Captured Behind Japanese Lines (ePub)
With Wingate's Chindits – Burma 1942–1945
'Never have I had greater respect for soldiers than those of the 14th Army who served under Bill Slim, and in particular those guys who were in the Chindit columns. They suffered hugely as they got inside enemy territory in the Burmese Jungle and as they fought against all odds; some surviving, some being captured and many dying.This book exemplifies the courage of the men who faced this ordeal.' -The Rt. Hon. Colonel Bob Stewart DSO MP
No-one meeting Frank Berkovitch, a quiet, reserved tailor, could have guessed that he had served with the Chindits in Burma and suffered prolonged Japanese captivity. Yet not only had he fought as a Bren-gunner on Operation LONGCLOTH, their first deep penetration mission, but he was the legendary General Orde Wingate’s batman.
The Chindits were Wingate’s inspired idea and, while suffering heavy losses from enemy action and deprivation, they dispelled the myth that the Imperial Japanese Army Japanese was invincible. Outnumbered, outgunned, carrying 70lb packs and reliant on RAF air drops for supplies, the 3,000 men of the Chindit columns overcame harsh jungle terrain and climatic conditions to take the fight to the enemy behind their own lines.
They wreaked havoc with enemy communications and caused heavy enemy casualties while gathering vital intelligence. After months of malnutrition and disease and hunted by the vengeful Japanese, the survivors faced a desperate race to escape from Burma. Captured crossing the Irrawaddy river, Frank endured two years imprisonment at the hands of notoriously cruel captors.
Superbly researched, this inspiring book vividly describes the Chindits’ first operation and the hardship suffered by, and heroism of, Frank and his comrades, many who never returned.
To me, the Burma theatre of war is little known. In fact I even looked on YouTube for a visual on the history of the Chindits and saw footage of the conditions Orde Wingates men operated in.NetGalley, Andrea Brown
Fearless men.....or so they appear. It is hard to image what Frank was feeling deep inside, as he gave nothing away in his almost sterile matter of fact memoir. Frank Berkovitch, was a quiet, reserved tailor and it is his story that is told by his grandson. From recruitment, training, action and capture.....all harrowing and everything bad you have ever heard about Japanese treatment of POW's.
Although limited by the short memoir from his grandfather, the author combines much research to give a more fleshed out look at the fullstory.
My grandfather was in WW1 and he never spoke of his action there. It was a sense of duty that made these young men enlist .....little did they realise their whole lives would be scarred in a deep way.....should they be lucky enough to return.
A riveting read, for male or female. Thank you for sharing such a precious family story Daniel.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Dee Arr
In 1942, Major General Orde Wingate was organizing long-range guerrilla units to work behind the Japanese line in Burma. In one unit there was a soldier, a man called Frank Berkovitch would quietly distinguish himself in many small ways. This book is his story.
The book is written by Daniel Berke, Frank Berkovitch’s grandson. The original idea sprang from a short document written by Private Berkovitch many years after the war, and as the author had not pursued the opportunity to speak with his grandfather about the war (Frank Berkovitch had seemed reluctant to share what were horrific memories), Mr. Berke was restricted by the few pages of the wartime autobiography. Mr. Berke was able to find other sources, however, and his trip to Burma also helped to flesh out the book.
The end product is a story that will fascinate you at times and haunt you at others. The story of the Chindits (the name of Windate’s fighting unit) is interesting all by itself, and the continuation of the aftermath of “Operation Loincloth” offered other view of the bravery of Frank Berkevitch and the men he served with during WWII. Five stars.
An important addition to military Family history.ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)
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This book is chock-full of heroes, some famous like Orde Wingate and Mike Calvert. Others like Frank Berkovitch and thousands of 'ordinary Chindits" who served, most of them to die in Burma.Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
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Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sue Hawthorne
WWII books hardly ever fail to awe and inspire me and this falls in that category. This read takes us to the Burmese Jungle and subjects us to the same terror and hardships the soldiers endured. Both a heartbreaking and inspiring read, these book will show you the worst and very best of humanity.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Ron Baumer
A truly inspirational book about the hardships endured by a British soldier fighting in Burma in WW2. The hardships and cruelty he faced was extremely demoralizing, but he overcame to survive the interment and return home. A great read for the history buff.
The author takes us to Burma and follows the steps of his Chindit grandfather. Together with his father, they tell an impressive story of Wingate's Chindits, their training, and their involvement behind enemy lines. If I have one drawback, it could have been explained better if maps were included. But none the less an enjoyable read.Ronnie Taylor
Ronnie Taylor - FEPOW Family