When Secret WW2 supporter Dr Richard Duckett proudly announced the forthcoming publication of his first book, 'The Special Operations Executive in Burma', our Trustee Paul McCue proved well-placed to introduce Richard to UK-based representatives of the government of what is now Myanmar.
On 17th August 2017, Paul took Richard along to meet Brigadier General Tin Maung Swe - Military, Naval and Air Attaché of the London Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Paul and the General had first met in 2016 and Paul had rightly guessed that the infantry and commando officer would welcome an opportunity to talk to Richard about his book.
In the meeting at the Embassy Residence, Richard outlined how he had used newly-declassified documents from the National Archives to reveal the extent of British special forces' involvement - from the 1941 operations until beyond Burma's independence from the British Empire in 1948.
As the publisher's promotional text relates: 'the book tells how, in the mountains and jungles of occupied Burma during World War II, Britain's SOE launched a series of secret operations, assisted by parts of the Burmese population. The men of the SOE, trained in sabotage and guerrilla warfare, worked in the jungle, deep behind enemy lines, to frustrate the puppet Burmese government of Ba Maw and to continue the fight against Hirohito's Japan in a theatre starved of resources.
And though the operations are not widely-known, Richard argues convincingly that 'Operation Character' and 'Operation Billet' - large SOE missions launched in support of General Slim's XIV Army offensive to liberate Burma - rank among the most militarily-significant of SOE's secret missions.
The above photograph shows Richard (centre) with his book's cover, flanked by Brigadier General Tin Maung Swe and Secret WW2 Trustee, Paul McCue. The Myanmar flag is just one of those in the flag locker of Secret WW2 as the Network expands its interests beyond the European Theatre of Operations.
The General will be buying a copy of the book when it is released at the end of August and will be promoting it in Myanmar. From 30th August 2017Richard's book can be ordered via the publisher: www.ibtauris.com (A discount of 1/3 off will be available until 30th December 2017 by quoting AN2 when prompted.)