Frank, Leon (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 15752
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 90, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British private served with 13th Bn King's Liverpool Regt attached to 7 Column, 77th Indian Infantry Bde during First Chindit Expedition in Burma, 1943; POW in Burma, 1943-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Whitechapel, London, GB, 1920-1939: family; education; reaction to declaration of Second World War, 3/9/1939. Aspects of period as private with 13th Bn King's Liverpool Regt in GB and India, 1940-1943: call up 6/1940; joining battalion after basic training; voyage from GB to India via South Africa, 1941 including civilian hospitality in Durban; in barracks at Secunderabad. India; role as regimental policeman; story of how he used oblique method to arrest drunken soldier at dance. Recollections of operations with 13 Platoon, 13th Bn King's Liverpool Regt attached to 7 Column, 77th Indian Infantry Bde during First Chindit Expedition, 1943: joining Chindits, 1943; move to Dimapur; address by Orde Wingate before expedition; how his group became separated from rest of column; participation in Mike Calvert's attack on railway sidings; rejoining 7 Column; attempt to get to Fort Hertz; how Burmese guides led his group into Japanese ambush; division of group and how he and group of six tried to trek eastwards into China. REEL 2 Continues: Recollections of period as POW in Burma, 1943-1944: capture by Japanese; interrogation by Japanese; Japanese leaflets to induce surrender; role as batman to Japanese officer; friendship with Japanese Tagata; how he sang for his supper; reception in Maymyo discipline camp; introduction to Japanese discipline; cattle truck journey to Mandalay; kindness shown to POWs by Japanese soldier. Recollections of period as POW in Rangoon Jail, Burma, 1944-1945: arrival at jail; living conditions; symptoms of beri beri; contracting dry beri beri; dependence of POWs on comradeship; deaths from illness of POWs; treatment for scalding injuries and contracting lockjaw; US Air Force raid on Rangoon; death of US Air Force personnel; work on Rangoon docks; story of POW who went mad from Japanese treatment. REEL 3 Continues: Japanese propaganda about progress of war; death of General Chi a Chinese POW; beating of POW by Japanese officer; trading with Burmese. POW march from Rangoon towards Thailand, summer 1945: plan to march POWs to Thailand; route of march via Pegu; Japanese abandoning of POWs in Pegu; US Air Force attack on POWs and Burmese villagers; how Burmese headman tried to enlist help of British POWs to stop shelling of his villages. Liberation by units of 14th Army including treatment of POWs; flying out of Burma. Rehabilitation of POWs in India. Reaction to return to GB. Amusing sketches of POW life.

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