From Eric Larrabee’s excellent Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants, and Their War:
The exodus from Burma held all the horrors that Stilwell had feared…. The greatest suffering was that of the refugees, especially those who took the northernmost path through the Hukawng valley, two hundred and fifty miles of malarial jungle. Not enough prepared camps or food stocks were in place when the monsoon began, which meant mud to the knees and nights in soaking clothes in addition to the dysentery and the leeches.
The route was terrorized by roving Chinese deserters, and each mile or so along it was a corpse, usually a victim of cholera, pneumonia, or total exhaustion. Everyone was a little bit insane; husbands deserted their wives; parents deserted children. Under such circumstances the heroes were those who risked their lives for others; fourteen-year-old Norman Richardson, who brought out three of his five brothers and sisters after their mother died…
Richardson was subsequently acclaimed in the press as the Boy Hero of Burma, which was wrong in one particular. He carried an 11-month-old baby for a week before it died, and after getting his siblings settled in each camp, he returned several miles down the trail to help his elderly grandmother. An Ango-Indian, he later trained for the Royal Indian Navy.
A good story to keep in reserve for the next time your teenage boy is reluctant to help with the latest service project.