2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

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Recorded Interview
Pte. Kenneth James Wells 14559924
Page 4


.....Kin-U was a terrible battle we were there all night; your dad was involved heavily in that, we were dug in at the side of a road when a jeep came along with an officer of the Royal Corp of Signalers if I remember rightly. We shouted out to them, where you going? Because as far as we could see the Japs were just down the road. The officer said they were going to locate somebody, we replied if you go down there your going to get bloody killed, they took no notice and went on, we heard shooting and the jeep returned with the officer slumped over the bonnet wounded and the driver was driving like a man possessed. That night the Japs put in a big attack, hell it was, they attacked the main Company before turning their attention on us, they attacked us twice.

.....In the morning we came across our blokes, they’d put our blokes at the side of the track, laid them out like clothes pegs on a line, Padre Barry asked for volunteers to help bury the men, I volunteered, not something I would ever volunteer to do again, we dug a large makeshift grave, I remember lifting one bloke up and his glasses were hanging down his face, one arm of the frame on his ear the other at his cheek, terrible it was, terrible.

.....Padre Barry said a short prayer over them and said, leave the rest let the grave diggers deal with them, there were a lot of Japanese dead along the road about 40 laying there where they had attacked us, but we didn’t bury them, we never buried the Japs.

Hill 15R:
.....I was selected to lead a patrol as the officer Lieutenant XXXX had not been with us long and had never been out on one of these patrols before. Ken said, “For the record it was recorded that XXXX lead a three man patrol, it never happened like that, there were five of us on that patrol, including the officer making it six”. We left while it was still dark going to the right of our intended objective going the long way round, watching ahead, overhead, to the sides and our footfall, always aware of boobie traps. The Japanese used boobie traps; they would tie a cluster of hand grenades with wire and adjust them so when you unknowingly moved them by disturbing the wire or moving an object that they were concealed under would set them off. Favorite trick of theirs until we got wise to this was to put them on our dead, their own dead, underneath logs and trees especially along the Mawche Road to slow down our advance, you had to have eyes in the back of your head to spot them. We had several men who lost limbs this way. Their hand grenades were smaller than our 36 grenade that we carried, what they used to do to activate them before throwing was to tap the head of it on something, their boot or any firm surface and they would fizz like a firework.

.....We made it down to the Irrawaddy River and the first thing we spotted were some Burmese with Oxen pulling a cart, XXXX told me to find out where they were going and what was on the cart under the covering as they could be Japanese and added that they would give me supporting cover, I went forward very apprehensively to take a look in the cart, I spoke to one Burmese man in a mixture of sign and what little I could do to make myself understood as I could not speak their language, to my relief they only had awful smelling vegetables, Mangos and things like that and as far as I could ascertain they were going to cross the Irrawaddy River at the point he indicated, that’s where the Japs were, although we didn’t know that at the time, after reporting this back to XXXX who said O.K. let them go.

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Pte. Kenneth James Wells
Pte. Kenneth James Wells

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