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Kohima

The 2nd Royal Norfolks flew from Calcutta to Dimapur, via Belgaum and Bangalore a distance of 600 miles. On the flight, someone said to dad are there any parachutes? Dad said, "If there is, and while I have this weapon, we'll see who gets one". On April 10th, 1944 they arrived at Damapur.

The antics continued, at Dimapur, Dad, Tojo, and Fiddy were guarding some "Basher Huts" not knowing what was in them? Putting a hand through a gap, one of them felt some sacks full of bottles; it was Aussie LION BEER! They Never did know where the rest of it went!

They then set out to releive Kohima and it was not long before Fred had his third near miss. On a mountain track varying in width and with a drop of hundreds of feet Fred missed his footing and went over the edge, luckily he went down feet first and landed on a flat ledge, the only one for the length of the track, very lucky.
Burma Map
Late April the Royal Norfolks, Royal Scots, and Lancashire Fusiliers left Khonoma and skirting Mt Pulebadze, headed towards Aradura spur it was a bloody hard slog. Reaching the fringe of the spur on the 3rd May and held there before attacking GPT Ridge  (General Purpose Transport) the next day.

On the 4th John Randle had taken over command of his company when the company commander was wounded. Although painfully wounded in the knee by grenade splinters, he continued to cheer his men on, until the company had captured its objective and consolidated the position. He then went forward and brought in all the wounded men who were lying outside the perimeter. Despite his wound, Randle displayed the contempt for pain, which seemed almost commonplace among officers of the Royal Norfolks, and refused to be evacuated.

On the night of the 5th, Randle carried out a daring reconnaissance in bright moonlight, prior to a further attack by his company on positions to which the enemy had withdrawn.

Map 6th May 1944
On the 6th May Capt J.N.RandleJap Bunker, Kohima Area along with  Sgt. B.Fitt lead an attack on "Bunker Hill" a series of strongly held bunkers, with 9 platoon, 12 platoon took the right, Dad was leader of 12.

The 9th platoon managed to reach the crest of a hill held by the Japs, the 12th ran into heavy machine-gun fire from a bunker. John Randle immediately realized that this particular bunker covered not only the rear of his new position, but also the line of communication of the whole battalion. His knee, from the wound he had received two days earlier, troubled him badly and he had been hit yet again, this time in the face. Barely able to walk and with his face covered with blood, John Randle knew what he must do.

Armed with a rifle and bayonet he charged alone at the machine-gun post. He was hit again and again by bursts of fire, but he reached the bunker and silenced the gun with a grenade which he threw through the slit. He was dying fast, but he had one more duty to perform in death; he flung his body across the opening bunker slit so that the aperture should be completely sealed. Capt J.N Randle was awarded the V.C for his actions.

After Randle was killed, Fitt received a call to say 12 platoon were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire, not able to see this particular bunker he threw a number of grenades until one actually bounced straight in killing those inside, joining 12 platoon, he lead the attack onto the next bunker taking dad with him. 

GPT Ridge was captured but with heavy casualties, the Norfolk's lost 120 killed or wounded and renamed it "Norfolk Ridge".

Dad was luckier than some he only received a bullet graze to the ribs and small pieces of shrapnel in the lower legs. Sgt B.Fitt won the D.C.M.

The sappers of the 2nd Division then cleared the mines from the Kohima Ridges letting in the tanks and by the 14th May the Japanese were pushed back. This was the turning point in Asia and from this defeat the Japanese never recovered.

 

 

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