The Death of Wingate

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The Death of Wingate

The Second World War produced a number of imaginative,brilliant battle-commanders whose daring, skill, and unorthodox methods often meant they were as much of a problem to their superiors as to the enemy. One thinks of Montgomery, the US General Patton, or, on the other side, Erwin Rommel.

One such soldier was the legendary Orde Wingate, whose British force of "Chindits” harassed the invading Japanese forces from far behind enemy lines, relying totally on air drops for their equipment and ammunition, in 1943 and 1944.

The death of Wingate, in an air crash in 1944, just after the start of the second Chindit campaign, sparked a rash of controversial theories which have persisted ever since. An official enquiry into the crash was declared top secret, and a British file on the incident closed for 28 years!

Even in death, Wingate continued to cause problems for the authorities; the remains from the crash had all been buried in a communal mass grave in Imphal in 1947, but after much behind-the-scenes wrangling, because the Mitchell bomber flying Wingate had had USAF personnel on board all of the remains were removed to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA, in1950. The Wingate family and the British Press were incensed over this, and questions were even asked in Parliament.

Seven years of research by the late author went into the production of this book, supported by over 150 photographs, and his account carries with it the ring of authenticity, because Dennis Hawley’s boyhood love of Morse Code meant that he ended up serving with the Royal Signals in World War 2, in Assam and Bengal, and which was responsible for him being in Assam at the time of the original 1947 interment of Wingate and his crew, which was the creative spark behind this book.

By kind arrangement with the late author’s family, we are able to offer the last remaining stocks of the 1994 Merlin edition at a remarkable value price of £9.95 (when originally published, it was £15.95 and copies still change hands on the antiquarian market today).