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The Special Operations Executive in Burma 1941-1945

Secret Agents & Guerrilla Armies in the Second World War

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SOE in Burma

History lecturer/teacher since 2004. My interests besides SOE in Burma are the Second World War, the British Empire (particularly the Scramble for Africa) and British military history.

The Men of SOE Burma

Lt. Leslie Cusden, official photographer, with Karen allies at Bolo Auk 1945 The Men of SOE Burma page of this website has been a 'work in progress' for the best part of four years now. It is by far the... Continue Reading →

The RAF & SOE in Burma

On 7 December, 1945, exactly four years since the Japanese opened hostilities against Western targets in the Far East, Colonel Mount Stephen Cumming of Force 136 wrote a letter of thanks to the commander of RAF Jessore, in India.  Addressing... Continue Reading →

A Force 136 Special Group: Ferret

Original Caption: " P " Force, F.136.P.2. Group at Calcutta, Nov.1945. The photo above was shared with me by the son of the Sergeant who had added himself to the top left. Why Sergeant Len Pearson missed the photograph being... Continue Reading →

Force 136 Intelligence

SOE was not supposed to be an intelligence organisation, with clear lines of responsibilty set out so it did not stand on the toes of the Secret Intelligence Service. Intelligence naturally came with SOE operations, however, and became quite a... Continue Reading →

VJDay75: Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

During 1945, SOE's Burma Country Section (BCS) kept a count of casualties inflicted upon the Japanese.  Perhaps as grim humour, or perhaps as a reflection of the British upper class penchant for shooting, the record was known as 'The Game... Continue Reading →

VJ75: A Gallery From Behind the Sharp End

When we commemorate the world wars, and wars since, we obviously think about those who lost their lives, and we remember and thank those who were 'at the sharp end'.  For example, it is often said that we remember 'The... Continue Reading →

VJ75: The Experience of Force 136 in Burma

For VJ Day last year, the exploits of Major Turrall were presented HERE.  This year, similar to the post for VE Day 75 HERE, what follows will be extracts from the reports of various officers of Force 136 in Burma. ... Continue Reading →

Getting Started: Operational Frustrations in 1943

More plentiful times: a supply drop in Burma, 1945.  Photo credit Sgt. Roger Leney In his history of SOE in the Far East, the official historian, Charles Cruickshank, claims that the organisation existed in a 'funcional vacuum' due to its... Continue Reading →

VE Day 75

Photo Credit Hereford Times What were the men of SOE Burma doing while Victory in Europe was celebrated?  Compiled from various reports and operational diaries, here's their 8 May 1945: Lt.Col. John Cromarty Tulloch, officer commanding Walrus area of Operation... Continue Reading →

Finding ‘Forgotten’ Allies

Although it is difficult to calculate exactly how many Burmese personnel were recruited by SOE for operations within the country, we do know that it was in excess of 20,000.  Those personnel represented at least fourteen different ethnic communities, from... Continue Reading →

Establishing SOE Para Naval Section: Part 2

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  The shortage of equipment for the Southeast Asian theatre of operations during the Second World War are well known.  From the supply of... Continue Reading →

SOE on the Imphal Front, November 1942 – March 1944

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  Map Credit In the Far East, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) is now fairly well known as 'Force 136'.  This name was only... Continue Reading →

Pilferage & Tarpaulins: ‘Q’ Issues

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  Photo courtesy of Simon Leney, son of W/T Sergeant Roger Leney Many of the post-operational reports written by the officers in charge of... Continue Reading →

SOE / SIS Cooperation

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  Much has often made of the fractious relationship between the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS,) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE).  The words used... Continue Reading →

Operation Heavy: Burma 1944-45

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  Map Credit The two SOE operations in Burma which have had the most exposure are Operation Character and Operation Nation.  The former was... Continue Reading →

Commitments: SOE Burma & Far East

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  This post is purely about data.  The aim is simply to show the extent of the SOE / Force 136 commitment to Burma... Continue Reading →

Working with Slim: Force 136 & XIV Army, 1945

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  General Slim & Lt.Col. Cumming At the end of December 1944, as XIV Army were poised to push into Burma and chase the... Continue Reading →

Logistics: Supplying SOE in Burma

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  A supply drop to Operation Character in 1945 Based upon reports from late 1942 and the early part of 1943, the following post... Continue Reading →

Establishing SOE Para-Naval Organisation: Part 1

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  HMS Scarab, from 'The Navy's Most Important Ship' This post is specially for K.T. Lwin, ex Burma Navy. What follows is likely to... Continue Reading →

VJ Day in Burma: ‘I don’t believe the Japanese Army has surrendered.’

If you like what you see on my website consider clicking HERE, or buying my book HERE  The Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, made his first radio broadcast in the afternoon of  15 August 1945.  In it, he told his nation that... Continue Reading →

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