Burma Star Association
Burma Star Association

The Battle for Hill 60

Private Len Dawe's Account

 

Pte Len Dawe was another Royal Sussex man on Hill 60 that night. He was Company runner to Maj. K.L.Callendar, M.C. The Commanding Officer. Len recalls spending the night up and down to the platoon commanders to report back to the Major who maintained his position in his trench.

 

In August 1999, Len wrote:

 

"After the first attack went in and things were getting too hot we had to withdraw. This was done by shouting and a whistle was blown. The wounded and dead were being brought in and Sergeants were reporting to the Company Commander.

 

We had 15 minutes to wait and then bombers were going to strafe the hill again. My mate Gundry was unaccounted for so I had to go out to find him! Which I did, he was in a shell hole wounded in the thigh. We got back slowly after a nightmare of dodging bullets. Then, with another chap I found Lt. Brewster. He was hiding in a clump of bamboo. He said “Leave me and look for the others” but we said come quickly as another bombardment is due any moment. We put him on a stretcher and took him to the M.O. When we took him off the stretcher it was - well, he had lost a lot of blood, he must have been badly hit. Then the bombardment started again and as I went to the hill all the Japs were blown out of the bunkers. Yes, we did have smoke grenades because I passed the body of Pte. Bright and he had them strapped to his waist. I fancy one had been hit as there was smoke about. He was on the right hand side of the hill, the same as Dennis.

 

I digress. Before going to the hill the Coy. Commander was I think talking to another Major and I and another chap were burying the two Sgts. Allen and Crunden, then an officer took a compass bearing of the graves for the Graves Registration chaps.

 

On the top of the hill again, some Indian Sepoys were collecting the dead Japs and laying them out to be counted. It was breakfast time so we sat down and had our biscuits as another patrol were chasing any stragglers off the hill. As we were there, having a fag I said to the chaps “I think I saw that Jap move.” They laughed but at the same time he got up and ran like hell down the hill. Everybody began shooting. I think he got to the jungle but was later found dead.

 

Lt. Reynolds account. The chap he describes was, I’m pretty certain Pte. Fred Stoneham. Wire specs, squint in his eye, and who later had an affair with a Jap. The Japs had got into our perimeter one night and one Jap fell in Stoneham’s trench and pulled a grenade out. Fred promptly threw the Jap on the exploding grenade. And Fred got away with a finger missing!

When you go home

tell them of us and say,

For your tomorrow,

we gave our today

Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945 Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945
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