The Special Operations Executive in Burma 1941-1945

Secret Agents & Guerrilla Armies in the Second World War



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 →

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 →

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