10th Gloucesters at Myitson, February 1945
(Back Badge 1948)
After 7 months of
continuous action the Battalion was very much below strength,
especially in experienced officers and NCOs.
"A", "B" and "D" Companies were each about 70 strong, whilst "C" Company numbered only 45 men. HQ and "S" Companies were, together, about 200 strong. The fighting spirit of the 10th was, however, first class.
After crossing the Irrwawddy at Katha the next objective of the 36th Division was the town of Mongmit, some 100 miles south in the Shan States. At the end of January 1945, the newly-arrived 26th (Indian) Brigade took over the advance from the 72nd Brigade (which included the 10th Gloucesters). On 2nd February 2 companies of the 2nd Buffs crossed the Shweli River opposite Myitson village without opposition. After crossing these companies were attacked by overwhelming numbers of Japs and no reinforcements could be got across. That night the remnants of the 2 companies were evacuated. The 26th Brigade crossed the Shweli some 8 miles to the north and occupied the village on the 9th February, but were engaged by heavy opposition and were under attack for the next few days.
9th February - the 10th Gloucesters, commanded by Lt-Col. R.S. Butler (Lt-Col. H.C.R. Hose had recently been evacuated sick) received orders to relieve the 6th S.W.B. on the next day in the Shweli bend with 2 companies. A little later he was told that the move was off and to send the companies across the river to protect the L. of C. to 26th Brigade HQ who were threatened from the west by a mystery Jap column.
10th Feb. - "B" and "D" Coys. (Major P. Hurford-Jones and Capt. G.O. Watkins) under Major J.R. Bitten (2 i/c) crossed the river and established themselves in the 26th Brigade HQ area.
11th Feb. - "D" Coy. were order forward by 26th Brigade to take over a position held by a company of the 26th Brigade on the Nammeik Chaung and guarding the crossing. "D" Coy. found that the grass had been cleared inside the perimeter so that the enemy could take aimed shots at anyone inside from the cover of the long grass outside. Here in the afternoon "D" Coy. was cut off by the Japs and 26th Brigade ordered "B" Coy. to advance and clear the way to them.
12th Feb. - "B" Coy. put in their attack, and were assisted by 1 weak Carrier Platoon on foot, but were caught by MMG in the left flank and and were held in front. They suffered some casualties and were withdrawn into the 26th Brigade HQ box. The rest of the Battalion was now ordered across the Shweli. After crossing, "A" Coy. (Major R.G. Harris) was sent to reconnoitre in the jungle some 1 and half miles to the west (Gold Washing Camp). They reported enemy scouts wearing large packs were on the prowl and it was obvious that Jap reinforcements were approaching. "C" Coy. (Major P.F. Wills) attacked once more to relieve "D" Coy. but again without result.
The CO decided to set up a chain of company posts round the right flank between the 26th Brigade box and "D" coy. through which a convoy of food and ammunition could be run up to "D" and their casualties evacuated. After repeated demands for troops to protect the L. of C. one company of the Royal Sussex was sent to guard No. 3 ferry on 14th Feb., whilst a company of SWB moved to a position half way between the ferry and 26th Brigade box.
Meanwhile up at Nammeik Chaung a patrol of "D" Coy. had bumped into a Jap attack. This was repulsed but casualties were mounting. Lt. D.J. Walmsley (DCLI attached 10th Glosters) and 8 men were killed and others wounded.
14th Feb - "A" Coy. attack towards "D", but held up in very thick jungle. Lt. J.J. Roberts (King's own Royal Regt. attached 10th Glosters) was wounded and died next day. "A" Coy. was withdrawn to "C" Coy. box as the latter company was very weak and a Jap attack looked imminent. "A" Coy. sent out patrols and Capt. Gill reported that his patrol had got through to Nammeik Chaung. Orders were given for "A" Coy. to attack at dawn and a convoy of mules with food and ammunition was prepared. "D" Coy. situation was now getting desperate, with food and ammunition running short and 20 casualties awaiting help in fox holes. The Company had repulsed 6 all-out attacks in the last 2 days. There was constant enemy shelling of the Battalion area. Some 40 drivers (Category 'B' men, some of whom could hardly walk) were got across the Shweli, and a company of 120 R.E.'s were also sent in to help hold the perimeter.
15th Feb - "A" Coy. attacked at 0615 hrs, but once again the attack fell short of "D" Coy. At about 0830 hrs a stream of men was seen going back from Brigade box and it was discovered that 26th Brigade was being withdrawn, including the R.E.s. It was also found that the 26th Brigade had unloaded and commandeered all the mules. As they moved out, the Japs moved in closer.
The 10th Glosters HQ found themselves at 0900 hrs cut off from their forward companies, without transport or water, and with the Japs already half way round to the rear of the Battalion perimeter. "B" Coy. were pulled back to hold higher ground abandoned by the 26th Brigade. At this point an order came through from 72nd Brigade. The Battalion was to go forward and relieve "D" Company! The Japs were moving around and close to cutting off the ferry. Capt. K.R. Rowe, the Intelligence Officer, warned that a direct move to the river bank was impossible owing to thick elephant grass that could only be passed through by being cut. At 1115 hrs the Battalion moved back to the river bank immediately north of the elephant grass. There they dug in for the night.
16th Feb - At first light the Battalion moved off down a narrow track through tall thick grass near the river bank. Finally "A" Coy. managed to link up with "D" Coy. The Japs had moved away for a while, leaving their rifles, helmets and equipment in neat piles. When they came back, the Glosters were waiting to surprise them. The Battalion was now dug in at Nammeik Point and could operate No. 1 ferry. They also assisted the SWB company to evacuate their wounded and move back to the river bank.
17th Feb - In the morning the Japs shelled the Battalion position very heavily for 15 minutes. But the all-out infantry attack was launched against 26th Brigade. The Indians put up a magnificent defence and by nightfall both sides were exhausted and the Japs withdrew.
22nd Feb - "A" and "D" Coys. were relieved by a company of Gurkhas and the next day the whole Battalion crossed the Nammeik Chaung. So ended the Battle of Myitson and the last active operations of the 10th Glosters in Burma. They encountered little opposition during their advance south through Mongmit. The Battalion was marching through Mogok by March and on 3-4th April flew from Mong Long to Mandalay.
Schryver - 10th Bn - 16 Nov. 1944 - Burma
T/Major A. Slater - 10th Bn - 22 March 1945 - Burma
Major G.O. Watkins - 10th Bn - Burma
Capt. L.J. Elkington - 10th Bn - Burma
Capt. G. Woodward - 10th Bn - Burma
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Sergt. V.C. Hann -
10th Bn - 16 Nov. 1944 - Burma
CSM I. Pook - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte J.E. Venn - 10th
Bn - 27 July 1944 - Burma
Sergt. B.L. Trevillian - 10th Bn - 16 Nov. 1944 - Burma
Pte A.B. Lawrence - 10th Bn - 8 Feb. 1945 - Burma
A/Cpl. W.E. Smith - 10th Bn - 22 March 1945 - Burma
Pte J. Horsley - 10th Bn - 22 March 1945 - Burma
Sergt. H. Marmont - 10th Bn - Burma
Sergt. T. Wheeler - 10th Bn - Burma
Cpl. E. Cooper - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte A. Crawley - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte G. Hadfield - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte T. Saunders - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte L. Wathen - 10th Bn - Burma (had been recommended for the Victoria Cross)
Pte R.S. Davies - 10th Bn - 22 March 1945 - Burma
Mentioned in Dispatches
Hose - 10th Bn - Burma
Major A.C. Steadman - 10th Bn - Burma
Capt. D.C. Bagworth - 10th Bn - Burma
Capt. J.S. Jones - 10th Bn - Burma
RQMS K. Edmunds - 10th Bn - Burma
Sergt. R. Gunter - 10th Bn - Burma
Sergt. A. Jenner - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte S. Jones - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte A. Osborne - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte E. Freeman - 10th Bn - Burma
T/Major A. Reeve, MBE - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
T/Major J.R. Wonnacott - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
T/Capt. K.K. Hatley - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
T/Capt. F.J. Herbert - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
WO K.W. Edmonds, MBE - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
WO F.W. Ingram - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
WO F.W. Welsh - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
S/Sergt. F.H. Ridout - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
Sergt. R.J. Hill - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
Sergt. J. Rivers - 10th Bn - 19 Sept. 1946 - Burma
Cpl. T. Roberts -
10th Bn - Burma
Pte R. Parrott - 10th Bn - Burma
Pte H. Ind - 10th Bn - Burma