Charles Gordon Hepworth
1916 - Born Yorkshire
Son of Edward and Lilla Hepworth
York and Lancaster Regiment
1942/02/28 - Battalion still in the same 70th Division set sail for India to help stop the advance of the Japanese Army in Burma, one of the most difficult fighting terrain in the Second World War. It became part of the Chindits 14th Brigade under command of Major General Orde Wingate. They completed months of jungle training.
The following infantry battalions were assigned to the 14th Infantry Brigade:-
- 2nd Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
- 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
- 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment
- 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
- 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
- 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion
- 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
- 7th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
Windgate required large numbers of trained British infantry, three brigades, the 14th, 16th and 23rd were added to the Chindits.
The forces for the second Chindit operation were called Special Force, officially 3rd Indian Infantry Division, or Long Range Penetration Groups, but the nickname, the Chindits, had already stuck.
On 24 March 1944, Wingate flew to Imphal to confer with air force commanders. On the return journey, the USAAF B-25 bomber in which he was flying is believed to have flown into a thunderstorm and crashed in the jungle-covered mountains. All aboard were killed.
On 17 May, Slim had formally handed control of the Chindits to Stilwell. Stilwell insisted that the Chindits capture several well-defended Japanese positions. The Chindits had no support from tanks or artillery and this led to heavier casualties than before. Some have considered these operations to be abuse. And given Wingate's lack of concern over casualties in the first Chindit operation, it's difficult to suggest that the losses in these battles were inconsistent with his methods.
The 14th Brigade were part of the group east of the Indawgyi Lake near Mogaung, known as Morris Force, after its commander, Lieutenant-Colonel "Jumbo" Morris. There task was to keep the Burma Road supply route in Allied hands. It did so, but was now utterly exhausted. Most of the men were suffering from malaria, dysentery and malnutrition. Sickness and wounds were the hardest problem, malaria was impossible to avoid, A mosquito net could not be warn while marching and the application of anti-mosquito cream caused the pores of the skin to clog up, causing the body to overheat. other jungle illness was jaundice, dysentery, scrub Typhus and Naga sores, which turned septic and spread quickly. On 8 July, at the insistence of the Supreme Commander, Admiral Louis Mountbatten, doctors examined the brigade. Of the 2200 men present from four and a half battalions, only 119 were declared fit.
1944/08/09 - Charles died and was buried in the hills east of the Indawgyi Lake
The 14th Infantry Brigade were relieved and withdrawn, starting on 17 August.
The last Chindit left Burma on 27 August 1944.