- Contributed by
- People in story:
- thomas sidney penney
- Location of story:
- Experiences in/around Burma
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 31 October 2003
Tom was conscripted at 18 years old in 1942. After his initial 6 weeks training he was sent to Inverarie in Scotland to complete one month's training with the Royal Marines Commandos.
He was posted to Burma and travelled in the Caernavon Castle to Bombay, India. A train took him across India in unbelievable conditions (by modern day standards)to arrive in Burma.
He was flown by a Dakota up to his Reinforcement Camp at Camilla (spelling?). For the next two years or so he travelled all over the countryside in the unrelenting heat coping with ringworm and leeches (as did all his friends),driving a Duck (amphibious vehicle). They were'nt allowed to leave any sort of evidence of their journeying to give the enemy any clues to their position. All wrappers and tins etc. had to be hidden.
He travelled up the Gangees and visited Putra (spelling?). He spent his 21st Birthday there and remembers well sitting under a Mango tree to celebrate with the temperature at 127 degrees!
He finally arrived by the ship Duneera at Mandalay, where hundreds of troops and lorries were waiting to invade Japan, just when the Atomic Bomb was dropped in Japan and therefore all plans were abandoned and Tom returned to the Duneera and sailed to Hong Kong instead.
He returned to Southampton in the Arundel Castle. He waited on the Southampton Common with many thousands of others for transport home, got impatient and jumped on the next lorry that was passing, only to find it was full of German POWs. But they all had a laugh about it!
I'm very proud to be part of Tom's family, he is very unassuming about this part of his life (like many others who were in the same boat). We're looking forward to celebrating his 80th Birthday next year.
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