Can You Help?

Air Despatch in Burma 1944 & Role of 61 Coy RASC (GT) in post-war Singapore

My late Father was T/14631755 DVR HOWCHIN, RASC. Following his death last September, I have come into possession of some of his old Army possessions & am now trying to research his military service. He refused to talk about it, or even apply for the medals he was due (I now proudly have them duly Court Mounted!). All I know is that he when to India, then Burma in 1944. One of the USAAF pilots who flew the C47s he despatched from whilst resupplying the Chindits & other forward troops was Jackie Coogan (Hollywood movie star) . I also believe (not confirmed) that he took part in the air movements to PICCADILLY & BROADWAY forward air strips during Op. ‘Thursday’. He then was training for the sea landing at Singapore crewing on a BUFFALO amphibious vehicle until the surrender.

After the Japanese surrender of Singapore, he was in ‘B’ Platoon, 61 Coy (GT), RASC, where he supervised Japanese POW on what he called, “clear up operations”. On this he did tell me that some of his Company were killed in accidents and by, “remnants of war”! I also believe he was involved in combat, as after his quadruple bypass operation, and in the months afterwards, as the high levels of the anaesthesia were working out of his body, he frequently woke up shouting for ‘Stand To’ and other combat related phrases, and his upper body took up firing positions. He never told me about these but my mother relayed both words and motions to me. Being ex-Forces myself, I understood them immediately. This is being done for myself and my two sons, and hopefully their children in due course. Any information would be gratefully received.


39 & 40 Pl AD Australian Contingent

I was wondering if any of your members could help me with some details about 39 & 40 Pl AD Australian Contingent that served with 55 AD Coy RCT (Regt) in Malaya about April? May 1963 I have a Veteran that served there at that time with 55 AD Coy RCT and is now claiming disabilities from the Veterans Affairs Australia. Our problem is that they reckon that he is not a Veteran as described under the ACT that he never served there although his service record shows that he served from 5th April to the 23rd May 1963.

It would be appreciated if anyone could help with information, photos, unit listings etc.

Peter Beauchamp, Advocate, Brisbane Australia. E-mail:  Peter Beauchamp

T/61894 Sgt. W. J. Dean

I'm trying to find information on T/61894 Sgt. W. J. Dean, who according to the GSM Palestine 1945-48 medal roll, served with 213th (probably 223 Coy - Editor.) Air Despatch Company RASC, in Palestine. I was wondering if you have any info on Sgt. Dean.

Kind regards. Bjoern K. Klausen, Denmark. Email Bjoern at

Harry Spencer

I hope you don't mind me contacting you, I have found your website whilst trying to research my late father's military service records. Is it possible for me to put a small request for information up on your website? All I have of my father is his Soldier’s Release Book. This told me his unit was 223 Coy RASC (AD). He served as a Private from 1943-1947. There is a mention of Camp 33 Fanara MELF and his name was Harry Spencer. I would be so grateful to learn of any information regarding my father, it would be wonderful to find out more about his experiences.

Kind regards. Amy Hobart. E-mail Amy Hobart

Dvr L.E. Bloomfield

I am enquiring if you would have any information on Dvr L.E. Bloomfield. He was one of 3 survivors from a Short Stirling aircraft (LJ833)that was shot down over Arnhem 21 September 1944. It crash landed in the river Mause.

Six of the crew died including Dvr Arthur Abbot of 253. One of the crew who also died was Alexander Anderson who was the pilot (my partners uncle).

I have no other information on L.E. Bloomfield except that he was injured and taken care of by a doctor in Batenburg in Holland. The other 2 survivors evaded capture and were flown home to the UK the next day. There is a substantial memorial in Batenburg to honour the crew of LJ833.

I have been in touch with one of the other survivors (George Orange) daughter who informed me that her father never knew what happed to Dvr L.E. Bloomfield.

Could you please give me any information at all if possible. I will forward all of my research for your records. Including Arthur Abbot who it seems got out of the aircraft but got tangled in his parachute in the water. Some of the locals tried to rescue him in a boat by cutting the chute but he was swept away and drowned due to the force of the river.

Regards. Gordon McDonald. E-mail  Gordon McDonald

Malaya Historical Group

The Group is heavily involved in research in to wartime and post war air crashes in Malaya. Shaharom Ahmad, a Researcher wit the group is seeking our help. The Group is planning to relocate the crash site of Valetta VX540 and is looking for our help. See:-

Roll of Honour — August 1952

A search will be carried out for the graves of the men who died in the crash.

All replies to Peter Stubbs please.

Richard Newton

Group photoRichard (Dick) Newton (3rd left in the photograph) was a Lance Corporal in ‘C’ Platoon, 799 Coy RASC (AD) SEAC during WW2. I understand that he went to Chittagong in March 1945 to drop supplies from gliders over the Burma forest.

Unfortunately, he died in 1954 when I was a baby, so I have no recollection of him. If anybody remembers him, I would be grateful to hear from them. I would also be interested to know anything about the operations he undertook during the war. Please e-mail: Stephen Dixon

Terrence Evans

Terence Evans Terry Evans is seeking information about his late father Terrence, who was a fifty fiver serving in Malaya in the late 50s. Terrence is thought to have done two tours of duty in Malaya in the 50s and possibly early 60s. At the time of his death in 1967, Terrence was a Sergeant in the RCT at Aldershot.

If you can help with information, please email Terrence Evans

Sean Mullen

Sean’s grandfather, George High, died at Arnhem on 21st September 1944, and is buried at Heteren General Cemetery, Gelderland. He was a Driver with 223 Air Despatch Company RASC. Sean is looking for information about his grandfather. If you knew George, please contact Peter Stubbs.

Paul van Halteren

Group of men

Paul, of Arnhem, wants to know if anyone can name any of the men in the photograph above. He knows that the centre man in the front row is R.N. Clements who served in 800 Coy RASC (A D). He was killed in action during Operation “Market Garden” on the 21st of September 1944.