Author Topic: WW2 Maldive Islands  (Read 5679 times)

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Offline dalditch

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WW2 Maldive Islands
« on: 30 July, 2009, 05:55:17 PM »
Hi Smuder
I was reading your item on Conscrition in WW2 in it you said that your Father was in te Royal Marines and served in the Maldive ISLANDS.
Head is a brief history of the R.M. Units that was there and what they went though.
The History of Port. T. A complete secret Naval Base hacked out of the Jungle on Addu Atoll Southernmost Island group in the Maldives for the Eastern Fleet. In August 1941 H.M.S. Guardan landed Royal Naval Construction crews to build a Naval base for Seaplanes, Oil Tanks for refueling Station for Naval Ships. The Port was to be use as a vital link in the convoy route to Australia and for certain operations in the Indian Ocean.
In Septermber 1941 Royal Marines of the 1st Coast Regiment and Landing and Maintenance Units of MNBDO.1 Some 500 men under the Commard of Brig Lukis R.M. went ashore at Addu Atoll to establish Seven Coastal Gun Batteries there and the Other Islands, also Serchlights Sigal Towers. Roads and a camp plus Jetties for the Base and in doing so paid a heavy price, Twenty three per-cent of the whole force had to be evacuated in the first three months as to ill to be any further use.

smudger

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #1 on: 30 July, 2009, 07:44:38 PM »
Dalditch thanks for the info
Like many who had a hard time during the war my dad rarely spoke of  it,everything had to be weedled out of him.
Some facts that i got from him were that he was in the 45 marine commando's and being a cable jointer before the war he ended up in the Maldive islands on a cable laying vessel between the islands doing the same job but underwater with the lead boots and diving helment.He suffered with "THE BENDS " and got malaria as well,this caused him to fall fast asleep or blackout as he called it in the hairdressers chair and we often had a call to bring him back home from there.I have aphoto of him among the palms  on the atoll but its to big to send to this site, will have to look into reducing it
thanks john smith   

Offline dalditch

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #2 on: 31 July, 2009, 06:50:25 PM »
Hi Smuger
Here is part two of the Maldives.
When the Marines reached Addu Atoll they were faced with virgin Jungle and great swells of the Indian Ocean breaking in perpetual surf on the coral reef palms towered above the Island themselves only a few feet above sealevel. The climate was hot and very damp, flies. mosquitos and rats were plentiful. Practically every drop of water had to be shipped to the Atoll. The Marines soon found that ever small scratch immediately turned sept and developed into a ulcer that sometimes refused to yeld to normal treatmaent. As for the roadways the Marines had to cut though the scrub to where the Batterie sites so that the they could take the heavy gun and equipment to be mounted in doing so many of them ended up with a form of scrub tyhus, born of the rats and their parasites. The programme required the guns to be mounted in six weeks, and in six weeks to the day the Batteries fired their proof rounds, but not before  the Devon and Kent Batteries of the R.M. Coarst Reg working on neighboruing Island had be reduced by sickness to few than 50 men apiece. On Hithadhoo Island the four miles of roadway from the landing placeto the Batterysite had to be laid across a swamp infested by giant land crabs, the Major in command stripped and led his men thigh deep into black foul smelling mud to lay foundations with palm fronds lashed into bundles, The linking of the Islands Batteries by telephone and submarine cable had to be done by blasting in the coral by Marines divers but many Marines ended up with scars from the coral whil laying cable in the water yet  despite all the difficulties by December 8th when news of Japans entry into the war reached the Islands the anchorage was already in astate of defence. In Junary 1942 the 1th R.M. Coast Reg left Addu Atoll and returned to Ceylon leaving behind the intense heat of the Atoll and the monotonus diet of tinned food and biscuits. Not long after reaching Ceylon they had a call for a special service of hazardous nature and out of 140 men who volunteered 100 was picked and by the 8th of February they saild from Colombo on H.M.S Enterprise for Rangoon it was known as Force Viper under the Commard of Maj D.Johnston  out of the 100 men that volunteered 67 was report missing on its return to India, and have known graveOn Februare 1942 the Landing and Maintenance returned to Addu Atoll with a company of Royal Marines Engineers to do some reaires at the Naval Base and to build Gan Airport. Smuder I think you Father must have in the L&mUnit or the Engineers for the had divers, also he must have joined the 45 commados which landed in Normandy 6th of June 1944 as they were not formed till 1944 a lot of Ex MNDBO went into the Cdos after returing fro the far East.  I to was in the Royal Marines I Volunteered in 1943 and came out in 1947
George

Offline ALANF

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #3 on: 31 July, 2009, 08:16:42 PM »
Dalditch/Smudger

The experiences of those Marines cannot begin to be imagined by those of us who weren't there. What a story to be told to Grandchildren.
I had a more modern experience of the Island of Gan. During the 60's and 70's it was used as a staging post on the route to the Far East. I staged there for a couple of days en route to Hong Kong. It consisted of little more that a giant runway that ran the length of the island. Nowhere was it more than a couple of feet above sea level. Lots of sand and stifling heat, with absolutely nothing to do except sun bathe or swim. That sound great, but the novelty wears off after a month or two. In those days, the Army and RAF blokes did 9 month unaccompanied tours. When the passenger planes carrying service families stopped for refueling, they were all brought into the reception building. All around this building was a big chainlink fence, and nobody was allowed admittance unless on duty there. This was to stop any interaction between the lonely squadies and wives and children.
As it was, every man not on duty, gathered at the fence when a plane was due, just to see and hear the sound of females and children. Funnily enough, when we landed, just 6 of us, there they all were standing at the fence looking on. In it's own way, I think being there for 9 months was also horrific.

Alan
As a footnote, the thing I really remember about Gan, were the huge Fruit Bats.

smudger

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #4 on: 31 July, 2009, 09:49:03 PM »
Dalditch/AlanF
Thanks for your contribution to my knowledge of the Maldives it seems to fall in line with the little I got from my dad. i suppose I should get his army records but i think it takes about 9 months plus certificates etc. He did say that he was on a small deserted island for around 3 months with the Japanese controlling larger islands close by,and not being able to smoke at night for fear of being discovered. I was also not aware the 45th were not formed until 1944, but he went into normandy on Day plus 10,  lost a brother at Chateau de Londe outside Caen on 28 june 1944, and thankfully returned home safe and sound after the war
john smith

Offline Andy C

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #5 on: 01 August, 2009, 12:43:28 PM »
Smudger.
Just obtained my dads service records from the Army, it took 2 months, at a cost of £30. When you apply you will need a copy of your Fathers death certificate. Well worth the wait though.

Andy

smudger

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #6 on: 01 August, 2009, 04:34:03 PM »
thanks for that andy
you've prompted me to apply i've downloaded the forms 
smudger

Offline dalditch

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #7 on: 01 August, 2009, 09:11:04 PM »
Hi Smuger.
Sorry the year should have been 1943 and not 44.
If you like I can you the story of Force Viper to your e-mail address
thats if you would like to read it.
George

Offline Peter Marshall

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #8 on: 02 August, 2009, 10:28:25 PM »
Andy or Smudger
Could you tell me where to get the forms, please?
Peter
Researching: Marshall [28 Carson Rd, 285 Grange Rd and 46 Kildare Rd], Rickard [34 Godbold Rd where I was born] as well as Blackery and Tresadern families who moved into the area.

Offline Andy C

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #9 on: 03 August, 2009, 10:46:02 AM »
Peter

The site you need to go to is,

www.army.mod.uk/welfare-support/family/6980.aspx

On the right hand side, under documents select Army search form-general inquirer.

Andy

Offline Peter Marshall

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Re: WW2 Maldive Islands
« Reply #10 on: 03 August, 2009, 11:27:42 PM »
Thank you, Andy.  I shall use that.
Peter
 
Researching: Marshall [28 Carson Rd, 285 Grange Rd and 46 Kildare Rd], Rickard [34 Godbold Rd where I was born] as well as Blackery and Tresadern families who moved into the area.