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10th Gloucesters at Pinwe

15th-26th November 1944

by Major R.S. Butler
(Back Badge, 1947)

In June 1944, the 10th Gloucesters, after fighting on the Arakan front, joined the Northern Combat Area Command, under the American General Stilwell, who commanded a mixed British-American-Chinese force. Stilwell's first objective was to build and keep open a road from Ledo, in Assam, to China.

The Chinese Divisions were to occupy the Bhamo area, whilst on their right the 36th British Division was to advance down the Myitkynia-Mandalay railway to the area Naba Junction-Katha. Katha was important to the Japanese supply route up the Irrawaddy. The 36th Division at that time had 2 brigades only, the 29th and 72nd, the 10th Gloucesters being in the latter. After being flown from Ledo to the airstrip near Myitkynia, the Division pushed south along the railway, slowly clearing and repairing the line.

7th November the 72nd Brigade took the lead at Mwalu, for the advance to Katha. The country was teak forest and visibility was generally some 30 yards. On the right the 9th Royal Sussex advanced down the railway track. The 6th SWBs went down the dirt road some 800 yards to their left, and the 10th Glosters were in reserve. The forward battalions encountered stiff opposition from units of the Japanese 18th Imperial Division near Gyobin Chaung, north of Pinwe. The 18th Japanese Division had been prominent in the capture of Singapore and was a very good one. Its patrolling was first class and, for Japanese, its shooting was very accurate. The 10th Glosters were to advance around the left flank to get into the rear of the enemy position at Pinwe. The rest of the Brigade was to attack across the river.

15th November, the Battalion, with some 70 mules, started out over the foothills on their left flank. The hills were steep and the men heavily ladden with weapons, full kit and 3 days rations on their backs. After 2 days the Battalion made it to the rear of the enemy position, but were still some 3 miles from Pinwe. Next day the Battalion advanced by compass bearing; but in the afternoon they ran into heavy enemy opposition. With no water in the area and dusk approaching, the battalion pulled back to the foothills for the night.

18th November - During a patrol, Lt. H.L. Gordon was killed.

19th November - orders came to prepare to carry out a frontal attack to capture the Gyobin Chaung and Pinwe railway station. Two British field artillery regiments put down a barrage and an air strike was arranged for the Gyobin Chaung area.

21st November - patrols sent out and Battalion moved up to its assembly area. The enemy positions could not be located due to the thick jungle.

22nd November - After a short bombardment the Battalion advanced at 1000 hrs. "D" Coy. reached the Gyobin Chaung, dealing with the enemy positions they encountered. "C" Coy. came under heavy fire from a well concealed machine gun post that was protected by a ring of snipers. "C" Coy. dug in, Major MacLaurin was wounded during this advance. Capt. O.M. Schryver, crawled out to rescue a wounded man, but was killed in the attempt.

"A" Coy. ran into an enemy bunker position, which was dealt with by a 2 platoon attack. After crossing the chaung they ran into heavy machine gun and mortar fire. They beat off an enemy attack but all the company's officers were killed (including OC, Major G.E.F. Wethered) or wounded. "B" Coy. followed up and found more of the enemy moving into position on the chaung behind "A" Coy. They fought off an attack and dug in, but were suffering from snipers hidden in the trees; Major A.C. Steadman (OC "B" Coy.) and his 2 subalterns were killed.

23rd November - Patrols pushed out in the morning. More enemy attacks repulsed. Enemy shelling and mortar attacks on the Glosters positions during the day. The Regimental Aid Post was hit by a heavy mortar, the doctor (Captain A.D. Gould, RAMC) and 5 of his staff being killed and 3 others wounded. In the afternoon, a company of the 6th SWBs attacked and dug in on the left of "A" Coy.

24th November - More enemy shelling and mortar fire. Two companies of the 9th Royal Sussex advanced and dug in by "D" Coy.

25th November - 10th Glosters ordered to be relieved the next day.

26th November - Battalion relieved. "D" Coy. spotted an enemy patrol in the open and killed most of them.

Two days later, the Japanese retired from Pinwe.

10th Gloucesters killed at Pinwe:

Lieutenant H.L. Gordon, killed 18th November 1944
Lieutenant G.A.J. Dodson, killed 22nd November 1944
Captain O.M. Schryver, M.C., killed 22nd November 1944
Major A.C. Steadman, killed 22nd November 1944
Major G.E.F. Wethered, killed 22nd November 1944

Lieutenant G. De V.B. Atherton, killed 24th November 1944

Private Maxwell Andrews. Died 14th November 1944. Aged 26. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Kenneth Archer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Hilda, of Leicester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal Edwin Bacon. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Son of George and Alice, of Yate, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

L/Sergeant Frederick Philip Bailey. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 25. Son of Ernest and Edith, of Herefordshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Dennis Frederick Bowyer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 22. From Thornton Heath, Surrey. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal Samuel Clark. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Joseph Henry George Cullimore. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 32. Husband of Dora, of Downend, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Cyril George Dimmer. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of Robert and Beatrice, of Enfield Wash, Middlesex Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Walter Thomas Fountain. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 28. Husband of Grace, of East Molesey, Surrey. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

L/Cpl Edward Richard Gleed. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 23. Son of Richard and Maud, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private George Edwin Thomas Grainger. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of John, of Gloucester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Edward Harold Hanks. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 20. Son of Harold and Hilda, of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

L/Sergeant William Harper. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 24. Husband of Phyllis, of Cheltenham. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private William Ernest Hubbard. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 30. Son of Abraham and Caroline, of North Petherton, Somerset. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal George Lionel Humphries. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Son of George and Annie, of Chaxhill, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private John William Larkin. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 22. Son of William and Elizabeth, of Salford, Lancashire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Frederick John May. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 20. Son of Stanley and Emily, of Yate, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Herbert Alfred Mitchell. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Doris, of Clapham, London. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Albert Karl Edger Oakley. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 34. Son of George and Edith, of Chasetown, Staffordshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Sergeant Harold Joseph Pearce. Died 24th November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Irene, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

L/Corpl Ivor Roy Pollard. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 24. Son of Henry and Ethel, of Porlock Weir, Somerset. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Arthur Scott. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 24. Son of Sam and Florence, of Bradford, Yorkshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

L/Cpl Eric George Smalley. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 21. Son of George and Annie, of Manchester. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private William Thomas Stock. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 19. Son of Richard and Edith, of Everton, Lancashire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal Richard Louis Sullivan. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Husband of Ethel, of Cheltenham. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal Alfred James Thomas. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 30. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Sergeant Grantley Wathan. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 29. Husband of Beatrice, of Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private Reginald John Whanslaw. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 30. Son of Robert and Adelene. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Corporal Laurie Weston Whyman. Died 22nd November 1944. Aged 33. Son of George and Louisa, of Petersfield, Hampshire. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.

Private, Albert GeorgeYoung. Died 23rd November 1944. Aged 32. Husband of Gladys, of Bristol. Buried at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. 10th Battalion.