Skip to content

b5 c45 owens

It is often said that Manxmen get everywhere.
In 1943, following some of the toughest training ever endured by British troops, 3,000 men led by
Major-General Orde Wingate, marched up to 1,500 miles into occupied Burma, deep behind enemy
lines. The operation was known as “Operation Longcloth”.
Carrying packs weighing over 5 stones, for almost 2 months the men (later known as Chindits) set out
on a series of raids and ambushes against the enemy, destroying supply depots and attacking rail and
other communication targets.
Suffering from malnutrition, dysentery, malaria and other tropical diseases, the men paid heavily.
Almost one third were either killed or were so wounded and sick that they could no longer march and
had to be left behind. The health of 600 of the survivors was so poor that they were released from service.

Five Manxmen took part in the operation and this picture shows 4 of them, Back row John Quine (2nd
from left), Thomas Addison (3rd from left). Front row William Quayle (extreme left), Edgar Quine
(extreme right). The other Manx Chindit in the first operation, Mr Sumners is not on the photograph.
In 1944 there was a second operation, “Operation Thursday”, when 10,000 men flew into otherwise
inaccessible clearings behind enemy lines in Burma. Many members of this Special Force, better
known as Chindits, were from the Isle of Man.
During almost 6 months of intense, dreadful fighting in atrocious conditions, over 3,800 Special Forces
men were killed, wounded or missing during Operation Thursday.
Remarkably, all 4 brave men named in the above picture who fought in Operation Longcloth also
fought and survived Operation Thursday.
The sacrifices made by our Manx Chindits and all other members of Special Force should never be forgotten.