Founded and led by Brigadier Orde Wingate, the Chindits were a Long Range Penetration Force who undertook two notable missions behind enemy lines in Burma in 1943-44: Operations Longcloth and Thursday.
The name of the force derives from the sugestion of Burma rifles Captain Aung Thin, DSO. His idea was to use the name Chinthe, the guardian of the Burmese temples, along with Wingate’s research on the Chindwin River.
Wingate himself designed the patch: a large golden-orange Chinthe with a temple in the distance and a dash-dot-dot-dot at the base as Morse code for V (Victory). Sadly, he would never see the patch worn as he died in a transport plane crash on 24 March 1944.
The first chindit patches were issued on the start of a month’s leave after training. A leaflet issued with the patch dated 26th april 1944 states “THIS IS YOUR BADGE, IT MEANS YOU ARE A MEMBER OF SPECIAL FORCE, YOU ARE PROUD OF SPECIAL FORCE. ALL RANKS SPECIAL FORCE ARE PROUD OF YOU”.
The Indian-made patch was hand made in many forms with silk or bright wire details and these were among the largest British formation signs ever made during the war, measuring up to 7-8.5cm across. Chindit shoulder titles were also made and sold in local Indian Bazaars. However, these were never officially issued, being deemed irregular and not to be worn [ battalion orders india no 56 / 280 ]. Machine woven insignia appeared on the market for sale to veterans and anyone wishing to purchase them right up to today so the collector must be wary. The ones pictured here are, of course, the genuine article!