~ BURMA OR BUST ~
From Helwan, 'with the Greek, Malta and recent Desert disasters still fresh in everyones mind', the squadron was then ordered to Burma December 30, 1941 in yet another 'Too little, Too late' venture to strengthen the defense force there which was already under great pressure from their new enemy, the Japanese. Only a handfull of squadrons can claim they fought every major enemy of the war, the Italians, Germans and Japanese.
This dramatic and surprising move to Burma would have taken a considerable amount of organizing even under normal conditions, but under such short notice and extreme urgency it was to be a formidable task.
Having now re-equipped, the aircraft and crews were ordered to fly to Burma immediately with presumably some key personnel as passengers, whilst the remainder of the ground staff including recently joined aircrew, travelled by several ships which left from Port Tewfiq at various times. The ground personnel were to get the worst end of this deal 'which would become an ordeal' before they were to finally catch up with the aircrew. One of these was Corp J Lightbody: "We left Egypt and travelled to Bombay on the ship 'SS Westernland' then across India to Calcutta. There we spent some time in Fort William (old British College in Calcutta) before making our way to Rangoon. As soon as the ship docked the Jap bombers were over and we were pushed off the ship as quickly as possible and trucked off to the Zoo where we hid until the early hours of the following morning. We were then entrained to Toungoo". Corporal Norman (Mark) Lamb was also aboard the 'SS Westernland' stating they boarded at Port Suez in early January 1942 and after docking in Rangoon were taken to the nearby aerodrome at Mingaladon. He was not here long before proceeding to Toungoo. It is now known that not all the ground personnel travelled by the same route or left at the same time as Corp N. Say left Egypt on the 'SS Felix Roussel' and describes his harrowing odessey in great detail. (See chapter 8, View From The Ground)
Corp Glyn Edwards was another aboard the Felix Roussel and describes their departure on Jan 1, 1942: Reveille was at 6 a.m. and following an early breakfast, kit was packed and the squadron ready for departure to the docks. 'Some of us' had a little less kit to pack, however, because feeling browned off and a little homesick last night, we left our beds and gathering items of kit together, hastily made for the bazaars in town, hoping to find a buyer for the stuff. A furtive looking Arab took us through the dimly lit back alleys and we were ushered into a tailor's shop, and left in the hands of the heavily bearded 'boss'. Handling our wares rather roughly the great barter began. but finally on being offered a ridiculous price such as 5 piastres (1/-) for a nearly new RAF woollen jumper and just as stupid prices for other articles of clothing, we declined the offers, but on leaving was stopped at the door by a couple of tough looking 'nuts', who enticed us to take the money offered. New Year's Day, and we're aboard a Free French Troopshop, the FELIX ROUSSEL, we set sail on the Red Sea with Suez just another memory of the past.
Corp Edwards route took them to Bombay India by ship, overland to Calcutta and then by ship again to Rangoon in Burma where they arrived on the 27th of January 1942 and were put up in the Zoo for the night. The zoo was to be temporary home for many arriving troops. He continues:
After five miserable days afloat, we berthed at Rangoon this afternoon ... greeted by sirens sounding the alert, as Jap aircraft zoomed overhead. As expected, we were already in the thick of it. A couple of Ack-Ack guns fired at the intruders who apparently concentrated their attack on the near Mingladon airfield ... the airfield where the squadron's aircraft are presumed based. Quickly disembarking, with steel helmets being worn by all, our first hour on Burmese soil, was spent huddled in an air-raid shelter at the dockside. Thoughts must have been going through everyones minds, that this was a long way from home to get killed ! During a lull in the raid, we boarded trucks which, as usual, were awaiting us, and with no idea where we were off to, sped away from the dock area and soon joined the maelstrom of traffic in the main road. From the back of the truck we gazed in admiration at a party of gaily dressed Burmese girls, moving gracefully along as the all-clear siren still sounded. It's not a wonder that Burma is known as The Land of the Pagoda ... they're dotted everywhere, in all shapes and sizes. The premier attraction, the Great Shwe Dragon Pagoda, loomed up before us. Covered in pure gold, the beautiful building gleamed in the sunshine, as our convoy of vehicles drew nearer and nearer and eventually came to halt outside. Having been told to leave the trucks, we jumped down and hoisting our kitbags once again, was more than surprised to be marched into Rangoon's Zoological Gardens which is situated nearly opposite. Our S.W.O. barking out orders, paused for breath as we entered the gates and informed us that this was where we were to stay until midnight, when a troop train would be ready to transport us North.
Pilot Sgt John Reid, travelling by yet another ship also recalls this trip but his has an entirely different ending: I joined the Squadron on Christmas eve in 1941 in Helwan - Cairo where the Squadron was regrouping after coming out from Giarabub in the desert. Immediately after joining we were told we were on our way to Singapore and as there were not enough aeroplanes, the new arrivals had to go by ship. We boarded the 'SS City Of Paris' at Suez which was mostly occupied with Royal Marines but there was also quite a group of 113 Squadron on this trip of both air and ground crew. From Suez we left for Aden and from Aden on to Columbo. We left the ship at Columbo and went by train through India, up over the narrows at the top of Ceylon and across to Madras. Here we stayed at an army camp near Madras for awhile and then boarded the British India vessel the 'SS Neuralia' The ship arrived in the river at Rangoon on Feb 21, 1942 (21/02/1942) where I celebrated my 21st birthday aboard ship. Having arrived just as our C/O was in the process of getting out of Rangoon ahead of the rapidly approaching Japs, he told us "the last thing I need is more aircrew, if they don't have aeroplanes I don't want them". With that they turned the ship around and headed all the way back to Madras. From there we went up to Fyzabad (India) to an old Artillery Base where we met others from the squadron who were arriving following the retreat from Burma.
Meanwhile those who would be flying out departed on the December 30, 1941 when W/Cdr. Stidolph led off with a flight of six aircraft to be followed at 24 hour intervals by the other ten in flights of five. At least so the record shows, however it is now known that two aircraft did not leave untill the 5th as will be soon seen. The route followed was in five stages: Cairo (Egypt) to Sharjah; Sharjah to Karachi; Karachi to Allahabad; Allahabad to Calcutta (India) and finally Calcutta to Toungoo (Burma), with the last of these first two groups joining up with the others at Toungoo on 7th. January 1942.
Sgt Ewan Brooking was one of the aircrew who flew out and his version is a little different than the record shows: "On the 30th December the first 6 planes left just after 9am. with the C.O.leading, for the long haul to India and beyond. On the 1st. of January, another 5 planes left with F/L Duggan-Smith leading, the sixth plane was u/s. On the 5th I started on our long flight to Bangkok." This consisted of two squadron aircraft and two from a ferry flight enroute to Singapore.
As can be noted from Sgt Brooking above, the Official records do not quite match as there was a flight out of 'two aircraft' on the 5th January 1942. He continues: On the flight out there was a constant shedding and picking up of aircraft and their crews as the planes were made serviceable again. Each day we generally flew with one other aircraft of the Squadron, or sometimes there would be a small formation. My Squadron was not the first to use this route to the East that we were to follow, but it was probably the first of the trickle of re-deployed Squadrons that was sent out to re-inforce the battered remnants fighting in Singapore and Burma. We were to fly during daylight hours only, as any form of flight control was practically non-existent. There was no Radar, no direction finding equipment, and what little communications there were, was between main stations by W/T. The aircraft W/T sets were generally unserviceable, and R/T non-existant. We quite often arrived at an airfield before anyone knew we were coming. Navigation aids were also rudimentary.
It was quite chilly on the morning of January 5th., 1942, with a few rain squalls, and we were up early to be on our way. And so `Goodbye' to Cairo and Egypt. Our aircraft was Z7791 with the pilot Lt. J Viney and Wop/Ag. Sgt. John Wohlers There were two planes to go, the last two of the Squadron. Take off was at 0727 from Helwan, with a brief stop at Fayoum to join up with two more Blenheims being flown out to Singapore as reinforcements, by ferry crews. Take-off from Fayoum was at 0945 and the formation of 4 aircraft arrived at Lydda airport after 2-20hrs. flying time, but not before the leader had got lost dodging rain squalls, and we were bogged down when turning off the runway. It was some time before the plane was back on firm ground. That night was spent in a final savouring of the delights of Tel Aviv. Unwisely perhaps, and there were a few sore heads the next morning. And so we left the sands of Egypt for the paddy fields and jungle of Burma.
January 6th. and a flight of 3hrs.20 to Habbaniya in Iraq. Though we were only flying at 6000ft. it was bitterly cold. Our flight path took us over Jerusalem, blanketed in 6 inches of snow, the first for 20 years. Flying in tropical clothes wasn't much help either. At Habbaniya, the natives were classed as `unfriendly', and the station was a self-contained entity. The aircraft were parked within the compound and were well guarded. The crews were glad to see the decent accomodation provided and soon made use of it. January 7th. Up at 0515, and after breakfast went out to our respective aircraft, which now numbered 6. We were due to take off on the next leg to Muharraq island, Bahrain, but only 2 of us from the Squadron made it into the air ,at 1137. For various reasons the other 4 aircraft were still un-serviceable. After 5hrs. flying we finally landed at Muharraq. It should have been much less , only we passed by the airfield less than half a mile away in a blinding sandstorm, and went on to sight the coast of Arabia, before picking up some landmarks. Backtracking brought us safely back to the airfield. It was wild country out there and we wouldn't have looked forward to a forced landing, which would have been most hazardous.
On January 16th we landed at Lashio Airfield in Northen Burma, to rejoin the Squadron. (The first squadron arrivals by air (7 crews) had already been sent on operations to Bangkok and had then gone to Lashio to have the aircraft serviced)
According to 'Chappy" J Chapman there were 18 crews that left the Desert for Burma. The pilots were Lt Wilkie, Major Viney - Z7791, P/O 'yoppy' Loane, F/Lt 'Hookey' Russel, S/Ldr Peter Ford, S/Ldr Peter Duggan Smith, W/C Reg Stidolph, Sgt 'Tiger' Lloyd, Sgt Frank Thornton, F/O Jim Purvis, P/O Bassinthwaigthe (nickname B16), Sgt J Chapman, Sgt Percy Keeley, F/O Giles, F/Sgt Lorne Tapp, Sgt Willie Webster, P/O Sid Lee -7967, W/O Mackman. This may or may not be accurate however as the record shows 16 aircraft left for Burma and Sgt Brookings version only totals 14.
The distance that had to be covered is well over 4000 miles and this would have been an epic flight for a squadron in peacetime but in war conditions, with no casualties or major failures en-route, and to an urgent timetable, it was a remarkable achievement showing the highest standards of airmanship and equipment maintenance worthy of praise from the highest quarter. The only reward however, was more arduous work in another lost cause!
MINGALADON - BURMA
In fact the call to arms was immediate because, having flown all its aircraft from Toungoo to Mingaladon (the Rangoon airfield), seven crews from 113, with two from 30 squadron were despatched on the 8th. January, to bomb Bangkok, a further 700 miles there and back, where it was reported that, `fires were started in the dock area' and that, 'despite intense anti-aircraft fire all crews returned safely'.
Sgt Frank White states this order nearly resulted in mutiny. All the squadrons knew Air Vice Marshall Stevensons reputation for sending Blenheim crews to their deaths. The fact that only 7 days after assuming command he sends the 113 squadron out on a senseless mission of no urgency, a further 700 miles away and the very night they arrive after having traveled 4000 miles, gives some indication of why this man was loathed by so many. I think it can be safely assumed there was some extremely heated discussions in the operations room that night whereby it was made clear to him that Burma wasn't Britain and that his suicide missions would not be tolerated in this theater. It is certain he found out quickly the boys here were cut from a different bolt of cloth than those he commanded in Bomber Command back home in Britain. Having spent years living in tents in the deserts and jungles on poor rations, with old equipment and no spares, not to mention their informality and lack of uniforms, they had their own ways and few were awed by officialdom and rank anymore. It must have been a real eye opener and quick education for Air Vice Marshall Stevenson because after this stunt he seems to have begun exercising some discretion.
Not surprisingly the next week was spent having all aircraft serviced but the squadron recommenced operations on 16th. January 1942 with continuous work against the invading Japanese in south Burma and Malaya with occasional longer trips to Bangkok.
Even though the Blenheims are back at work, many of the Ground Crews and some aircrews are still enroute. After their long, arduous and dangerous journey by boat, rail and truck, little did they know the worst was yet to come for many of them. It seems that the ground crew, not all having left Egypt at the same time or by the same means, arrived in groups at various times smack in the middle of the retreat, some actually making it back to the squadron front line and others being re-routed to bases further back. Some arrived only to find the squadron already gone and with the Japs only miles away, were snatched temporarily to help destroy the aerodrome they had just arrived at!!
On 30th. January because of `persistent enemy bombing of Mingaladon Airfield' the squadron was withdrawn to Zayatkwin (Zayatkin). Here amazingly after all this time, one of the 'advance boat partys' (ground staff) from Port Tewfiq at last rejoined their colleagues after being disembarked at Rangoon, taken by train to Toungoo, and from there by truck to Zayatkwin. What a welcome they must have received as, by now, the retreat north was in full swing and it would appear doubtful whether they had enough time even to unpack their kit!
One of these early arrivals January 28th 1942 travelling by ground was Corp Glyn Edwards: "113 squadron is now stationed at Toungoo. Our billet is an evacuated school building, situated on the banks of the Sittang River. To the left of us, stretches a long bridge leading to the other side of the river and rather dense looking jungle. Taffy, in agreement with all of us, thinks its a 'bloody dump' to end up in ! We have already received a visit by enemy aircraft; the first air-raid that Toungoo has experienced. It was pitiful to see many frightened Burmese civilians running across the bridge, to what they considered a place of safety in the jungle. It is obvious that the Japanese are being informed of the squadron's movements".
"29th. January, This morning we had skinned sausages and bacon .. from tins .. and army biscuits, for breakfast. Quite edible, except that the biscuits need soaking before one can get ones teeth into the things ! To say they're 'hard' is putting it lightly. Oh for a nice slice of home-made bread ... just like mum used to make ! At 11.00 hours, 27 Jap aircraft appeared out of the blue, and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the nearby airfield. We were surprised not to hear any Ack-Ack fire, or see any allied fighters trying to intercept them ! Without one single shelter available, some of us decided to make a dash to the river side, and lay flat on the ledge at the waters edge, hoping that the bank would protect us. Following the all-clear, quite a few of us were issued with picks and shovels and ordered to dig slit trenches ..... With the terrible heat of the day and sun-baked ground, we found it practically impossible to penetrate the concrete hard surface, let alone digging deep enough to form a suitable place of safety! We reluctantly gave up ... we'd make do with the banks of the river !
And, make do with the river bank we did this afternoon, when once again 27 enemy aircraft paid us a visit, and shedding their load without any interception from British or allied fighters, the bombers banked and returned to base ... seems so strange !
Titch, Mack and myself paid a visit to the 'town' earlier this evening ... what a dump! A dusty smelly road with some 'shacks' acting as shops, met our smarting eyes as we entered the place, in the hope of being able to purchase some cigarettes. No such luck ... only cigars available; cigarettes very hard to get ! With little choice, we plumped for the large Burmese cheroots, which cost practically nothing to buy; quite a strong smoke but will have to put up with them until we come across some cigs. Nearly every woman we saw, sported a cigar in the mouth ... inhaling the foul tasting smoke, also ! Shouldn't think I can stomach the things for too long. Its been extremely hot today ..."
"30th. January" Fatigues being carried out this morning, were rudely interrupted when the usual number of Japs appeared overhead at precisely 11.00 hrs. .. the same time as yesterday. We have discovered that they are based on the Siam border, just over the mountainous range we view fom our quarters. Flying in perfect formation, the leader drops his bombs and then the others immediately release theirs. Watching them turning and going back over the mountains, one would think that they are all tied together ... such is the perfection of their flying when there is no opposition!
"A queer war is this. We are all wondering where our Blenheims are, as not one of the squadron's planes have been seen, since our arrival. At 15.00 hours, this afternoon, the yellow peril was overhead again, so we have come to the conclusion that they know something that we don't !
This last paragraph is a hilarious indication of the ensuing chaos that was taking place as the Japs rapidly advanced. This fairly large group of Ground & Air Crew which had arrived at Toungoo after the squadron had left, were not yet aware that it had gone. Mind you, they may not have been told because no one knew what to tell them, but it still doesn't change the fact you have a large part of the squadron, sitting around being bombed, who haven't a clue where their aeroplanes are. But wait, it gets even funnier:
"3rd. February Usual air activity today, and scores of natives continue to rush to shelter over the bridge. Hot as ever and feeling a little browned-off ... in more ways than one!
4th. February, Have now been in Toungoo 7 days, and the food, as like everything else, has deteriorated. Still, no cigarettes available in the 'town', and these Burmese cheroots taste lousier every day !
7th February, Felt a little off-colour, the last few days. Hope I am not about to catch 'something'. Pity the poor chaps in Jap hands ... have heard that many prisoners are being tortured."
Can you tell they're bored? Just following the bland dialogue is funny, note 'that being bombed daily' hardly rates an entry in the diary now.
10th. February, Further days suffered with the heat; usual Jap raids, and some nasty 'monsters', but early this morning all happenings at Toungoo suddenly ended, when orders were given for us to pack all kit and parade 'outside' at 8.a.m. sharp ! The squadron without any aircraft was on the move again ! Destination again 'Top Secret' but we were told that our journey would take us North.
Keeping this groups dilemma in mind, the whole shambles collapses into comic absurdity when it is known that at this very moment unbeknown to one another, hundreds of miles away, the large group of the squadron who had been turned away at the Rangoon docks, and while perhaps not quite as bored by routine bombing, were also wondering where their aircraft were!
Pilot Sgt John Reid and the large body of men that had posted in while the squadron was still at Helwan Egypt back in December 1941 had wondered then where the squadron aircraft were, and have yet to see any aircraft since joining the squadron. This group, having arrived in Burma while it was being evacuated were turned around and had been sent up to Fyzabad in India. Sgt John Reid comments, "As it was in Egypt, there were no aeroplanes here either, just a bunch of airmen without aeroplanes."
Squadron HQ was now further back at Magwe with the aircraft still operating from Zayatkwin, and in the very late stages of the fighting from an emergency landing strip called `Highland Queen' near Mingaladon. This was a dangerous situation with the Japanese air forces so dominant and the last sortie from here took place on the 6th. March, the crew returning to find the airstrip being strafed by enemy fighters. The next day the position was so critical that, with the `imminent fall of Rangoon' no further operations were possible. Corporal Norman Lamb comments on this period: 23rd March 1942 (23/03/1942) I am still at Magwe but we have no aircraft. (Surprise, Surprise) It is intended to raid from India, but as the distance is so great the Blenheims will have to be refuelled on the way back. In between time we are getting bombed and straffed. Things are getting grim and we are advised to get to Lashio, so we go via Yenungyaung and Mandalay. At Lashio we are refuelling after raids. Once again it gets to hot from Japanese bombing and we move into China, Loiwing. Food is now getting short, it is mainly rice with a little bully beef. Temperature was in the 90s.
Corp Jimmy Lightbody, a Ground Gunner attached to 113 squadron also comments on the hasty departure from Magwe: At Magwe we occupied what I think had been a school which was about four or five miles from the airfield. (Corp Lightbody is confusing Magwe with Toungoo) One evening while we were having our meal the C.O. came in and said "Look chaps the Japs have broken through and are only 24hrs away, get on anything you can and make your way up to Mandalay". At that we all dropped everything and made for our Garries. Everyone had a truck and we were making our way to our trucks when the Warrant Officer Armourer who-was in charge of us Ground Gunners shouted "Where the hell are you fellows going", we told him what the C.O. had said and he said "you are staying here with me and we have to destroy all this equipment". If the Japs don't get here before 2pm. tomorrow we will try and get the DC2 to come and pick us up. Well we got down to the job in hand and I can always remember having to go into the Billets and drag out all the Kitbags, put them in a wooden hut and set fire to it. The lads had just dropped eveything in the mess tent and made for their trucks. We didn't bother with the mess but got busy destoying the equipment. We were working all during the night and from time to time drivers were coming in from the airfield and other places only to be collared by the Warrant Officer and put to work. In all there must have been about 25 to 30 of us and by about 11am we had more or less finished the job. During the destruction of equipment we opened two cases and were surprised to find they contained brand new Lee Enfields. The officer said we could have to get rid of our old rifles if we wanted a new one. Some were given to the M.T. people and we were told if the old ones had to be destroyed we would have to take the bolts out and go and bury them out in the field. Then the rest of the rifles had to be smashed up. We were all hanging about when somebody started firing their rifle at the Kitehawks flying around. Soon we were all at it, when suddenly appeared 3 Jeeps containing 12 Redcaps who called a halt to it. The Sargeant said they had thought the Japs had broken through. The Warrant Officer appeared and assured them we would keep quiet. About 10 mins. later he reappeared and told us to load our kit up and make way to the airfield. There it was deserted and we hung about expecting the plane to arrive about 2pm. We were still there at 2.30 when we heard the sound of an aircraft coming from the direction of Yenenyaung.When it landed the Pilot told us to get aboard and we thought he was going to take us to Mandalay but he had orders to take us to Akyab and try and get us on a ship for-Calcutta. As it happened we got over Akyab and on looking down at the harbour could see only one ship. We landed and sent two chaps down to see if the Captain could take us aboard. He said he could and at that the Pilot said cheerio. We boarded the ship and eventually arrived at Asansol."
Corp Lightbody and his group were very fortunate to get out of Burma by air and ship, many did not. Corp Glyn Edwards was another who flew out and gives us some proof that it was every man for himself, get out however you can. He concludes this saga with another entry from his diary:
"Our retreat from Burma came as no surprise. The C.O. called a parade and with a few words of sound advice on what and what not to do, we prepared to evacuate. Time to place our kit neatly beside the beds, as ordered, and with only the clothes we stood up in, men of the squadron left the Magwe billets with possible chances of either flying out, or joining the thousands of civilians in their long walk towards China."
With Titch, Taffy, and several of the other lads, I decided to take a chance and make for the airfield, where various types of aircraft were expected to arrive from India ... in an all-out effort to get us away. Several airmen were air-lifted out as the day went on, but it wasn't until late afternoon, when Jap aircraft were bombing and strafing the airfield, that Titch, Taffy and myself managed to scramble aboard a Blenheim, which belonged to another squadron based in India. Touching down on the bomb-scarred runway, the pilot shouted out asking if any of us were armourers by trade. With the answer in the negative, we were then asked if any one of us had ever had experience with machine guns. I yelled back that I'd had a crash-course on a Lewis Gun when stationed at Lossiemouth. Amidst the noise of the engines, the words were heard, 'O.K. chum, you can act as my airgunner, but for Christ sake don't fire unless you have to .. .as we've got no cut-out on this gun, and I should hate to have our tail shot off !' With the treacherous country behind us, and nearing our destination, the aircraft began losing height and within a very short time we were bumping down on the runway, at Akyab airfield.
From here Corp Edwards states many left Akyab by ship, however he and others were amazed to find themselves being airlifted out by an ancient bi-wing Vickers Valentia, a not so subtle indicator that every possible means of transport was being utilized in an attempt to get as many out as possible. Another of those that made it to Akyab by air and lifted out by the Valentia was Sgt Cyril Law. He describes how they drew names from a hat, the winners getting airlifted out and the unlucky ones having to make the impossible and deadly journey on foot: We were eventually evacuated, at almost the last minute. As we drew names from one hat, and method of leaving from another, one of the only two Blenheim's we had left took off. A Sgt Fitter came running up and told us the Adjutant had taken his own option and left. NELLY WALLACE he was known as. We now had only two aircraft to fly out in, a Dakota and a Blenheim. As there were now 4 men to fly with us (who should have been in the last Blenheim), we had to put them in the Dakota which meant, now, dumping all of our kit, rifles, ammo, everything we had! This was all dumped on the runway, soaked in petrol and burned including all the squadron records. Bang! went the hope of drawing back pay. We left just as the Japs were about 1/2 mile away... thank god, and landed at Akyab. Here we embarked on an ancient Vickers Valencia biplane (only the best for the 113) and eventually landed at Chittigong, slept on bug infested charpoys and woke up bitten to hell. We then flew into Dum Dum aerodrome Calcutta about 10 o'clock in the morning.
On 12th. March the entry in the squadrons Operations Record Book, which must have been written up later, is worth quoting in full: `all remaining serviceable aircraft flown out to Dum Dum, Calcutta. Some ground personnel taken but most attached to 45 squadron which continued to operate for a short time. These men rejoined 113 at various intervals from the middle of April onwards, some by air, but most (a considerable number) trekked out over the difficult northern mountain track'. What a wealth of stories of hardship, privation and courage must lie behind this short statement bearing in mind that the distance involved is over 400 miles and those who know the terrain and climate in this part of the world can have nothing but respect and admiration for the gallant men who suffered so much to get back to their unit to fight again. Corporal Norman (Mark) Lamb was one of these gallant men who walked out.