'MY DAD and ME' PHILIP PARKINSON - Corporal Reconnaissance Corps 6TH NOVEMBER 1919 – 16TH MAY 2010

DIAR Y FROM... Philip Parkinson Click here if you’ve enjoyed reading this article were in big metal cylinders, and one day he retrieved a cylinder that had broken open. It was filled with tinned peaches, and one can just fell behind the driver’s seat, to be retrieved later. One of the other drivers had a tin of condensed milk; Dad always said that was the best meal he ever had! Weeks went on, and the Japanese tried to get their big guns, which had been captured at Singapore, onto the top of the hill overlooking the British camp. Along with a group of 60 plus men, Dad had to attack the Japanese as they dug in and positioned their guns. The British attacked just after dark, catching them off guard. It was a rout and the Japanese retreated, leaving the guns behind. With the guns secured, it was expected that the Japanese would counter attack, but getting back to safety was impossible with the guns in tow. The order came that they had wreck the guns. Packing them with mud and firing them was the way to do it! When ready, it was an extra-long lanyard and fingers in your ears as the officer in charge pulled on the lanyard. “Boom”, the biggest boom Dad ever heard, then there they were with splits in the barrels. This was just one of the regular hand-to- hand fights. Nights were always the favourite, with night patrols from both sides often stumbling across each other in No Man’s Land. In his memoirs, General Slim said that this was the greatest battle against the Japanese in World War Two. The end of the battle came one morning when the Japanese turned away, heading south as fast as they could, with the British Army in pursuit. The casualties on both sides were heavy, but the Japanese losses were not as heavy as those of the British, who had been under fire in a confined space. The battle left many with malaria, Dad included, so instead of chasing the Japs it was back to India and hospital. It took weeks to recuperate, but instead of the usual AB malaria, which leave you suffering flu-like symptoms for the rest of your life, it was cerebral malaria that Dad got. He was in hospital for many weeks, but although this type of malaria can kill, you never suffer any more symptoms. One day he had a visit from Nathan Dixon from Carnforth, the brother of Tony Dixon whom he had gone to school with. He thought he was coming to see Dad before he died, but when he met him, Dad was sitting up in bed. After talking to Nathan for a time, Dad said, “By gum, Nathan, thou looks terrible.” Nathan said he could not eat the local food, and had no money to buy food. All his pay went straight back to his wife and child. Dad said, “Pass me my wallet.” He opened it and gave half of the contents to Nathan, telling him to go and buy himself a good meal. Years later, at Cartmel Races, I witnessed the reunion with Nathan. This time he was paying, it was ice creams all round for us six kids. Dad had a saying about never lending money: if you can afford to, give it, but never lend a penny if you want it back - the secret to a happy life. Back with his mates in Burma, Dad found that monsoon season had arrived. It would rain for weeks on end. Tanks hated monsoons, they were soon bogged down in the mud, the only thing to do was to sit it out; just down the road was the Japanese Army, waiting for the rain to stop. Wingate’s Chindits could move in any weather, they gave the Japs hell. With the monsoon over, it was on the move again. Dad had been in Burma six months, and it was time for leave. The men were taken by truck back over the Ngakydauk Pass, back to India and straight back into hospital with a case on dysentery. However, good food and clean water soon sorted them out. With the war in Burma going well, it was back to Bombay with Dad for a top secret project. READ MORE OF PHILIP PARKINSON’S STORY AT http:/ /www.far-eastern-heroes. org.uk/My_Dad_and_Me/index. htm Dad, Jack Twiss and Jim Sturgeon, 3 of the 8 who joined the Australian captain in an open boat M3 General Lee in burma
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