The Open Door

Operation Hunger IV: Bert Card (799 Coy)

Group PhotoI read with interest of Alan Patrick in last August’s newsletter. I was sent to India in May 1945, and joined 799 Company RASC (AD) in 1946, with whom I stayed until demob in June 1947. I travelled about a bit and spent time in Port Swettenham in Malaya, Nee Soon in Singapore, Madras and Rangoon at the same time as Alan. I also spent some time in Batavia.

Like Alan I trained on the 10 ton Macs in 1947. Whilst in Rangoon, the Burma Oil Company went on strike, and we drove their tankers from the oil depots to garages. At times this put the frights into me. Sometimes the Burmese garage workers would come out to couple up the pipes with big cigars in their mouths. The photos show men of 799 Company on Mac training and with a tanker during the strike. I am on the left of each photograph.

Group photoThe following is from a newspaper cutting in Burma in 1946, and concerns an airdrop to the Karens. “A large scale rice dropping operation by the RAF is planned to commence today. 799 Company RASC will be supporting it. The operation, ‘Operation Hunger IV’, is so named as it is the fourth operation of this kind since the end of the war. The dropping zones will be in the Karen hill tracks some 35 miles N.E. of Toungoo, where the crop failure is the worst known for 22 years, and where present stocks will become exhausted by the end of February. To avoid famine and distress to some 22,000 Karens, the RAF will drop a total of 600 tons of rice and 30 tons of salt on four selected dropping zones in the hills.

Dakotas of 48, 52 and 110 Squadrons and the Burma Communications Flight will be carrying out the operation. Based at RAF Station, Mingladon, and operating each day from Toungoo, about 5,000Lbs of rice and salt will be carried on each sortie, and the work is expected to last a month.

Operations were expected to start on February 12th, but strikes have delayed the bagging of the rice, and the programme has had to be postponed on two occasions.”

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