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65880detail
(CHINDITS.)

Collection of material relating to Wingate's Chindits and their campaigns in Burma.

Availability: In stock

Published: 1940s-1980s]

Stock Code: 65880

£7,500
signed
OR On display in 43 Dover Street

Notes

Superb collection of material concerning the Chindits, includes Wingate's Report on the Operations of 77th Brigade; the original MS of the Hedley's book Jungle Fighter; a number of SEAC Chindit publications; a small trove of pieces from the collection of a serving Chindit officer, including intelligence reports, some excellent press photographs, and a remarkable original "panic flag" - the escape map, neckerchief, signal flag carried by the Chindits; the privately produced Chindits Old Comrade's Association appreciation of Wingate; together with a group of Chindit memoirs. These last are not the best copies in all cases, but most of the major books are there including Fergusson's The Wild Green Earth signed, Anthony Brett-James's copy with his pithy notes, and one of Patrick Boyle's MS note-books used in the composition of Jungle, Jungle Little Chindit. More detailed listing follows below.

Named after the temple-guard leogryphs of Burma, the Chindits were a special forces group formed by the enigmatic and charismatic Orde Wingate, one of the greatest early exponents of unconventional warfare. In two campaigns - Operation Longcloth an exploratory expedition into Japanese-held territory by a force of just 3,000 beginning in February 1943, and Operation Thursday of March 1944, which was the second largest airborne operation of the Second World War - this mixed force of British, Burma Rifles, Hong Kong Volunteers, Gurkhas and West African troops were instrumental in eroding the Japanese grip on Burma. This collection contains some extremely uncommon contemporary material; personal effects of a serving officer; together with a significant group of the memoirs written by participants.

WINGATE, O.C., Brigadier. Report on Operations of 77th Indian Infantry Brigade in Burma, February to June 1943.
New Delhi: Printed by the Manager Government of India Press, 1943
Octavo. Original green cloth backed printed boards. Large folding coloured map in end-pocket, diagrams and tables to the text. Boards slightly browned, else a very good copy.
Wingate's report on Operation "Longcloth", the founding operation of the "Chindits". Setting out with three objectives; to cut the railway line between Mandalya and Myitkyina; to harrass the enemy in the Shwebo district; and if possible to cross the Irrawaddy and cut the railway between Mandalay and Lashio. They were successful in the first objective and Japanese reaction to their presence indicates a degree of success in the second. However, at the railway line two columns were ambushed and incurred heavy casualties, Wingate ordered a general dispersal and retreat back to India. They had spent twelve weeks in the jungle and marched almost a thousand miles, their losses were 833 out of 3,000 men. Wingate saw the operation as a dismal failure, but whilst it lacked material results "Longcloth" recast future strategic thinking. It had been shown that the British could attack in the jungle, an alien environment for them, and take the war to the Japanese. Wingate accompanied Churchill to Quebec in August '43 for the "Quadrant" conference with the intention of persuading the Allied chiefs of the soundness of the long range penetration concept.
Designated "Secret" this is copy No. 105 of only 200 copies. An extremely detailed report, written in an unusually colloquial style. There are many passages which are controversially critical of the actions of named Officers or groups, for example at p.31 "the Commander of No.2 Column was Major Emmet, a Gurkha Rifle Officer, with excellent knowledge of Gurkhali but unfit to command men.", or again at p.33 "As we reached the Station, Captain Mackenzie was crazy enough to open fire at the telegraph wires with his Tommy Gun as a feu de joie." These have been red pencilled with the intention that they be excised from later issues. This copy with the ownership inscription of George Nangle, who won the DSO for his conduct at Monte Cassino in command of 1/9 Gurkha Rifles, who took, held, and withdrew from Hangman's Hill under extraordinarily trying circumstances, the citation referring to his "gallant and skilful leadership."

BOYLE, Patrick. Manuscript notebook for Jungle, Jungle, Little Chindit.
c.1944.
Octavo. Ecru cloth wide-feint notebook, title and author's signature inked to the upper board. Around 50-pages of manuscript drafts of pieces that went towards the publication of probably the best-known literary production of the Chindit campaign. Very good.
Accompanied by a very good copy of the published work in dust jacket. The world-weary, yet facetious humour of the book is summed up by the cartoon on the upper panel of the jacket which pictures two Chindits sitting on their packs in torrential rain, and one says to the other; "When all this is over I suppose some ape will write a book about it and try to make out it was funny."

HEDLEY, John, Major. War History later published as Jungle Fighter.
c.1946.
Quarto. Original textured tape-backed light card wraps. 119 leaves, rectos only, cyclostyled typescript, occasional sketch maps, some tipped in. A little worn, spine splitting and the text-block variably browned, but overall sound. Accompanied by a copy of the book published in 1996.
Hedley's memoirs reveal a wide range of experiences of the war in the Far East: the infantryman's six-month slog through the 1942 retreat; service in the second Chindit expedition, when the author was wounded and mentioned in despatches as Brigade Intelligence Officer to the formidable team of Joe Lentaigne and John Masters; behind-the-lines covert operations with Force 136 and, last but not least, some months in Siam after the war had ended, which provide a valuable personal view of that nation. At that time Hedley came into close contact with the Japanese Army and his views on the Japanese character make interesting reading.

FERGUSSON, Bernard. The Wild Green Earth.
London: Collins, 1947.
Octavo. Original red cloth, title gilt to the spine. With tattered dust jacket. A used copy, front hinge cracked but holding, overall very good in remnant of the jacket.
Antony Brett-James's copy, his bookplate to the front pastedown, and ownership inscription to the front free endpaper, where it is also signed by the author. Brett-James's pencilled, pithy marginal comments and an extensive collection of relevant clippings, obituaries &c. loosely inserted. Brett-James served in Burma with the 5th Indian Division, and wrote extensively - officially and personally - on the campaign.

The Chindits 1944. Part One. All published Reproduced from Newspapers of Reports of the Chindits Operations during March, 1944.
Calcutta: Statesman Press, 1944.
Quarto. Wire-stitched in the original colour-printed wraps. 24-pages, text illustrations and maps. A little rubbed, else very good.
Extremely uncommon, just one copy on COPAC at IWM.

The Chindits.
Calcutta: Published by Frank Owen for the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Printed by The Statesman Press, n.d. 1945.
Quarto. Wire-stitched in the original colour-printed wraps. 35-pages. 6 plates, double-page map, illustrations to the text. A little rubbed, else very good.
Uncommon, copies recorded on COPAC at IWM and SOAS.

Major General O.C. Wingate DSO. An Appreciation of the planner and leader of the two Chindit Campaigns in 1943 and 1944 behind Japanese lines in Burma during World War II. Wolverhampton: Compiled by members of the Chindits Old Comrades' Association United Kingdom. For private circulation only, 1982.
Quarto. Original spiral-bound card wraps. A little rubbed and browned, but overall very good.
Uncommon, just 8 copies on OCLC. Loosely inserted is a one-page letter signed by Brigadier W.P. Scott, president of the association, originally enclosed with this copy, and explaining how the association had refrained from "entering the public lists" on controversies arising out of the official histories and in the national press. But that in 1979, with the full backing of Lord Mountbatten, it was decided to produce the present appreciation; "It gives the views of a cross-section of 76 all ranks who served under General Wingate. It will, hopefully, provide an instrument for future historians to consider and balance against the opinions of writers who did not have the opportunity to know General Wingate so closely."

Group of Chindit "Relics" formerly owned by Major J.E.B Rippingale.
Probably the key piece is a rather faded silk-square, now a dusty pink colour, and a just little frayed, the purpose of which is explained in Richard Rhodes James's book Chindit; "Above there came the sound of planes and a Dakota appeared over the jungle followed by several others. These planes had been sent to drop more supplies on the block. Base had no knowledge of the events of the last twenty-four hours, having been out of communication, and could only assume that, though our position was grave, it was not helpless. As a matter of fact when we moved off so hurriedly a message was on its way from the General giving us permission to withdraw. We produced our 'panic maps' (silk emergency maps of bright orange colour) and started waving them. The first few lanes did not see us and we watched the parachutes floating into the hands of the Japs. But one sharp-eyed pilot noticed the streaks of orange in the nullah and emptied his load beside us " Despite having seen an improbable number of silk escape maps, we have never encountered another of these. Rippingale has further added a note "Cloth Map issued to the Chindits - 1944. (Also used, tied round the neck as a sweat-rag." (p.146)
Also, a folded, worn and slightly stained 1 inch to 4 mile scale map of Upper Chindwin & Myitkyina Districts and Tribal Areas, with a few still legible blue pencilled markings to the map and a route "Dibrugarh - Tinsukia - Ledo - Shaduzup - Warazup" noted on the reverse. Rather heavy-handedly annotated at a later date by Rippingale "Burma. Used in Chindit Campaign, 1944," but we shall forgive him this.

Through Japanese Eyes, & Through Japanese Eyes, Volume II.
Burma: G.S.1-13-E-1 (a), 1944-5. Classified "Confidential" - "Must not fall into enemy hands."
2 volumes, foolscap quarto. Wire-stitched in the original colour-printed light card wraps. Cyclostyled typescript. Sketch-maps and illustrations to the text. Text browned, externally a little used, but overall very good.
We have been unable to trace another copy of either of these internally-produced reports on the impact of Chindit operations on Japanese forces; "After battles, you sent back to headquarters masses of captured documents. Possibly there were times when you thought 'what can these chaps want with all this bumf? We never seem to hear anything about it afterwards. Not even a word of thanks for our trouble.' This pamphlet is designed to show you some of the uses to which these scraps of paper have been put. From every document you sent us, much information was obtained. Sometimes it was of strategical significance sometimes it was of immediate tactical importance at other times we gained much useful information as to Japanese methods of war at times the information was economic. Finally we learned about the Japanese individual, his likes and dislikes, and his general reactions to the Army, the emperor, to Burma, and life in general." Both have Rippingale's contemporary ownership inscription.

A group of ephemeral items including typed copies of appreciations of the Chindit's services from Colonel Charles D. Farr, USAC and Auchinleck; a collection of Japanese occupation currency; an unused Chindit Christmas airgraph; two large wall-maps relating to operations in the Far East, Army Bureau of Current Affairs Map Reviews, Nos. 53 & 56; pictorial propaganda pamphlet in the Far-Eastern Fresco Series, S.E.A.C. Saga; four contemporary press photographs of including a portrait of Wingate, three with typed captions; together with a quantity of newspaper clippings, most later.

All of these housed in a simple wallet-file, with Rippingale's ownership inscription; "Major J.E.B. Rippinglae, T.D. (Ex-'Chindit')" and titled by him; "The Campaign in Burma (Gen. Wingate's 'Chindits') 1943-1945."

Together with a group of 20, mainly personal, accounts of the Chindit operations, most in jackets, but condition variable;
Baggeley - A Chindit Story.
Bidwell - The Chindit War.
Calvert - Fighting Mad. Military historian Brian bond's copy
Calvert - Prisoners of Hope.
Carfrae - Chindit Column.
Denny - Chindit Indiscretion.
Fergusson - Beyond the Chindwin.
Ditto - Patrick Boyle's copy.
Halley - With Wingate in Burma.
Rhodes James - Chindit. With extensive personal annotations by one S. Threadgall, evidently an WAFF NCO serving with the Chindits.
Jeffrey - Sunbeams like Swords.
Masters - The Road past Mandalay.
Mead - Orde Wingate and the Historians.
Painter - A signal Honour.
Rolo - Wingate's Raiders. Wavell's copy, Wavell contributes a foreword.
Sharpe - To be a Chindit.
Shaw - Special Force.
Towill - Chindit's Chronicle. signed
Tulloch - Wingate in Peace and War. inscribed by the author.
Wilcox - Chindit Column.

Confused? Read our glossary

Description

Superb collection of material concerning the Chindits, includes Wingate's Report on the Operations of 77th Brigade; the original MS of Hedley's book Jungle Fighter; a number of SEAC Chindit publications; a small trove of pieces from the collection of a serving Chindit officer, including intelligence reports, some excellent press photographs, and a remarkable original "panic flag" - the escape map, neckerchief, signal flag carried by the Chindits; the privately produced Chindits Old Comrade's Association appreciation of Wingate; together with a group of Chindit memoirs. These last are not the best copies in all cases, but most of the major books are here including a signed copy of Fergusson's The Wild Green Earth, Anthony Brett-James's copy with his pithy notes, and one of Patrick Boyle's MS note-books used in the composition of Jungle, Jungle Little Chindit.

Condition

Overall very good.

Delivery

With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200. View Full Details

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