- Mark Forsdike
I’ve spent the past weeks since Remembrance Sunday working towards a concept for another book.
With the story of the 1st Battalion behind me (though I have uncovered so much fascinating material since, that already it requires a rewrite!), I am now focussing my efforts to their comrades in the 2nd Battalion who fought in the Far East between November 1943 and August 1944.
2nd Suffolk fought a war of polar opposites with their counterparts in Europe. When 1 Suffolk gained, 2 Suffolk lost. Europe had the men, the material and more crucially, the media attention. The Far East only got these crucial elements late in the campaign and it was a testament to the predominantly Indian and Dominion troops that secured victory again the Japanese in this sector.
There was nothing about them in the press of the day and so finding even a paragraph on their jungle exploits has proved somewhat difficult.
The main issue I have is accounts, first-hand ‘in the thick of it’ accounts. Where so many little stories exist of the 1st Battalion in Europe, virtually nothing exists from the 2nd Battalion in Burma and in the past seventy years, no one has yet taken the trouble to record their stories. There are pitifully few references to them in the official accounts and when you do find them, it is just a sentence and no more.
I’ve drawn a blank in the archives too, and I’ve even started appealing to relatives on social media, but I’ve not had anything back so far. However, that said, I feel I have enough for a book and shall soon be putting it forward to my publishers, who hopefully may feel that like me, their story should be told.