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After D-Day – Combined Operations


After D-Day Jack volunteered for Combined Operations and was allocated to Naval Party 1031. They sailed from Liverpool to Colombo in Ceylon as it was then, arriving six weeks later, before going into training immediately with landing craft.

They were to be deployed in landings in the Chiangs, which are very like Scottish sea lochs, as the army tried to drive the Japanese out of the country. The terrain was very difficult with jungle coming right down to the water’s edge. Jack remembers working with the Royal Marine Commandos landing on Akyab Island; he was effectively fighting alongside them, wearing jungle camouflage and a slouch hat in face to face combat with Japanese forces.

Jack remembers an occasion when a private soldier started to kick a dead Japanese soldier’s head, only to be shouted at by the Sergeant Major to stop; ‘We do NOT do that!’ he yelled, ’We are the British Army!’

Jack also remember encountering POWs and civilian slave labourers whose guards had fled; they were clad in rags and were filthy. One woman threw herself at him in relief at being freed; she was crawling with lice and skeletally thin. Jack talked about it after the war with his cousin who was older than me and who was a Medical Officer. He had been one of the first into Belsen after its liberation.

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Balerno Voices Added by Balerno Voices

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