglo-Australian-US liaison. On p.542, Boyd discusses what was known, at a very high level, about the IJN relocation to Singapore in February 1944 and how 'by March, further SIGINT decrypts on IJN dispositions suggested there were no preparations consistent with an early [offensive] operation, and that the move to Singapore was to keep the main fleet out of the reach of the Americans. Proximity to Sumatra oil supplies was a further factor'. For those few lines he references 'The Somerville Papers, NRS Vol 134, items 361, 363, 365; and Straczek, pp.320-322. The latter being an unpublished thesis: Josef H. Straczek, 'The Origins and Development of Royal Australian Navy Signals Intelligence in an Era of Imperial Defence 1914 - 1945, University of New South Wales, 2008.

I wonder if the documents on-line on the Australian War Memorial website provide any useful sources as Boyd suggests it was Australian DF and traffic analysis that first revealed the IJN's build-up at Singapore.

Is it worth the read? Apologies, I couldn't say as although I've had it since Xmas it has remained in my 'to read' pile as my research focus has wandered around like a drunk man coming home from the pub in the dark. 8O It was a bit of a knee jerk purchase as I had been so interested by his book 'The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters'. It certainly is deeply researched judging by the notes and the bibliography. I guess the key question is whether you want an overview of 90-odd years of naval intelligence or are more interested in a single period or a single theatre. I've just flicked through the introduction and he seems to make some well judged remarks, at least in my opinion, about the limits of intelligence assessment and the way in which contemporary intelligence assessments have 'to accommodate both secrets and mysteries, and [...] cannot offer certainty'. I would have added that only hindsight offers certainty and 'internet hindsight' often seems to provide indignation as well. :lol:

Many thanks for all the detailed research you have posted up. I'm in the middle of Ashley Jackson's 'Ceylon at War' which offers a fascinating insight into the lives of all those British imperial subjects who reached 'Ceylon' during the war either as part of its permanent garrison or on the way to more active fronts. Jackson's books certainly opened my eyes to the extent to which Britain's empire contributed to the war effort in ways that those fixated, like I used to be, by NW Europe fail to appreciate.

Anyway, I'm off to see if I can find the 'Coral' decrypts that revealed what Vice Admiral Katsuo Abe found during his tour of the Atlantic Wall in
April 1944 and which of the Y stations that Boyd mentions were tasked with maintaining special watch to obtain that traffic actually came up with the goods (Freetown, Mauritius, Abbotabad or Brisbane). :thumbsup:

Regards

Tom
Nice to know I’m not the only one with an a pile of reading to get through! Such a chore!

I read Jackson’s Ceylon at War last year. I actually preferred his other book on the theatre “Of Islands Ports And Sea Lanes”
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Islands-Ports- ... oks&sr=1-8


And thank you too for your research

sandeepmukherjee196
Financial supporter
Posts: 1462
Joined: 07 Aug 2014 05:34

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 05 May 2021 20:02

OpanaPointer wrote:
21 Mar 2020 18:33
Sheldrake wrote:
21 Mar 2020 15:55
OpanaPointer wrote:
20 Mar 2020 18:20
Subdas Chandra Bose didn't cause any problems?
Much less, I suspect, than anyone feared. Bose had fallen out with Gandhi and the Congress party who dominated Indian politics. His clerarly Japanse backed political movement did not gain traction inside India. At peak strength the INA had around maybe 50.000 troops under arms. Like the Hiwis many of them were recruited from PW camps where the alternative was starvation and ill treatment. The 1944 U-Go offensive had the INA as flank guards so they were not leading a Liberating army
Thanks. Seems some folks inflate his influence for their own goals.
Actually this is not factually correct in terms of campaign ORBAT or Mission deployment. INA's role was downplayed by wartime Britain to stop widespread disaffection in India, if the truth came out!

My grandpa said that the INA was often referred to as the Imperial Nipponian Army in wartime Bengal, by orchestrated British narratives.

While Sheldrake is right about the total numbers on INA's rolls, he is off the mark on their deployment. In the Arakans, INA troops formed the "Bahadur" units. These were Force Recon groups, operating ahead of the main Japanese formations.

Their tasks included recce, raiding, subversion of British Indian units and serving as forward screens. One such unit actually crossed the Indo - Burma border and occupied Modawk in the Chittagong district of Bengal, South East of the better known Cox Bazar, in the hilly regions.

On the way to Modawk, the parent unit of this INA detachment, routed the West African Div covering a substantial stretch of the route from the Arakans to India.

In the UGo offensive area ( Manipur + Nagaland) Indian units served in the forward echelons for e.g., in the Palel airport area.

Yes, a substantial number of INA were involved in flank support and rear area, line of communication security too.

More substantial involvement of the INA is noted in the battle for the Burmese heartland next year i.e., 1945. Mount Popa, Irrawady crossings, Meiktila et al were sectors where INA formed the main defending forces.

It must be noted that after Mohan Singh fell out with the Japanese, the First INA was largely defunct in 1942. It was only after Bose's arrival in SE Asia in late '43, that the INA Project took off in earnest. There was too little time available between Bose's taking over and the UGo offensive in March 44, for a really substantial force to be sent up.

Without referring to my notes, offhand I would say, somewhere in the region of 26000 INA troops actually saw battle in India and Burma.

Cheers
Sandeep

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2623
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 May 2021 22:27

EwenS wrote:
05 May 2021 19:50
I read Jackson’s Ceylon at War last year. I actually preferred his other book on the theatre “Of Islands Ports And Sea Lanes”
Hi,

Yes, I can understand that. I actually read ‘Of Islands...’ first and enjoyed it enough to seek out other books by him. But I had a great uncle who served with the RAF in Sri Lanka, so find the personal element of the ‘Ceylon’ book interesting because of that. I managed to get to Kew to do some research into the RAF units he served with out there and was relatively luck with some of the details from the ORB. Storms, jungle, monthly cinema show, etc, etc.

I even found a file telling me what sort of grass they planted to make the runway at one of the airfields, China Bay I think. :thumbsup:

Regards

Tom

Return to “Economy”