Sergeant John Traynor Bassett

Dad Desk PortraitRoyal Air Force
Photographer
Burma 1941 -1945

The Forgotten Army

December 1941, posted to Singapore, RAF Seletar & RAF Tenga, 400 RAF personnel trained in guerrilla warfare and unarmed combat by Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders.
Squadron Leader Greggson ‘ex Army’ formed ‘X’ Squadron for unknown mission.
1941 RAF Seletar & RAF Tenga attacked by Japanese, heavy fighting.
Fall of Singapore commandeered two Chinese junks to Koto Baru Malaysia then to Sumatra by sea; some caught.

Japanese bombed junks 1st junk escaped, arrived in Sumatra.
Japanese bombed Sumatra.
Weapons commandeered by Dutch East Indies Government.
Weapons held in local police station.
Japanese Paras attacked 1000hrs weapons were quickly issued, heavy fighting.
NB. During attack left stew in cauldron on open fire, on return at 2200hrs rats had eaten all food.
Japanese took over the airfield and RAF Regt armored cars.
Escaped by sea on 500ton Dutch East Indies ship to Java.
Japanese attacked Java, escaped by road in lorry to Tilijap 500miles.Dads medal portrait 1
Escaped again by sea to Darwin, ship escorted by HMS Exeter.
Japanese attacked from air, monsoon weather aided escape, ship hid under heavy rain and cloud.
Redirected from Darwin to Salong went to canteen, Australians told us ‘get out scruffy beggars’.
Army Colonel told Australian soldiers ‘who had not seen combat’ to get out of canteen and stop ‘acting’ as bloody soldiers.
Went to canteen, Stn Cdr ordered ‘Let them help themselves’, told to eat what we wanted.
Posted to Salong
1941 Posted to RAF Ranchi India, traveled by road, rail and sea to Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh to take back Burma
X Squadron, 28 AC Sqdn Hurricanes, Recce, Range Guns.

1942 Mandaw, India, fighting Japanese. Infal North Burma. Chittagong 6 weeks fighting Japanese, monsoon stopped fighting.
RAF Karachie medical ship examined for diseases waited for troop ship HMS Dinera.
1945 posted home, Imperial Airways.
‘Right Turn to Rangoon’.

Sgt J T Bassett RAF passed away aged 94 in November 2005; these personal notes have only been recently been ‘brought to light’. RIP

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