The Burma Campaign

Chin Hills Battalion – 3rd Chin Rifles

The birth of the 3rd Chin Rifles as an infantry battalion of the armed forces of the newly independent Union of Burma was protracted.  The Battalion underwent major reorganisation twice and was re-titled three times between 1946 and 1949.

After the successful conclusion of the war with Japan the British colonial Government continued with its plan to build a new Burma Army.  As part of this plan it was decided to convert the Chin Hills Battalion from an infantry battalion to an anti-tank/mortar regiment, one of three artillery units proposed for the new Burma Artillery.  The Chin Hills Battalion was the oldest surviving Burma infantry battalion, having been raised as a Burma Military Police Battalion in 1894.  With the separation of Burma from India in 1937, the Battalion became part of the newly formed Burma Frontier Force.  The Battalion survived the Japanese invasion of 1942 and as part of the reorganisation of the survivors of the Burma Army in October 1942, it became the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment.  For most of the remainder of the war, the Battalion continued to fight in the Chin Hills, inside Burma, against the Japanese occupier. 

The conversion of the unit from an infantry battalion took place on 21st September 1946 when the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank Regiment, Burma Artillery was formed.  However the new regiment had a short life for in September 1947 the Burma government-in-waiting decided to convert the regiment once again, this time back to an infantry battalion but retaining one anti-tank battery.  The subsequent reorganisation was completed on 1st November 1947 and unit reverted to the title of the Chin Hills Battalion.  At independence on 4th January 1948 the Battalion swore a new oath of allegiance to the government of the Union of Burma.  It seems that at least amongst the higher command levels of the Burma Army the Battalion had by now been re-titled as the 3rd Chin Rifles.  However, when this actually occurred has not been established.  Reports submitted by the British Services Mission refer to the battalion as the 3rd Chin Rifles as early as 14th September 1948, when summarising the order of battle as at 1st April that year.  While all accounts of the 1948-1950 period consulted at the time of writing refer to the unit as the 3rd Chin Rifles, the Battalion appears to have continued to refer to itself as the Chin Hills Battalion well in to 1949, maybe as late as June or July of that year.  Finally, in mid-1949, it seems the Battalion was ordered to adopt the new title, the 3rd Chin Rifles.  In a letter dated 4th August 1949, the Battalion Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam, appealed to his superior headquarters for the title “Chin Hills Battalion” to be retained.[1]  His appeal was turned down [2]

This account covers the period 1946-1950.  It starts at the beginning of the period when the Battalion was still named the Chin Hills Battalion.  It is followed by the story of the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti Tank Regiment, which existed briefly from late 1946 to late 1947.  It then describes the story of the Battalion following conversion back to an infantry Battalion, from November 1947 through to the 1950s.  This latter section refers to the Battalion as the Chin Hills Battalion up until August 1949 and then the 3rd Chin Rifles from August 1949 onwards.

Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment - January-November 1946

In December 1945 the Chin Hills Battalion was settled in Magwe from where it went on to spend most of 1946 with at least one company on internal security duties either in the Minbu District or in the Taungdwingyi area.  One company was maintained permanently at Chauk and part time at Yenangyaung, guarding Army oil stocks.  The Battalion Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel West left on release on 16th February 1946 to become the Assistant Superintendent for Tiddim.[3]  Major A.P. Burnett-Hutchinson assumed temporary command.[4]  During March 1946, platoons and patrols were active in support of the civil power, most notably at Natmauk, and of the Police.  Havildar Mang Er travelled to the United Kingdom as the Battalion's representative in the London victory parade.  On 17th April, Jemadar On Za Mang with twelve other ranks from 'D' Company and accompanied by two members of the Police were ambushed in Thayetmyo District by 'dacoits'.  Lance Naik Sum Za Thang was seriously wounded and evacuated to hospital in Prome.  After firing on the troops, the 'dacoits' then fled, the men of the Battalion did not return fire for fear of hitting villagers in the huts behind the 'dacoit' firing position.  On 22nd April, 'C' Company moved to Chauk and 'A' Company went to Minbu.  Success against 'dacoits' was achieved on 10th May when a section from No. 8 Platoon, led by Lance Naik Khup The, captured eight 'dacoits' in the Minbu area.  On 15th May, 'D' Company was relieved at Thayetmyo by the 4th Battalion, The Border Regiment and began moving to Magwe.  Further successes were made against 'dacoits' throughout May with many being captured together with rifles and other small arms.  As a result, crime in the Minbu and Magwe areas decreased to such an extent that all bar three platoons were withdrawn from internal security duties.  On 26th May a party of Japanese Surrendered Personnel arrived at Magwe to undertake construction work.[5] [6]

It seems that the intention to convert the Battalion into an anti-tank/mortar regiment was known as early as June 1946 when the Battalion undertook preliminary preparations.  The Commanding Officer of the 8th (Mahratta) Anti-Tank Regiment, Indian Army, Lt. Colonel Jarvis, visited the Battalion on 8th and 9th June.  Officers and men from this regiment were later attached to the new unit to provide instruction in the use of anti-tank guns and mortars.  During the month, detachments of Governor's Commissioned Officers (G.C.O.s), signallers and selected N.C.O.s were sent to the 8th (Mahratta) Anti-Tank Regiment at Meiktila for training in gunnery, gunner signal procedure and artillery work in general.  The visit of Lt. Colonel Jarvis was followed on 14th June by the appointment as Commanding Officer of Lt. Colonel A.R. Sharpe, until then Commander of the 7th (West African) Auxiliary Group.[7] [8]

In early July 1946, two platoons under Major A.N. Abbott were sent to Minbu to help deal with an outbreak of 'dacoity'.[9]  This mission was successful and the platoons returned to Magwe on 1st August.  On 4th August, 'C' Company, under Major Abbott, moved to Chauk to relieve 'B' Company under Major G.C. Talukdar.[10]  ‘B’ Company returned to Magwe the next day.  A further visit was made to the Battalion between 15th and 17th August by the officiating commander of the 8th (Mahratta) Anti-Tank Regiment.  A football match was held on 17th August against the 1st Burma Rifles from Meiktila. The Battalion was notified on 21st August that it now came under the command of the Commander Royal Artillery, 17th Indian Infantry Division.[11]

On 2nd August 1946, the Battalion Commanding Officer issued a memorandum to his officers advising them of the forthcoming conversion of the Battalion to an anti-tank/mortar regiment, warning of which had been given some time previously.  Captain Rutherford, Royal Artillery and a detachment of Mahrattas were stationed with the Battalion to teach mortar drill in both 4.2-inch and 3-inch weapons.  Captain Whitehead and a further detachment of Mahrattas were attached to the Battalion from 29th August.  As the war establishment of an anti-tank/mortar regiment required less manpower than an infantry battalion, between 8th and 14th August, 111 Kumaonis and 103 Nepalese Gurkhas serving with the Battalion were posted to No.2 Reinforcement Battalion, Burma Regimental Centre.  A preliminary reorganisation of the Battalion saw 'B' Company merged into 'D' Company, giving three rifles companies in readiness for the start of training as anti-tank/mortar batteries; of which there were normally three in an anti-tank/mortar regiment.[12]

Further aid to the civil power was given in early September when Captain Judd and 110 men left Magwe for the Minbu area to support the Police.[13]  This was followed on 9th September by a further detachment of two platoons from 'A’ Company under Major H.H. Wilkinson being sent to Kokkokon also in aid of the civil power.[14]  On 12th September 1946, the Battalion was relieved at Magwe by the 8th (Mahratta) Anti-Tank Regiment and moved to Thedaw Camp at Meiktila.  'C' Company, at Chauk, was ordered to leave there on 1st October to rejoin the Battalion at Thedaw.  This company arrived the next day but the two platoons under Major Wilkinson recalled to Magwe were held up and did not join the Battalion at Thedaw until later. The Mahrattas training team accompanied the Regiment and continued instruction.  The formal change of status of the Battalion to an anti-tank/mortar regiment took effect from 21st September 1946, according to a 'Special Battalion Order' given by Lt. Colonel Sharpe the previous day.[15] 

1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank Regiment, Burma Artillery

Whilst the unofficial history of the Chin Hills Battalion gives the date of the change in title and organisation as taking effect from 1st November 1946, with orders to that effect not arriving until a month later, Lt. Colonel Sharpe's order dated 20th September clearly gives 21st September 1946 as the date when the changes were to occur.  The standard organisation for an anti-tank/mortar regiment was three batteries and thus the three rifle companies were renamed as 'P', 'Q' and 'R' Batteries.  Each battery was equipped with twelve 6-pounder anti-tank guns and twelve 3-inch or 4.2-inch mortars.  Depending on operational requirements, the batteries or detachments would be deployed with either the 6-pounder gun or mortars.  The 6-pounder anti-tank gun could act in its originally intended role, firing solid shot against tanks and armoured vehicles, or it could be deployed as an infantry support weapon, firing high explosive shells in direct fire mode.  The new Regiment retained a responsibility to be ready to support the civil power in the event of disturbances and on 23rd September an order was made for the formation and maintenance of a mobile rifle company for this purpose.  It seems to have taken some time for the new organisation to become established for the war diary for October 1946 continued to refer to the batteries as companies.  The diary records that 'A' and 'D' Companies each sent one platoon to the Minbu district in aid of the civil power.  One of the platoons went to Magwe and the other to Taungdwingyi.[16]

A number of senior British Officers visited the new unit during October.  One of the most notable was that of Brigadier General J.G. Flewett, Commanding Officer of the 64th Indian Infantry Brigade who visited on 12th October.  More notable is that also visiting that day was the Burmese minister for defence and external affairs, Bogyoke (Major General) Aung San, by then effectively the Prime Minister in waiting.  Aung San met Major Ngin Zam, B.G.M., O.B. and inspected men of the Regiment who were formed up on special parade.[17] [18]

During November, the Mahratta instructors were withdrawn as part of the planned draw down of the Indian Army in Burma, known as "Epilogue".  However Major E.R.H. Way, Royal Artillery and Captains Rutherford and Whitehead were posted to the Regiment.[19] [20] [21]  Lt. Colonel Sharpe left the unit on release on 1st January 1947 and was succeeded in command the next day by Lt. Colonel E.R.H. Way.  The new war establishment allowed for more than double the number of existing officers, many of whom were due for release.  The increase in numbers therefore, was made up by the transfer of Anglo-Burman officers who had previous gunner experience as officers or in the ranks of the old Burma Auxiliary Force, from the 1st Burma Field Regiment and by the commissioning of G.C.O.s and N.C.O.s.  Other officers joined and left during 1947.[22]

Specialist training in the new role continued throughout the year.  The training was, however, interrupted in February and March when two batteries were sent to the jungle areas between Pyawabe and Natmauk to deal with rebellious members of the People's Voluntary Organisation (P.V.O.).[23]  Training came to a virtual halt when Captain Whitehead left on leave in June 1947.  However upon his return a third specialist course was held, together with officers, signal and driving courses.[24]

On 31st May 1947, a severe storm struck the Regimental camp, destroying half of the canteen, two office 'bashas' (huts, typically made of bamboo), all the dining halls and several other buildings and some 60 tents.  The effort involved in making good the damage caused a break in training.  The Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Way left the Regiment on 2nd June 1947 for the U.K. under the 'LILOP' scheme.[25]  Major J.S. Durham, the Regiment Second-in-Command assumed temporary command.[26]  On 26th June, Major M.G. McComas was posted to the Regiment as Officiating Commanding Officer, Major Durham reverting to Second-in-Command.[27] [28] [29]

The original aim was for Individual training in the artillery role to have been completed by 30th September 1947 however several issues caused this target to slip.  The first of these was these was the feeling amongst the Lushais and Khongsai members of the regiment that their position in the new Burma Army was not secure.  The intended policy was to retain only residents of Burma and to release all "non-domiciles" from service.  The Lushais and Khongsais lived over the border in India and their understandable concern for the future affected their morale.  An initial proposal to allow non-residents who had enlisted prior to 1st July 1940 to remain with the Regiment until they earned a pension was not accepted as only three men were found to have enlisted before July 1940.  A Lushai officer of the Regiment, 2nd Lieutenant Thang Khim proposed, via the Commanding Officer, to the General Officer Commanding, Burma Army, that given consideration of the possibility of the amalgamation of Eastern Lushai with Burma, all Lushais be allowed to stay in the Burma Army until such a decision was reached.  This was agreed to.  In the mean time, a proportion of the affected Lushais took the expedient step of moving into the Chin Hills to live with relatives and thus established domicile status in Burma.  The Manipur Khongsais, however, elected to be released from the Army.  Given the uncertainty with regard to the Lushais, all non-domiciled men were kept in one battery so that training could continue undisturbed in the other two batteries.[30]  In the event Eastern Lushai remained as part of India.

In September 1947 the Burma Government advised that it wished to reconvert the Regiment to an infantry battalion which retained a single anti-tank battery.  Plans to carry out the reorganisation were made during October and the work was to be complete by 1st November 1947.  Most of the artillery equipment was handed in and additional rifles and infantry equipment obtained.  It was decided to man the retained anti-tank battery with men from the Chin tribes.  A company of Karens was posted from the 1st Field Regiment, Burma Artillery, to make up the necessary numbers of riflemen.[31]

Chin Hills Battalion

Having now reverted to primarily an infantry role, the unit also reverted in name to become once again the Chin Hills Battalion.  Upon reorganisation, the Battalion was made up of three rifle companies and an anti-tank battery, structured and manned thus:[32]

- Headquarters Company:  mixed Chins, Gurkhas and Karens

- Administration Company:  mixed Chins, Gurkhas and Karens

- 'A' Company: Chins

- 'B' Company: Gurkhas

- 'C' Company: Karens

- Anti-Tank Battery:  Chins.

It was now appropriate that an infantry officer lead the Battalion and Lt. Colonel R.H.L. Webb, M.C., Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders was posted to take command.[33]  Lt. Colonel Webb actually took over command prior to the reorganisation, on 23rd September 1947.  All British Other Ranks previously attached to the Anti-Tank Regiment were posted away in November 1947.  The Battalion was visited on 4th November 1947 by the General Officer Commanding, Burma Army who said he was very pleased with the progress being made.  He also said that he was sorry that a further reorganisation had been necessary but assured the Battalion that it would retain its great reputation earned before and during the war with Japan.[34]

Training continued and a number of officers and N.C.O.s attended courses not only held in Burma but in Poona, India and in Singapore.  As part of the completion of "Burmanisation" of the Battalion prior to independence, Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam took over command of the Battalion from Lt. Colonel Webb on 22nd December 1947.  All other staff officer roles in the Battalion were also taken over from British officers at this time.  Lt. Colonel Webb and Major McComas left the unit for the United Kingdom the next day.  Throughout 1947 British Officers had been posted away and their posts taken by Burmese officers, mainly Chins.  To achieve the war establishment 16 Governor's Commissioned Officers (G.C.O.s) and N.C.O.s were commissioned from the ranks.[35]

At 04:20 hours on 4th January 1948 the Union of Burma came into being, now fully independent.  Along with all units of the Burma Army, the Chin Hills Battalion swore a new oath of allegiance to the new Government.  British officers remaining with the Battalion now took on the role of advisors.[36]

Infantry training had begun on 1st December 1947 together with individual anti-tank training in the Anti-Tank Battery.  Almost immediately one troop from the Anti-Tank Battery was sent to join "Chitforce" in Kentung.  Later, orders were received for one rifle company to be assigned to "Chitforce" with the role of maintaining the line of communication between Takaw and Kalaw.  Under the command of Captain Win Sein, 'B' Company reinforced by the Battalion Mortar Platoon left between 12th and 15th December to undertake this task.  This company ran staging camps at Loilem and Takaw and provided guards for the "Chitforce" supply dump at Kalaw.  Later a second company was sent to Rangoon on special duty between 4th February and 5th March 1948.  These deployments and the lack of training stores made it difficult to complete training on schedule.  The Battalion came under the command of the 1st Infantry Brigade Group, commanded by Brigadier Chit Khin, M.C. [37]  The 2nd Karen Rifles also formed part of the Brigade.[38]

Conflict between the Communist Party of Burma (C.P.B.) and the Government resulted in the Communists launching a campaign of civil disobedience, strikes and mass protests.  On 27th March 1948, the Government ordered the arrest of the Party’s leaders but most escaped and organised cadres in rural areas.  Armed fighting broke out on 2nd April 1948.  The Chin Hills Battalion was soon involved against the Communists and during March, April and May 1948, elements of the Battalion and the 2nd Karen Rifles, under the overall command of the 1st Infantry Brigade Group, overcame insurgents operating in the Kyaukpadaung-Magwe-Myingyan area.[39]

No actual plan of operations was followed but sub-units in company and platoon strength were sent to areas of insurgent activity where they conducted intensive patrols hoping to find and then destroy the enemy.  On 28th March 1948, a platoon from 'C' Company was sent to the Kyaukpadaung area with a company from the 2nd Karen Rifles to provide aid to the civil power.  The platoon helped to patrol the area and to arrest insurgents.  While at Ngathayauk on 13th April, the platoon was surrounded by around 400 Communist insurgents.  A fierce fight followed during which the platoon was led by the Platoon Sergeant in the absence of his commanding officer who was away visiting Company Headquarters.  The platoon held off the insurgents for three hours and inflicted heavy casualties upon them.  When the enemy began to show signs of weakening, the Sergeant put in a counter attack with two sections.  This broke the insurgents' morale and they soon fled.  Around 70 insurgents were killed, 20 wounded and 80 were captured as the platoon followed up the enemy retreat.  Quantities of small arms and ammunition were also taken.  The platoon reported no casualties among its own men and returned to the Battalion three days later on 16th April.[40]

During this time the Police were under constant attack from the insurgents who saw the Police as a main source of weapons and ammunition.  Understandably the Police became quite jittery and in one incident, on 16th April, opened fire upon a platoon of the Battalion travelling from Chaunggwa to Ngazun.  The platoon returned fire but quick thinking by Captain L.W.C. Hitchcock, accompanying the platoon, restored the situation.[41]  The Police were persuaded to cease fire and to come out of hiding.  As a result Captain Hitchcock’s action, no serious casualties were suffered on either side.  Two men of the Battalion were slightly wounded by shrapnel from the unit's own 2-inch mortars which had fired into the overhanging branches of a nearby tree.[42]

Elsewhere a company made up of two platoons from 'A' Company and one from 'C' Company was sent to Mingyan on 30th March.  Company headquarters was eventually established at Kanna and a platoon stationed at Natogyi.  The Company patrolled the Mingyan-Kanna area and several insurgents were killed, wounded and captured during a series of encounters.  Giving way to the pressure, the insurgents withdrew northwards to Chaunggwa.  Here they posed a threat to the main Mandalay Road and to all towns and villages in the area.  To deal with this new threat, one platoon from 'A' Company, together with men of the Anti-Tank Battery operating in the infantry role, went to the area on 16th April.  The area was thoroughly combed for Communist insurgents and many were arrested.  The insurgents moved on to the north of Ngazun, being closely followed by the Chaunggwa company.  In the ensuing encounters several insurgents were killed, wounded and captured.  One other rank of the Battalion was killed.[43]

By the end of May, insurgent activity in the Battalion area had been reduced to almost nothing.  There were few encounters in June and so some of the troops were withdrawn.  One platoon was left at Ngazun, two at Kanna and one at Natogyi.  Following information received from the Police, on 5th June one platoon from Kanna and the Natogyi platoon went to Daungbanthi where it was reported that the insurgents had set up a camp and were undergoing training.  As the platoons approached the camp the insurgents fled, exchanging only a few shots.  During this action, Lieutenant Sukdev Rai came within a few feet of five armed insurgents while crossing a nearby 'chaung' (a stream or waterway).  Although at first the insurgents were hidden from Lieutenant Rai, he quickly drew his pistol and shot three of them before they could fire upon him.  He then grabbed a rifle and killed the remaining two.  Arms and ammunition were recovered and all huts and sheds in the area were burned.  Subsequently, there was no further insurgent activity in the area.[44]

By July 1948, the Battalion had one platoon stationed at Chaunggwa and one company at Kanna.  These troops were deployed mainly on routine patrolling and little contact was made with insurgents.  However, on 10th July, one Other Rank of the Battalion was wounded during an ambush on a platoon on the road north of the village of Esaw.  The unfortunate solider was acting as a runner and was hit while taking a message from the platoon to Company Headquarters.[45]

Towards the end of July, the P.V.O. went underground, and in early August was joined by officers and men of the 1st and 3rd Burma Rifles.  Prome fell into insurgent hands on 9th August and the 2nd Karen Rifles were sent to retake the town.  The Chin Hills Battalion took over the areas previously the responsibility of the 2nd Karens.  The Battalion now had a large area to patrol in order to suppress the insurgents, being bounded on the south by the Kyaukpadaung Road, Myingyan to the west, Chuanggwa and Myotha to the north and the area between Meiktila and Kyuakse to the east.  On 23rd August, the platoon at Chuanggwa was ordered to join the company at Kanna.  The insurgents were quick to take advantage of the relocation of the Chuanggwa platoon and two days later they took control of both Myotha and Chaunggwa Police stations.  On 28th August, both places were retaken by a company reinforced with anti-tank guns and a mortar detachment.  Four soldiers were wounded when one of the Battalion's own mortars fired a mortar bomb that fell short of the intended target.  The newly cleared area was assigned to the 3rd Karen Rifles and on 3rd September 1948 the Commanding Officer of the Chin Hills Battalion, with two platoons, two 6-pounder anti-tank guns and the mortar detachment, returned to Meiktila.[46]

The insurgents in the Kyaukpadaung area became more active during September and began attacking civilian convoys on the Meiktila-Kyaukpadaung Road.  On 16th September, the Headquarters, 1st Infantry Brigade Group ordered the Chin Hills Battalion to clear the area.  The Commanding Officer with two companies, mortars and one anti-tank gun went to Chaunggwa.  On 19th September, these troops launched an operation known as "Mahawk" which was very successful, killing around 100 insurgents for no loss.  Elsewhere a platoon from 'C' Company (Karens) at Minbu had a few engagements with insurgents, killing a few but suffering no losses.  As a result of gallantry during the 1948 operations, five officers and N.C.O.s were awarded the Thitha Thura Tazeit, the second highest gallantry order, replacing the British Distinguished Service and the Distinguished Service Medal.[47]  The Battalion's casualties were three men killed and five wounded.[48]

The class (ethnic) composition of the Battalion at this time was as follows:

- H.Q. Company: mix of Haka Chins - Syin Chins, Khongsai and Lushai Chins

- Administration Company: mix of Haka Chins - Syin Chins, Khongsai and Lushai Chins

- ‘A’ Company - Haka Chins - Syin Chins and Lushai Chins

- ‘B’ Company - Gurkhas, most of whom had just passed recruit training

- ‘C’ Company - Kanpetlet Chins (until late in 1948 this company had been manned by mainly Karens)

- Anti-Tank Battery - Haka Chins – Syin, Khongsai and Lushai Chins.

Towards the end of the first half of 1948, the Union Government decided to convert the anti-tank battery back to an infantry company.  It was also decided that the 'C' Company Karens would be converted into the artillery role as the 1st Field Battery, Burma Artillery.[49]  These men left for Rangoon during the last quarter of 1948 and the Battalion strength was made up by the inclusion of Kanpetlet recruits.  The Kanpetlet Chins of 'C' Company were not well thought of by other Chins of the Battalion and these men were put into other companies to learn the different languages and military discipline.  During the later operations of 1948 these men generally performed well.[50]

Armed conflict between the Union Government and the Karens had largely been avoided during the crises of 1948 but towards the end of December 1948 tensions boiled over provoked by inter-communal violence, which led to a number of massacres of Karen civilians.  Disorder was widespread and on 1st January 1949, 'A' and 'B' Companies of the Chin Hills Battalion were sent to Karenni State to restore the situation.  Lacking military transport, civilian trucks were hired to carry the men to Loikaw via Taunggyi.  The two companies were later joined in Loikaw by two companies of  6th Burma Rifles and this combined detachment became known as "Sonforce".  The Commanding Officer of the Chin Hills Battalion, Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam, promptly called for negotiations with the two local insurgent leaders, Chief Sau Shwe and Pan Lu.  An immediate cease fire was agreed and all was calm for a couple of weeks.  Then on 25th January 1949 disaster struck.  A company led by Captain Mun Ko Pan visited the insurgent village of Hplaing on a goodwill mission.  After having travelled about 11 miles from the Ha River, the company column was suddenly fired upon from all four sides.  Assuming that the cease fire still held, the column was making the journey by truck and when the ambush began the men were horribly exposed and soon became trapped.  The fire fight lasted for about five hours at the end of which 29 of the Chin Hills Battalion, including two young officers, were dead.  Forty nine men were taken prisoner by the insurgents and the remainder, all wounded, were sent to Loikaw hospital at the intervention of the local Catholic priest.  The most seriously wounded were sent directly to Rangoon General Hospital.[51]

As part of a series of mutinies throughout the Shan States, in September 1948 the Union Military Police at Taunggyi mutinied and seized all arms and ammunition from their battalion headquarters.  The mutineers, Karens and Shans, then occupied Loikaw which they prepared for defence.  A failed government peace mission resulted in three companies of the Chin Hills Battalion (referred to as the 3rd Chin Rifles in a report later submitted by the British Services Mission) being sent to Loikaw, against the advice of General Smith Dun.  The General believed that this force would be defeated if fighting took place.  The Battalion eventually arrived at Loikaw in November.  The mutineers continued to occupy defended positions about one and a half miles from the town, however there was no fighting.[52]

Following this disaster, the Chin Hills Battalion Commanding Officer went to Rangoon to give a detailed report of what had happened.  On 18th February, he flew back to Meiktila intending to rejoin "Sonforce" at Loikaw.  However he was prevented from doing so by an advance by Karen insurgents from the south.  Having taken Pyinmana, the insurgents were now advancing towards Meiktila.  The Karen insurgents, the K.N.D.O. (Karen National Defence Organisation) were greatly aided in this by a Kachin officer, Captain Naw Seng, who had persuaded his battalion, the 1st Kachin Rifles, to rebel against the Union Government and join the Karens.  A scheme of defence for the town was hastily organised and a platoon of the Chin Hills Battalion and three companies of the 6th Battalion, Union Military Police were quickly dispatched to intercept the advancing Karens.  However it was soon found that the detachment was greatly outnumbered and it was forced to withdraw back to Meiktila where all were subsequently made captive.  The Chin Hills Battalion Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam, and Lt. Colonel Maung Maung, a Burman officer newly posted to command the 1st Infantry Brigade when the Brigade's Karen commander was dismissed and sent on "leave", together with several other officers, went forward to observe the situation.  All were captured by the K.N.D.O., including Captain J.L. McLeod who had also been sent forward with one 6-pounder anti-tank gun to provide covering fire.[53]  The K.N.D.O. took control of Meiktila on 20th February 1949, rolling into the town with 200 trucks and a large number of prisoners.  The Chin Hills Battalion prisoners were confined to the military camp and while well treated, the men suffered from difficulties in obtaining food and other supplies.[54]

The British Services Mission gave the dispositions and locations for the Battalion as at 8th March 1949.  Referring to the Battalion as “3 CHIN”, the details are as follows: [55]

- Battalion headquarters and one platoon:   Meiktila (captives of the K.N.D.O.)

- Force headquarters – “Sonforce”:   Thazi

- One company and one 6-pounder gun:   Thazi

- One company:  Mobye

- Two sections:   Pakokku

            - One company:   Taunggyi.

Meanwhile, the balance of "Sonforce" was now in Thazi where it became besieged by the Karen insurgents.  On 22nd March the Karens moved on Thazi, leaving Meiktila practically unmanned.  Their objective was to take Thazi, an important railway junction 100 miles south of Mandalay, and re-open the railway line between North Burma and Toungoo, thus easing the movement of their forces and families from Mandalay.  Reinforced by detachments from the Mandalay and Maymyo areas, an estimated force of 3,000 Karens attacked the Government troops at Thazi on several occasions, expending around 3,000 3‑inch mortar bombs over the course of the siege.  However the troops loyal to the Government were well dug in and towards the end received support from the Burma Air Force.  A further attack on Thazi was launched on 26th March but failed.  Finally the Karens, having suffered many casualties and in danger of becoming severely disorganised, withdrew on 8th April 1949.  They also abandoned Meiktila and headed south for Toungoo in a fleet of 350 trucks.  The P.V.O. then occupied areas of Meiktila but later that day "Sonforce", temporarily under the command of Major L.W.C. Hitchcock, made contact with the Chin Hills Battalion headquarters in Meiktila.  Reinforced by the Chin Company of the 2nd Burma Rifles, “Sonforce” cleared the insurgents from the area, reoccupied the town and drove out the P.V.O.   After making arrangements for the garrison and administration of Thazi and Meiktila, "Sonforce" was disbanded and the various detachments of troops rejoined their parent units.  The Union Government paid tribute to the courage of the Chin, Gurkha and Burman troops who had been surrounded in Thazi for a month.  At times the opposing forces were so close that it was only possible to answer a call of nature protected by covering fire of one's comrades.  The denial of Thazi to the Karens by Government forces effectively put paid to Karen insurgent plans to move south on Rangoon by rail.[56]

An account of the struggle of Thazi was written by the then second in command of the 6th Burma Rifles, Major Myat Htan who at the start of this story was with Battalion Headquarters at Pegu when he was ordered to Meiktila:

"At the beginning of 1949 I was sent to Meiktila to run two of our companies [6th Burma Rifles] sent there a few months before to replace the 3rd Chin Rifles which was running field operations in the Loikaw area of the Kayah Land.  When I got there the companies from my 6th Burma Rifles were no longer in Meiktila.  They were in Loikaw instead by the orders of Northern Command. Meiktila had no government forces except a battalion of Sitwundan [a territorial force of local militia raised hurriedly] led by young Captain Tint Swe (who became a general and the Minister for Industry during Ne Win’s long rule). They were surrounded by massive Karen forces.  Pakoku, Mandalay, and Toungoo were all occupied by the Karen Rifles and the Karen Union Military Police (U.M.P.) battalions.”

The Rangoon-Mandalay rail line was also controlled by armed Karen units.  I finally set out to join my two companies at Loikaw, [where they were based] together with Third Chin Rifles. On 27th January 1949 the 1st Karen Rifles took over Toungoo and on 4th February the 2nd Karen Rifles occupied Prome.  Both Karen battalions then marched south towards Rangoon to meet up with K.N.D.O. forces in Insein.  But both Karen battalions were repelled and almost destroyed on their way by the Burma Rifles waiting for them. I was ordered to search for my two companies which had last been seen at Kalaw where they had made their most recent radio contact.  I flew there and found out they had left Kalaw for Thazi.  So I got a car and followed them alone.  When I reached Yinmabin near Thazi I was told that my troops were digging in at Thazi and clashing daily with the Karens now entrenched at Meiktila.”

“I reached Thazi and discovered not only my two companies from 6th Burma Rifles but also the two companies of the 3rd Chin Rifles [the Chin Hills Battalion] there. They all were originally heading for Meiktila as ordered but were stranded in Thazi when Meiktila fell into Karen hands just ten days before they reached Thazi. From that day they had dug in there and been bombarded by enemy mortars every single day. Now I had two companies of the 6th Burma Rifles, two companies of the 3rd Chin Rifles and one company of Gurkhas from the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment; altogether being five companies with which to hold Thazi. The whole town was deserted and totally destroyed.  The troops were in the bunkers placed tightly on the semi circle from the east around the south to the west on the town edge facing towards Meiktila."[57]

The Karens next move was to launch a major advance on Rangoon from Toungoo in late April.  The force numbered between 500 and 1,000 former Karen and Kachin regular soldiers, supported by an equal number of K.N.D.O. insurgents.  Nyaunglebin was taken on 26th April and followed by the capture of Daik-U two days later.  Faced with the seriousness of this situation the government flew the Chin Hills Battalion down from Meiktila to strengthen the Pegu defenders, who consisted of a company from each of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Burma Rifles.  A defensive position was taken up in the defile by the Moyingyi reservoir which was then attacked by the Karens on 30th April.  Despite some success in outflanking the government forces, losses forced the Karens to withdraw to Kadok Payagyi where they went on to the defensive.[58]

3rd Chin Rifles

By early August 1949 it seems that the change of name of the Battalion to the 3rd Chin Rifles, was now to be enforced.  Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam, the Commanding Officer, wrote from Insein to his higher headquarters at Mingaladon on 4th August 1949, to strongly protest the decision of the War Office to change the name of the Chin Hills Battalion to the 3rd Chin Rifles.  No documentary evidence has been found to confirm the date on which the renaming of the Battalion occurred.  It may have happened as early as 1948, possibly at independence, for in a report submitted by the British Services Mission dated 14th September 1948, the battalion is referred to as the “3rd Chin Rifles, formerly the Chin Hills Battalion” when listed as part of the Burma Army order of battle as at 1st April 1948.  A later report, dated 21st March 1949, gives a location statement for the regular troops of the Burma Army loyal to the Government as at 8th March 1949 in which the Battalion is identified as “3 Chin”.[59]

In the first week of June 1949, in response to reports that 3,000 Karen and Kachin insurgents under Naw Seng were assembling in the Pegu District for a fresh attack on Rangoon, General Ne Win, Army Chief of Staff, flew to Meiktila.[60]  Here he met the commanders of the 3rd Chin Rifles and the 6th Burma Rifles, Lt. Colonels Lian Cin Zam and Tin U respectively.  Lt. Colonel Tin U was ordered to place his two companies under the command of the 3rd Chin Rifles and the combined force under Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Ziam was flown from Meiktila to Mingaladon during the second week of June.  From Mingaladon the troops were taken to the Daik-U area by truck where they came under the command of Brigadier General Kyaw Zaw, commander of the South Burma Area.  The fighting that followed next was often fierce.  The insurgents attacked day and night and hand-to-hand fighting was common.  The government troops suffered such heavy casualties that several companies were reduced to little more than single platoons.  However in mid-July the Karens and their allies were defeated and forced to withdraw.  The 3rd Chin Rifles captured Kadok Payagyi and Daik-U.  Government casualties amounted to 255 men killed and wounded.[61]

After the battles around Daik-U, later in 1949, successful operations were undertaken by two companies of the 3rd Chin Rifles in the Heho-Taunggyi area resulting in the capture of the latter place.[62]

At the end of 1949, Government troops in the oilfields were reinforced by the 3rd Chin Rifles (less two companies).  The reinforcements improved the position sufficiently for the Prime Minister to visit the area.[63]

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.  The attack force gathered at Daik-U and on 18th February marched north towards Toungoo.  Blocking the way was a large and well equipped K.N.D.O. force entrenched at Pyuntaza.  After a stiff fight the K.N.D.O. were defeated with heavy casualties and Pyuntaza re-occupied on 25th March.  Toungoo was captured on 19th March 1950, thereby the government forces regained control of most of the important centres on the Rangoon-Mandalay railway, although the line itself was inoperable due to the destruction of track, bridges and signals.  After the loss of Toungoo 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 their fellows in the Delta via Prome.  On 31st March Pyinmana was entered without resistance from the B.C.P. insurgents.[64]

In Upper Burma in the Yemethin-Meiktila area the Burma Communist Party and the P.V.O. attacked Government posts and communications, notably the rail lines.  However, at Meiktila, where there was one company of the 3rd Chin Rifles, there was little activity reported.[65]

In the oilfields area of Upper Burma, elements of the 4th Burma Regiment took Magwe on 8th April and Minbu on 13th April.  Future operations were thought to be most likely to the south towards Allanmyo and to be undertaken by the 3rd Chin Rifles who remained in the area on garrison duty.  Elsewhere in Upper Burma Pakkoku was taken by Government forces on 29th April and was then garrisoned by the 1st Emergency Chin Rifles.[66]

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.  On 27th March 1952 the Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Lian Cin Zam left the Battalion on transfer to the command of the 15th Burma Regiment.[67]

In the late 1980s reorganisation of the Burma Army 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 3rd Chin Rifles became No. 313 Light Infantry Battalion.[68]

19 November 2017



[1] Lian Cin Zam, born at Mualbem, Tiddim Township, Chin State, 13th November 1914.  Joined the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Military Police at Falam, 1935.  Promoted to Lance Naik, 17th April 1937.  Granted Governor's Commission as Jemadar, 15th March 1938.  His detachment joined the Burma Frontier Force at Myitkyina where he was captured by the Japanese and detained in the old Mandalay palace.  He later escaped and joined the Chin Levies, May 1942.  Served with the Western (Chin) Levies, July 1942.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles under Special Force (the Chindits), 1944?  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, A.B.R.O., 1st September 1944.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st March 1945.  Promoted to Captain, 1st April 1945.  As Major, served with the 1st Chin Rifles, November 1945.  Promoted to Major, 29th April 1946.  As Major, Commanding Officer designate of the Chin Hills Battalion, 1st January 1947.  Assumed command of the Chin Hills Battalion as part of the pre-independence Burmanisation process, 22nd December 1947.  Commanding Officer of the Chin Hills Battalion, renamed the 3rd Chin Rifles, December 1947 to 27th March 1952.  Left the 3rd Chin Rifles to assume command of the 15th Burma Regiment, 27th March 1952  ("The Jungle in Arms", Oatts B., William Kimber (1962); "Tedim to Yangon, Background and Record of The Moong Family", Khen Za Moong, (1995); London Gazette; Mss EUR E250; Mualbem Village Magazine courtesy of Salai Van Cung Lian)

[2] “The Chin Hills Battalion”, MSS Eur 250; War diary of the Chin Hills Battalion 1946, WO 172 10328; Review of the Situation in Burma, 30th September 1948, DEFE 7/863; “Review of the Civil War in Burma”, British Services Mission, 21st March 1949, DEFE 7/864

[3] Thomas Templeton West, born, 14th October 1915.  As Cadet Company Sergeant Major, Glasgow High School Contingent (June Division O.T.C.), commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, Territorial Army, 20th February 1935.  As Mercantile Assistant, Cowie Brothers, Glasgow, travelled to Rangoon from Birkenhead on board S.S. "Sagaing", departing, 26th November 1937.  As 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, resigned his commission, 11th December 1937.  Worked as Assistant, Chas. R. Cowie & Co., 478 Merchant St. Rangoon, pre-war.  Commissioned as Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 34), 1st September 1939.  Served as Assistant Commandant, the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, June 1940 to August 1942.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1940 to 1942.  Temporary Captain from 14th March 1942.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, from 1st September 1942.  Wounded in the fighting for Mualzawl[?], October 1943.  As Captain (temporary Major) (ABRO), the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment Mentioned in despatches for gallant and distinguished service in Burma, 16th December 1943.  As Major, a company commander of the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, February 1944.  Upon return from XIV Army the previous day, assumed command of the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 4th November 1944.  As Commanding Officer, the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment, left the battalion on release, 16th February 1946.  Joined the Burma Frontier Service, served as Assistant Superintendent, Tiddim, post-war  ("Kelly's Burma Campaign", Kelly D., Tiddim Press (2003); Ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory 1941; War Diary of the Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[4] Arthur Philip Burnett-Hutchinson, born 11th March 1913.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lieutenant (149546), Gordon Highlanders, 21st September 1940.  War substantive Lieutenant, 21st March 1942.  Wounded 23rd June 1943.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment, 1944 to 1947?.  As Major, Second in Command of the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment, from 4th November 1944.  As temporary Captain (149546), Gordon Highlanders, attached to the Chin Hills Battalion, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 5th April 1945.  Assumed temporary command of the Chin Hills Battalion on departure of the Commanding Officer, 16th February 1946 to 14th June 1946.  Died 1995  (British Army List; British Army Casualty Lists 1939-45, FindMyPast; London Gazette; MSS Eur E250; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[5] Japanese Surrendered Personnel (J.S.P.) was the name used by British Forces to refer to surrendered Japanese troops after the end of World War II.  In Burma they were frequently used for labour purposes.

[6] MSS Eur 250; WO 172 10328

[7] Arthur Reginald Sharpe.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant,  Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment, 4th July 1940.  War substantive Major, 1st November 1944.  Temporary Lt. Colonel, 1st November 1944.  Commander, 7th (West African) Auxiliary Group, 1946?  Appointed Commanding Officer of the Chin Hills Battalion in anticipation of the unit's conversion to an anti-tank/mortar regiment, 14th June 1946.  Left the Chin Hills Battalion on release, 1st January 1947.  As war substantive Major (138215), relinquished his commission and granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 1st February 1947  (British Army List; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[8] MSS Eur 250; WO 172 10328

[9] Arnold Noel Abbott, born, 21st October 1922.  Emergency Commission, Indian Army from the ranks (acting Corporal) as 2nd Lieutenant, attached to 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles, 4th April 1943.  War substantive Lieutenant, 4th October 1943.  Acting Captain from 27th June 1944.  Acting Captain from 28th August 1944 to 20th October 1944.  Served with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 9th October 1944 to 1945?  Temporary Captain from 21st October 1944.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, later redesignated the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, 1945? to March 1947.  War substantive Lieutenant, temporary Captain, the Chin Hills Battalion, October 1945.  Major, 1945.  Left for the United Kingdom on SLICK leave, 11th January 1946.  Returned from SLICK leave, 17th April 1946.  Left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment on release, March 1947.  Died, 2002  (ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; London Gazette; Indian Army List October 1945; MSS EUR e 250; War diary 4th Burma Regiment, WO 172/5037; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/7806; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[10] G.C. Talukdar.  As Captain, joined the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Regiment at Shillong between, April to October 1944.  As Major, arrived back with the Chin Hills Battalion from war leave, 9th March 1946.  As Major, left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment to join the Assam Regiment, November 1946  (MSS EUR e250; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[11] WO 172 10328

[12] MSS Eur 250; WO 172 10328

[13] John Raymond Logan Judd, born, Buenos Aires, 16th August 1923.  Emergency Commission, Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant (13083), 19th March 1944.  Joined the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment at Shillong, sometime between, April 1944 to October 1944.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1944 to 1946?  War substantive Lieutenant from 19th September 1944.  Left for the United Kingdom on SLICK leave, 31st March 1946.  As Lieutenant, The Burma Regiment, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 19th September 1946.  As an Army Officer, travelled from London to Buenos Aires aboard the S.S. "Highland Chieftain", departed, 22nd May 1947.  Working in mining, travelled from Southampton to Cape Town aboard the S.S. "Arundel Castle", departed, 26th October 1948.  Married Thomas, 1965.  Died, 1974  (ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; FindMyPast; Indian Army List October 1945; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[14] Henry Herbert Wilkinson, born, Ahmednagar, India, 17th April 1914.  Emergency Commission, Indian Army, as 2nd Lieutenant, attached to the 15th Punjab Regiment, 28th May 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 28th November 1942.  Acting Captain from 27th April 1945.  Serving with the Burma Regimental Centre, October 1945?  As Major, the Chin Hills Battalion, left for the United Kingdom on SLICK Leave, 8th March 1946.  Returned to the Chin Hills Battalion from SLICK Leave, 9th June 1946.  Left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment on release, December 1946  (Indian Army List October 1945; MSS EUR e250; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/10328).

[15] MSS Eur 250; WO 172 10328

[16] MSS Eur 250; WO 172 10328

[17] Ngin Zam.  As Subedar, The Chin Hills Battalion, awarded the Burma Gallantry Medal, gazetted, 16th December 1943.  As Subedar, served with the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 27th January 1944.  Awarded the Order of Burma, 1945.  As Subedar Major, while serving with the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, met Major General Aung San, 10th October 1946.  Left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment on release, March 1947  (London Gazette; MSS EUR e250; Salai Van Cung Lian to the author; War diary Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040; WO 373/31/180).

[18] Two photographs of Bogyoke Aung San’s visit to the Regiment can be seen at Boyoke Aung San leh Chin Hills Regiment (accessed July 2017).  In the first Bogyoke Aung San can be seen seated on the front row of a group photograph.  Major Ngin Zam is seated, front row, second from the left.  In the second photograph Bogyoke Aung San can be seen inspecting men of the Haka tribe (identifiable by the hair top-knot being tied at the front of the head).  (Note to the author from Salai Van Cung Lian, July 2017).

[19] Ernest Robert Henry Way, born, Portsmouth, 10th February 1901.  As Gentleman Cadet, Royal Military Academy, appointed as 2nd Lieutenant (17953), Royal Garrison Artillery, 23rd December 1920.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 21st December 1922.  As Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, attached to the Indian Army Service Corps (I.A.S.C.), married Alma Eden Winn at Allahabad, 28th April 1927.  Promoted to Captain, 23rd December 1933.  Seconded, as Adjutant, III (Rangoon) Field Brigade, Royal Artillery, Auxiliary Force, India, 20th February 1936 to 31st March 1937.  As Major, employed under the Burma Defence Force, 1st April 1937 to June 1947.  Adjutant, Rangoon Field Brigade, Royal Artillery, Burma Auxiliary Force (following separation of administration of Burma from India) from

1st April 1937.  Promoted to Major, 1st August 1938.  Married Downing, Rangoon, 1939.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 4th July 1946.  Took command of the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank Regiment, Burma Artillery, 2nd January 1947.  Left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank Regiment for the U.K. under the 'LILOP' scheme, 2nd June 1947.  Having exceeded the age for retirement, placed on retired pay, 10th May 1952.  Having exceeded the age limit of liability to recall, cease to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, 4th July 1956.  Died, 12th July 1988 (British Army List; Burma Army List January 1938; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; FindMyPast; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250)

[20] Rutherford – not identified

[21] Whitehead – not identified

[22] MSS Eur 250

[23] Also known as the Pyithu Yebaw Tatphe or P.Y.T. (“Epilogue in Burma, 1945-48”, McEnery J.M., Spellmount (1990)).

[24] MSS Eur 250

[25] “LILOP” - Leave in Lieu of Python.  “Python” was the British scheme whereby British service men and women who had served overseas for a specified period or longer were repatriated to the United Kingdom from where subsequently they would be released from service.  “LILOP” was a variation on this scheme whereby the service personnel were granted leave in the United Kingdom but had to return to their overseas post before eventual demobilisation at a later date.

[26] MSS Eur 250

[27] Manliffe Greatorex McComas, born, 27th January 1916.  Sailed from Liverpool aboard the S.S. "Lancashire" for Colombo, departed, 29th April 1920.  Attended Sherborne School, left, 1934.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant (67004), Royal Artillery, 30th January 1936.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th January 1939.  Acting Captain, 3rd September 1939 to 2nd December 1939.  Temporary Captain, 3rd December 1939 to 22nd April 1940.  Married Latham, 1940.  Temporary Captain, 18th September 1940 to 2nd June 1942.  Adjutant from 19th December 1940.  War substantive Captain, temporary Major from 3rd June 1942.  Promoted to Captain, 30th January 1944.  Posted to the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank Regiment, Burma Artillery and served as Officiating Commanding Officer, 26th June 1947 to 23rd September 1947.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, 23rd September 1947 to 23rd December 1947.  Left the Chin Hills Battalion and departed for the United Kingdom, 23rd December 1947.  As Major, graduate of Staff College, 30th January 1949.  Promoted to Major, 30th January 1949.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, awarded M.B.E., 1st January 1958.  Promoted from Lt. Colonel to Colonel, 15th November 1962.  As Colonel, retired on retired pay, 27th January 1971.  Died, 24th May 1991  (ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; FindMyPast; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250; The Sherborne Register).

[28] James Sutherland Durham.  Commissioned into the Burma Auxiliary Force, 15th August 1941.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, A.B.R.O., 2nd August 1943.  Served with the 1st Field Regiment, Burma Artillery, late 1946.  Posted to the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, Burma Artillery, as Regimental Second-in-Command, late 1946.  As Regimental Second-in-Command, became Officiating Commanding Officer, the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, Burma Artillery, 2nd June 1947 to 26th June 1947.  Reverted to Second-in-Command, the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, Burma Artillery, 26th June 1947.  Left the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment, Burma Artillery and proceeded on release, January 1948  (Burma Army List 1943; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250).

[29] MSS Eur 250

[30] MSS Eur 250

[31] MSS Eur 250

[32] MSS Eur 250

[33] Richard Henry Lumley Webb born, 25th November 1904.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 25th February 1926, with seniority from 11th September 1926.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 25th February 1929.  Promoted to Captain, 25th October 1935.  As Captain, appointed Adjutant, 9th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 31st January 1937.  Adjutant, Territorial Army, 31st January 1937 to 8th May 1940.  Acting Major, 10th July 1940 to 9th October 1940.  Temporary Major from 10th October 1940.  As Captain, The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 18th October 1940.  Promoted to Major, 25th February 1943.  As Major (36666), Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa, gazetted, 23rd September 1943.  Placed on the half pay list on account of disability for the period, 1st October 1944 to 3rd October 1944.  Temporary Lt. Colonel, 23rd October 1945.  Assumed command of the Chin Hills Battalion, 23rd September 1947.  Handed over command of the Chin Hills Battalion, 22nd December 1947.  Left the Chin Hills Battalion, 23rd December 1947.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 15th October 1948.  On completion of period of service in command, remained on full pay (Supernumerary List), 15th October 1951.  As Lt. Colonel, having exceeded the age limit, ceased to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, 6th January 1960.  Died, 1979  (British Army List; London Gazette; MSS EUR e250).

[34] MSS Eur 250

[35] MSS Eur 250

[36] MSS Eur 250

[37] Saw Chit Khin (Chit Kyin), born, 11th April 1915.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, A.B.R.O. (ABRO 595), 15th April 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant from 15th October 1942.  Served on the 1st Chindit Expedition, January - June 1943.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles from 1942.  Proceeded on duty with the 111th Indian Infantry Brigade (Chindits), 28th August 1943.  As Captain, attached to the 2nd Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment for the 2nd Chindit Expedition, 28th November 1943 to May 1944.  Awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 16th December 1943.  Served on the 2nd Chindit Expedition, February-August 1944.  As temporary Captain, The Burma Rifles, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 26th April 1945.  As Major, served with the 2nd Burma Rifles, 1946.  As Brigadier, commanded the 1st Infantry Brigade Group, Burma Army, 1948.  Served with the Directorate of Military Intelligence, Myanmar Armed Forces, 1969-72  (Burma Army List 1943; Wikipedia - Military intelligence of Myanma accessed August 2017; London Gazette; War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/2658; War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/10325; War diary 2nd Queen's, WO 172/4911 and WO 172/4912; WO 373/31/152).

[38] MSS Eur 250

[39] “A Guide to Intra-state Wars: An Examination of Civil, Regional, and Intercommunal Wars, 1816-2014”, Dixon J.S., Sarkees M.R., CQ Press, (2015).

[40] MSS Eur 250

[41] Lionel Walter Colin Hitchcock, born, 20th November 1921.  As Sergeant, Emergency Commission, Indian Army, from the ranks as 2nd Lieutenant, attached to the Indian Pioneer Corps, 18th March 1943.  War substantive Lieutenant from 18th September 1943.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, 1947-49?  (British Army List; British Army List; London Gazette; Indian Army List October 1945; MSS EUR e250).

[42] MSS Eur 250

[43] MSS Eur 250

[44] MSS Eur 250

[45] MSS Eur 250

[46] MSS Eur 250

[47] Those awarded the Thitha Thura Tazeit medal were:

BC3976  Lt. Sukdev Rai ‘Gurkha’
69214    Sgt. Dehi Rai
66684    Sgt. Chawn Kima
66778    Cpl. Chan Pian
66727    L/Cpl. Mangal Bahadur Rai.

[48] MSS Eur 250

[49] At the end of January 1949 these same Karens would join their besieged brothers in the fighting at Insein between the K.N.D.O. and troops loyal to the Government.  Ironically the Government forces involved at Insein came to include both the 1st and 2nd Chin Rifles.

[50] MSS Eur 250

[51] MSS Eur 250

[52] The Fourth Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 31st December 1948, DEFE 7/864

[53] J.L. McLeod.  As 2nd Lieutenant, posted from the Burma Intelligence Corps upon first commission to the 1st (Chin Hills) Anti-Tank/Mortar Regiment.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion and the 3rd Chin Rifles, 1949  (MSS EUR e250).

[54] Review of the Civil War in Burma”, British Services Mission, 21st March 1949, DEFE 7/864; MSS Eur 250

[55]Review of the Civil War in Burma”, British Services Mission, 21st March 1949, DEFE 7/864; MSS Eur 250; Tinker

[56] MSS Eur 250; The Second Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 30th June 1949, DEFE 7/865; Myat Htan’s autobiography, extracts published in “Burma in Limbo”, Burma in Limbo, accessed July 2017.

[57] Myat Htan’s autobiography

[58] Second Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 30th June 1949, DEFE 7/865.  Throughout this report the Chin Hills Battalion is referred to as the 3rd Chin Rifles.

[59] Review of the Situation in Burma, 30th September 1948, DEFE 7/863

[60] On 31st January, General Ne Win had been appointed the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and given total control of the army, replacing General Smith Dun, an ethnic Karen.  In 1962 he instigated the military coup that began the long period of military rule in Burma.

[61] MSS Eur 250; “The Outbreak of the K.N.D.O. and M.N.D.O.”, Yangon Siyin Baptist Church Silver Jubilee Magazine

[62] MSS Eur 250

[63] The Fourth Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 31st December 1949, DEFE 7/866

[64] Myat Htan’s autobiography; Tinker; The First Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 31st March 1950, DEFE 7/866

[65] The First Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 31st March 1950, DEFE 7/866

[66] The Second Quarterly Report of the British Services Mission, 30th June 1950, DEFE 7/867

[67] MSS Eur 250

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