The Special Operations Executive in Burma 1941-1945

Secret Agents & Guerrilla Armies in the Second World War

Operation Ramrose / Rhino

On the night of 20 January 1945, a daylight sortie was made to locate suitable drop zones (DZ) for a party of five that was codenamed Rhino. Rhino consisted of Major Henry Morrison James; his 2i/c, Captain Albert Ramsay Maitland;... Continue Reading →

VJ 2022

For this VJ Day, I am going to keep it really simple. What follows are decoded messages and congratulations sent to Force 136 / SOE immediatly before and after the 15 August 1945, as well as how to deal with... Continue Reading →

SOE & A Secret Society of Muslims in Rangoon

The Bengali Surti Sunni Jamah Mosque. Visit Yangon Time machine for a view in 1895 and more on its history. Probably Yangon's oldest mosque, and where Latif and his followers attended prayers. Tucked away as a random page in a... Continue Reading →

Sitrep: Force 136 in Burma, 27 June 1945

Commemorative Envelope Many of the SOE officer's post-operational reports are scathing about how they felt the Army took the pressure off the Japanese in Burma once Rangoon was liberated in May 1945. While this is arguably slightly unfair in that... Continue Reading →

Force 136 Operations in Support of CAPITAL

Map Credit 'Warfare History Network' (article here worth a look too!) After the success of defending Imphal and Kohima, General Slim was keen to keep the pressure on the Japanese and pursue them to the Chindwin River as they retreated... Continue Reading →

Complexities of 1942

'Our people in Burma seem to have had a very square deal with the Authorities in Burma from H.E. and from the G.O.C. down ['H.E.' is His Excellency, ie the Governor of Burma, and GOC is the General Officer Commanding].'... Continue Reading →

Remembering the Retreat: the Oriental Mission in Burma 80yrs On

On 30 April 1942, the last of General Slim's forces crossed the Irrawaddy via the Ava bridge at Mandalay. Shortly thereafter, the bridge was blown up to slow up the Japanese advance, and try and buy time for the battered... Continue Reading →

A Question of Stability: Force 136, Ethnicity & Unity

'With the campaign in Burma successfully concluding, it is possible to make a Statement of Account, showing the pre-war attitude of the Burma Peoples vis-a-vis the British, as compared with now. On balance, is there a debit or a credit.........'... Continue Reading →

Antelopes & Tigers: Operations East of the Salween (Part 2)

Photo from the private papers of Captain Tony Bennett In March 1945, six Shan parachuted into Burma east of the town of Moulmein. They were part of team Antelope, led by Major Ian Abbey, Captain John Bryant, and their W/T... Continue Reading →

Tigers & Antelopes: Operations East of the Salween River

In April 1945 at the Force 136 training camp in Ceylon known as ME25, a team of six men was formed up for operations east of the Salween River in south east Burma. There were two Captains in the team,... Continue Reading →

Special Delivery: RAF SD Squadron Operations Reports

A Daylight drop to Operation Character, Team Mongoose courtesy of Simon Leney In February 1944, 1576 Special Duty Flight, hitherto consisting of exhausted Hudsons, became 357 SD Squadron, equipped with Liberator. Force 136 finally had the aircraft capable of turning... Continue Reading →

Mr Newton Joseph: IFBUs, Imphal, & a Commission?

On Christmas Day 1944, just after lunch, a jeep carrying more persons than was considered safe, flipped over on the track inside Fagu camp in India. Fagu was the home of the Indian Field Broadcasting Units (IFBU), later known as... Continue Reading →

History is Complicated

It was estimated by Force 136 that they recruited around 20,000 indigenous personnel for operations in Burma. A few hundred of them are on my Men of SOE Burma page, compiled by going through several files of training cards. While... Continue Reading →

Force 136, the OSS, and the Kachins

After their service on Operation Dilwyn, some Kachin officers joined Operation Character further south Force 136 Kachin Viceroy Commissioned Officers, from the National Archives, HS 7/107 Henry Noel Cochrane Stevenson was given the go-ahead by Reginald Dorman Smith, the Governor... Continue Reading →

Rewarding & Rebuilding: Force 136 Recognition of Sacrifice and Heroism

A Karen Static Levy, or Home Guard, recruited and trained to protect the villages but not go on patrols. The National Archives, HS 7/107 The contribution of the many races of Burma to the defeat of the Japanese is entirely... Continue Reading →

Indian Field Broadcasting Units (IFBU)

IFBU Insignia: Credit Psyopsinsignia There's already some information about IFBUs out there, see for example this on the Friends of the Intelligence Corps website and this thread on WW2 Talk. There is also the fairly well-known death of two IFBU... Continue Reading →

In the Delta: Team Panda

The Delta Region today, not much different from how team Panda would have experienced it. Photo from Pandaw Irrawaddy Delta Cruises Throughout the war in Burma, from the time preceding the Japanese invasion to after the formal end of hostilities,... Continue Reading →

AWOL: Dealing with Deserters

From late 1943 until the Japanese attack on India in March 1944, SOE had patrol groups known a 'P Force' operating on the Imphal Front. Their job was to establish a network of agents through the frontline for intelligence purposes,... Continue Reading →

Jemadar Maung Wah & Major Seagrim

The story of Major Hugh Paul Seagrim continues to attract attention, from the first book about him published by The Times correspondent Ian Morrison in 1947, to the more recent book by Philip Davies seventy years later. Even more recently,... Continue Reading →


On 12 December 2020, an article entitled 'In Support of Difficult History' was brought to my attention in a tweet by Professor Jennifer Evans (@JenniferVEvans). The article detailed how  Dr. Anna Hájková had been subject to legal proceedings because of... Continue Reading →

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