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CHINDIT RESCUE

Eighty years ago, a hazardous rescue yielded an iconic image of the Burma campaign.

Burma war icon: several of the 18 emplaned Chindits on Flying Officer Vlasto’s pioneering flight
AP/ ALAMY

It is one of the most recognisable images of the war in Burma; a group of haggard Chindits crammed inside a C-47 Dakota. But what is the story behind this enduring photograph?

What had played out in Burma’s jungle and teak forests in spring 1943 was an audacious three-month raid targeting Japanese communications and infrastructure. Operation Longcloth saw 3,000 men enter the jungle with only what could be carried by man or mule. It was brutal, with 27% killed or captured.

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