RIGHT: Rangoon University
When I read the letter from Geoff. Heckford in the January 2009 “Open Door” it brought back memories of my brief period of service with 799 Coy. in Rangoon from March to May 1947. I realised that I could vaguely remember Geoff, as well as Major Reid and Jack Morgan, but unfortunately no-one else came to mind.
I also knew that I had one or two photos from that time, and resolved to find them, but circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from doing so until now.
LEFT: Alf & His Austin
I had spent nearly two years serving with Indian troops in the Indian Airborne Division before leaving them in Karachi in early February 1947 to travel by train to Madras, troopship to Singapore for posting by SEAC and then troopship to Rangoon, with the usual delays in transit camps in Madras and Nee Soon. As a result I did not arrive at 799 until early March, knowing that I would be leaving again in May for demob in the UK in June. When we disembarked in Rangoon I found that 2nd. Lts. John Firth and Jeff. Hands were also joining 799 with me. With such a short time left for me it was inevitable that I would not become involved in operational duties, and my time was spent on admin. work. Geoff. has described the work of the company at that time much more fully than I was even aware of. My previous Air Despatch experience had been with 289 Air Despatch Coy. in the UK from August to November 1944 and included a Despatcher’s course at Leicester East airfield immediately prior to being posted to India, but I had never been involved in operational despatching. 799 was a sister company at that time, but 289 was only operating as a GT company, collecting from ordnance dumps and delivering to airfields and was not engaged in despatching.
The photo, ‘Alf and his Austin’ puzzles me, because I have absolutely no recollection of who he was and what his connection was. It must have been taken in that same period and he was, presumably, a local resident. If Geoff. or any one else can throw any light on it I would be grateful.Open Door Contents