World War Two Key Maritime Choke Points Controlled by Royal Navy

British Empire Controlled Key Maritime Choke Points in World War Two
THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21902) A depth charge explodes after it had been dropped from HMS CEYLON. The ship had just made a call at Colombo the capital of Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186946

 

Now Sri Lanka, in World War Two this was the British colony of Ceylon which controlled key maritime shipping lanes.

One of the reasons the British Empire had such a hold on the oceans of the world was their control of key choke points for maritime traffic. These included the southern tip of India, that entire country then ruled by the British. Close by, controlling a key passage into the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal was modern day Sri Lanka, then the British colony of Ceylon.

The Royal Navy had numerous ships stationed in several bases on Ceylon although at one point after a series of Japanese attacks the British Eastern Fleet withdrew to Mombassa. The island itself hosted large numbers of British military facilities.

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 20199) Marines at drill with three 40 mm Bofors guns at the Royal Marine Group Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation Instructional Wing, Chatham Camp, Colombo, Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186779

 

SERVING IN THE EAST. MARCH 1945, ON BOARD THE ESCORT CARRIER HMS EMPRESS AND AT A ROYAL NAVAL AIR STATION IN COLOMBO, CEYLON. FLEET AIR ARM PERSONNEL SERVING IN THE EAST. (A 28068) Hellcats of the Royal Navy, fitted with long-range tanks, just about to be catapulted off HMS EMPRESS. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205159472

 

TALLY HO LIMPS HOME. 9 MARCH 1944, COLOMBO, CEYLON. THE RETURN TO PORT OF THE SUBMARINE TALLY HO AFTER A SUCCESSFUL PATROL DURING WHICH SHE SUSTAINED DAMAGE WHEN A JAPANESE TORPEDO BOAT CRASHED INTO HER. (A 22887) General view of the damaged submarine showing how the Japanese torpedo-boats’s propellor sliced it like ‘crackling on pork’. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205155033

 

WOMENS ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE IN CEYLON, 1943 (A 21442) Wren M Cooper, of London, at work plotting out the course of a ship on a chart in a Ceylon plotting room. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186904

 

THE WOMEN’S ROYAL NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21441) Wren Plotters G Finlay, of Kenya (left) and A Colborne, of Liverpool moving ships on the plot in a Naval Operations Room in Ceylon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186903

 

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 21428) The Women’s Royal Naval Service: Wrens coming off watch spend a restful hour in their cajan roofed cabins at the WRNS Quarters in Ceylon. Note the mosquito nets tied up and hanging above each bed. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205186901

 

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 24959) The Women’s Royal Naval Service: Admiral Sir James Somerville Commander -in-Chief Eastern Fleet inspecting Wrens serving with the Eastern Fleet in Colombo, Ceylon. To celebrate his sixty second birthday he held an inspection of Wrens, with nearly 250 of them were on parade. After the inspection they marched past the saluting base to music from a Royal Marine band. As the Admiral was leaving the Wr… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187245

“Slim Jim” Somerville was one of the Royal Navy’s most successful fighting admirals in WOrld War Two. Prior to being sent out to command the Eastern Fleet, at that time a collection of old World War One battleships, Somerville had command the famous “Force H” from Gibraltar.

Curiously, Somevile had been placed on the retired list before the war because of a misdiagnosed medical condition of tuberculosis which he did not have. When recalled to the colours, he remained on the retired list thus receiving both his pension and his active duty pay.

 

COLOMBO’S JUNIOR FLEET CLUB. JANUARY 1944, THE JUNIOR FLEET CLUB, COLOMBO, CEYLON HAS BEEN RUN FOR MORE THAN 2 YEARS FOR THE MEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY UNDER 20, BY MRS G W HUNTER BLAIR, WIDOW OF A CEYLON PLANTER, WHO IS AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN AS GRANNY TO THE CLUB MEMBERS. (A 22274) Rev C L Martineau, RNVR, holds his weekly discussion group at the Junior Fleet Club, of which he is warden. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205154488

Junior ratings wore long black socks with tropical rig. Higher rates, petty officers, and officers wore white socks. The chaplain, although classified as an officer for purposes of pay and food and uniform and quarters, actually did not have a rank. The Royal Navy believed the men would more readily consult the chaplain about their personal issues, one of his main functions, if he wasn’t officially an officer.

NOEL COWARD ENTERTAINS THE MEN OF THE EASTERN FLEET, HMS VICTORIOUS, TRINCOMALEE, CEYLON, 1 AUGUST 1944 (A 25390) Noel Coward standing at the microphone on a flag-bedecked stage on the aircraft lift aboard HMS VICTORIOUS with Norman Hackworth at the piano. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187321

Royal Indian Navy Fighting World War Two

 

The Royal Indian Navy was one of the armed forces of British India. Created by the East India Company in the early 1700s, it was subsequently absorbed into the armed forces of British India. The British expanded the Royal Indian Navy in World War Two. This navy formed the basis of the modern Indian Navy.

 

C IN C EASTERN FLEET VISITS HIS SHIPS. 2 OCTOBER 1944, COLOMBO, CEYLON. ADMIRAL SIR BRUCE FRASER, GCB, KBE, COMMANDER IN CHIEF EASTERN FLEET PAID HIS FIRST VISIT TO SHIPS UNDER HIS COMMAND, INCLUDING SHIPS OF THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY, AND INSPECTED OFFICERS AND MEN. AMONG THE SHIPS VISITED WAS THE CARNATIC OF THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY. (A 26325) The C in C inspecting members of the CARNATIC’s company. Left to right: Able Seaman Muhammed Yusuf Khan, of Murree, Rawalpindi; Able Seaman (ST) James Vanspall, of Madura, Trichnopoly; Able Seaman (ST) Karunskaran Maniath, of Dharmadam, Malabar; Able Seaman Amarijit Singh Bakshi, of Ghun Grila, Rawalpindi. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205157938

 

TWENTY-THREE YEARS WITH THE INDIAN NAVY. 21 OCTOBER 1943, LONDONDERRY. TWO MEN OF THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY WHOSE SERVICE TOTALS 46 YEARS; ABBAS TAJUDDIN, CHIEF STOKER (LEFT) AND YUSUF ALI, CHIEF MECHANIC. THEY ARE BOTH FROM RATNIGARI, AND HAVE BOTH SERVED IN THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY FOR 23 YEARS. THEY ARE AT PRESENT SERVING IN THE INDIAN SLOOP KRISTNA. (A 19998) Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205152520

 

ON BOARD THE INDIAN SLOOP KRISTNA. 21 OCTOBER 1943, LONDONDERRY. (A 19999) The Shipwright Abdol Khalio, who comes from Gujrat, Punjab, with a wooden model of HMIS KRISTNA, the sloop in which he is serving. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205152521

 

THE ROYAL INDIAN NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (IB 1535) A portrait by Cecil Beaton of an Indian naval rating operating a signal lamp on the sloop SUTLEJ at the Royal Indian Naval Station at Calcutta. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125435

 

ROYAL INDIAN NAVY AND EASTERN FLEET HARASS JAPANESE FORCES, BURMA, FEBRUARY – MARCH 1944 (A 23453) A Royal Indian Navy rating, Vincent, of Travencore, sitting on the deck of a ship collects up empty 20 mm cartridge cases and puts them into a hessian bag. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187050

 

DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE, THE UNDER SECRETARY FOR INDIA, VISITS MEMBERS OF HM ROYAL INDIAN NAVY, AT A BASE. 1941. (A 3307) The Duke of Devonshire inspecting sailors of the Royal Indian Navy. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205137710

 

THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR (A 23449) As darkness falls the bombardment of Japanese positions begins during a typical operation by Coastal Forces of the Royal Indian Navy, which include units of the Royal Navy, South African Naval Forces and Burma RNVR. Here the forward gun of one of the coastal forces boats is being fired. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187049

 

INDIAN WRENS VISIT ROSYTH, 3 JUNE 1945 (A 29070) Chief Officer Margaret L Cooper, Deputy Director of the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS), with Second Officer Kalyani Sen, WRINS at Rosyth during their two month study visit to Britain. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187585

 

 

 

 

 

British Army in Burma


THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 1824) Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, with Major General G N Wood in a jeep during a visit to the 25th Indian Division, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205135

Frightfully unqualified for anything, Mountbatten made numerous ghastly mistakes. His appointment in South East Asia did increase morale of the “Forgotten Army of Burma” since he was a member of the royal family and enjoyed massive press coverage.  In fact, Mountbatten made the “forgotten army of Burma” quite famous. Very keen on publicity was Dickie Mountbatten. His HQ in Ceylon had a staff of 7,000 men and women a number of whom spent their time getting him publicity.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2358) A 25-pdr field gun and its crew about to start their journey on a pontoon raft down the Kalapanzin River from Buthidaung, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205199

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2355) A 25-pdr field gun and jeep being transported on a pontoon raft down the Kalapanzin River from Buthidaung, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205198

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 2188) Sherman tanks moving forward to support infantry in the Myebon area, January 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205180

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3167) A Daimler scout car, Sherman tank and Dodge weapons carrier disembarking from a pontoon raft after crossing the Irrawaddy at Ngazun, 28 February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205470

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 1931) Men of the 6th Gurkha Rifles go into action at Singu on the Irrawaddy bridgehead, with Sherman tanks in support, February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205147
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3111) The crew of a jeep take stand ready with Sten guns beside their vehicle during an encounter with the Japanese in the advance on Mandalay, February 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126435
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3342) The .50-inch machine gun of a Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205504

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3335) The crew of ‘Deepcut’, a Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, have a cup of tea and play a hand of cards during a lull in fighting, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205503

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3346) Priest 105mm self-propelled gun in action, 7 March 1945 Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205505

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3361) Priest 105mm self-propelled gun, 7 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205506

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 3074) Sherman tanks of Probyn’s Horse (5th King Edward VII’s Own Lancers), 255th Armoured Brigade, advancing on the road between Myaungyu on the Irrawaddy bridgehead and Meiktila, March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205451

British Indian Army, British Army and British Commonwealth Troops Reclaim Burma from Japanese

The largest all-volunteer fighting formation of the British Empire in World War Two was the British Indian Army which was recruited in British India then comprised of modern day Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. More than 2.5 million men served in the British Indian Army and they fought all over the world.

 

 

ALLIED FORCES IN NORTHERN BURMA, JUNE 1945 (HU 87180) Mandalay fell to the 19 Indian Division after fierce fighting during the drive on Mandalay from the north. Picture shows: Tanks with infantry speeding along the road to attack a village near Madaya, 12 miles north of Mandalay. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205085629

 

THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 87182) Mule convoy carrying supplies into Burma. Photo shows: Mule convoy crossing a stream, the water is muddy and leech infested. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205088016
THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 88980) Imphal to Kohima: the meeting at MS 109 of the 7th Cavalry and 33 Corps. Jemader Karnail Singh of 7th Cavalry shakes hands with Major AC T Brotherton, a 33 Corps Staff Officer. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219276

 

THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 88979) Wingates Expedition: Air Supply Dropping of Rations. View from an aircraft of a message written on the ground with parachutes. It reads ‘Plane land here now’. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219283
BURMA VICTORY: 4TH CORPS CAPTURE MEIKTILA (IND 4447) Men of an Indian Regiment charge burning remnants of Seywa during the drive on Meiktila. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205225485

 

BURMA: BRITISH TROOPS CROSS SHWELI RIVER (SE 1790) After the heaviest air and land bombardment in this sector of the Burma front, British and Indian troops of the 36th Division forced a crossing in assault craft over the Shweli river to Myitson. The Shweli is the last river barried to the 36th Division’s advance into central Burma, and the Japanese opposed the ferry crossing fanatically. This image shows men of the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205225496
THE WAR IN THE FAR EAST: THE BURMA CAMPAIGN 1941-1945 (HU 87183) Tanks of the 25th Dragoons near Fort White. 25-pounders re-established in the gunners box on Kennedy Peak open fire again on the retreating Japanese. Picture shows: General Lee tank on Hill 8225. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205088015
THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4470) British troops in the Sittang Bend area, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205584

Defensive measures for Burma were never put into place by the British because they did not believe Burma was under much threat. By the time they did, it was too late. After a series of small engagements with invading Japanese, British Army, British Indian Army and Commonwealth troops under General Sir Harold Alexander (later Field Marshal, Earl Alexander of Tunis) made a fighting retreat to British India where the Japanese were halted. The climate made fighting even more miserable than fighting could be.

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4459) General Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India, inspecting troops, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205588

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4463) 4.2-inch mortars of 33rd Anti-tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, in the Sittang Bend area, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205582

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1945 (SE 4468) 5.5-inch guns of 63rd Medium Battery firing on Satthinagyon, 1 August 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205583