My Father.

My Dad, or Daddy, as I later resorted to calling him.  Probably from some inherent snobbery, although I don’t know where that came from.  There was nothing even remotely upper class about my family.  Perhaps I was just taking the piss.

I didn’t see much of him during the first seven years of my life.  He was a Chindit who blindly followed Orde Wingate into Burma, into the heart land of The Japs.  Not a frightfully good idea as it turned out.  In fact a bit of a disaster.  They had to cut the throats of the Mules to eat.  They couldn’t shoot them because The Japs would have heard.  I never found out if my father was an animal lover.  Probably not.  He was The Camp Cook.

But it does have to be said that Orde Wingate always led from up front.  Mad, and brave as well.  They all loved him to bits.  Or so they say.

But then they had to get out across The Irrawaddy in Flood, and Daddy couldn’t swim.  Christ knows how he managed that.  Only one third of these men actually survived.  Self preservation, no doubt.

Daddy never told me any of this.  I had to read the books.  He never talked about The War.

But he did tell me one interesting thing.  Having been sent to India after the debacle, he was once sent to arrest Ghandi.  God knows where in India.  It was a big place in those days.  But they did have Dhobi Wallers.  That is almost certainly on Google, so look it up.

Daddy said, “Get in the truck, Mate.”  To which Ghandi replied, “Allah be with you, my son.”  Daddy said,  “Allah be with you too, Mate, get in the truck.”  All verbatim, I swear.  I was riveted and got Daddy to repeat this endlessly.  I ever was a Ghandi fan.  Although I don’t think Daddy was.

A strange man, was my father.  He looked the spiting image of a Ghurka.  Something to do with the Irish Romany mayhap.

It took me so long to spot the major flaw in his story.  Which most of you have already spotted, probably.

Ghandi was a Hindu.

So ends a lovely tale of what little I know of my Father and The War, and even that is almost certainly not true.

But he was a Chindit.

3 Responses to “My Father.”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    Very interesting. I didn’t know about Chindits

    My friend’s father died in Burma the day peace was signed. The Red Cross sent back all the letters her family had written, unopened. The Japanese never gave the prisoners their letters. The loneliness there of the prisoners must have been dreadful.

    Gandhi would have been polite anyway – maybe – but he wasn’t a saint either!

  2. elenamitchell Says:

    So your friend’s father was a prisoner of war, some of whom were probably Chindits. It was a mad escapade and accomplished nothing

    My Dad escaped, despite being unable to swim, and The Irrawaddy in Flood wasn’t funny.

    You could read, Beyond The Chindwin if you are interested.

    But my point about Ghandi was that he was a Hindu and would never have called upon Allah, much as he tried to help all of India. He loved India, you see.

    And what a mess they have now.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Yep I twigged Gandhi might not have said Allah, but then again, as a Hindu, he might have, seeing he was mixing with Muslims constantly. So don’t trash the story. He could equally have said “God bless you” – to a Hindu, it all the same thing….so keep the story, it might actually be true!

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