East and West (5)

Men of Burma who signed up.

Men of Burma who signed up.

Up until 1937, the 20 Burma Rifles were a regiment within the Indian Army.  It was then later made part of a separate Burma Army.  Being as the country was considered by most to be “backwater” and unlikely to be included in any war, this army was still in its infancy as 1941 evolved.

Royal Netherland East Indies forces

Royal Netherland East Indies forces

On the Netherland East Indies (NEI), known today as Indonesia, had the Royal Netherland East Indies forces for defense, but they were literally cut off from their government due to the actions of Hitler in Europe.  This military was no match for the highly trained Japanese invaders and after being under the thumb of the Dutch for so long, the civilians welcomed a change.  Their minds were quickly snapped into reality as the Japanese proceeded to drain their resources and dissolve any personal freedoms they had.  The oil and metal ores of Marai, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Celebes were the ultimate goals for Japan.

The Automedon

The Automedon

December 1940, the Japanese obtained top secret British documents, by way of Germany, when the Axis raider, the Atlantis captured the British Blue Funnel cargo liner, the Automedon on 11 November as it sailed for Singapore.  These papers were minutes from the British War Cabinet meeting which showed a blueprint of their Far East strategy and that Britain would not declare war on Japan if Thailand and Hong Kong were invaded – they were considered indefensible.  For further information and/or clarification, please visit Martin’s site at War and Security to be found HERE!!

The US considered increasing Guam’s defenses during and after WWI, but no action was taken due to the 1922 Washington Naval Conference between the US and Japan.  In 1941, Guam had about 85 miles of roadways and Apra Harbor was considered the best in the Marianas, but there was no airfield.  Japanese plans for invasion were completed for Guam in September and their 144th Infantry Regiment and some other units (approx. 4,886 men) were kept in Korea until November.

Guam postcard, 1940's

Guam postcard, 1940’s

The Guam Insular Force Guard, a locally-manned militia were assigned for the naval base and on 17 October 1941, dependents of US military personnel and 100 construction workers began to evacuate. (IMO – it appeared someone was aware of something brewing.)

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political cartoon of the times – 

Dr. Seuss' attack on prejudice.

Dr. Seuss’ attack on prejudice.

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Current tidbits of news – 

Courtesy of "The Week" magazine

Courtesy of “The Week” magazine

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Bock – Newark, DE; US Air Force, MSgt.(Ret. 30 years), Air Weather Service

Carol Chivala – Sedona, AZ; Flight Nurse for the Flying Tigers, Koreaflag04

William Eslin – Urbana, MD; US Air Force, Korea

Leonard Charles Griffiths – NZ; RNZ Army # 443224, WWII, 23rd Battalion, Pvt.

Donald James – Coventry, CT & Lake Park, FL; US Navy (22years), WWII, PTO

Mary Hutton – Ontario, Can; RC Army nurse, WWII

John MacDonald – Syracuse & Massapequa, NY; US Navy, Vietnam

Joseph Nachreiner – Cheekstowaga, NY; US Army Air Corps, 457th Artillery, 11th A/B, WWII, PTO

Ronald Wishart – NY &FL; American Field Service, WWII, drove an ambulance in Burma for the Indian Army

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 24, 2014, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 84 Comments.

  1. I think in Brunei, there was an elite group of soldiers called the “Gurkhas” with fiercesome dog loyalty to the Sultanate who fought the Japs. Though I’m not sure if I heard it right, it was one of the urban legends I heard when I visited Brunei.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link to the book.
    Ian

    Like

  3. Thanks for those snippets of history
    Its like a giant jigsaw puzzle that when completed
    is a picture of a dark era of history.
    Ian

    Like

  4. Here is an excellent book. I’m very sure you would enjoy reading it.

    Like

    • I just received 4 more books (my library is always growing) and I’ve heard of this one. I’ve taken it down and put it on my wish list for another company. (Amazon can be overpriced.) Thank you for the suggestion, Mustang.

      Like

  5. Fascinating. How can a small nation raise a large enough army to defend against a bully? It continues to be a problem.

    Like

  6. I’m no rifle expert but in the first image of the “men” holding rifles, I first thought they were 1903 Springfields but the circular logo on the stocks through me for a loop. British Enfields? I don’t see magazines or a side view of the rifles. Gotta be British?

    …and no kidding about the evacuation… Do you know if they made it to safety?

    Like

  7. A question: Is it WWII or WWI when you mention the US considered increasing the defenses for Guam? Plz delete if my question is of no consequence! ☺

    Like

  8. Congratulations! I have nominated your blog for the Love and Kindness Blogger award. Please visit the site below for the details. Have a lovely weekend.

    http://talesalongtheway.com/2014/07/35/love-and-kindness-blogger-award/

    Like

  9. fantastic photos and fine post, particularly love the smiling faces!

    Like

  10. This is a piece of that war that is rarely covered in detail — quite good reading, my friend !

    Like

  11. Pierre Lagacé

    Reblogged this on Lest We Forget and commented:
    Part 5

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  12. The cartoon of Dr Seuss’ attack on prejudice also lends itself to showing-up hypocrisy of the times (ah, all times) 🙂

    Like

  13. I always find it amazing how secrets always seem to be exposed at just the right or wrong time. There seems to be some synchronicity to it. Just thinking!

    Like

  14. The more I read about WWll the more I apparent it becomes that it was won by the enlisted men and lower ranked officers in spite of the the bungling by the politicians and generals.

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    • We had some excellent officers, but you always win your wars with the non-coms and enlisted men!! Where would the generals and admirals be without them? Don’t get me started on the politicians – I’ll end up venting all day!! Politicians make it very hard for me to remain unbiased as I put the posts together!

      Like

  15. That was some real clumsiness, allowing the Automedon to get hold of such intelligence. The Japanese must have been delighted.

    Like

  16. Another great educational post, GP! 🙂

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  17. Guam — “100 construction workers began to evacuate.” By any chance do you know if these were U.S. Government employees or if they worked for a private company? If it was a private company, do you know which one?

    Like

  18. For some reason, your posts aren’t appearing in my inbox anymore. I will make a serious attempt to read my Reader every day.
    I am impressed with you thorough research. Looking forward to reading the “whole” story.

    Like

    • I don’t get all the all the notifications for the comments in my email anymore either – I have to go directly to my site to answer everyone. Over these past 22 months I know I’ve lost touch with people I was following, etc. I keep looking for them, but don’t always find them again – if I do, I re-click the follow button. Just glad you found me again. Hope you’re feeling much, much better!

      Like

  19. gp, The “behind the scenes” real story behind the big events continues to intrigue me. Naturally, I identify with connections when you discuss Guam & the Marianas. I landed on Guam on my way to Vietnam 1970 &, as I have mentioned before, my father served 14 months on Saipan 1944-1945, part of the Marianas, 20th Army Air Corps. I keep joking to my wife that as an American territory, we should relocated to Guam! Super post! Phil

    Like

    • You are very lucky to have some idea of the locations of these islands, etc. I know I will need a number of maps as I progress because many of the places our men fought are still virtually unknown today (except for people who have been there). Why not go to Guam? Take a vacation first before you move, if you do! Thanks for sharing here, Phil.

      Like

  20. I especially like the Farewell Salutes. We should remember these brave men and women every day, not just on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Independence Day.

    Like

    • Thank you very much, Wordweaver! I often wonder if anyone bothers to read them, each post holds representatives of the hundreds we lose everyday and I do hope someone remembers them. I greatly appreciate your comment.

      Like

  21. I hope the new VA head brings about positive changes for the veterans.

    Like

    • And I’m certain many others do too! On the Steve Colbert show, he told about a double-amputee veteran, Michael Sulsona, (who has been waiting 2 years for a new wheelchair from VA) was shopping in Lowe’s for some fencing, the store began closing, so the man started to leave, but his chair broke! The fence-employee brought Michael and the chair to the nut & bolt department – where the 3 men proceeded to work on the chair. The vet says the chair is as good as new after their hard work and when he left – he tried to thank the young men, but they said it was their honor! Mr. Sulsona has since sent a thank you note to the Lowe’s corp. thanking them and their employees. As Colbert said – “I always said American citizens can do better than the government – every time!” 😆

      Like

      • A great good news story for everyone except the Government. 😉 Governments, all over, seem to get so bogged down with paperwork and procedures that they forget ‘the person’ they are supposed to be serving.

        Like

  22. Great article, GP. Very interesting. Love the Dr. Suess cartoon. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  23. Wow. These are bits of history of which I had no clue. It’s amazing how truly WWII was a ‘world’ war.

    Like

    • And a lot more than I was aware of either before all this data began accumulating. I can’t imagine just how much I’m missing!? Thanks for dropping by, Dan.

      Like

  24. A great build up to what is to come…love the Dr Seuss cartoon since I didn’t realize he used his humour for direct political messages.

    Like

    • Thanks! I had only thought he ran his newspaper comics during that time. It was Chris over at Muscleheaded that turned me on to his political satire.

      Like

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