Sunday, October 23, 2011

Refund Claim - War Postcard India/Burma

This is one of WW2 India post card but used by Burma by affixing Burma postage stamps and striking out Simla by Rangoon.

Shown above is front side of postcard which has printed text:


with 1 Anna Burma Service stamp affixed. It is addressed to some Mr. Chettiar in Ramnad District of South India. Note the interesting address "South India" rather than mentioning Madras Presidency state in which Ramnad District was located.

It then also mentions dispatcher address as: Finance & Revenue Department, Govt. of Burma, Rangoon. (Postcard has Simla printed which has been stroked out by Rangoon.)

On the reverse side it has mostly text printed:

RANGOON (again SIMLA stroked out)


No. C2482 Dated the 4th Jan 1946.


Subject:- Claim for compensation for loss of property due to the war in Burma.

The claim sent with his letters dated the 3rd August 1945 has been received and registered as No. C2482.

2. The Government of Burma are unable to admit any legal liability in respect to the claim. It has, however been registered for consideration in due course (striking out after the war).

It then has signature of V. Venkateswarao as Secretary of Finance & Revenue Department.

It has to be noted that during WW2 the exiled colonial Burma Government had headquarter in Simla after Japan deceived them. Burmese Government had assisted Japanese Army in winning initial War in Burma as they thought it was way to independent Burma in similar lines to Subhas Chandra Bose who got influenced by Japan during WW2. It is said that though Colonel Suzuki had right intention to let Burma ruled by Burmese but Japan's Government never had such intention.

It is also said that after war was over in Burma (allied won), British Government started punishing most of Tamil Indians who were at that time one of the most influential community in Burma as traders and businessmen. The reason was most of Tamil people had sided with Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian Independence League during WW2. There was very generous donation given by Tamil Indians to INA/IIL. Hence after the war, British Government not only rejected most of compensation claims of Indians but also confiscated INA Bank and donated money of public. There has been many known legal cases where people have fought over decades trying to get their money from British Government of India and now Indian Government. In today's term, that money must have been millions/billions but none has ever got their money back. Above letter is an example of untold history of India during WW2.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Japanese (IIL/INA) WW2 Propaganda Leaflet Against Allied (British) Forces

It's long time since I shared some colorful leaflet ;-) So here it is. I hope it will catch your attention.

This is one of the Japanese leaflet dropped on British India. Even though it doesn't mention but it was issued with help from IIL (Indian Independence League) or INA (Indian National Army).

The colorful leaflet shows an Indian soldier kicking a British Soldier (holding a Union Jack) out of India.

The leaflet shows Japanese fighter planes chasing and hitting British planes. It also shows British navy ships bombed and getting sunk in Indian ocean. It shows Japanese flag in south east Asia symbolizing Japanese victory in Asia.

Then on left hand side, it shows German fighter planes bombing Great Britain/Europe (burning). The bombing causes Churchill panicking.

At bottom left, it also shows Italian submarines sinking British naval forces in African waters.

There is a text in Hindi and Bangla at top for Indian people:

This is the opportunity. Get up and move forward by initiating fight for independence!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WW2 India (CBI) Greetings Card

Today's post is on a greeting card sent by a US soldier from India to Erie, Pennsylvania, US. The card was sent on 8th Dec, 1943 wishing the recipient for Christmas and New Year. The card passed through US Censor as the envelope bears marking for that.

Shown below is front side of the greeting card where it depicts an Eagle with large CBI patch with text in Hindi and English around it. It also mentions INDIA on top of Eagle.

The text reads:

Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Victorious 1944

The card shows a poem on left side while a ship sailing through high Sea on right side inside of card.

The poem reads:

Though I task beneath a blazing sun,
With sterner duty still to be done,
My thoughts at this festive time will stray,
Back to my dear ones far away,
And I send this wish with its age-old ring,
That Christmas to us all may bring,

Right side text reads:

Greetings and best wishes from over the SEAS

It is hard to say but perhaps the soldier was posted in US Navy in India during WW2.

Mangrol Cash Coupon - WW2

Today's post is on another princely state cash coupon issued during WWII. Mangrol was an 'mediatized' taluka, within Junagadh state, Kathiawar, merged in Saurashtra and is now part of modern state of Gujarat in India. It is a sea port located in the southwest coast of Kathiawar peninsula.

I tried digging on it but couldn't make out how many gun salutation state was granted. There is very less information available on this princely state forget about trying to find out state's contribution on WWI and WWII.

Above one is the only cash coupon issued by Mangrol State/Taluk with denomination of 1 Anna. It has been recorded as number 23.3 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla.

It has text printed in Gujarati. Front side contains a number given to each such coupon/ticket with text "Mangrol State" and denomination 1 Anna. It also mentions that is is General Stamp.

On the reverse there is Mangrol seal printed with text 1 Anna. You can see the emblem has a ship signifying the seaport town had.

The one I have shown is without Shaikh Abdul Jani I's sign. But Indian Paper Money Catalogue shows cash coupon with Shaikh's signature. My guess is that they were either from printers or part of treasury stocks which were not utilized as the condition suggest they were not used. Anyway, if someone has above coupons with Shaikh's signature then please let me know. I will be interested in buying at least one of them for my collection.

After Indian Independence, when Indian Army was called in 1949 then rulers of Mangrol ran away to Pakistan along with rulers of Junagadh. This is how it acceded to India.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sind War Stamp - WW2 India

Today's post is continuation of earlier post where I showed "Bombay War Gift's Fund" label. These war fund labels are of similar pattern of Bombay War Gift's Fund.

The one shown on top is titled "Help To Defend Your Country" with Sind War Gifts Fund. It shows an anti-aircraft gun in square on left side of stamp with text (English and Urdu) on right side. The stamp was issued in bright purple color with denomination of half Anna. It was of size 42.5x26 mm. The label has been quoted in "Patriotic & Propaganda of the British Commonwealth" catalogue by Clive Edwards as 1/558.

The one at bottom was another variety of same type. This one is titled "Help To Defend Your Country" with Sind War Stamp text. The other difference being it has a large V. It also shows an anti-aircraft gun in square on left side of stamp. It was issued in dull purple color with denomination of half Anna. It is said that it was used from 4th July, 1942 to 21st August, 1942. The label has been quoted in "Patriotic & Propaganda of the British Commonwealth" catalogue by Clive Edwards as 1/559.

The war stamps were issued to raise public funds for anti-aircraft guns for defense of India.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Santa Riding Bullock Cart - WW2 V-mail from India

It's long time since I shared an Airgraph/V-mail. So, I decided to share one of V-mail from my collection for today's quick post.

This one is V-mail sent from APO 465 to Toledo, Ohio, USA. The V-mail mentions year as 1944 and has a text "Merry Christmas from INDIA 1944".

It shows Santa riding a bullock cart (laden with gifts) commonly used during those times as popular transportation option in India. The V-mail was passed though censor as evident in photo shown above.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anti-Nazi Propaganda Postcard - U.K. (India) WW2

Today's post is in continuation to my earlier Propaganda War Postcard post. This one shown below is also part of same series of such postcards published by UK where they showed how all allies nations (read commonwealth nations) came together and contributed in the war.

This item is not specifically meant for India but in general covers all the commonwealth nations. Since it depicts an Indian Sikh Soldier as part of contingent hence I decided to cover it here. In fact, the (contingent) photograph shown in this postcard is taken from a very famous WW2 poster which I am still trying to get for my collection.

This postcard was published with J.S., initials printed on front side of postcard in lower left corner. Back side mentions the numbering SI-2093. This seems to be of different series as this is not India specific. The postcard is of approx 4" x 6" sized having caption "Mas que abalo para Hitler!".

As I mentioned earlier, all such postcards were printed in Portugal and distributed in Lisbon by the British Embassy during WW2. Portugal was neutral ground for Allies and Axis to do propaganda against each other. United Kingdom issued series of anti-Nazi propaganda postcards distributed by their embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

The main text is in Portuguese which when translated in English reads (section wise since the postcard has three section):

Top portion shows a text extract of radio broadcast of 30th September 1939 where Hitler is sarcastically quoted saying -

"It seems that different parts of the British Empire are putting their own independence above their loyalty to England."

Basically, this is to show that Hitler was trying to break the commonwealth strength by giving such statements.

Then middle section shows soldiers of British Commonwealth Countries joining and fighting together under British flag. The poster extract has a message:

"The huge war effort of the Empire and Commonwealth, iron, sea and air, is an epic of united resistance to Nazi aggression."

Finally the bottom section quotes Hitler again from an German article published on 13th December, 1940 where Hitler ruefully acknowledges:

"Germany fully recognizes the energy and power of resistance of Great Britain and Empire loyalty to the Motherland."

This postcard served two purpose:
- discouraging people supporting axis powers that commonwealth nations are strengthening their position in war and they are united as always. Any malicious propaganda can't break the unity.
- conveying message to people living in commonwealth countries not to get misled by German propaganda. They have been proven wrong. Let's continue to fight together until end of war.

Finally, above shows back side of this postcard.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Grand Raffle Jhalawar - Princely State War Fund Ticket

It's long time since I posted an article on war fund tickets. Actually, I had run out of my stock on War Fund Tickets (shown everything here). I was desperately looking for more varieties when I stumbled upon some of these and naturally bought it ;-)

I am showing one of these here in today's post. It is written completely in Hindi so I will as usual translate for my readers. I have not seen this one appearing in any auction sites/dealer earlier so I assume this one must be difficult to get.

Shown above is "The Grand Raffle Jhalawar (for War in Europe)". This war fund ticket was issued by princely state of Jhalawar. It mentions in Hindi:

Ticket No. 2191
Whatever will be saved from this raffle will be sent to help war in Europe.

The Grand Raffle Jhalawar (For Help in War in Europe)
Brijnagar (Rajputana)
Ticket 8 Anna Each

Date of opening -----------------------------------
Date of closing ------------------------------------
In 5 rupees, you can get booklet of 11 tickets

First Prize 500/- rupees

It them mentions various other prizes.

On the reverse, it mentions rules. (The most important one is translated.)

1. Whatever money will be collected, out of which 3500/- rupees will be set aside for distribution of various prizes and rest of the money will be sent to Europe for help in war.

It mentions then the secretary of "The Grand Raffle Jhalawar State for Help in War in Europe", Captain Sobhagmal Surana, B. A.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

British India (Allied) WW2 Propaganda Leaflet - Tiger

It's leaflet time once again after a while. Well, it's almost 2 months since I have posted an article ;-) I don't know how long this trend will continue but there are high chances that my blog rating will go down this year and perhaps I won't be able to meet up my target of yearly posts :( due to personal engagements.

Anyway, let's focus on post. This one is another allied (British) war propaganda leaflet issued during WW2. The size of this leaflet was smaller than the regular ones, more of a size of playing cards. The leaflet was also issued with various numbering signifying message it was carrying in different languages.

Luckily, I have the same leaflet with various numbering so I can show you the differences in them. Shown below is front side of this leaflet which I will call as Tiger since there is no text in front.
The leaflet shows in front a tiger representing India with allied nations flags (UK, China, India, USA and Russia) in background, suppressing German Nazi and Japanese flags.
The text on reverse side reads:

"India springs to action, and side by side with Britain, America, Russia and China will trample under foot the tyranny of Germany and Japan."

This particular leaflet is numbered C and carries same text in various languages such as Hindi, Bangla, Urdu, Assamese and English.

Now, I also have same leaflet in other numbering such as B, K, B and C. The difference in all leaflets are the languages they target.

B: Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Marathi and English.
C: Hindi, Bangla, Urdu, Assamese and English.
B, C: Unknown to me (??), Burmese, Tamil, Chinese and English.
K: Difficult to guess but looks like various Arabic scripts such as Urdu, Arabic, ???, ??? and English.

Clearly, this leaflet was meant from dropping at various parts of the world during WW2 from India, South East Asia to Africa and Middle East reassuring all the colonies that India is joining the WW2 and will help ensuring Victory to allied nations. This was more of a morale booster propaganda leaflet for people living in British colonies all over the world.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Help The Hospitals & Help Our Hospitals Label

Today's post is after a month. Last month kept me occupied with various personal commitments. Don't complain if you don't see a post for one more month. These are some of super busy time of my life ;-)

Anyway, coming directly to the topic of today's post, this post is going to break some of the myths about labels presented below. You will find such labels being offered on various auction sites as WW2 labels which in reality they are not. I also purchased them in same disguise only to realize later that the closest they were connected to was WW1. Let me explain to you.

First label in this series of "Help Our Hospitals (HOH)" or "Help The Hospitals" is shown below:

This label mentions "Sir Leslie Wilson's HOSPITAL FUND". This was issued with denomination of 1 Anna. At bottom, it has text "HELP THE HOSPITALS". This label neither has any date nor I could find it in "Patriotic & Propaganda of the British Commonwealth" catalogue by Clive Edwards.

A little search on internet reveals that:

Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, DSO, PC (1 August 1876 – 29 September 1955), was a British soldier, Conservative politician and Governor of Queensland. In 1923 he was appointed G.C.I.E. and governor of Bombay.

The uneasy system of diarchy by which India was governed, together with the serious depression of the cotton textile industry on which Bombay so largely depended, made the position of governor no sinecure. Sir Leslie dealt with the most serious and prolonged strike in the history of the Indian manufacturing industry with firmness and goodwill. He preferred persuasion to intervention. As chief scout of Bombay he improved facilities for education, while his Governor's Hospital Fund (keenly supported by Lady Wilson) increased the efficiency of voluntary institutions.

Immediately after the First World War, there was a great rush of students to the college (including medical colleges). To continue to provide effective instruction training and improve the facilities at hospital, Sir Leslie Wilson Hospital Fund was started which gradually increased the facilities of most of the hospitals in Bombay Presidency.

In 1928 he completed his office and in 1929 was appointed G.C.S.I. After which he returned to Australia as Governor of Queensland.

The biography of Sir Wilson shows that the label shown above was issued couple of years after the first world war.


Same is the case with next label which mentions " HELP OUR HOSPITALS" with denomination of 1Anna in blue color.

Such labels without any date or catalogue reference made it into internet world as this was WW2 label. If you see labels mentioned above and below then you can guess that they were probably designed by same artist even though both of them doesn't mention "Sir Leslie Wilson". They are different from first one in sense that Sir Leslie Wilson's label stated:


while these mentions:


This one particularly proves that it was issued before WW2. If you see the label carefully then you can see the date printed on this one 7th Feb 1934. The artist has placed date in such a manner that it becomes difficult to locate in first glance. Moreover, this one is more illustrative with Esplanade Maidan at center of label with nuns at both the sides. This was issued with 1/2 Anna denomination.

The earlier one was more on the lines of Sir Leslie Wilson Fund but this one has more text and different printing pattern.

It mentions "Relieve Sick & Sufferings" and HOH Fete (looks like organized on the date mentioned on label). It also has text "Garden Village Section".

Overall, it appears none of above labels are of WW2 era though they were issued all the way after first world war until second world war to improve facilities and conditions of hospitals and patients in Bombay Presidency. It was a legacy of Sir Wilson which continued even after he left Bombay for Queensland.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indian Red Cross & St. John War Organization WW2 Pamphlet

Today's post is going to be a very interesting one :-) It's one of my philatelic adventure in recent times bearing fruit of all that patience over years. I will definitely show you the materials I got as reward as part of this post. So, let's start!

It was a Friday 7th May evening time and I was strolling with my colleagues outside our office on the way to nearby eatery for some snacks when I received a call from one of my known philatelic dealer inviting me to come to Numismatic Exhibition happening in Bangalore. I first tried to politely ignore by saying yes I would definitely try to come but I was busy even on weekends since my parents were leaving for my native place so it would be difficult. But, he kept on saying that they were documents available with some dealer for my eyes only ;-) Since this was first time I heard someone had something for my taste in Exhibition, so I dutifully marked it.

Still, I wasn't sure whether I would be able to make it at least on last day (Sunday) of Exhibition. I was very busy whole Saturday as my parents were leaving and feeling some fever etc but never revealed to my parents. Next came the Sunday, I went for doctor checkup as I suspected something was wrong with my body. It definitely was. Anyway, after checkup was done, I decided to have a look of exhibition even though I could feel fever and weakness.

I reached where Google Earth showed me was supposed to be Exhibition. But, I couldn't locate the venue. Went ahead couple of kilometers more and finally, someone told me it was way back. I did a full circle and some how located the place. It was right before the Bangalore City Railway Station while Google showed it after station.

Anyway, I reached the venue. First impression about exhibition was it was huge, well attended by both dealers and collectors. There were lots of stalls on coins and some on philatelic materials.

Since I was suffering from fever and not keeping up my health so I wanted to quickly locate that dealer's booth who had something for me. I started making a quick round trying to have glimpse of every both amid crowd. I had almost done with round and was feeling disappointed not to find anything when I saw the dealer's booth who had given me call the other day. Before I could reach him my eyes suddenly caught some recognizable pattern ;-) on booth before his.

To my goodness, I found "Indian States Information" equivalent to "Indian Information" magazine issued by British Indian Government on Princely States. The editions were from 1942 and 1943. I just couldn't control my happiness finding editions covering WW2. I decided to buy all the damn editions at any cost.

I stopped at that booth itself and asked the booth owner price of each. I was told XYZ/- per edition but she said her husband could tell me correct price and he had stepped out. My heart sunk for a moment hearing the price as I knew I had bought such materials from US in XY/- each. I waited.. waited and waited. She advised me to complete the round and return but I didn't want to leave them there ;-) fearing someone may also find. Even though, I knew only a few people waste money like me on these literature.

Finally the elderly person came. He asked me which one I wanted to buy. I said I would take all of them. He was surprised, he asked me to have a look once. I said I just wanted all of them. He was impressed and the price automatically came down to YY/- per edition and I finally settled them at XY/- each.

In between another gentleman came. He was known to him and perhaps a big collector from Delhi. He started paying more attention to him and asked me to wait for a while so he would try to find more war related materials for me. The gentleman was numismatic and he saw couple of files covering money tenders, cheques issued during British Raj by Princely States. The dealer had all sort of documents on his booth.

As part of that, he showed him one file which was supposed to cover Red Cross. When dealer was offering red cross file to gentleman then my eyes again caught some pattern in it ;-) The gentleman had many files piled up making him slow down checking every file. I sensed an opportunity and decided to glance the Red Cross file in between. I picked it up and turned over some of pages only to find some other fascinating materials of end of war. I saw what I wanted but dutifully kept it since it was offered to gentleman earlier.

The gentleman in between found something he was looking for. He selected that file and told dealer he will be back in 1 hr. That file was for him. That's it. I sighed a big relief. I then quickly picked up red cross file and asked dealer if I could selectively purchase some items from that file. He declined saying the file would be of no use if I took out materials from it.

So, I finally decided to buy complete file. The price would have been same even if I would have bought the 5 items I wanted from file. So, I took the deal since it came with hell lot of other documents. I know you would like to know what were those 5 items. Well, it was Indian Red Cross + St. John War Organization created leaflets/pamphlets in Urdu, Hindi and English. A kind of pamphlet telling war service Indian Red Cross had done in WW2 and they still needed Indian people's generous help etc.

It may not be sounding as exciting as I mention it here but frankly speaking I have never seen such Indian Red Cross pamphlets of WW2 :-)

I felt this was the best exhibition I ever had during 11 years of stay in Bangalore. Then, I finally moved to next booth and duly acknowledged the dealer who had given me call to come to exhibition. It was just because of him that I could get hands on such materials. He also told me I should have asked him once before settling the amount, he would have helped reducing it. I thanked him for the offer and said I was so happy that I could forget some money I could have saved otherwise.

A good relationship built over decade with a dealer came real handy :-)

Now coming to the main item of this post. I will be showing 3 pamphlets issued by Indian Red Cross and St. John (St. John's Ambulance) War Organization in Urdu, Hindi and English. All three of them carry same design and content.

The front side shows a wounded soldier lying on hospital bed reading some newspaper with a slogan behind it "The thanks of a GRATEFUL PUBLIC". We can also see Red Cross and St. John War Organization symbols at bottom left side.

The reverse side then had different paragraphs highlighting main objective of Indian Red Cross & St. John War Organization and work they had done and doing during this war (WW2). The leaflet reads:


Although peace has been brought to a suffering world, the work of the Indian Red Cross and St. John for the sick and wounded soldier cannot end with the war. Those who have fought to bring us victory still deserve our help, a help which it is our privilege and duty to provide.

What this help is, and how it has been provided by a private humanitarian body is explained in this brief leaflet.

The Indian Red Cross & St. John War Organization is a private humanitarian body devoted to the service of the sick and wounded and of Indian prisoners of war. Its work stretches half across the world from Japan to Occupied China, Malaya, India, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East. Wherever the Indian soldier is to be found, there lies the work of the Indian Red Cross & St. John.


The Indian Red Cross and St. John supplies over 500 items to hospitals for the sick and wounded . These supplies include clothing, tobacco, sweets, soap, toothbrushes, games, gramophones and gramophone records; even pictures for the walls of the recreation rooms in hospitals. Everything that can be envisaged to keep the sick and wounded men comfortable is made available.

There are over 750 Workparties in India making clothes, manufacturing special bandages and other hospitals stores. These items pour into the great Central Depots of the Indian Red Cross & St. John in hundreds of thousands.


Before the victory in Europe, every Indian prisoner of war was send a weekly food parcel through the Indian Comforts Fund in London, paid for by the Indian Red Cross and St. John, and altogether it dispatched 1,672,579 parcels to these men. Such parcels were sent in addition to clothing, games, medical supplies and other amenities. This great humanitarian body even created facilities to help Indian prisoners of war to enter for examination to prepare them for peacetime occupations.


The Indian Red Cross & St. John War Organization operates a postal and cable message service enabling persons in India (not being prisoners of war or internees.) to write to their loved ones in enemy occupied territories. During 1944, over 16,000 cable messages and postal messages were received and dispatched as a part of this anxiety relieving service.


Although the Japanese Government did not fully co-operate with the Indian Red Cross or any other Red Cross Society on the Allied side, the Indian Red Cross & St. John has been able to send bulk supplies of food and clothing in hundreds of tons to Indian prisoners of war in the Far East, by repatriation ships whenever the Japanese Government allow them to sail. Prisoners of war are now being released for Prisoners of War camps in the Far East, are provided by Red Cross with gift bags, containing toilet articles, sweets, cigarettes and other items of their comfort.


The Indian Red Cross Welfare Service employs the services of over 400 ladies of all denominations in various hospitals for the care of the sick and wounded. This work entails Diversional Therapy, a work based scientifically on the knowledge that convalescence can be considerably helped by taking mens' minds off their infirmities. It also involves library supervision, (books are provided in tens of thousands for hospitals by the Red Cross) writing letters to relatives of the wounded, tracing missing soldiers and handling inquiries from relatives regarding them, and may other activities which cannot be enumerated in detail in so short a review as this.


The scope of this private humanitarian body will thus be seen to be immense, and funds to carry on this work in hospitals must be found on a scale commensurate with it. Only by remaining a private organization supported by voluntary subscriptions can the Indian Red Cross & St. John retain its capacity for working internationally. An official body attempting the same task would be severely handicapped. Give this great cause your help. Please send your donations to your local Provincial or State War Fund, clearly ear-marked "Indian Red Cross".

Give Generously to our SICK & WOUNDED SOLDIERS

Let me know if you have seen such pamphlets or any other varieties of these kind.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Going East - WW2 Publication

Today's post is on another book published by The Directorate of Army Education GHQ (India) for British soldiers about to serve in East Asia during WWII. The book was printed by The Times of India Press, Bombay somewhere in 1945. The book doesn't mention date of publication but I could guess based on the contents. The copy I have was once owned by a soldier serving in SEAC.

The book covers following topics:

- The strategic importance of South East Asia
- South East Asian Scene
- The Peoples of South East Asia
- Getting Along with the People
- Currency, weights, and measures
- Government in South East Asian Countries
- India's Fighting Forces
- The Climate of South East Asian Countries
- The Rules of Health
- Amenities in the East
- Useful phrases in Urdu, Burmese and Malay

It starts with a serviceman's guide to India, Burma, Malaya and Sumatra. It talks why the soldier is being deputed in this part of the world.

"You have come or are coming to the East for one main reason - to finish off the Japanese as quickly as possible. They have got to be driven out of the countries they have overrun and finally, if necessary, beaten into surrender in their own homeland. You may find yourself in any one of the countries mentioned in this pamphlet - India, Burma, Malaya or Sumatra. If you look at world map, you will soon see why.

India is a half way house between east and west. It is the centre of the British Commonwealth and Empire, and stands astride the main sea and air routes between Europe, Africa and the Far East. The safety of Australia and New Zealand, and our kinsfolk in them, largely depends upon the integrity of India. India and Ceylon are obviously the countries from which to supply our forces in Burma and to mount any operations going East.

Once the whole of Burma, as well as India, is ours, it will be easier to take and hold Malaya with its important naval base at Singapore, and Sumatra which juts right into the Indian ocean. Once we have Burma, Malaya and Sumatra we are not only closing the ring on the Japanese, but possess the springboards from which to attach them in Indo-China, China and Formosa....."

It then covers the first impression any foreigner gets when landing in Asia particularly in India. The book then takes you to scenic route of Asia. Talking about India, it says India is a land of tremendous contrasts, in which almost every imaginable type of countryside and of climate can be found. It further touches briefly on Himalayas, Northern Plains and The Deccan Plateau. Finally, it briefly covers landscape of Burma and Malaya.

Continuing its journey, the pamphlet then talks about the most important aspect of Asia - its people and cultural heritage. It produces a short historical sketch of India with its history going back to 5000 B.C., about Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.

It advices how to get along with the people. It covers various religion of India such as The Hindus, about Indian Caste System ,The Sacred Cows, The Muslims, The Sikhism, The Parsees, The Gurkhas, Buddhism, Europeans and The Anglo-Indians. It also talks about the hospitality of Indian and Asian people. The sensitive topic of Women in the East, various festivals, fascinating Bazaars, Beggars etc.

Above page shows India's place in World Communications in those times and why it mattered so much for Allies to keep India united and under their control.

The pamphlet covers various places of interest to soldiers on their leave, currency, weights and measures, the respective government in South East Asian countries and princely states.

Finally, it coves India's fighting forces. Talking about them, it mentions:

"The Indian Army is now over 2,000,000 strong and is drawn from all parts of the sub-continent. Every man in the Indian Army is a volunteer. The Indian Army forms an important part of the United Nations' spearhead against the Japanese in Asia. You will also know that Indian troops have played a distinguished part in driving the Germans out of Africa and in making them surrender in Italy. You may find yourself fighting side by side with these splendid men and therefore you want to know a little about the Indian Army and the men in it.

In the last war, the Indian Army consisted of about 235,000 troops, of whom 67 per cent, were Indians. They fought in France, in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine, and at Gallipoli and Salonika.

More than a million Indians volunteered for military services during the last war, and India's fighting forces suffered 120,000 casualties....."

It then covers the Volunteer Army, their grades/designations, The R.I.N. and The R.I.A.F.

"The Indian Air Force came into existence in 1933. It now has 9 squadrons, and an anti-aircraft co-operation unit, a force which, in total strength is equal to 12 squadrons. In March 1945, the I.A.F. became the Royal Indian Air Force.

To-day the Royal Indian Navy is larger than it has ever been before. Since 1939, it has expanded 12 times in personnel, with an even larger expansion in ships and training establishments.

The first warship to be built in India was H.M.I.S. Travancore, launched on July 7, 1941. It was designed as a mine-sweeper and a submarine-chaser.

The R.I.N. has been engaged in mine-sweeping even since the outbreak of war, and in the dark days of 1941 it assisted the R.N. in the Battle of the Atlantic. Indian ships rendered great service in keeping open and protecting the supply lines from India to North Africa, and hence played their part in the victories gained by the Indian soldiers in this theatre. The work of the R.I.N. in the landings off Sicily and Italy, in bombarding Ramree Island just off Burma, in engaging Japanese ships and in patrolling India's coastlines, has been most meritorious....."

It then covers the climate of South East Asian Countries which soldiers have to get accustomed to. The peaks of Himalayas, to rain forest of Burma and Sumatra is some of hurdles that soldiers have to encounter in this theatre. It then recommends soldiers to take some precaution about their health while in Asia.

Finally, it touches some of the amenities in the East, prices in India, useful phrases and some other recommended books to get familiarize with Asia.

You can read complete book here:Going East.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

War Slogans/Franking - WW2 Envelopes

It's long time since I showed some envelopes carrying variety of war slogans or franking. There exists numerous such interesting official or personal covers. It is really interesting area to collect. I prefer collecting variety of such envelopes preferably official ones or carrying postal marks.

Today we will cover 3 such covers. First one is shown below. This letter has NATIONAL WAR FRONT, BOMBAY printed. It was sent from national war front Bombay branch to Ahmednagar Cantonment branch, addressed to Khan Bahadur D. E. Nagarwalla, CIE.

Khan Bahadur D. E. (Dorab Edaljee) Nagarwalla, CIE. was honorary magistrate and municipal councillor for 35 years and an elected municipal president of Ahmednagar for 19 years. He was a member of Bombay nursing association and of Red Cross Society of Poona. He was also member of the Local War Council during the Great War of 1914 and of Soldiers' Board Committee. He was Vice-Chairman of Ahmednagar District War Fund Committee and of Red Cross Fund, Ahmednagar. He served as a corporal in India Defence Force during the Great War.

Shown above is second in series of today's post. It carries a postmark slogan:
| JOIN |

A.R.P. => Air Raid Protection

The letter was sent to Kishangadh from Jodhpur.

Last in the series is another WW2 envelope which carries red color franking:



It was sent from Calcutta to England via SEA MAIL.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ambaliara Cash Coupon - WW2

Today's post is on another princely state cash coupon issued during WWII. Ambaliara (Ambliara or Ambliyara) was an estate or taluk, formerly part of Western India States (Sabar Kantha) Agency and is now part of modern state of Gujarat in India. It currently borders to the south and west on the Kadi (Mehsana) district of Baroda; to the north, on Wadagam and the district of Ahmedabad; and to the east, on Idar, Ramas and Dabha.

I tried digging on it but couldn't make out how many gun salutation state was granted. There is very less information available on this princely state forget about trying to find out state's contribution on WWI and WWII.

Above one is the only cash coupon issued by Ambaliara State/Taluk with denomination of 1 paisa. It has been recorded as number 1.1 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla.

It has text printed in Gujarati. Front side contains a number given to each such coupon/ticket with text "Ambliara State" and denomination 1 Paisa.

On the reverse there is instruction printed as:

"Tickets without our sign will be deemed invalid. Coins will be given from the treasury in exchange of ticket. To be used for circulation within the state limits."

The one I have shown is without Thakor's sign. But Indian Paper Money Catalogue shows cash coupon with Thakor's signature. My guess is that they were either from printers or part of treasury stocks which were not utilized as the condition suggest they were not used. Anyway, if someone has above coupons with Thakor's signature then please let me know. I will be interested in buying at least one of them for my collection.

The state finally acceded to India on 10th June 1948.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Indian Military Air Letter Card (MALC) - WWII

Today's post is another in series on Indian Military Air Letter Cards (MALC). The air letter shown below is of type "Christmas Greetings Issues", category ICG. Below MALC was issued for Christmas 1944 and postage free. It is said that vast majority of MALC printed in 1944 were postage free. The year saw the formation of SEAC which added its own Greetings forms to the various issues of ICG - 1943.

Shown above is front side of what is called ICG 44, Sub-Type 15 as per catalogue "Indian Military Air Letter Cards 1942-47" by late O.R.J. Lee. The one I have is used sample. It is not coded but organized by the RAF Postal Services and RAF Welfare as stated on the back of the form.

On the front, the heading XMAS AIR LETTER is in one straight line of print 4 mm high and 57 mm long. This is at the top left. At the top right is a box 43x24 mm within which is printed in five lines -

XMAS 1944

At the bottom there is a single line admonition 96 mm long.


Down below on the back side appears - THESE CARDS ARE FOR THE USE OF H.M. FORCES ONLY. and there is provision for Sender's details and the language written in.

Besides it is also mentioned that: Air Letters may be forwarded to U.K. (including British Liberation Army), Eire, South Africa, East Africa, (North Rhodesia, South Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanganiyika), Canada, U.S.A., Newfoundland, West Indies, all countries in South America, all forces in Mediterranean Zone, Australia and New Zealand.

The inside covering full area is a multi-coloured cartoon headed -

* They say there's a troopship just leaving Bombay*

Heavily laden with Christmas Greetings *
* and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. *

The designers signature is difficult to decipher but may be Connery.

The used sample above was sent from RAF station in Ceylon to Yorkshire, England. The letter carries date of 14th Nov 1944 and bears mark of RAF Sensor 455.

Do I need to say that I just love this one :-) I really like full page colorful illustration. They have virtually left no space inside so sender had to write their message on the back side. Perhaps the designer was so happy creating this one which depicts soldiers bound home that he just painted full page ;-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anti-Nazi Propaganda Postcard - U.K. (India) WW2

Today's post is in continuation to my earlier Propaganda War Postcard post. This one shown below is also part of same series of such postcards published by UK where they showed how all allies nations (read commonwealth nations) came together and contributed in the war.

This item is showcasing India's might to world. The postcard was published by R.K., initials printed on front side of postcard in lower left corner. Back side mentions the numbering 51-629.

As I mentioned earlier, all such postcards carry 51-xxxx pattern where xxxx seems to be numbering given to each such issue (focussing countries). Also, all of such postcards carry same heading "Em Liberdade - Forcas!" in Portuguesse meaning "In Freedom - Strength!". Portugal was neutral ground for Allies and Axis to do propaganda against each other. United Kingdom issued series of anti-Nazi propaganda postcards distributed by their embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.

The main text is in Portuguese which when translated in English reads:

The India is steadily growing in strength and stature within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The British administration led peace inside its borders and laid the foundations of its future prosperity. Today, India is providing to its strength to safeguard their freedom against Nazi tyranny.

It then shows at bottom steel production in 1914 (during WW1) and in 1939 (during WW2) with heading "Increase in production of steel".

1914 - 63,000 Tons
1939 - 9,77,000 Tons

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hyderabad War Week - WW2 Raffle

Today's post will be a very short one because I have no information on it at all. It is about a War Fund Raffle issued by Princely State of Hyderabad.

Shown below is front side of Hyderabad War Week Raffle in unused form. It mentions that the total prize of this raffle was 1,00,000 Indian Rupees which had to be divided into 571 prizes. The price of ticket was one Rupee (mentioned in English and Urdu). It also mentions that the raffle was organized by direct and immediate supervision of the "Hyderabad War Week" Committee.

In back side it mentions that the Raffle would close on 15th September, 1945 and draw would take place on 12th November, 1945 at Fateh Maidan. Fateh Maidan is where Aurangzeb pitched his first camp on his victorious campaign against Golconda in 1687. Hence, the raffle was drawn at such place which symbolizes victory. It then mentions various prize details and the fact that it will be paid at the Head Office of the Hyderabad State Bank.

It also mentions that all the correspondence shall be done to Jt. War Secretaries, "Hyderbad War Week", Gun Foundry Road, Hyderabad.

Note the location of address, it is the same place where Head Office of State Bank of Hyderabad is located besides offices of the Department of Archaeology and Museums.

The Gun Foundry is now a tourist place in Hyderabad. The walls of this Gun Foundry made of bricks, lime and mortar, was about 50 feet high. Due to the rampage of time and negligence, the original height has come down to 25 to 30 feet. One can still see specimens of the cannons and cannonballs manufactured in the Gun Foundry, in the Public Gardens and various other places in Hyderabad, bearing inscriptions regarding their manufacture. This is the only existing Gun Foundry as the rest were dismantled.

Set up in 1786 by French General Monsieur Raymond, Gun foundry was one of the several cannon and cannonball factories, in the Hyderabad State. The furnaces, melting of iron castings of cannons and muskets (long-barreled guns) were carried out in more scientific way under the supervision of General Raymond. These foundries cast one of the excellent cannon and made serviceable muskets.

This is the only structure of the surviving foundry established in the 18th century in the then Hyderabad State. The Roman Catholic Cathedral on the main road of Secunderabad was also constructed in Gun Foundry locality somewhere in 19th century. There were many such foundries that were more than 100 years old on the road to Mir Alam Tank and on the Bangalore road, which fell into ruins today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

STILWELL ROAD, Story of the Ledo Lifeline - WW2 Publication

Can you recognize the river shown below ;-) Probably you may say is this river or something else now that I have done some editing on original photo taken in late 40s. Well, if you view such landscape 30000 feet above the ground, you will have no doubt that it is indeed a river rather an intriguing and mysterious one :-)

No wonder, that was the same thought Lord Mountbatten had when flying over the Hukawng Valley during the monsoon on a visit to Gen. Stilwell. He asked his staff the name of the river below. An American officer accomanied him replied, "That's not a river, it's the Ledo Road."

Ledo Road was not the way it is shown above in the photograph then. The water covered the road, and some surveyors considered this to be proof of their perspicacity when they had said of the Ledo Road project: " It is impossible."

This post is about the booklet prepared by The Office of Public Relations, USF in IBT (India Burma Theater), Advance Section, APO 689, in conjunction with the Information and Education Division, IBT called STILWELL ROAD - Story of the Ledo Lifeline.

The publication was planned and written by S/Sgt. C. M. Buchanan and Sgt. John R. McDowell while layout, illustrations and map was done by Cpl. Sydney Kotler. All photographs were provided by men of the 164th Signal Photo Company. It was printed at the Indian Press Ltd, Calcutta, India.

The booklet is all about construction of one of the engineering marvels of the world, the 1079 mile Stilwell Road which encompasses two separate projects. First, the 507 mile Ledo Road from Ledo, Assam to Wanting, China. Secondly, the Burma Road from this point to Kunming, a distance of 960 kilometers. Both the section were renamed as the Stilwell Road (named after General Vinegar Joe Stilwell of the U.S. Army) in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek.

On March 8, 1942, the invading Jap armies captured Rangoon, closed the last overland supply route to China and surged northward to eventually overrun all of Burma. General Joseph W. Stilwell, lacking the men and equipment to offer suitable resistance, was forced to retreat. It is then that he made his famous statement, "I claim we took a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it's humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find what caused it, go back and retake it."

It was obvious that a new supply artery would have to be opened if America was to carry out her commitments to China. And in order to open a road, the Japs would have to be driven back.

The first step in the plan was formulated in October 1942, when Gen. Stilwell and the supreme commander of the Far Eastern Theatre, Lord Wavell (then Gen. Wavell) met and decided the construction of a road from the railhead at Ledo would be an American responsibility (NCAC Operation). Plans were drawn up hastily and submitted to Stilwell on November 5, 1942. On December 1 the advance contingent of Americans arrived in Ledo and thus was started a project visualized by Uncle Joe Stilwell as the only means of driving the Japs from Burma and re-establishing land communications with blockaded China.

The booklet starts with interesting note on how when everyone who worked on Ledo Road were asked what did you see in India, they replied how focused they were on their task which was building the Ledo Road and what all they conquered to make it happen.

It then starts with the introduction of the booklet:

This booklet has been prepared to give you some worthwhile information about the Stilwell Road. It tells about the places to be seen along the great military supply line, about the customs and religions of the people who inhabit this remote corner of the world, and about the part played by the men who pushed through the greatest engineering project ever undertaken in time of war.

The opening of a land route and pipeline, to maintain a constant flow of supplies to China, has been the Number One job of the India-Burma Theater of Operations. Planned and visioned by General Joseph W. Stilwell, the gigantic project was carried to a speedy completion through the combined efforts, leadership and ability of Lt. General Dan I. Sultan, Commanding General of the India-Burma Theater, Major General W. E. R. Covell, Commanding General, Services Of Supply, IBT, and Major General Lewis A. Pick, Commanding General of the Ledo Road project, with the superb teamwork of thousands of American officers and enlisted men, plus the help of soldiers and peoples of our allies.....

Continuing its journey through routes of Stilwell Road and milestones, the booklet captures major landmarks on the road with its historical background and significance. How the towns were captured and men fought all the way against Japanese on route to let IBT section construct the road behind them.

The booklet then touches the history, religion and customs of inhabitant of the region through which the road was built to let its readers familiarize with them.

It covers how the road was built and the people from various department making it happen such as Signals, Medics, Pipeline, GIs, Burma Road Engineers, Coolies, local inhabitants, Air Force, Railroads to name a few.

Just to give you idea of this mammoth road project. It is said that prodigious quantities of earth were moved by the white and colored engineers in building the Ledo Road. An Average of 50,000 cubic yards of earth were handled in the first 270 miles, totaling 13,500,000 cubic yards. With this much dirt, it would be possible to build a solid earthen wall three feet wide and ten feet high from New York to San Francisco.

The booklet ends with the bravery and stories of the American, British, Chinese, Indians and Kachins soldiers whose contribution in letting it happen and re-capturing Burma is unforgettable.

You can read the complete book here. I have scanned all the pages of book for my readers convenience.

Documentary about the construction of the Stilwell Road, narrated by none other than Former US President Ronald Reagan from YouTube:

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