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:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Declaration of War Against Britain and The United States - IIL WW2 Propaganda Leaflet

I took another giant step towards building my WWII propaganda leaflet collection last month when I purchased one of the finest and rare collection of colored Japanese/Indian Independence League (Indian National Army) WWII propaganda leaflets. I guess, I can indeed boast now that I have one of the finest if not the best collection of WWII propaganda leaflets related to India.

While I will take my own sweet time to publish them here on my blog, I decided to make some of these artifacts public with generous help of Sgt. Herbert Friedman. You can browse variety of such leaflets there.

So, naturally today's post is about one of such colorful Indian Independence League leaflet dropped against British Indian Army somewhere in North-East India or in East Asia.

Shown above is one such uncoded leaflet depicting a Sikh soldier of Indian National Army charging in front line while others follow him raising flag of India which had become symbol of Independence movement. It also shows British and United States flag being crushed under feet of charging INA soldier.

The text on front reads:

The Establishment of The Provincial Government of Azad Hind.

Declaration of War Against Britain and The United States

It also has reverse side text printed in Nepali and Hindustani/Hindi using Roman Letters. The text reads in English as:

Provincial Government of Azad Hind has been established

India declares war against Britain and America.

British-Americans are almost dead. They have been crushed by Nippon force.

Kill Them!

British-Americans are sworn enemy of India and human being.


Your freedom and your rights!
Those who will carry this leaflet will be treated as true Indians. They will be treated as friends of India and well wishers of Indian Independence. Their life and wealth will be protected and their words will be honored.

At the bottom there is signature of Subhas Chandra Bose printed.

As usual I have no more information on this leaflet such as where was it dropped exactly or when was it prepared. Any help in this regard will be highly appreciated and duly acknowledged.
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