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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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