Copyright Chris Frost 2019 | All Rights Reserved

Toungoo, 1945

Based in Toungoo 1945, Captain Frost (my father) set up detachments at Yedashe (30 km north of Toungoo), Pyu (67 km south of Toungoo) and Myhola (60 km north of Toungoo). He also organised a body of ‘scouts’ made up of former Burma Rifles troops. The Section knew them as his “private army”. Captain Frost appointed George Savarese as his Chief Scout. George was an Anglo-Burman who used other names when it suited him. Their task was to obtain information about the movements of the Japanese army stragglers and sympathisers. Captain Frost also obtained twelve elephants and their handlers.

One night when the rest of the Section were out on detachment or asleep in their beds below, CSM Lawrence was sitting at the table in the mess, writing a letter to his wife. A ‘Tilley’ lamp gave out the only light and not only lit up the room but also fell on a small length of the handrail of the back stairs. Beyond that was pitch-blackness. CSM Lawrence sat writing, occasionally dipping his pen in the inkwell. In the still of the night, he could hear the nib scratching across the paper as he wrote. Bullfrogs honking away outside made the only other sounds.

As he paused for a moment, he thought he heard a slight creak on the back staircase. He froze and listened for a while but heard no further noise resumed writing, and was soon quite absorbed in his work.

Captain Frost lay asleep in his room. A few moments later, CSM Lawrence again heard a creak, and as he looked at the staircase, saw a hand on the rail caught in the glow of the Tilley lamp.

His heart lurched. He was unarmed, and his pistol was in his room. There was nothing for it but to make a dash to get it. He knew that he had to make his move before the owner of the hand on the stair made his move. He made a dash for his gun, but as he moved, he caught  sight of a woman wearing a bright white blouse and coloured lungyi climbing up the staircase She was tall and very imposing. The hand on the stair rail belonged to a man who was in the lead and stood at the head of the stair. There were others beyond.

“Can we speak to you?”  The woman spoke good English.

CSM Lawrence was flabbergasted, but invited them in. There was another woman, smaller and younger, and pretty. It turned out that her name was Ma Sone. The men squatted on the floor and the women took the chairs offered to them. The tall woman asked if there was any bread for the men, as they had walked a long way. CSM Lawrence took bread from the cupboard. She broke it into pieces, which she shared out between the men. Neither women ate.

She explained that they were Chin people. The smaller woman was her sister and they were from a Baptist mission. They wanted arms for the villagers of their community. “Our men can kill Japanese”, she said, “if they have rifles”.

On 10 June, Captain Frost was just settling down for tiffin when the Section HQ was approached by some Burmese villagers carrying a bundle wrapped in banana leaves. On request, they unwrapped the bundle and the head of a Japanese officer shrouded in a silk Japanese flag appeared.

A closer examination of the identification brought in with the officer’s head showed that 54 Japanese Division was active in the area west of Toungoo. This information was quickly passed on to the units in the area.


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