Tag Archives: Yunnan

Merrill’s Mauraders

Golden Pagoda

Merrill’s Marauders had been officially designated as 5307th Composite Unit (provisional) with a code name Galahad. They were trained in long-range penetration tactics under Wingate, commander of the Chindits. General Stilwell appointed Brigadier General Frank Merrill to command them. American correspondents dubbed the unit Merrill’s Marauders.

Each battalion contained two Japanese-American soldiers, who were invaluable when fighting at close quarters with Japanese troops. They used tactics similar to the Chindits. On 7 February 1944, wearing green outfits, green under-clothing, green handkerchiefs and green matches for complete concealment in the jungle, the Marauders marched through the Hukawng Valley under the command of Brigadier General Frank Merrill. They marched down the Ledo Road that linked Ledo in India through to the Burma Road, and on to Yunnan in China. American engineers who had chiselled a track through swamps and mountains from late 1943 for twenty-seven months had constructed the road. It is one of the most forgotten routes today.

The Marauders were used as Stilwell’s Shock troops to slash the hamstrings of the Japanese armies in Burma. After engaging in fierce battles for three months, they were badly in need of rest and recuperation, but Stilwell pressed them on, commanding Merrill to take Myitkyina. Handicapped by the monsoons, disease and exhaustion, they suffered from malaria, black water fever, typhus and dysentery. Victims of dysentery resorted to cutting a hole in the seat of their pants to avoid unnecessary time loss when their bowels moved.

Merrill collapsed when they reached Myitkyina airfield.

After the Mauraders captured the airfield, enabling American and Chinese reinforcements to be flown in, Stilwell was compelled to withdraw them from the frontline trenches at Myitkyina.

Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child by Hazel Barker




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More holidays in the UK and the Republic of Ireland

We could not keep away long from the land of Colin’s birth. We thought of the beauty of England, of the winding roads and hedgerows with its verdant fields and returned two years later.

I was enchanted with the green planes, buses and letter boxes. I had attended a school run by Irish nuns and loved their sense of humour. The speech of the Irish people I met, reminded me of my days with the missionary sisters.

We’ve always associated St. Patrick’s Day with green clothing, leprechauns and shamrocks. However, we never saw a leprechaun.

In a half-day tour of Dublin we viewed the Book of Kells at Trinity College, visited the crystal factory at Waterford and Kilkenny Castle, staying overnight at Killarney. In Cork we toured Blarney Castle, kissing the Blarney Stone and buying souvenirs from the Woollen Mills. Despite kissing the famous stone, neither of us obtained the gift of the gab, and we remained bashful and quiet as we always were.

‘Famine walls’ and ‘famine houses’, relics of the Potato Famine, were dotted all over Ireland.

The coach drive through the Ring of Kerry reminded us of the Snowy Mountains in Australia. We went on to Limerick, home of Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis. Colin recalled his own poverty during his early days in Portland when his Dad worked for the Cockies and we lived in a shack with hessian bags as walls.

We travelled to Galway Bay and on to Knock, where we stopped at the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock.

We returned to Dublin after a week, and flew back to England.

Uncle Clarence looked slightly thinner, but still held himself tall and straight. He picked us up from our hotel and took us to meet my youngest cousin, Matthew, born since our last visit.

Using Nottingham as our base, we travelled to Matlock by rail and walked along the Limestone Trail to Abraham’s Heights. Returning via the Derwent Valley Walk on the Derbyshire Downs, we listened to the chatter of chaffinch. Bluetit and blackbirds regaled us.

While dining at the Magna Carta Hotel, Uncle Clarence, who was usually reserved about his past, spoke to us of his work in China during World War II.

‘When hostilities broke out in 1939, I registered as a conscientious objector and joined the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, a Quaker organisation. I was based in the city of Kunming, in Yunnan province, near the Burmese border,’ he said.

He was still a pacifist and, although over eighty years old, he and his son, Paul, worked as ministers in the Church of Christ. The epitome of kindness, Clarence was always ready to do good for others. It was a pleasure to meet him each time we returned to England.

With regret, we said goodbye, little knowing he’d pass away in less than a year. Paul wrote, informing us of his death. In his e-mail, he attached the first few pages of Clarence’s unfinished memoir.

When I read it, I said, ‘I must complete his book for him.’

The result is my manuscript, The Chocolate Soldier: story of a conchie.

Our adventures took us to many points of interest in England before we boarded a plane at Heathrow to enjoy a wonderful week touring Italy.

I felt a tug at my heartstrings when we left for Brisbane, Australia. As the aircraft circled over the approach to the city I gave a contented sigh of relief and, looking down at the vast, open spaces, thought of our home—our Arcadia, our piece of heaven


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Review of ‘My China Mystery’

My China Mystery by Marion Andrews

Author’s Blurb.
Frank and Ella White’s passion was to touch the people of China. They met while working for the China Inland Mission in the nineteen forties, seeking to take the Gospel to a culture steeped in idol worship.
But their work was cut short and they were forced to flee.
In later years Frank rarely spoke of his time in China. It was only when he died that his daughter, Marion Andrews, discovered a treasure-trove of photos with accounts of his time there. These photos, combined with his prayer letters, uncovered the mystery of her parents’ work in pre-Communist China.
My China Mystery will take you on a journey into another time and culture, as Frank and Ella White take the name of Jesus to a people in need. As Marion discovers her history in China and receives the honours of a war hero for his work in China, the mystery is revealed.

Review by Hazel Barker

The author uses her journalistic skills to produce an interesting book on her parents, based on family photographs, diaries and correspondence between her father and his family, and his colleagues.
My China Mystery describes her father’s work in China – in God’s army of disciples as well as in the British army. The book interested me particularly as I’ve been researching my uncle’s life, during World War Two. He served as a member of the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, during the London blitz and in Yunnan, China in the final spasm of the war.
Marion Andrews has done extensive research and weaves it seamlessly into the story. The only flaw I found in the book was an error in the map, showing the position of Mandalay. That town is in the centre of Burma and not where indicated. Despite this, I would recommend My China Mystery to all those interested in broadening their knowledge of other countries and learning about the hardships and sufferings endured by missionaries while promoting the Lord’s Word.

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