1st Chin Rifles
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The 1st Chin Rifles

The 1st Chin Rifles began raising on 1st April 1945 and was formed from former members of the Western (Chin) Levies.  Many of the Chin Levies were former members of the Burma Rifles who had been allowed to return home after the British retreat to India in 1942.  These men, together with new recruits served with the Levies from 1942 onwards.  They gave invaluable and courageous service throughout the Chin Hills, inflicting many casualties on the Japanese.  The Chin Levies remained the financial and administrative responsibility of the Government of Burma in exile at Simla.

By February 1945, as the British advanced deeper into Burma en route to the Irrawaddy River, it became apparent that the role of the Chin Levies was coming to an end.  Since January, under the command of the 7th Indian Infantry Division, the Levies had protected the Division's advance southwards, operating in the hills on the right flank.    Discussions were held in early February to prepare for the withdrawal of the Chin Levies and on 11th February, the Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Oatts attended a conference where it was agreed that they should be returned to the Chin Hills and reorganised into a regular infantry battalion. [1]   The withdrawal of the Chin Levies began and on 25th February the Levy Headquarters arrived at Haka.  On 2nd March the men were granted six weeks leave.  The Levy Headquarters relocated from Haka to Falam later that month, arriving on 18th March 1945. [2]

The 1st Chin Rifles was formally raised at Falam on 1st April 1945 under the command of the former Levies commander, Lt. Colonel Oatts.  The proceedings were attended by Lt. Colonels Ruffell and Beech [Beecheno?] as representatives of the Burma Secretary on behalf of the Governor of Burma.  The new battalion came under the command of Headquarters 551 Line of Communication Sub-Area.  On 6th April, Lt. Colonel Oatts and the Government representatives left for Tiddim where the 2nd Chin Rifles was being formed.  Here a conference was held involving the principal tribal chiefs and discussed the forming of the 2nd Chin Rifles.  It was agreed that, until a commanding officer could be appointed, Lt. Colonel Oatts would remain responsible for both battalions.  As the men began to report in, they formed a body too large for local supplies to support and regular air drops were made to keep them fed and equipped.  On 14th April the 1st Chin Rifles formed three rifle companies on provisional organisation.  Men from Falam made up 'A' Company, men from Lumbang formed 'B' Company and 'C' Company was made up of men from Haka.  The next day the first leave party returned.  By 20th April the Battalion strength reached 540 men and 'C' Company was split to form the remaining company, 'D' Company.  The majority of former Burma Riflemen were in 'C' Company and 'D' Company was made up of mostly former Haka Levies.  As leave parties continued to return the strength of the Battalion grew quickly, reaching 750 men on 23rd April and 900 on 27th April.  On 28th April Headquarters and Administration Companies were formed.  Battalion strength reached 1,050 on 30th April. [3]

All rifle companies began basic infantry training on 1st May 1945.  The Battalion continued to depend on frequent air drops for supplies and equipment.  Training was often disrupted given the large numbers of men needed to collect and sort the supplies dropped.  On 14th May the Battalion paraded during the morning for the presentation of the Burma Gallantry Medal to Rifleman Sa Tin Thio. [4]   On 27th May Lieutenants Frankland and Rigby were posted to the 2nd Chin Rifles. [5] [6]   Training continued throughout June.  Advance notification was received for deployment of the Battalion into central Burma.  The warning order for the move was received on 16th July and seven days later Lieutenant Hrang Thio left for Mualbem to arrange dropping zones by which the Battalion would be kept supplied en route. [7]   On 30th July the advance party under Major G. Wilson left Falam for Kalemyo. [8]   The rifle and Headquarters companies left Falam between 4th and 8th August, travelling via Mualbem.  The Battalion Headquarters and the Administration Company left Falam on 10th August travelling by way of Lumbang.  From Kalemyo the companies headed in turn for Kalewa and Myingyan.  From here all headed for Prome, arriving during the last week of August.  Lieutenant Hrang Thio was posted to the 2nd Chin Rifles on 21st August.  He would later to return to command the 1st Chin Rifles following independence.  On 29th August the Battalion came under the control of the Lushai Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Marandin, and with the exception of the Administration Company was finally assembled at Zigon on 31st August. [9]

Lt. Colonel Oatts left the Battalion on 3rd September 1945 and proceeded to Rangoon for 28 day's leave in the United Kingdom.  Command of the Battalion passed temporarily to Major C. Flanagan. [10]   On 7th September Major Wilson returned from Calcutta and assumed command of the Battalion.  The next day four British Other Ranks of the Burma Intelligence Corps joined the Battalion as interpreters.  The 1st Chin Rifles remained at Zigon during September and was mainly occupied in conducting 'flag marches' throughout the surrounding area.  On 26th September 'B' Company under Major Western left for Tharrawaddy on detachment where it was joined by 'A' Company two days later. [11]   The party of Burma Intelligence Corps (B.I.C.) attached to the Battalion was bolstered by the arrival of a further detachment under Sergeant King on 26th September.  The B.I.C. detachment was now nine strong.  Two days later a party of 100 men under Major Rees went to Rangoon to participate in the victory parade held to celebrate the defeat of Japan.  That same day 'C' Company, temporarily under the command of Captain Chapman, left for Henzada by rail.  At the end of the month the Burma Regimental centre reported that reinforcements being held for the 1st Chin Rifles had reached 24% of strength authorised for the Battalion. [12]

Battalion Headquarters and 'D' Company went to Tharrawaddy and Letpadan respectively on 1st October. Two days later Major Rees and the detachment of 100 men returned from the victory parade in Rangoon.  The Major returned to 'C' Company at Henzada.  meanwhile 'B' Company was at Bassein where Captain Yeomans was sent to assist Major Western who was sick.  On 9th October 30 men reported to the Battalion for duty, being mostly former trained paratroopers of the Chin Hills Battalion and the Burma Rifles.  Under Major Gemmell, 75 men of 'C' Company from Letpadan and 30 me of 'D' Company from Tharrawaddy went to Rangoon by train on 13th October to participate in the Governor's Parade.  On 15th October the commander of the 82nd West African Infantry Division, Major General H.C. Stockwell, and his staff visited to reconnoitre the area to identify a suitable site for his Divisional Headquarters.  Three days later a holiday was held to mark the return of the Civil Government to Burma.  On 29th October Major Flanagan assumed command of the Battalion while Lt. Colonel Wilson went to Rangoon for demobilisation.  Major Dennison briefly took over the role of Officiating Second-in-Command on 25th October before taking command of 'C' Company at Henzada two days later, relieving Major Rees who was then admitted to hospital. [13]

Early in November the political situation became fraught as the British Governor's continued negotiations with General Aung San and his Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (A.F.P.F.L) reached a difficult stage.  In the light of this the 1st Chin Rifles prepared two plans to address unrest in the case of emergency.  Fortunately, these were not needed.  On 8th November Major Rees returned from hospital and took over the duties of Battalion Second-in-Command.  Captain Chapman made an early morning raid on Kanyindan village on 14th November, accompanied by the Civil Police.  Four suspects were arrested.  On 20th November, as the Battalion began preparations for a move to a new location, it was informed that it now came under the command of 253 Line of Communication Sub-Area and was no longer under the Lushai Brigade.  In the following days the companies cam in to Prome and on 25th November a small advance party left by road for the new location - Milestone 15 on the Rangoon-Prome road, just north of Mingaladon.  The Battalion was relieved at Prome by a West African battalion.  By 2nd December the move was complete, 'A' Company being the last to arrive from Tharrawaddy.  That same day Lt. Colonel Oatts, recently returned from leave, resumed command of the Battalion.  However, this change in command was short lived as four days later Lt. Colonel Oatts left to take over command of 253 Line of Communication Sub-Area.  Major Flanagan now resumed command of the 1st Chin Rifles.  Major Dennison left the Battalion on 11th December to proceed to the United Kingdom on 'SLICK' leave.  Captain Hollinghurst took over the duties of Adjutant. [14]

The Reserve Platoon, Headquarters company, arrived at the Battalion camp from Tharrawaddy where it had acted as guard for the Women's Auxiliary Service (Burma) or W.A.S.(B.) detachment there.  A guard of a different nature had since early November been provided by the 1st Chin Rifles when a platoon was sent for guard duties of the Governor's Residence in Rangoon.  Major Gemmell visited Rangoon on 11th January 1946 to inspect the guard.  On 21st January a party of Kachins arrived from Bhamo and would accompany the 1st Chin Rifles party to the Delhi Victory Parade.  The Kachins left by air on 23rd January, Major Rees and the Battalion party leaving two days later.  On 24th January a 'clipping team' arrived to clip the Battalion mules.  By this time 'C' Company had been undertaking duties at Taukkyan (Htaukkyan - today the site of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery) and on 28th January the Company was relieved by 'A' Company.  February 1946 passed quietly with just the normal comings and goings.  Major Gemmell left the Battalion on 15th February to proceed on Class 'B' Release in India.  On 20th February two Burmese Officers reported to the Battalion on attachment, these being former members of the Patriotic Burma Forces and now being incorporated into the new Burma Army being built up. [15]

March 1946 passed equally peacefully.  A further guard was provided for Government House during the first half of the month, returning on 11th March.  A football match was played against a team from the 2nd Burma Rifles on 16th March.  On 19th March Major Shaw escorted a Japanese general to Maymyo.  Major Flanagan went to Rangoon on 25th March for an interview in connection with obtaining a Regular Commission.  On the last day of the month Major Chapman left for the United Kingdom by air to attend an interview for employment with the Government of Burma.  In April 1946 the Battalion gathered individual representatives of all Burma Army units who had been selected to represent their units at the Victory Parade to be held in London.  This party left for the United Kingdom on 14th April under the command of the former Battalion Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Oatts.  The Battalion provided two companies on 16th April to the District Superintendent at Insein to help round up 'dacoits'.  A change of command occurred on 21st April when the Battalion was placed under the command of the 4th West African Infantry Brigade for internal security duties. [16]

On 1st May, Major Dennison went to Simla for an interview with the Colonial service.  The following day the Commanding Officer visited Headquarters Burma Command to discuss a re-organisation of the Battalion.  There was some excitement on 3rd May when reports were received of two armed 'dacoits' in the village of Wawetkan.  The village was surrounded immediately but the 'dacoits' escaped just before the troops arrived.  Between 4th and 10th May the Battalion moved to a new camp close by.  On 14th May, a patrol led by Jemadar Tih Khuai fired on six armed 'dacoits' however these men escaped.  Three P.B.F. Officers reported for duty on 17th May followed by a further two the next day.  A platoon based in Insein and led by Jemadar Tial Zam returned to Battalion Headquarters on 25th May.  Among the various comings and goings of officers on 28th May Lieutenant Thang Hmung went to Toungoo on attachment to the 2nd Battalion, The Welch Regiment.  There was very little to report for the month of June.  In July Lieutenant Coombs was seconded to the Burma Police.  On 26th July seven Governor's Commissioned Officers were commissioned into the Burma Land Forces with effect from 15th December 1946.  Major Dennison left the Battalion on 4th August for release in the United Kingdom.  On 8th August Brigadier Dukes visited the Battalion to discuss training.  A projected move of the Battalion to Akyab (Sittwe) was postponed until mid-November.  Two Burmese Officers (from the P.B.F.) were transferred to the 3rd Burma Rifles on 13th August. Lieutenant Kep Lo arrived from the Chin Hills with 35 recruits on 29th August. [17]

Like all of the newly raised Burma Army battalions, the 1st Chin Rifles had no regimental centre or depot to train and administer recruits.  As a result, on 2nd September, a Recruit Company was formed by the Battalion to train new recruits.  At the end of the month a platoon under Lieutenant That Phu was sent to assist the Police at Insein at the request of the District Commissioner.  This was followed on 28th September by a platoon under Lieutenant Lian Hu who was sent to assist the Police at Dabein.  On 30th September a Battalion parade was held to present the Burma Gallantry Medal to Naik Tai Chawn and to hand out prizes to winners of the rifle shooting competition.  A prize was also given for the 'best guard'. [18]

[The war diary of the 1st Chin Rifles ends here.]

In mid-December 1946 orders were received for the 2nd Chin Rifles to move from north Burma to Mingaladon in January 1947, taking over from the 1st Chin Rifles which was to move into Rangoon. [19]   During January 1947, the 1st Chin Rifles took over a number of guard duties in Rangoon from the 1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment. [20]

Independence came to Burma on 4th January 1948.  The first years of independence brought armed conflict between different political groupings and between ethnic groups and the central government.  In the Arakan, an armed insurgency by members of the Muslim ethnic minority, the Rohingya, gained much ground.  By June 1948 government control was reduced to the city of Akyab and most of the northern portion of the state was in the hands of the Muslim insurgents.  In September 1948 part of the 5th Burma Rifles was surrounded by the Mujahid rebels north of Sittwe and reinforcements were rushed from Rangoon to their aid.  After several weeks of fighting the 3rd and 5th Burma Rifles and the 1st Chin Rifles were successful in driving the Mujahideen back into the jungles to the north of the state. [21]

Perhaps the most significant of the ethnic insurgencies was the so-called Karen rebellion.  Despite numerous tensions and stand-offs fighting between the Karens and the Government did not break out until January 1949.  The Karen National Defence Organisation (K.N.D.O.), the armed wing of the Karen separatist movement took over Insein, a township to the north of Rangoon, towards the end of January and by 2nd February occupied the town with more than 2,000 troops.  An attempt to reinforce Insein from Prome was defeated in early February and the K.N.D.O. at Insein was effectively surrounded.  On the Government side the main defence was put up by the 1st Chin Rifles and companies of the 3rd and 4th Burma Rifles, supported by Police and irregular units. [22]

Fighting between the 1st Chin Rifles and the K.N.D.O. at Insein began at the end of January at Khawechan. [23]   The 1st Chin Rifles, commanded by Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio, were most heavily engaged at Thamaing.  The Government troops were reinforced in early March by the 2nd Chin Rifles, airlifted from Moulmein into Mingaladon airfield.  The 2nd Chin Rifles opened a second battle against the K.N.D.O. at Swabwagyigon, to the east of Insein.  The fighting at Insein was at times heavy and vicious.  Chin troops were at the forefront and involved in some of the fiercest fighting, around Sawbwagyigon between Insein and the Prome road.  To begin with the fighting was largely positional warfare, with both sides entrenched in interconnected bunkers.  Shelling, mortaring and machine gunning were common, interspersed with patrols, raids and limited attacks against isolated positions.  Casualties were heavy on both sides. [24]

On 8th March 1949, the disposition of the 1st Chin Rifles, as documented by the British Services Mission, were:

- Battalion Headquarters less one platoon Administration Company:  Mingaladon

- 'B' Company:   Mingaladon

- 'A', 'C' and 'D' Companies:   Insein

- One platoon:   Baad. [25]

There were days when the 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles suffered around twenty killed, the fighting was so fierce.  Also involved on the Government side was the Twante Battalion, Union Military Police.  A company of the 5th Burma Rifles had been brought in from the Arakan by air.  The Burma Rifles company launched an attack against the K.N.D.O. positions (possibly those on Pagoda Hill as related elsewhere) but suffered heavy casualties and was forced to withdraw.  The 1st Chin Rifles relieved the 5th Burma Rifles, continued the attack and successfully occupied the K.N.D.O. positions.  Sergeant Tai Chawn of the 1st Chin Rifles was awarded the highest gallantry medal, the Aung San Thuriya, for his exemplary leadership in this action. [26]   [27]

The fighting at Insein continued through into April, with the K.N.D.O. being bombarded by mortars, shelled by the naval vessel “May-yu” and bombed by the Burma air force.  The 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles advanced slowly southwards from Mingaladon towards Insein. [28]   On 10th April the combined force of the 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles, under the overall command of the South Burma Area commander, Brigadier General Kyaw Zaw, attacked Duck Egg Hill, the last major stronghold of the K.N.D.O. in the Insein area.  During the fighting the 1st Chin Rifles suffered fifteen officers and men killed and fifteen wounded.  The 2nd Battalion lost five men killed and fifteen officers and men wounded.  Finally the surviving Karens were forced out and crossed the Hlaing River on 22nd May and escaped out into the delta, allowing government troops to regain control of Insein after a siege lasting 112 days.  By now the combined losses of the 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles amounted to over 300 officers and men killed and wounded. [29]  

Throughout the Insein battle military operations on the Government side were directed by Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio, Commanding Officer of the 1st Chin Rifles.  By the actions of the 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles, together with elements of the Burma Rifles and other units, Rangoon and the Government of Burma were saved.  Altogether the 1st Chin Rifles earned six awards in recognition of gallantry and the service they had rendered the Government. [30]

Near the end of June 1949 the 2nd Chin Rifles began an offensive against the K.N.D.O. in the Delta with the objective of clearing the Twante canal.  By 1st July the Battalion had cleared the canal to the 19th milestone and by 14th July the operation was complete.  On this date the 2nd Chin Rifles linked up with the 4th Burma Rifles at Maubin.  It was hoped that the K.N.D.O. east of Maubin would now surrender however they did not despite much publicised negotiations. [31]

Following the success at Maubin, the government launched an attack on Thantabin, only twenty miles from Rangoon.  The plan called for an advance up the Panhlaing River to Tetthit and thence by road north to Thantabin.  Tetthit was captured on 19th July after which the planned line of advance was abandoned in favour of an operation from the direction of Hmwabi.  Some progress was made by the 1st Chin Rifles through the flooded paddy fields when in August the commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio was mortally wounded. [32]   A party of the Battalion accompanied by Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio was leaving Hmwabi when it was ambushed as it passed a monastery.  During the fierce fighting that followed the Colonel was wounded in the leg.  After the Karens had been fought off he was taken to Mingaladon Military Hospital but died following surgery on 8th August 1949. [33]

The death of Hrang Thio had a serious effect on the morale of his battalion and on the operation as whole for which he had been overall commander.  The operation was suspended whilst arrangements were made for his lying in state.  Operations resumed and on 26th August Thantabin was retaken by a well planned and rehearsed combined operation.  However, the bulk of the Karen defenders got away to the north, only one prisoner being taken by the government troops.  There was insurgent activity elsewhere in the Delta and on the Pegu front, which remained fairly quiet, there was some fighting at Daik-U in July during which the town twice changed hands.  Government policy was to remain on the defensive in the Pegu district and the K.N.D.O. seemed to be operating in a similar way. [34]   After the actions around Thantabin the 1st Chin Rifles later joined the Government forces in the Pegu area. [35]

Immediately after the death of Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio, the battalion was led temporarily by the Second-in-Command, Major Van Kulh. [36]   Major Phu Kung was shortly afterwards appointed as Commanding Officer.  Another officer, Khen Za Mung, wrote subsequently that he had been in line to become the new commanding officer but his appointment was blocked when senior members of the 1st Chin Rifles complained to the War Office that he was unfit for the post as he was married to a Karen woman.  As a result, Phu Kung was appointed in his place. [37]

Operations against the Karens continued into 1950.  In February 1950, in the Tharrawaddy District an attack by insurgents was repulsed only when two companies of the 1st Chin Rifles arrived.  In February 1950 a large scale operation called Operation “Thunder” was mounted to retake Toungoo, the K.N.D.O. “capital”.  The operation was led by Brigadier General Kyaw Zaw.  Under his command were the regular infantry battalions of the 1st and 3rd Chin Rifles, the 3rd and 6th Burma Rifles and the recently raised 5th Infantry Battalion.  There were also two battalions of Union Military Police.  This force was supported by a detachment of 25-pounder field guns, a tank force comprising a Sherman, two Stuarts, and assorted Bren Carriers (all assembled from scrapped vehicles abandoned by the British), engineer and supply troops. [38]   Toungoo was re-occupied on 19th March and the Karens withdrew, possibly across the Sittang into the hills to the east and north east although it was rumoured some may have crossed the Pegu Yomas attempting to reach the Delta via Prome. [39]

The Chin Rifles battalions continued to be involved in combating Communist and Karen and Kachin insurgencies into the 1960s.  Some reorganisation of the Burma Army took place during this period and included the dismissal or transfer of senior Chin officers who were replaced by Burman officers.  In the late 1980s further reorganisation did away with battalions organised and titled along ethnic lines.  In their place came integrated units identified by number.  It is believed that some time after 1988 the 1st Chin Rifles became No. 307 Light Infantry Battalion. [40]

 


[1] Lewis Balfour Oatts, born, 6th April 1920.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant (20057), The Highland Light Infantry, 31st August 1922.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 31st August 1924.  Seconded to the Indian Signal Corps, 5th December 1927 to 4th June 1930.  Restored to the establishment (upon completion of secondment), 5th June 1930.  Promoted to Captain, 4th October 1935.  Assigned to Special Employed List, seconded to the Burma Defence Forces, 20th March 1938.  As Major, served as Assistant Commandant, the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 20th March 1938 to 6th November 1939.  Promoted to Major, 31st August 1939.  Led an expedition into the Naga Hills, November 1939 to early April 1940.  As Major, served as Assistant Commandant, the Reserve Battalion, Burma Frontier Force at Pyawbwe, April 1940.  As Lt. Colonel, Commanding Officer, the Western (Chin) Levies, May 1943 to 1st April 1945.  Commanding Officer, 1st Chin Rifles, 1st April 1945 to 6th December 1945.  Commander, 253 Line of Communication Sub-Area, 6th December 1945 to April 1946.  Awarded the Distinguished Service Order, gazetted, 17th January 1946.  Commanded the Burma Army contingent that participated in the London Victory parade (8th June 1946), leaving Burma for the United Kingdom, 14th April 1946.  As Major, retired and granted the rank of Honorary Lt. Colonel, 11th November 1948.  As Major, Honorary Lt. Colonel (20057), having attained the age limit of liability to recall, ceased to belong to the Reserve of Officers, 6th April 1952.  Wrote of his time with the Western (Chin) Levies and the 1st Chin Rifles, "The Jungle in Arms", 1962.  Died, December 1990 ("The Jungle in Arms", Oatts B., William Kimber Ltd (1962); British Army List 1942; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Balfour_Oatts; Indian Army List April 1940; London Gazette; The Chin Hills Battalion, Mss EUR E250; War diary 1st Chin Levies, WO 172/7808; War diary 1st Chin Levies, WO 172/10329; WO 373/42/245).

[2] War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/7808

[3] WO 172/7808

[4] WO 373/31/28

[5] Lieutenant Frankland has not been identified.  As Lieutenant, served with the Western (Chin) Levies, 5th November 1944 to 1st April 1945.  As Lieutenant, served with the 1st Chin Rifles, 1st April 1945 to 27th May 1945.  Left the 1st Chin Rifles on posting to the 2nd Chin Rifles, 27th May 1945  (War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/7808; War diary Western Chin Levies, WO 172/5043).

[6] Lieutenant Rigby has not been identified.  As Lieutenant, served with the Western (Chin) Levies, 4th November 1944 to 1st April 1945.  Slightly wounded while serving with the Western Chin Levies, 30th January 1945.  As Lieutenant served with the 1st Chin Rifles, 1st April 1945 to 27th May 1945.  Posted from the 1st Chin Rifles to the 2nd Chin Rifles, 27th May 1945  (War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/7808; War diary Western Chin Levies, WO 172/5043).

[7] Hrang Thio, born, 1919.  Enlisted as a Rifleman in The Burma Rifles, 1939.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1943 to 1944.  Participated in the First Chindit Operation, January-June 1943.  Havildar, 1943-44.  Participated in the Second Chindit Operation, February-March 1943 to August 1944.  Emergency Commission, A.B.R.O. as 2nd Lieutenant (as Hrang Thio THOMPSON), 1st May 1944.  As Havildar (7920), The Burma Rifles [the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles], awarded the Burma Gallantry Medal, gazetted, 22nd June 1944.  As Lieutenant, served with the Western (Chin) Levies, 1945.  As Lieutenant, served with the 1st Chin Rifles, April 1945?? to 21st August 1945.  As Lieutenant, posted from the 1st Chin Rifles to the 2nd Chin Rifles, 21st August 1945.  Promoted to Major, 1945.  Commanding Officer, the 1st Chin Rifles, 1947 to August 1949.  After training in the United Kingdom, promoted to Lt. Colonel, December 1947.  "…died in fighting with insurgents on Shwehlegyi Street, in the Hmawbi-Thantabin area", 6th August 1949.  Alternative accounts give the following: wounded in action, 6th August 1949, died of wounds at Mingaladon Military Hospital, 8th August 1949.  Lt. Colonel Hrang Thio was honoured with a state funeral  ("Burma's Freedom: Second Anniversary", Ministry of Information;  "The Union of Burma", Tinker H., OUP (1967); "Tedim to Yangon, Background and Record of The Moong Family", Khen Za Moong, (1995);  The Third Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission,30th September 1949, DEFE 7/866; London Gazette; Van Cung Lian; War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/7808; War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/2658; Anglo-Burmese Library - 2nd Burma Rifles).

[8] George Wilson.  Worked for Osborne and Chappel Group of Malayan Mining Companies, Burma, 1938 to July 1940?  Left Burma for enlistment in the British Army??, July 1940.  As Cadet, K.O.Y.L.I. O.C.T.U., granted Emergency Commission, Royal Engineers as 2nd Lieutenant (189456), 31st May 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  As Captain, joined the Western (Chin) Levies, May 1944.  Served with the Western (Chin) Levies, May 1944 to 1/4/1945.  Served with the 1st Chin Rifles, 1st April 1945 to 19/10/1945.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, left the 1st Chin Rifles for Rangoon for demobilisation, 19th October 1945.  As Captain, Royal Engineers, attached to the Western (Chin) Levies, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 13th September 1946.  As war substantive Captain, relinquished commission and granted the rank of honorary Major, 20th December 1947.  As assistant manager, Waterfall Estate, Malaya, age 39, killed by Communist terrorists, 11th September 1948  ("Distinctly I Remember", H. Braund, Wren (1972); British Army List July 1945; Indian Army List October 1945; London Gazette; WO 373/41/298; War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/7808; War diary Western Chin Levies, WO 172/5043).

[9] WO 172/7808

[10] C. Flanagan.  As Captain, joined the Western (Chin) Levies, 2nd November 1944.  Served with the Western (Chin) Levies, 2nd November 1944 to 31/3/1945.  As Major, served with the 1st Chin Rifles, 1st April 1945 to late 1946.  As temporary Lt. Colonel, Commanding Officer, the 1st Chin Rifles, 6th December 1946 to late 1946  (War diary 1st Chin Rifles WO 172/7808, WO 172/7806 & WO 172/10329; War diary Western Chin Levies, WO 172/5043).

[11] Major Western has not been identified.  As Major, Company Commander, 'B' Company, the 1st Chin Rifles, 26th September 1945.  As Major, left the 1st Chin Rifles on 28 days leave to India, 20th April 1946.  As Major returned to duty with the 1st Chin Rifles, following leave in India, 17th June 1946  (War diary 1st Chin Rifles WO 172/7808; War diary 1st Chin Rifles WO 172/10329).

[12] WO 172/7808

[13] WO 172/7808

[14] WO 172/7808, “Epilogue in Burma, 1945-48”, McEnery J.M., Spellmount (1990)

[15] War diary 1st Chin Rifles, WO 172/10329

[16] WO 172/10329

[17] WO 172/10329

[18] WO 172/10329

[19] Epilogue in Burma

[20] War diary 1st Burma Regiment, WO 268/160

[22] “The Outbreak of the K.N.D.O. and M.N.D.O.”, Yangon Siyin Baptist Church Silver Jubilee Magazine

[23] "Tedim to Yangon, Background and Record of The Moong Family", Khen Za Moong, (1995)

[24] The Outbreak of the K.N.D.O. and M.N.D.O.

[25] “Review of the Civil War in Burma”, British Services Mission, 21st March 1949, DEFE 7/864

[26] Tedim to Yangon

[27] Taik Chun aka Thai Con aka Thai Cawn. Lieutenant Aung San Thuriya Thuya Thai Con (serial no: 7288) was the only Chin soldier to have received both Thuya and Aung San Thuriya Medal, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry and bravery in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to members of Myanmar Armed Forces. He won the award during the action known as “the Raid on U Seikkein Monastery” during the fighting at Insein against the Karen. The raid on U Seikkein Monastery can be regarded as one of the most prominent actions during the struggle for Insein.  The structure of the monastery was something like that of a well built fortress.  It was built on a hillock surrounded by other monasteries. The Karen insurgents were using these monasteries as their stronghold and taking advantage of the elevated position to open fire on any approaching government forces.  The then Sergeant Taik Chun and his squad from the 1st Chin Rifles were ordered to raid this monasteries complex.  The Sergeant and four privates entered the insurgents’ positions and killed several of the insurgents.  Sergeant Taik Chun and his squad fought bravely under heavy fire.   Lieutenant Taik Chun was awarded Aung San Thuriya medal in 1950 for his exemplary bravery and honourable sacrifices in face of superior number of enemy forces in the following battles: 10 April 1949 - Battle of Saw Bwar Kyee Gone 16 April 1949 - Battle of U Seikkein Monastery 18 April 1949 - Battle of U Seikkein Monastery.  He was also awarded Thuya medal for his bravery in other battles and promoted to the rank of Captain in 1950 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taik_Chun accessed 16th April 2017).

[28] Tedim to Yangon

[29] The Outbreak of the K.N.D.O. and M.N.D.O.” gives a figure of total Chin casualties as around 300.  In the document “A Paper on the Chin Affairs in the Army” given to the author by Van Cung Lian, the figure given is 346, made up of: 177 killed; 153 wounded; 16 missing.  These were the second highest losses experienced by any class (ethnicity) in the post-independence conflicts and compare with the 2,745 Burman casualties.

[30] The Outbreak of the K.N.D.O. and M.N.D.O.

[31] The Third Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission,30th September 1949, DEFE 7/866

[32] DEFE 7/866

[33] Tedim to Yangon; Van Cung Lian

[34] DEFE 7/866

[35] Tedim to Yangon

[36] Major Van Kulh was promoted to Lt. Colonel in June 1950 and appointed the Commanding Officer of the newly raised 4th Chin Rifles.

[37] Note to the author from Van Cung Lian.

[38] Myat Htan’s autobiography, extracts published in “Burma in Limbo”, retrieved August 2016; Tinker; The First Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 31st March 1950, DEFE 7/866

[39] DEFE 7/866

[40] Note to the author from Van Cung Lian, derived from an interview with Colonel Khen Za Mung conducted by Chin World Media in 2011.

 

12 October 2017

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