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2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD2)  XML
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The 1st Special Service Detachment (SSD1), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander Ralph Milman, came under 1st Burma Corps as part of the 7th Armoured Corps.
A large number of SSDI made it out of Burma and back to India and there are already accounts and photos of them in the Forum and in the CVA Gallery.

The 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD2), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Courtney Brocklehurst, came under 1st Burma Corps as part of the 1st Burma Division (Infantry).
Very little is known regarding 2nd Special Service Detachment

Here is an account of the 2nd Special Service Detachment sent in by Peter Goode:


Peter Goode wrote:My father, Corporal Frederick Charles Goode, 5108868, DCLI, No.8 Commando and POW Rangoon Jail, was one of only 5 known survivors of the 100 officers and men who formed Middle East Detachment 2 [subsequently 2nd Special Service Detachment (SSD 2)], based, in late 1941, at the Bush Warfare School in Maymyo (Pyin-U-Lwin), Burma (Myanmar); under Lieutenant Colonel Henry Courtney Brocklehurst, 135896, for training for 204 British Military Mission to China.

After attacking Thai military positions on two occasions in Thailand on the outbreak of WW2, SSD 2 escorted a large, valuable consignment towards India, but had to bury the consignment and split into four groups when they reached the Irrawaddy River - sometime in early June 1942 - and found Japanese advance troops on the other side.
Lt Col Brocklehurst decided that they would each go their own way to try to make it back to India or China. They still hoped at this time to pass the advancing Japanese.
It was a little later that month that Brocklehurst was drowned whilst fording this river further upstream.

The first group was led by Lt Col Brocklehurst. There was only one (unidentified) survivor from this group.

The second group was led by Captain Green [?] Capt Green was the sole survivor of the group and became a POW in Rangoon Jail.

The third group was led by Sergeant McAteer, 6976837. There were no survivors from Sgt McAteer's group.

The final group was led by Sergeant John Francis Friend who, along with Corporal Frederick Charles Goode and Private William Bland, survived.
Sgt Friend and Pte. Bland escaped making their way to Kunming in China and from there back to India via assistance of British military officials based in China to assist in the war against the Japanese.

My Dad was eventually captured after being betrayed by Burmese villagers near the India/Burma border in the small village of Sadon for a reward of 100 rupees.
Dad had carried and assisted a fellow soldier from SSD2, Leonard Lacey, who had developed beriberi and could not walk. Dad only knew the date of his capture whilst being interrogated and tortured by the Kempitai a few days later on October 25th 1942, as they did not believe that British soldiers could have survived the tribulations of the jungle for nearly ten months - which my Dad had.
Lacey died whilst they were held in the town of Myitkina under interrogation. He was buried by the Japanese in an unknown grave. His name appears on the Rangoon Memorial along with others who died along the way, without a known grave.

Capt Green's group included C.S.M [WO II] Arthur Richardson, 5381845 (No.8 Commando); Trooper Arthur Lockington, 324447 (No.50 Commando), and Trooper Donald Ross Sharp, 323789.

Sgt Friend's group also included Corporal Robert Johnston, 2931826 (No.11 Commando); Lance Corporal Alexander A. Ballantyne, 2934334 (No.11 Commando); Private Thomas Morgan, 4977740; Private Harry Hancock, 4748143; Trooper William James Smith, 7909151; and Private Leonard Frank Lacey, 5669104 (No.8 Commando).

Other members of SSD 2 were Lance Corporal Richard Edward Homans, 5948673 and Trooper Lewis Ralph Scanes, 321274.

Fusilier Patrick Murray, 6976770 and Private John Miller, 6139215 (No.8 Commando) may also have been members of SSD 2.

I am trying to put together the story of my father and SSD 2 from his draft book, photographs, notes etc and would welcome any corrections and further pertinent information.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0WkG_fgMec

My father and I think Captain Green are at 06:52/7 to mention only one spot...


See also the book The Long Trek by John Francis Friend, published in UK 1957

I am trying to locate relatives of Sgt. John Friend and Private Bill Bland who were with my father and later made their way to Kunming in China and from there back to India via assistance of British military officials based in China to assist in the war against the Japanese and also a Captain Green who was Adjutant of SSD2 and was also a POW in Rangoon Jail with my Dad.

Are there any Military records you know of which lists all the members of SSD2 who were posted to the Bush Warfare School in 1941?


Nick


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0WkG_fgMec



This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 15/08/2012 21:27:26


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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H C Brocklehurst was a Captain in the 10th Hussars and Royal Flying Corps, explorer and big game hunter, the first Englishman to shoot a giant Panda, in 1935.
In WW2 he rejoined the army, was promoted to Lt Colonel and given special assignments in Abyssinia and Burma. He disappeared, assumed drowned, whilst trying to return to the British lines when the Japanese invaded Burma.
[Thumb - Lt_Col H Courtney Brocklehurst.jpg]
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[Thumb - Courtneys plaque.jpg]
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 Filesize 37 Kbytes
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This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 29/05/2012 19:31:32


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Peter Goode wrote:Are there any Military records you know of which lists all the members of SSD2 who were posted to the Bush Warfare School in 1941?

I replied to Peter and sent him the reference to a War Diary for 2nd Special Service Detachment held at the National Archives. The description of the content is: Burma: Special Service Detachment No. 2, Lieutenant Colonel Brocklehurst; statements of Corporal Cornec and others; includes lists of missing from 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment

Peter Goode wrote:During my research, I have not come across Corporal Cornec. My research revealed that SSD2 (all were volunteers who came from the Middle East initially, after their Commando training.)
My understanding is there was one survivor only, from Col. Brocklehurst's group, this may well be Corporal Cornec as someone from his group did make it through and reported his death in India.
Of the other groups, they perished in the jungle or were killed when ambushed by Japanese soldiers or Chinese guerillas.


Nick

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 29/05/2012 15:01:49


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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alanlw
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Regarding Peter Goode's queries about SSD2.

I am researching the life of Courtney Brocklehurst, the Lt Col who led SSD2. I have copies of the National Archives documentation mentioned (ref WO 361-185) and have conducted an analysis of all the various witness statements (there were five witnesses: Cornec, Singh, Bland, Amey and Friend) in order to try and understand better what happened and when. A certain Goode gets a mention briefly by two witnesses (Cornec and Friend). Jewan Singh, an Indian, also survived from Brocklehurst's group and in my view his witness statements are more reliable than Cornec's.

Happy to share what I have with Peter, as I would love to know more too.

There are also a number of books about Orde Wingate (of Chindits fame) that mention SSD2 briefly.

Alan

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NIC
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alan,
thank you, I will pass on your info to Peter.

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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alanlw
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Thanks Nick.

Perhaps I may ask a question meanwhile?

There is some anecdotal evidence that Brocklehurst trained at Inverailort in 1940 or 1941 (in the books "Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit", by Nicholas Rankin, and "The commander: an autobiographical novel of 1940-1941" by Robert David Quixano Henriques) but have you any idea where I could find confirmation that he actually was there? Are there any lists of officers who passed through that estabishment, and if so, where are they kept?

Many thanks.

Alan

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 29/06/2012 19:55:10


Alan
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Hi Alan,

Trying to find out who passed through Achnacarry is difficult enough, but Inverailort in 1940 or 1941 - now that will be a task and a half.
There must be some record but tracking it down may take a little while. I'd guess there would be something in the National Archives but there's no guarantee.

I'll have a search around though.

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Alan,

I've sent you a PM with Peter Goode email address _ I hope you are both able to swap information. Please keep us posted.

I did a quick scan of the Nataional Archives for Inverailort and came up with one file:
WO 260/8 ~ Special Training Centre at Inverailort, June 1940.

I'm guessing that you're a frequent visitor to Kew so I presume you've already seen this one?


Still looking.

Oh, I've just found a list of Gen. Stockwell's papers held at Liddell Hart Centre, King's College London, amongst which are a few entries for Inverailort - there may be some mention of Brocklehurst in there?

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=099-stockwell&cid=3#3

Nick

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 30/06/2012 16:25:35


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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alanlw
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Thanks Nick,

I am at present composing an email to Peter Goode, so thanks very much for the email address.

Re War Office: Directorate of Staff Duties: Papers WO 260/8
Special training centre at Inverailort War Office.
Date: 1940


I have that down for my next visit to Kew, though I'm not sure it will reveal what I'm looking for.

Alas, living in Staffordshire I have to mount a special expedition to go to the TNA so only go about 1x year. Good that more and more is getting on-line.

Will let you know if Peter and I make progress.

Alan


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Pete
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Just thought I would add the epitaph, written by his brother, at the plaque shown in the picture posted above by Nick. Found on this website :

http://office23.jimdo.com/gazetteer/in-memoriam/the-hanging-stone/

I quote from the above site
"The second, a fading weather beaten plaque, is an epitath to Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Courtney Brocklehurst, the lines beneath written by and in the handwriting of his brother Sir Philip Brocklehurst:

LT COL HENRY COURTNEY BROCKLEHURST 10TH ROYAL HUSSARS
AND PILOT IN THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS 1916-1918
GAME WARDEN OF THE SUDAN
BORN AT SWYTHAMLEY MAY 27TH 1888
KILLED ON ACTIVE SERVICE IN BURMA
ON COMMANDO JUNE 1942

"Horses he loved and laughter, the sun, with spaces and the open air.
The trust of all dumb living things he won and never knew the luck too good to share.
His were the simple heart and open hand and honest faults he never strove to hide.
Problems of life he could not understand but as a man would wish to die, he died.
Now though he will not ride with us again, his merry spirit seems our comrade yet,
Freed from the power of weariness and pain, forbidding us to mourn or to forget....

Erected by his devoted brother 1949"


In Memory of 135896 Lieutenant Colonel Henry Courtney Brocklehurst
Royal Armoured Corps, 10th Royal Hussars,
who died aged 54 on 28th June 1942
Remembered with honour Rangoon Memorial

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
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alanlw
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Indeed, thanks. Hanging-Stone is 1/2 mile above our house.

The Rangoon Memorial info can be found here:

http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/Cemeteries/Rangoon_Memorial/B/html/br.htm

It says:

BROCKLEHURST, Lieutenant Colonel, HENRY COURTNEY, 135896. 10th Royal Hussars. Royal Armoured Corps. 28th June 1942. Age 54. Son of Sir Philip Lancaster Brocklehurst, J.P., D.L., and of Lady Brocklehurst (nee Dewhurst), of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Also served in R.F.C.

Having looked carefully at the documents in TNA I think Brocklehurst probably died a week or so later than stated.

Alan
[Thumb - Rangoon Memorial, Taukkyan.jpg]
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This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 30/06/2012 19:10:31


Alan
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Steve R
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I came across some references to Lt.Col Brocklehurst whilst transcribing the War Diary of the 14th Burma Rifles, WO 172/986.

It seems Brocklehurst and 2 SSD were in Taunggyi in April 1942 when the time came for British troops to evacuate the town, handing over responsibility to the Chinese. A Rear Party was formed under Brocklehurst, consisting of 2 SSD, 14th Burma Rifles and the Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, Brocklehurst assuming command on 17th April 1942 (approximately). At 2000 hrs on 20th April, Brocklehurst ordered the evacuation of Taunggyi. This party stuck together as they withdrew until 30th April when it split into four parties, one of which was Brocklehurst with two other British officers and 20 British Other Ranks.

I can PM an extract from the diary or you will find the full transcript at my web site at www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb. The pdf is at http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/images/13th%20Burma%20Rifles%20WO%20172%20986%20-%20transcript.pdf

Just putting the finishing touches to the transcript and it will be up 19th or 20th September 2014.





The Burma Campaign - www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb
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Kevin
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Was SSD2 part of 204 who received the "every man for himself order"?
I'm sure that dad came out with SSD2 after a few months hard treck through the jungle.
Kevin

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alanlw
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alanlw wrote:Thanks Nick,

I am at present composing an email to Peter Goode, so thanks very much for the email address.

Re War Office: Directorate of Staff Duties: Papers WO 260/8
Special training centre at Inverailort War Office.
Date: 1940


I have that down for my next visit to Kew, though I'm not sure it will reveal what I'm looking for.



Alas WO 260/8 only discusses setting up the Special Training Centre and establishment needed. No names.

Worth a try though. Thanks again for the suggestion.

Alan

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alanlw
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Steve R wrote:I came across some references to Lt.Col Brocklehurst whilst transcribing the War Diary of the 14th Burma Rifles, WO 172/986.

It seems Brocklehurst and 2 SSD were in Taunggyi in April 1942 when the time came for British troops to evacuate the town, handing over responsibility to the Chinese. A Rear Party was formed under Brocklehurst, consisting of 2 SSD, 14th Burma Rifles and the Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, Brocklehurst assuming command on 17th April 1942 (approximately). At 2000 hrs on 20th April, Brocklehurst ordered the evacuation of Taunggyi. This party stuck together as they withdrew until 30th April when it split into four parties, one of which was Brocklehurst with two other British officers and 20 British Other Ranks.

I can PM an extract from the diary or you will find the full transcript at my web site at www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb. The pdf is at http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/images/13th%20Burma%20Rifles%20WO%20172%20986%20-%20transcript.pdf

Just putting the finishing touches to the transcript and it will be up 19th or 20th September 2014.



Very many thanks for that, Steve! I knew he must appear in other places. It's great to have some exact dates for the evacuation of TGI.

At the end you say "From late 1941, C.O. of 2nd Special Service Detachment." Can you tell me where you found that statement as I have seen nothing quite so exact before. I don't know yet when he arrived in Burma although I know he was there by Xmas for a bombing raid on Rangoon. From what I read somewhere I thought SSD2 was set up later as a response to the Japanese invasion, but again, no exact date was given.

If you come across anything on Brock or SSD2 else please do let me know.

Alan

Alan
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