Monday, 1 November 2010
An amazing story has emerged today of how a British tea planter rescued hundreds of refugees fleeing the Japanese in Burma in World War 2 using a team of elephants. Gyles Mackrell learned in summer 1942 that British soldiers and civilians were trapped the other side of a swollen river, surviving on rations dropped by the RAF. He believed his team of elephants could be used to rescue them so he trekked 100 miles through the jungle in a week. The river crossing was incredibly dangerous and the elephants and their handlers "took terrible risks being washed away and broken to pieces". Over 200 people were saved and he was given the George medal for his courage. You can read more about the story here and watch archive footage here.