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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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RAF Special Squadrons

by Chris Wilson

Contributed by 
Chris Wilson
People in story: 
Chris Wilson
Location of story: 
North India
Article ID: 
A2062810
Contributed on: 
19 November 2003

In 1944 four RAF special duties squadrons, 355, 356, 367 and 358, were formed in north India. Their main objetive was to drop supplies and clandestine forces behind the Japanese lines in Burma. They were equipped with Dakota and Liberator aircraft.

On 22 January 1945 RAG Liberator KH-277 of 358 Squadron took off from its base at Digri, North India. Its objective was to drop a group of special forces behind the Japanese lines.

On its return flightfrom having successfully completed its mission, Liberator KH-277 crashed in flames in the Chin Hills in the early hours of 23 January.

The precise cause of the crash was never ascertained. Severe weather, resulting in denase low cloud, had been encountered over Burma during the opoeration and could have been a contributing factor.

The crew of eight perished in the infreno on the lonely hillside. Among them was 32 year old Flying Officer from Belfast, my first cousin Jack.

Jack had joined the RAF in 1940 and was posted to Bomber Command as a Flightb Sergeant. In 1943 he received the Commission of Flying OPfficer.

Having survived Bomber Command missioins over occupied Europe four four years, he voluntered in 1944 for operations over Burma with the Special Duties squadrons.

With the end of the was in the Far East in August 1945, the four Squadrons were disbanded in November 1945. Jack did not live toi see that day.

His body rests with those of many other young men from all parts of the UK and COmmonwealth in the British Forces cemetery at Imphal in the shadow of the Himalayas.

One casualtyt of war amongst so many, Jac was beloved of his parents, brothers and sisters and the wider family circle.

His loss reflects the loss of so mant youg men and women who went, did their duty but did not return.

Let us never forget them

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