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Royal Engineers War Diary April 1944

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Royal Engineers War Diary April 1944

Postby essex giri » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:07 am

Hi There

John Dewar Rawson served in the Royal Engineers 2nd field coy in Burma. He was killed in action on 7th April 1944 at Kanglatongbi Burma. We have letters from his commanding officer giving a 'sanitised' account of what happened to him.
I visited the National Archive this week and checked out the War diary for 864 Coy for 1944, (wo172/5087). On the last few letters home 864 Coy was the company he was with.

On the 7th April in the war diary it states ' Cpl. Rawson accidentally killed at No3 post'. This has been crossed out in blue ink.

Why would this entry have been crossed out? We assume that he was shot by friendly fire. The other thing that we find odd is that he was a sergeant so why was he Cpl in the War diary.

His name is commemorated on the Memorial at Rangoon. His CO wrote that he thought he had been buried at Imphal but there is no record there. Out of 4 other deaths that day 3 were buried at Imphal and 1 commemorated at Rangoon.

Any comments please. We are waiting for his Service Record. We have a lot of photos and letters of his so hope to make something more of them. We also plan to visit the Royal Engineers Museum's library. Any more ideas where we can search?

Essex Girl


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Re: Royal Engineers War Diary April 1944

Postby essex giri » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:49 am

From letters that John wrote soon after joining 864coy I now know that for some reason he could not be a Sgt. in 864. Yet another query!



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Re: Royal Engineers War Diary April 1944

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:54 pm

One thing to be wary of is that people could be rated as acting or temporary ranks. Don't ask me what the difference is though between those two. And I suspect there may be other variations. A relative of mine held 3 different ranks at the same time during WW2 - substantive lieutenant, war substantive captain and temporary major. It might be that the confusion between serjeant and corporal arises from something like this - maybe he was a temporary serjeant because one of the permanent serjeants was indisposed. Or maybe it's some other explanation entirely. Whatever - you should look out for any extra words that qualify his rank in case they provide the explanation.

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