A new book exploring the events of the two main Chidlit missions in the Burma campaign during the Second World War has been written by a Dorset author.

Colin Higgs, of Gillingham, north Dorset, has penned Wingate's Men: The Chindit Operations: Special Forces in Burma looking at Operation Longcloth and Operation Thursday, featuring a unique set of wartime images.

In Burma Colonel Orde Wingate was given permission to attempt long-range operations deep within Japanese-held territory with the aim of sowing alarm and confusion amongst the enemy and disrupting Japanese plans for the invasion of India.

For this, Wingate was given the Indian 77th Infantry Brigade. In February 1943 this force crossed into Burma on its first Chindit operation, codenamed Loincloth.

The Chindits took the Japanese by surprise, putting one of the main railway lines out of order, but the Japanese responded quickly, interdicting supply drops to the Chindits who soon began to suffer severely from exhaustion and shortages of water and food. With three brigades chasing them, the Chindits headed back to India, being forced to break up into small groups to avoid capture. By the time the 77th Brigade crossed the border, it had lost a third of its strength.

Despite the heavy losses, Wingate had shown that British troops could operate successfully against the Japanese in inhospitable terrain.

The book reveals the conditions in which the Chindits operated and served – including the construction and use of the improvised airfields.

It also examines the human stories behind some of the individual portraits that appear amongst the pictures.

*Wingate's Men: The Chindit Operations: Special Forces in Burma by Colin Higgs is published by Frontline in paperback, priced at £14.99.