Calvert, Brigadier Michael Calvert

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Sep 30, 2009.

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  1. A friend of mine who actually met Mad Mike all those years ago in India early to mid 40's, recently loaned me a book by the Military Historian David Rooney on 'Mad Mike'.

    A brave warrior and a controversial one being a supporter of Wingate and the use of large scale formations in 'Unconventional Warfare'.
    He certainly made lots of 'enemies' in the British Military Establishment and eventually came a cropper with his court martial and dismissal from the army.

    David Rooney has made a study of the court martial and passes comment on 'Evidence' that the Deputy Judge Advocate General had refused to accept as it had not been presented to the civil Police ( German).
    Rooney also prints in full, a written statement by 2 of the Germans involved, 3rd had passed on.
    Was Calvert Stitched up by the system ?
  2. We could not possibly comment on the question you ask.

    However, the Head of Remembrance Travel, the predecessor to Poppy Travel, interviewed Michael Calvert and made a video of the interview - whihc you can buy from Poppy Travel for £10, only in VHS format .

    Chindit Commander. Brigadier Michael Calvert DSO AND BAR was undoubtedly the most successful of General Orde Wingate’s Special Force Commanders in Burma. He gained international fame as a result of his exploits in command of the 77th Chindit Brigade. In this video he discusses his memories of Burma, the characters, the actions, the RAF / USAAF, the ordinary Chindit and of course, Wingate. This video is supported by contemporary newsreel footage and photographs.
    Running time approx 51 minutes

    We have made some other films about the Burma campaign, capturing the memories of servicemen and women who fought in the longest land campaign of the Second World War. These include Chindit Return and Arakan Return.
  3. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Fewer people all the time have access to a VHS video recorder. Do you intend transfering these films to DVD?
  4. Well Poppy, I am due a UK visit in a couple of weeks and stocking up on DVDs/Books is a must for me.
    Publish details and I guarantee you an order.
    My friend also fought in First and Second Arakan before going of to Kohima. I do not know if he has a VHS, will ask at our Curry Lunch today, but some years ago I bought a VHS/DVD player.
    Unfortunate that the well informed members I find on this section of the board are avoiding a Difficult Subject.
    Slim is next planned subject.
  5. Mike Calvert-A Sapper-Mad,married,Methodist-take your pick!
  6. "A Sapper-Mad,married,Methodist-take your pick! "

    Hum, Rooney misses out that Calvert was married.
    Must ask my Sapper friend at lunch today.
  7. It's an old saying about Sapper officers in general not Calvert in particular.
  8. Yes so I have just learned over lunch.
    I ask my fried if he thought that the Court Martial gave the right result and he said No. Calvert was innocent.
    Though a big Corps he thought that no one could have done that many years service without such matters being Known.
    "They always stick together and become known to their fellow officers and there was no talk on Calvert until after the CM."

    We had a good laugh on the matter of Calvert boozing in what where termed Rough non Officers bars.
    John Masters who represented the opposite side of the argument on large scale use of Long Range Penetration troops says in his The Road Beyond Mandalay that Calvert lead every bayonet charge against the jap.
    Probably exaggerated but too anyone who had lead a number of bayonet charges, Rough would have a different meaning.
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    A few years ago I had a need to read up on everything I could on Burma.

    The Old War Office Library used to have a book list that they would send you - and I was slowly grinding through it.

    Two books you might look out for

    ' A Hell of a Licking ' by James LUNT

    'Tank Tracks to Rangoon ' by Bryan Perrett

    The first covers the long fighting retreat through Burma into Manipur.

    Very detailed section on the Sittang Bend battle ( where a vital bridge was blown too soon and stranded a sizeable contingent of the British Army on the enemy's side of the river.)

    It also covers to some extent the riverine warfare exploits of the Royal Marine Viper Force on the Irrawaddy - even less well recognised.

    The second book covers the use of ARMOUR in Burma - which to the uninitiated (like me) always presents as a purely close quarter jungle conflict....which it wasn't.

    Good luck,

  10. Thank you Goatman.
    I will try for the 'A hell of a licking' my 90 year old friend was the sapper who placed the mines on the Sittang Bridge.
    The GOC ordered the demolition as losing 2 Infantry Brigades was considered preferable to the immediate loss of Rangoon.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    The GOC ordered the demolition as losing 2 Infantry Brigades was considered preferable to the immediate loss of Rangoon.

    Desperate days. Given the extraordinary sensitivity to casualties we now face, I wonder if the UK would be able to fight a World War again.

    RE: "The Difficult Subject"
    There is a bio of Paddy Maine ('Rogue Warrior of the SAS' - trite title but not a bad book) which suggests that Maine may have been on the other bus and asserts that Calvert certainly was. A seriously pished Maine apparently punched Calvert's senseless one night, in what might have been a gay tantrum.

    In this day and age I can't see why it should be held against him. A good number of dangerous fighting men - Alexander springs to mind - were that way inclined.
  12. I have just finished reading, 'Rogue Warrior of the SAS'.
    I thought the author knew more then he was prepared to say even in this enlightened age.
    Very Difficult subject to tackle.
    From what I have read both Clavert and Mayne where not Officers who would have got promoted in a peacetime army.
    Makes me wonder about some of the alcoholic nutters I served with over the years.
  13. Have you always been a Special Forces obsessed, Timmy Two Sheds, fib telling alcoholic or did you win it in a competition ?
  14. If there was a clear and obvious reason to fight, then I think we could.

    Part of our current opponents' success is down to keeping their objectives incomprehensible to most of us.
  15. Sorry I don't share that opinion. There's nothing in Maine's service career that even remotely suggests he was gay or was even of that inclination.
    Maine had form for battering people, an inordinately lengthy list of folks will testify to that. Close friends weren't spared whether it was in his mother's house or in a bar. He had demons which are not explained by that theory that he was gay.

    As for Mike C, highly probably so.