Major C F Ottaway In Support Of The Columns
Major C F Ottaway who was at the air base during the 2nd Bn's Chindit operations writes:-
I was sent with an advance party to Northern Assam to a place called Tinsukia, at Milestone 9 on the Ledo road, where the Americans had an airstrip for light planes. My job was to prepare company areas in the jungle and to arrange to water the mules from a nearby stream. We were about two miles off the road, and the ticks and leeches were a menace. It rained for nine days before the Battalion arrived in the middle of the night. American transport took them to Fleet Street, my camp at Milestone 9, and it was here that Major General Orde Wingate and General Sir George Giffard, the Colonel of the Regiment, visited the Battalion. It was here that we saw the American Galahad Jungle Force, known as Merrill's Marauders, pass through. From Milestone 9 the Chindit Columns moved up the road and into the Burmese jungle.
I was sent to Sylhet to work with the American Air Force engaged -in supply drops to our troops in the jungle. While at Sylhet, which was our Brigade Headquarters, I was sent back to Calcutta to buy up all the beads, trinkets and small looking-glasses that I could find in the bazaars. I managed to get them back with nine big cases of the stuff, and it was a relief that nothing was stolen. These trinkets, with some silver dollars, were to be dropped on the jungle villages in the hope that the inhabitants would help our troops, particularly the wounded.
My little force of 18 was then airlifted to a jungle airstrip called Kangla, where we joined a dozen RAF personnel. Our job there was to land the aircraft with supplies for the air drops. While we were there, General' Orde Wingate was killed, and I met his successor, Major General Lentaigne, as he passed through Kangla.
The Battalion came out of the jungle while we were at Kangla, and from here we were flown back to the base at Sylhet, and from there I was repatriated.