James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

To India & severe malaria

After a couple of months the war with Japan was well under way and Gwyn was posted, along with many other radar personnel, British and Canadian, to the Far East. He became a troop deck officer on the P & O liner Cathay out of Newport. Under heavy escort the largest convoy ever to have left UK headed west towards America then south and finally east to Freetown in Africa where it anchored for several days before moving east again. At this point Gwyn was struck down with Malaria. By the time the convoy reached Cape Town Gwyn was quite delirious and had to be lowered over the side in a straight jacket and rushed to the city hospital. After two weeks he was transferred for a month to a Red Cross nursing home, Thalassa, at Kalk Bay south of Cape Town. R & R included a visit to Table Mountain, to Simonstown naval base and to a concert in Cape Town.

Map showing places in the Far East referred to, below.

He was shipped out on a small American freighter, Dona Aurora, with a motley set of companions to try to catch up with his draft. He discovered the reason the freighter was not in a convoy was that it was deemed too high a risk since it was carrying several thousand tons of high explosive! Fortunately they avoided any submarine attacks and arrived safely at Bombay where HQ knew nothing about him! Eventually it was discovered that his draft was at Quetta and Gwyn spent three days experiencing for the first time what it was like to be in an active war zone as he travelling by train to Karachi. A week later he entrained for Quetta but was delayed at Shikarpur as the Indus was in flood and had washed away the rail crossing. A very enjoyable fortnight holidaying in Quetta was followed by a train journey back across the Indus to Calcutta where he was finally reunited with his colleagues though the equipment they required to set up a chain of radar stations had not arrived. Towards the end of October 1942 and following a second bout of malaria, which led to hospitalisation in Calcutta, Gwyn took a group of airmen to set up a station at Manipur Road (now known as Dimapur).