ENGLISH, R.W. Major, Letter on Mission 204

Transcript (by Elaine Southworth-Davies) of a letter from Major R.W. English in response to an enquiry from Kevin O'Marah about the war service of his father WO1 Andrew O'Marah.

"April 15. 1984

Dear Mr O’Marah

I am writing in response to your request in the Legion under “Lost Trails” for information concerning the British Military Mission to China (204 Mission).

I was with the Malayan Contingent which arrived in Burma (Maymyo) when the Bush Warfare School was opened in 1941. During the first few weeks we were joined by the other Contingents which made up 204 Mission.  These Contingents came from Middle East (Commando Units) Australian Infantry Units (Malaya ) Far East (Hong Kong) and ourselves of course, drawn from Infantry and R E Units etc., Malaya.

After several months training and following the outbreak of hostilities with Japan the Mission left for China as planned. Those left behind in Burma were to eventually reinforce the Mission as and when required. However, in the light of the events that followed those remaining were eventually absorbed into the Burma Forces and it is at that time that No. 9 Independent Coy. and the Special Service Battalion must have been formed.

As for ourselves, we stayed in China for about twelve months and eventually were flown out to India. Not having really done an awful lot, most of us came out sick and when fit again joined other Units such as Wingate Forces. With a number of others, I later joined Force 136.

I cannot recall your father but certainly have still a vivid recollection of those days in Maymyo and, having been there from the very early days, may be able to assist you if you should require information on any specific details. If so, please let me know.

Yours sincerely


R. W. English, Major "

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