Chapter 15

Chapter 15


India again

` We drove in convoy down to Rangoon and were put on board a ship and taken to Calcutta, where we were put in a transit camp and at last the rest of the Company joined us. We spent a few days there and were then sent on to Ranchi, a town west of Calcutta, where we were to await the projected invasion of Malaya. I remained in Calcutta, staying at the Grand Hotel, a misnomer, as it was pretty squalid, having been used as an officer’s transit camp for a couple of years. The reason I remained was that I was required to attend at DumDum, the army HQ., in order to assist in planning our likely requirements in plant and materials for the work of getting any damaged jetties or wharves in working order again. This was the time when I was offered a position on the staff as a lieut- col. but the atmosphere so appalled me, after the freedom that I was used to, that I hurriedly declined.


After a week or two of this, I rejoined the Company at Ranchi, where we remained for about two months, and took the opportunity to send most men on leave and demobilise others. We also had all our vehicles waterproofed, and accumulated more and different plant for use in Malaya. I cannot recall going on leave myself at this time, but I suppose that I must have, especially as the time was drawing near when our second child would be born, and indeed while still in Ranchi, I heard that Eryl had been born on June 22nd, and that Budge and the baby were both well.


About the middle of August we got orders to move back to Calcutta, preparatory to embarking on the ships that were to take us to Malaya. After another short stay in the transit camp we boarded a ship , together with many other units, and as soon as we sailed I was given our orders,and learned that we were to land at Port Dickson, and would be ashore on day 1 and h+1 which meant that we were to follow the first troops ashore in 1 hour. We had by now heard of the dropping of the atom bombs, and of the surrender of Japan, but no one seemed quite certain that the troops in Malaya had surrendered, so that the invasion was to go ahead as if resisted.


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