Skip to comments.Films, documents show WWII mission to rescue 200 Burmese refugees by elephants
Posted on 11/01/2010 8:00:25 PM PDT by cold start
LONDON British tea planter Gyles Mackrell organized one of the most remarkable rescue missions during World War II by using elephants when nothing else would do.
Now researchers have released new information that tells, for the first time, the full story of Mackrell's successful effort to use the animals to evacuate hundreds of desperate Burmese refugees stranded by a rain-swollen river.
The material explains how Mackrell, who spent most of his life working as a planter for a tea company in British India, came to the aid of masses of people desperate to escape Burma as the Japanese army advanced. Through his work, he had access to elephants the only safe way to cross the roiling Dapha river at the Indian border.
Tens of thousands of the refugees many sick and starving had trekked for hundreds of miles through dense jungle in the hope of reaching the Indian border. But by May 1942, those who made it to the border were trapped by monsoons that had turned the Dapha into a torrent.
Mackrell's diaries show that he collected some elephants to travel to the river soon after receiving a call for help from a group of refugees on June 4, 1942. His party rode the elephants for about 100 miles before finally reaching the river bank only to find themselves helpless as they saw that fierce flood waters had trapping Burmese soldiers on river islands.
"On reaching the bank on a big tusker I discovered a number of men on an island surrounded by high and very fierce water," Mackrell, aged 53 at the time, wrote in his diary. "They signalled wildly and made signs to show us they were starving. I made several attempts to get over but it was utterly impossible."
(Excerpt) Read more at google.com ...
Thank you for posting this. My Dad was in Burma during the war and he had some elephant stories.
Did you follow the link to the youtube? Amazing footage.
A wonderful and up lifting story of the determination of men and elphants. Excellent work.
Wow. Neat story.
Yes, I just finished. A great story. What brave, gutsy people...and elephants. Thanks.
Yes. Very neat. I wish my Dad could see it. He told stories of riding elephants across rivers carrying supplies but not like in this story.
The elephant is the symbol of the GOP
very nice thank you