Dr. Richard Duckett Profile picture
Apr 6, 2018 12 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
A short thread about 'doing' #History, and a glimpse of what I am working on.

#Burma #Myanmar #SOE #Force136 #WW2 #SWW
Step 1: Read translated interview
'After the battle, our company and the Chinese company were ordered to defend the Mawchi road and the Officer-in-Charge was Capt. Thompson of the Bengal Rifles. Jemedar Pan Mya and 16 soldiers were captured fighting the Japanese at Paletwa.'
Step 2: Check out Capt. Thompson
Thompson was not Bengal Rifles, he was 1st Battalion Burma Rifles. Translator or interviewee error? Not to worry. Error found.
Step 3: Consult archives
HS 1/27 in the National Archives has Capt. Thompson's report for the retreat in Burma in 1942. Thompson was also SOE's Oriental Mission, so it's in the HS series. Same report also in WO 203/5712.
Here's part of that report referring to the same action at the Paletwa bridge. Don't get mixed up with the town of Paletwa in Chin State many miles away. The numbers captured don't quite match, but that's to be expected.
Step 4: Keep reading
A little later in the same entry for 2 April, there is reference to a Jemadar captured at the Paletwa contact:
Step 5: review what we have so far
A primary source (interview) discussing Jemadar Pan Mya 'captured' in combat at Paletwa, and another primary source (contemporary Officer's report) giving details of a captured Jemadar who was beheaded.
Step 6: consult @CWGC website
Search for Pan Mya. No Pan Mya, but a Pan Nya of 1st Battalion Burifs is found, date of death unknown: cwgc.org/find-war-dead/…
Step 7: Enough evidence?
It seems a clear correlation, enough to conclude I have the right Jemadar. Give @CWGC the information that Pan Nya died on 2 April 1942 so his record can be updated.
Step 8: Footnote the oral history you are working on to clarify for
(mass (ha ha!)) readership when book two eventually makes it out there. In the meantime, tweet it.
Not forgetting Capt. Thompson was a well known author writing under the pan name of Francis Clifford, think about how novels can often be useful. An overrun platoon and a bridge feature in this (see Chapter 2 onwards):

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