The Middle East and Pearl Harbour in WWII

The World at War

The Middle East

Palestine was deeply involved in the war. Enemy bombers routinely attacked Haifa and Tel Aviv. A third of this nations output was absorbed by the military – this was the highest proportion of any country in the Middle East. 

Brought together by war, Jewish and Arab personnel fought side by side.

China 

Thousands of Chinese sailors served on board British ships. Almost 1,700 of them were stationed at bases around the Mediterranean coast. It was said, that many almost came to regard Alexandria (Egypt) as their “home town.”

Out of their own funds and private donations they found the resources to open a Chinese Seaman’s Club where they could socialise, eat their own national dishes and hear the news from home.

Burma – The Mixing pot

Often seen on the peripheral, coming fourth behind the North African, west European and Italian campaigns, nevertheless, the battle to win Burma was fierce and relentless. In Burma the Japanese army suffered its most comprehensive defeat.  Victory was secured in this arena with a truly imperial fighting force of, a million plus men of every hue under the sun, coming together as one.

Canadian Pilots, Ghurkha naiks, British infantry, Sikh tank drivers, American Dakota air ground crew, rubbed shoulders with the fighting units of the King George the Fifth – Bengal Minors and Sappers, the Assam Rifles, the Mandalay-Burmese Frontier Force, the 72nd (Somali scouts) Battalion, The Kings Rifles and the Gold Cost Regiments of the Royal West African frontier Force.  

One soldier would later recall, “probably not even the legions of Rome embraced as many nationalities …”

Wars and Rumours of Wars – Ethiopia

In England the date of the start of the Second World War is given as 1939. However the fact should not be over looked that, throughout the 30’s there was great unrest both in Europe and in other areas of the world. All were indications that war might not be avoided – incidents like Mussolini’s army invading Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in October 1935.

Mussolini told his commanding general, he wanted Ethiopia ‘with or without the Ethiopians’. Ten thousand civilians in Addis Ababa were massacred in reprisal for a grenade attack.

Coming up against the best fighting units of the Italian army, a joint force of Abyssinian, West African and Indian troops finally won the day.

To celebrate the first anniversary of the return of the Emperor, His Majesty Haile Salassie, to his throne in Addis Ababa on May 5th 1942, a meeting was held in the Central Hall, Westminister, London. A “Book of Remembrance” was signed by representatives of the Allied Governments, in honour of the first Allied Government to regain its freedom from *Axis domination.

*Axis-alliance of 1939 between Germany and Italy, later extended to include Japan and others (the enemy)

India

In its decision to go to war, Britain could not afford to lose India, its most prized possession in the Empire. In 1939, the British Governor General of India declared India’s entry into the war without consulting any of its prominent leaders.

At the start of the war, the Indian army numbered, around 200,000 strong, by the end of 1941, this number had risen to 900,000. Numbers continued to rise, reaching a peek in 1943 of 2,600,000, the largest all-volunteer force in history. Just before the close of the war recruits were being taken up at 50,000 per month.

Commemoration days marking the end of World War II

V.E. DAY – Victory in Europe Day 8th May 1945

V-J DAY – Victory in Japan August 15th 1945 is the official V-J Day for Britain, while the official US commemoration is September 2nd

Pearl Harbour

J.F.K and the SOLOMON ISLANDERS By: Orville W Taylor

During WWII many fierce battles were fought in the South Pacific.

It was the bombing of the U.S. navel site based at Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, in the South Pacific, that changed the course of the war for all concerned. Not only did this incident bring the American entrée into the war, it also spear headed their retaliatory measure of dropping the Atom bomb on the Japanese city Hiroshima.

Situated in the south west of the Pacific, are another group of Islands referred to as the Solomon Isles. These were of Strategic importance to the allies, and the worse of these battles were fought around this area, as the Americans and Australians struggled to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese.

Lieutenant John F. Kennedy was the commander of the ill fated patrol torpedo boat PT-109 that was rammed by a Japanese destroyer, near to the Solomons’ Pudding Island.

Assisting the allies, the Solomon Islanders were directly involved in the war effort and their police officers and other volunteers were enlisted to regularly patrol the common waters between Australia and their country, and to act as in-land scouts, spying on the Japanese.

As luck would have it, the shipwrecked Lieutenant and his crew were discovered by a couple of local Soloman Islanders, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, who managed to smuggle a message inscribed on a green coconut to their colleagues at the nearest military base. Kennedy and his men were marooned for six days before they were rescued by Allied troops. 

Kennedy later invited Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana to attend his presidential inauguration in 1961, but the pair was duped en route in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital, by British colonial officials who sent other representatives instead. 

Another version of the story is that they were turned back by British officials at the airport. The story from Biuku’s descendants is that the British officials did not want to send Biuku and Eroni because they were simple village men and not well dressed (by the British authorities’ standards).

This was a sad outcome for the two heroes, who had willingly helped U.S. forces with disregard to their own safety or wellbeing, and who had known full well what the retributions would have been if they had been discovered by the Japanese. The legend of these two men survives to this day among their descendants in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.

Wikipedia

We all know that John Fitzgerald Kennedy (J.F.K) went on to become the 35th president of America, and the youngest president to ever be elected. President John F. Kennedy is mostly remembered because of the tragic way in which he died, and the conspiracy theories that surround the incident.  He was shot in public, whilst being driven in an open car during a trip to Dallas, Texas.