The 2nd Norfolk Regiment was a regular infantry regiment, based in 1939 at the Britannia Barracks in Norwich. After the outbreak of the Second World War the battalion was shipped to France, where it took part in the disastrous campaign in the spring of 1940. The battalion is perhaps best known for providing the victims for one of the SS's earlier atrocities, the massacre of over 100 POWs at La Paradis. The battalion was rebuilt after this disaster, and eventually shipped out to Burma, where it took part in the brutal battle for Kohima, a hard-fought Allied victory that helped stop the Japanese invasion of India in 1944. This book ends with Kohima, although the battalion did take part in the campaign to liberate Burma.
The book is based on a series of interviews with members of the battalion conducted by Peter Hart, an oral historian at the Imperial War Museum. Hart has provided a connecting narrative, but it is the soldier's own voices that dominate the book. Amongst the interviewees was one of the two survivors of the massacre at La Paradis.
The most interesting part of the book covers the fighting in Burma. Here we get a real feel for the difficulties of operating in the jungle, especially when the battalion was sent on a seven mile long march to outflank the Japanese at Kohima that took them two days to complete because of the nature of the terrain.
This is a very valuable piece of work, recording the memories of the remarkable men who fought in France and in Burma, against two very different but equally tenacious opponents.
1 - A Slow Start
2 - The Phoney War
3 - The Road to Le Paradis
4 - Massacre
5 - Rebuilding
6 - Passage to India
7 - Indian Interlude
8 - The Battle for Kohima
9 - Operation Strident
10 - Capture of GPT Ridge
11 - Aradura Spur
Author: Peter Hart
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011 edition of 1998 original