FACE TO FACE WITH A GUERILLA
Warrant Officer J. A. Green
(Air Gunner / Air Despatcher)
think our most eventful flight of the war was on the 5th March with the codename ‘Heavy’.
Take off was 08.10 hours and briefing was to land on an airstrip in China
to deliver an agent and to pick up the one who had been in the area for
some time. Fortunately the monsoon season had not yet started and being
daylight it was a fairly smooth flight.
Japanese held strip had been taken for our landing by a Chinese guerilla
force who were now holding the Japanese back at each side of the strip.
We landed with the usual Dakota flair, after dodging a few rounds from
one side or the other, and Wally taxied to the end of the runway and
turned round ready for a quick take-off, without cutting the engines,
and then it would be back home for a cup of char lads. My duty was to
remove the rear door, put the steps down and help our passenger out with
his packages, arms and radio etc.
new passenger climbed in gladly and we later learned that he had been in
receipt of Japanese 'hospitality' and lost both hands. I believe that
our Chinese friends had been involved in his rescue.
brought him forward with our crew and were ready for take off. I was
forward with skipper Wally and looked out of the starboard window to see
one of the guerilla’s looking more like a gorilla and pointing his
rifle and bayonet at me. As Wally had another guy at his side and
several others around, our passenger suggested calling his replacement
back to check the problem. This he did and found that the Chinese gang
had been told to take the strip for a plane to land – but had no
instructions for allowing it to depart! After thirty minutes or so they backed off and
away we went.
was a long trip back to the airbase and we landed at the USAAF base
Myitkyina in Northern Burma to refuel. This reminded me of a previous
landing there, also to refuel, with a group of 22 Gurkha paratroopers
and their British Major on their way out of a mission. Our crew and the
Major and skipper Wally had asked the Major to tell the gurkha’s to
look after the plane. Midway through our meal, an American Top Sergeant
came along to ask for the Brit crew. He wanted to tank us up but our
gurkha’s were sitting in a circle around the Dak with their hands on
their kukri knives with no intention of letting the Yanks touch
anything. Their boss soon gave the word or I might still have been out
there. Another example of obeying orders.
my tour of ops (300 hours) was completed the crew split up and I took
the first of two 28 days leave at hill stations in the Himalayas.
posting to Air Headquarters China/India/Burma in Barrackpore near
Calcutta: and here I took a driving course with a test finishing on the
runway driving a Chevrolet car and touching 90mph at the suggestion of
the WO examiner. He then gave me the necessary note to avoid another
civilian test when demobbed.
Rangoon had just been liberated we sailed down the Bay of Bengal (more
monsoon) and on arrival I was asked what job did I want to do? What else
but the Intelligence Section! They must have though I was a backroom boy
of 357 Squadron.
1945 should have been spent at home as I had drawn a place for 28 days
leave. Leaving Rangoon on December 1st and flying all the way in various
kites including Dakotas and Liberators (no boats or trains) we arrived
at the end of January 1946. The 28 days leave stretched until May for
return by boat (the Empress of Australia) from Liverpool with 5,000
Italian POW’s to Naples and then a proper cruise to Bombay. By trains
and boat we headed towards Rangoon and shortly after a return to the UK
and Blackpool for demob as a Sergeant, not as earlier Warrant Officer,
the RAF having decided this in their wisdom but without a reduction in
pay. I ask WHY?
transport was essential on return home and so my demob cash was spent on
an almost new motor bike but quickly exchanged for a 1934 MG car. This
surely created a better image with the girls when "Johnny came
rejoined my father in the pawnbroking business, but by 1952 the demand
for this had slowly declined and the business was discontinued. The
decision enabled us to concentrate on the jewellery side of the business
with the addition of a photographic section, which kept me very active
until semi-retirement in 1986. The time since then has been taken up
with odd days of work, walking, taking holidays not possible as self
employed, joining various groups such as the Air Crew Association, Air
Gunners and PROBUS and one day, hopefully, making a catalogue of a wide
collection of records and tapes.
onto 1989 my wife and I joined the celebrations of the 50th anniversary
of the first flight of the Liberator in San Diego, California, where the
highlights were to see a Liberator fly in, and dancing to the Bob Crosby
band playing music from the 1940’s.
in 1992 we joined Ralph Dalglish and Ken Williams, the Wireless Operator
and Navigator on my Dakota crew, along with their wives for the Aircrew
reunion, and then on to Toronto to be met by Wally Kindred and his wife.
Wally had placed a huge placard outside his house to show that we were
having our first crew reunion for 47 years. What a time we had recalling