No Greater Love

Resistance leader Hugh Seagrim waged war 75 years ago with a Bible in one hand and a Tommy gun in the other to become one of Britain’s most highly decorated clandestine heroes of the Second World War. Steve Snelling chronicles an epic saga of courage and self-sacrifice in Japanese-occupied Burma.

Clandestine hero: Hugh Paul Seagrim (1909-1944), inspirational leader of the Karen resistance movement, best remembered by his nickname as ‘Grandfather Long Legs’.
Beasts of burden: elephants like these seen fording a river in the Karen Hills were used to ferry arms and supplies among Seagrim’s underground army of volunteers.

The jungle trail followed no discernible pattern as it snaked precariously over precipitous hills and through thickets of bamboo. Every step was a struggle. But the small party, comprising a solitary British soldier and seven Karen guerrilla fighters, did not deviate as they trudged ever deeper into one of the remotest corners of Burma. For five exhausting days they slithered and stumbled through the southern Shan Hills until, at last, they reached their journey’s end. A quarter of an hour or so after passing a primitive bamboo shelter, they approached an even more ramshackle hideaway and its sole occupant: a tall, bearded, dark-skinned man, his long hair tied up in a bob, clad in native dress.

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