England: Interview With Field Marshal Wavell Questioning Major Jefferies and S/Ldr. Thompson about the success?
ENGLAND: SV Wavell Greeting Jefferies and Thompson. SCU Wavell greeting Jefferies and Thompson and talking. CU Wavell talking to Jefferies and Thompson (not seen) SCU Thompson answering question. CU Major Jefferies, answering questions.
SOUND EFFECTS. SV Wavell greeting Major Jefferies and S/Ldr Thompson.
Wavell. "Good afternoon Jefferies"
Jefferies: "How do you do sir."
Wavell. "Good afternoon Thompson. Well I am very glad to see you both back, now tell me, last time I saw you I just saw you start off on that first march along the road. What sort of country did you find, once you got over the frontier into Burma?"
Major Jefferies replies: "Over the Chindwin it was very difficult for about the first forty to fifty miles to the other side of the escarpment. Very difficult indeed. After that...
SCU Wavell and Jefferies and Thompson. (retake)
Wavell. "Good afternoon Jefferies."
Jefferies. "Good afternoon sir."
Wavell. "Good afternoon Thompson."
Thompson. "Good afternoon sir."
Wavell. "Well, I am very glad to see you both back, now tell me, last time I saw you, your column was just starting off down the road on its first march into Burma. What sort of country did you find once you got over the frontier into Burma?"
Jefferies. "Over the Chindwin, it was very broken indeed for the first forty or fifty miles, till we got to the other side of the escarpment. After that it was considerably better going."
Wavell. "So you got along all right?"
Jefferies. "Yes, sir."
Wavell to Thompson. "Well now the supply dropping went pretty well on the whole didn't it? Tell me any difficulties you found."
Thompson. "It went very well indeed, sir. As you know we made very elaborate arrangements beforehand, but none of them turned out to be necessary."
Wavell. "I see, it all worked out well."
Thompson. "Yes, sir."
Wavell. "Good." (Turns to Jefferies.) "And now your equipment and kit, I saw you just before you started off and looked all over your kit and equipment, how did that work out, did you find you'd got what you wanted, or too much of anything? Or not enough? It worked out pretty well?"
Jefferies. "We used everything we had, sir. But we had too much of it on mules. The supply dropping was so successful that we need not have taken quite so much. In fact, they could have cut it down very considerably."
Wavell. "Oh good, I thought you had rather a lot of transport."
Jefferies. "Oh definitely too much, sir."
Wavell to Thompson. "When they asked for a particular item of equipment from the base they came along by air pretty well, didn't they?"
Thompson. "Very well indeed, sir. The base administration I think was perfect. They got us anything we wanted, sometimes at very short notice, and the RAF was prepared to fly them out as soon as they were on the planes, any time, day or night."
Wavell. "I see, well right, well then I think the column justified itself and was very successful, don't you think so? And it showed that we can take the Japanese on at that sort of fighting in that sort of country, with considerable success. Don't you agree?"
Jefferies. "Very definitely sir. We had the measure of them on this occasion, I am quite sure that we will again."
Wavell. "Good. And the troops all did very well?"
Jefferies. "They did extremely well, sir."
Wavell. "And the British were up to that sort of fighting weren't they?"
Jefferies. "They were magnificent. They were all town bred from Lancashire, and they were absolutely first class."
Wavell. "Good well you can't beat a Lancashire man, can you?"
Jefferies. "No sir." (Laughter.)
Wavell. (To Thompson) "Well now, then you were thoroughly satisfied with it all from the Air Force point of view?"
Thompson. "Very satisfied, sir. I think it has a lot of possibilities in the future. The RAF has never done anything quite like this before."
CU Wavell. (Jefferies and Thompson not seen.) "Well then, Thompson, when you asked for special items of equipment from the base which weren't on the programme they all came out by air alright did they?"
Thompson: "Yes sir. If Base hadn't got any particular item, they always managed to get it in 24-hours sometimes using special planes to go and get them, and the RAF as soon as they were loaded, flew them over Burma in any time of the day or night."
Wavell. "Good, the RAF did a wonderful job of work over there. Well then, taking the expedition fully justified itself, didn't it? And it shows that we can take on the Japanese with ordinary well trained troops in that sort of country and be just as good, and better than they are and just with an ordinary British Battalion. Don't you agree?"
Jefferies. "Oh very definitely, sir. Our British troops came from the big towns of Lancashire, and.... They took to the jungle very well indeed. We definitely had the measure of the Japs and I am quite sure we will in another time, sir."
Wavell. "Well the Lancashire man's a very good soldier, don't you find it?"
Jefferies: "Yes first class, sir."
Wavell. "Are you a Lancashire man yourself?"
Jefferies. "I'm Irish, sir."
Wavell to Thompson. "And you were quite happy about the RAF, that was quite a good show wasn't it.."
Thompson. "Quite happy, about it now sir, all we need are the planes and the bases and we can supply anyone anywhere."
Wavell. "Good grand, I hope you will have a good time at home."
Thompson. "Thank you very much sir."
Wavell. "I hope to see you again."
SCU Thompson. (answering questions)
Question. "The supply dropping was very effective, I understand? What were the difficulties?"
Thompson. "Well as you know sir, we have made very elaborate arrangements but most of them turned out to be quite unnecessary as by the time we finished the supply dropping was a fine art."
Question. "Well, everything went pretty smoothly from your point of view Thompson?"
Thompson. "Yes very well indeed sir. And if we had the same arrangements and the same aircraft as before.......(N.G.)"
CU Major Jefferies. (replying to questions)
Question. "I saw the baggage and equipment you started with, how did it work out? Did you have enough? Too much?"
Jefferies. "It was all useful, but we definitely had too much. The supply dropping was so successful that we wouldn't have to take nearly so much in the future."
Questioner. "Well that's fine."
Question. "Still, I'm pretty sure the expedition justified itself. And it shows that we can beat the Japanese at his own game. You agree, of course?"
Answer. "Oh definitely sir, There is no doubt that we had the measure of the Japs on this occasion. And I'm very sure that we will have it in the future."
Questioner. "Well, I'm very glad to hear that.. How did the British boys work out?"
Jefferies. "Very well, absolutely magnificent. They weren't exactly suited for the job, they were brought up in town life, they took to the jungle very well and they were first class all the way through. Lancashire people."
Questioner. "Do you come from Lancashire?"
Jefferies. "No, I come from Ireland."
Background: England: Interview With Field Marshal Wavell Questioning Major Jefferies and S/Ldr. Thompson about the success of the Commando Raid into Burma.