TO the villagers of Sinton Green, near Hallow, Philip Bullock, who has died at the age of 94, was their local churchwarden and a keen bellringer.

A quiet, friendly man, he worked for many years as a cabinet maker, was on the Parochial Church Council, a member of Martley Guild of Bellringers and also Worcestershire and District Change Ringing Association.

But that was only half his story.

For during the Second World, Mr Bullock served in Burma with the Chindts, the special forces units officially called Long Range Penetration Groups formed by Brig. Orde Wingate to operate deep in the jungle behind Japanese lines and make things as difficult as possible for the enemy.

The Chindits served in horrific conditions in Burma and India in 1943 and 1944.

They specialised in guerrilla warfare and fought deep behind Japanese lines, their mission to disrupt communications and supply routes fuelling the enemy war effort.

Each man carried more than 72 pounds (33 kg) of equipment, which was proportionally more than the mules carrying the support weapons and other stores.

This included a personal weapon, such as an SML rifle or Sten Gun, ammunition, grenades, a machete or Gurkha kukri knife, seven days' rations, groundsheet, change of uniform and other assorted items.

Life was very hard for the Chindits and their operations were marked by prolonged marches through extremely difficult terrain, by underfed troops often weakened by diseases such as malaria and dysentery.

Mr Bullock was seconded to the Chindits from the South Staffordshire regiment and came under the command of one of their most charismatic officers, James Michael “Mad Mike” Calvert.

In his memoirs, Calvert recalled leading a unit of Chindits, including members of the South Staffords, at the battle of Pagoda Hill, in which he decided the only way to dislodge a well dug in force of Japanese was by bayonet charge.

So he rose from his position “and in the approved Victorian manner” shouted “CHARGE” and set off down a steep slope towards the enemy.

Calvert wrote: “Half the South Staffords joined in.

"Then looking back I found a lot had not. So I told them to bloody well 'Charge, what the hell do you think you're doing.'

"So they charged. Machine-gunners, mortar teams, all officers — everybody who was on that hill." In chaotic hand to hand fighting, which was “rather like an officers’ guest night”, the Japanese were vanquished.

The South Staffords were in the Chindits 77th Brigade and as such Philip Bullock would also have taken part in one of the regiment’s most famous battles.

It was at a heavily fortified Chindit stronghold in a jungle clearing near Henu called White City, because of the number of parachute canopies hanging in the surrounding trees.

In April, 1944 the Japanese launched a ferocious 10-day attack with bombers, heavy artillery and infantry.

But the Chindits held out and the enemy eventually fled, leaving around 1,500 dead hanging on the barbed wire fortifications around the base.

They did not return.

Although born in Worcester, Mr Bullock spent most of his life in Sinton Green.

He left Hallow school at 14 and joined furniture makers GT Rackstraw in Worcester.

Apart from his army service, he stayed there all his working life.

His son Andrew said: “Dad very rarely talked about the war. He went through some horrific times and as we were growing up as kids he never mentioned them. Although in his later life he did open up a bit.”

In 1994 Mr Bullock received an inscribed silver salver to celebrate 25 years as churchwarden at St Bartholomew’s church, Grimley.

He was following in the footsteps of his father Albert, who occupied the same post for 26 years.

Mr Bullock also supported the Royal British Legion as a poppy seller in Hallow for more than 50 years.

A widower, Mr Bullock died in Worcestershire Royal Hospital after a short illness.

He leaves a daughter, two sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

His funeral will be at Grimley church, near Worcester, at 11.30am on Tuesday, June 20.