The Burma Campaign

9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles

The formation of the battalion was sanctioned in a letter dated 22nd July 1941, and took effect from 24th July 1941 when the battalion was raised at Maymyo by Major F.W. Haswell.[1] [2]

The function of the reserve battalion was to be a reinforcement camp for all active Burma Rifles battalions and to provide a nucleus of trained men for any new battalions that might be raised in the future.    It was recognised that a reserve would be needed to meet initial and ongoing losses and casualties in time of war, so called "war wastage".  It was estimated that should war break out there would be a delay before the wartime training system was able to produce the predicted 320 men per month needed to maintain the active battalions.  A reserve battalion created in peacetime would not only permit the efficient drafting of replacements in wartime but would also provide a buffer whereby the demands of the active battalions for replacements could be met whilst the wartime training system got up to speed.[3]

The 9th Battalion would take recruits from the 10th (Training) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, and put them through more advanced training.  It would then "hold" the men before passing them to the active battalions when needed.  The 9th Battalion also received soldiers discharged from hospital and retained them until fit to return to their original battalion.  However in practice this proved to be a disastrous decision as during the 1942 campaign, after the actions at Moulmein, the Sittang Bridge, Pegu and others, this role was interpreted to include the recovery of all stragglers and deserters who were to be collected, refitted and sent back to their units.  It is easy to imagine the effect on young recruits who had yet to see action of mixing with men from the front whose morale was low and who told alarming stories of the Japanese.  After the loss of Rangoon in early March it was no longer possible to refit men properly due to the lack of clothing and equipment.  The 9th Battalion became what one officer described as a "general utility unit", its duties encompassing anything from the defence of Meiktila to the reception of stragglers from all units of the Burma Army.  The training of recruits continued whenever possible.[4]

The battalion was organised with a headquarters and four "rifle" companies.  Variations on the number of platoons were envisaged as the battalion expanded and contracted during wartime as replacements were taken in and subsequently drafted to the active battalions.  The higher establishment was of around 2,000 men.  Personnel of the battalion were of two categories, permanent staff and reinforcements.  Where possible permanent staff were to be of a low medical category who were unfit for active service.[5]

The rifle companies were organised along class lines, there being one of Chins, one of Kachins, one of Burmans and an Indian Company of Sikhs, Punjabi Mussalmen, Gurkhas, Gharwalis and Kumaonis.  The Indian Company, which numbered around 600 men in March 1942, was recruited from the Burma Frontier Force and provided recruits for the 7th (Burma Police) and the 8th (Frontier Force) Battalions, The Burma Rifles.[6]

The initial, lower establishment was met by absorbing the 800 reservists then being called into service and 123 of the 150 Burman ranks withdrawn from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions, Burma Rifles when passing from peacetime establishment to war establishment.   Reinforcements for the 8th (Frontier Force) Battalion were to be filled by the Burma Frontier Force and the initial establishment was set at 225 men.  Men found for the 8th Battalion would pass directly to the 9th Battalion for additional military training and not through the 10th (Training) Battalion.  Subsequent expansion and replacement of men was to be achieved by taking over trained recruits from the 10th (Training) Battalion and, in the case of the 8th Battalion, from the Burma Frontier Force. Presumably a similar approach was taken with the 7th (Burma Police) Battalion, drawing recruits directly from the Burma Police and the Burma Military Police into the Indian Company of the 9th Battalion.[7]

Major E.H. Cooke, Commander of the Headquarters Company, regarded the Indian Company of the 9th Battalion as a source of trouble regarding its rations, pay and so on, and he believed the Company should never have been put into a non-caste regiment.[8]  In February 1942 the Senior Subedar Nand Singh was murdered by Havildar Nirmal Singh, both of whom were Sikhs.[9]  For some reason which Cooke never discovered, the Havildar shot the Subedar in the Battalion lines after dark and was subsequently condemned to death at a Summary General Court Martial held in Meiktila.  The Battalion second in command, Major H.K. Blaber was the Court President and Cooke the defending officer.[10]  The sentence was commuted to penal servitude by General Alexander and Nirmal Singh was released from Mandalay Jail on or about 25th April 1942, along with all the other inmates there.  Cooke later recorded, following the withdrawal to India and in his subsequent role as Intelligence Officer, that he came across information that there was a strong undercurrent of disloyalty amongst the Sikhs of this Company, some of whom were engaged in subversive activities.[11]

Of the officers, only Haswell, Blaber, Cooke and Captain M.H. Whyte had recent field experience.[12]  The Battalion quartermaster was Captain G.H.C. Griffin who had most recently been seconded from the British Army to be a Staff Sergeant Instructor with the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force before receiving an Emergency Commission on 1st September 1941.[13]  Major Cooke joined the 9th Battalion on 27th October 1941 after six months sick leave at Kalaw in the Southern Shan States.  He still suffered from the double pneumonia and other "troubles" he had contracted whilst on recruiting duties with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force during 1940.  The remaining officers were all recently commissioned, either by Emergency Commission or commission into the Army in Burma Reserve of Officers (A.B.R.O.).  Of these Cooke remembered Captains J.W. Mustarde and R.A.B. O’Neill-Hobson as being the best.[14] [15]  Other newly commissioned officers were to pass through the 9th Battalion as replacements for other Burma Rifles Battalions.[16] [17]

Having formed at Maymyo in July 1941, the 9th Battalion was accommodated in tents at the Burma Record Reservist and Recruiting Centre in Maymyo.  It was intended that as space became available later in 1941, the battalion would move to quarters at Meiktila.  By the time Major Cooke joined the 9th Battalion at the end of October 1941 the Battalion had been at Meiktila for some time.[18]

Even as late as November life at Meiktila carried on pretty much as normal.  Off duty officers wore civilian clothes, there were no appreciable shortages, prices had risen very little and supplies of tinned goods were coming in from Australia.[19]

By the middle of December 1941 the 9th Battalion was undertaking its function as a holding battalion and was busy meeting the demands for drafts of replacements.  Unfortunately it was not possible to fully equip all drafts due to equipment shortages.  At least one Burma Rifles Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel B. Ruffell of the 1st Battalion, wrote to complain.  He was most upset that a draft arrived to join his battalion without anti-gas equipment.  Pistols were very scarce and binoculars and compasses were non-existent.  The Quartermaster of the 9th Battalion received eight sets of harnesses and wheels for animal transport carts but never the carts themselves.  For the first six weeks the 9th Battalion was active there were no dry rations available and drafts proceeding by road and rail were given tinned fish and bread paid for out of Regimental funds.[20]

Central Burma - Mandalay

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In January 1942 construction started at Meiktila to build extensive ordnance stores and a new airfield.  The site selected for the airfield was the old polo ground and apart from one British plane that made a test landing in early April, the first users of the airfield were the Japanese.  It was around the middle of January 1942 that the 9th Battalion received its first batch of stragglers, escaped prisoners of war, deserters and men from hospital.  Three lorry loads arrived and were found to come from every unit of the Burma Rifles, the Burma Sappers and Miners and even Indian and Gurkha units not related to the Burma Rifles.  In most cases the men were without arms, equipment or kit.  Many had survived the destruction of the Sittang Bridge by swimming the river and had then made their way to Pegu by way of jungle paths.  Many of them had then been sent as far as Mandalay by rail where they had been collected and sent on to Meiktila.  The sick and wounded were sent to hospital, the rest were re-equipped and held as reinforcements.  Although many had almost certainly become "separated" from their units under questionable circumstances, no attempts were made to prove any cases of desertion.  At about the end of February Chinese troops began to pass through Meiktila along the Burma Road on their way South to take over front line positions from British units in the Sittang Valley South of Toungoo.  These were units of the Chinese Fifth Army which entered Burma via Lashio.  The only effective route for the Chinese to take from Lashio was by the Burma Road which passed through Meiktila.[21] 

The war diary of the battalion was largely destroyed during the retreat in 1942 and only three pages remain, covering February 1942.  However from this fragment and from entries found in other war diaries it is possible to build a picture of at least some of the replacement drafts assembled and despatched by the 9th Battalion.  The battalion remained at Meiktila throughout February and March and into early April 1942.  Significant drafts of reinforcements from the 9th Burma Rifles were made as follows:

- 8th January 1942 to the 5th Burma Rifles (50 men, "Chins & Kachins")
- 15th February to the 7th Burma Rifles (107 men)
- 16th February to the 4th Burma Rifles (70 men)
- 17th February to the 3rd Burma Rifles (219 men).

A further draft of 34 men and five followers was sent to the 7th Battalion, The Burma Rifles on 22nd February 1942.[22]

The battalion assisted the 8th Burma Rifles with provision and organisation of reinforcements on 11th and 12th March 1942.[23]

The account of F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, written by Major J.H. Turner, places the battalion in Meiktila at the end of March, still under the command of Lt. Colonel Haswell.[24]

The war diary of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles notes that at the end of March/early April, “The battalion was now filled up to about 500, all unarmed, or some in mufti clothing.  They were either recruits from the 10th [Training] Bn. or deserters from other units who had arrived at Meiktila and were sent on from the 9th [Reserve] Bn”.[25]

The war diary of the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles records that a company of Kachins was received as reinforcements on 10th April 1942.  It was noted that this company came from the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Rifles via the 9th Battalion.[26]

The war diary of the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles records that on 13th April 1942 it received a company of Chins to replace a Karen company.  The Karens were sent back to the 9th Burma Rifles.[27]

The 9th Battalion provided a company of Karens as reinforcements for the 5th Battalion, The Burma Rifles.  This company must have been sent from Meiktila before the 9th Battalion left for Mandalay.  It joined the 5th Battalion at Myingan on 26th April.[28]

At around the end of March, Lt. Colonel Haswell was ordered to the Chin Hills to begin organising the Western Chin Levies.  Major Blaber took over command of the 9th Battalion with Cooke as his second in command.  At the same time orders were received to move the 9th Battalion to Maymyo but these were cancelled a few days later when the Battalion was ordered to Bhamo.  From around 20th March 1942 Meiktila was bombed or strafed by the Japanese nearly every day.  Most of the Civil Police left the town during this time and the duty of disposing of the dead fell to the military.  Other than a half-hearted attempt to bomb the encampment of the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police, Major Cooke records that there was no attempt to bomb any military building.  Blaber requisitioned all the cars he could find to take him and the Battalion Rear Headquarters to Bhamo to prepare for the arrival of the main body of the Battalion.  He handed over command of the Battalion to Major Cooke on 16th April as he made ready to leave for Bhamo.  Cooke's orders were to take the 9th Battalion on the last train from Meiktila to Mandalay and from there on to Bhamo by river, rail or road - whichever was most feasible. [29]

North Burma - Myitkyina

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As Cooke set about making his arrangements the situation in and around Meiktila was deteriorating.  It had been thought that part of the Burma Army together with a substantial Chinese force would withdraw to Bhamo and thence on to Lashio but by the middle of April it was realised that this plan could not be implemented.  Instead the British would retreat North of Mandalay and eventually up the Chindwin Valley to India.  To cover the British withdrawal Chinese troops were to take over the sector which included Meiktila.  It was against this increasingly desperate background that the 9th Battalion made preparations to leave.  However there was still time to observe the proprieties and Lt. General Alexander, the then Commander of the Burma Army, was entertained in the 9th Battalion mess around 15th April.[30]

On the afternoon of 16th April the 9th Battalion moved down to Tamaw railway station, two miles from Meiktila.  Upon arrival they found piles of abandoned equipment and kit scattered all around the railway line.  The men began assembling their train and at around 21:00 that evening Cooke went with Blaber to Thazi to find news of the engine and engine driver which had yet to appear at Tamaw.  They found a state of confusion and received such little assurance that an engine and driver would be sent that they threatened to return to shoot one of the engine drivers if an engine did not appear at Tamaw.  By midnight they returned to the 9th Battalion.  Blaber set off for Bhamo by road the next morning.[31]

At around 05:00 on the morning of 17th April the engine arrived and was coupled to the train.  Having loaded all the men and essential stores and the last of the ordnance stores, the 300 yard long train set off at around 09:00.  Japanese reconnaissance planes were active and it was feared that the train would be bombed at any time.  It took about an hour to do the fourteen miles to Thazi where a trainload of Chinese wounded was found amidst the ruins of the station.  Lieutenant S. Cope returned from the destroyed refreshment room carrying, to everyone's amazement, an intact cruet set he had found amid the debris.[32]  There were so few railway staff present that “gazetted” (commissioned?) railway officers were operating the points themselves.  The 9th Battalion's train moved on and reached Myitnge, near Mandalay, at around 17:00.  Here Cooke was ordered to take the train back down the line to Paleik due to a derailment on the Shwebo line which was blocking all progress Northwards.  Paleik was considered to be a less attractive target for Japanese bombers and once back there, Cooke and his men detrained and dispersed into the jungle on either side of the main Mandalay-Rangoon road.  Cooke and Captain D.P.F. Lutter found a position near the junction of the main road with the road to Paleik.[33]  They could not understand why the train had not been bombed and presumed that the Japanese knew of the ordnance it carried and were hoping to capture it intact.[34]

The next day, 18th April, Cooke and Captain Griffin got a lift on a lorry to Mandalay and went to Area Headquarters to find out the position regarding their train.  They returned to the battalion having been told to wait at Paleik.  By now the situation was increasingly dire for the Japanese had broken through the Chinese 55th Division South of Loikaw and there was only a small Chinese force to oppose a Japanese drive to the North.  On 20th April Cooke and Captain Griffin again went into Mandalay and once again visited Area Headquarters.  This time they were told to bring the Battalion to Mandalay Shore and board the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company launch “Shwemyo” for the journey to Bhamo.  Cooke was also ordered to collect the remnants of the 6th Battalion, The Burma Rifles from Mandalay Hill and take them with him to Bhamo.  Arrangements were made with railway officials Major G.E. Fane and Major Coward to move the train from Paleik to Mandalay on 22nd April.[35] [36]  Cooke went to Mandalay Hill and met Lt. Colonel P.P. Abernethy of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles.[37]  He also met the only officer of the 6th Battalion he could find, 2nd Lieutenant G.L. Merrells and made arrangements for Merrells to move his men to Manadalay Shore on the morning of 24th April, by which time Cooke estimated that the "Shwemyo" would be ready to leave for Bhamo.[38]  The 6th Battalion was only about 350 strong, around 270 Chins and 80 Burmans from other Burma Rifles battalions.  Having made arrangements with Merrells, Cooke then returned to Paleik.[39]

Finally on 22nd April the Battalion train arrived at Mandalay Shore, having detached the ordnance carriages outside Mandalay Station, much to everyone’s relief, and the transfer of men and stores to the “Shwemyo” began.  Many Japanese reconnaissance planes were seen but no air attack was made.  There were lots of shipping on the river but no crews to work the launches.  Cooke heard that Blaber, Captain L.J. Vernall and two or three other officers of the 9th Battalion had passed through Mandalay in cars bound for Bhamo.[40]  The loading of the "Shwemyo" continued throughout the next day.  The remains of a mountain battery that had lost its guns at the Sittang came down to the shore and their Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel J.W. Kaye informed Cooke that he had orders to go with him as far as Shewbo, via Kyuakmyaung on the river, to collect new guns he had been told would arrive via Kalewa the next month.[41]  Although the senior officer, Kaye requested that Cooke remain in command of the launch.[42]

The 6th Battalion arrived the next morning and loaded their kit and at midday the launch sailed.  This was a great relief to all concerned as they had expected to be bombed at any moment.  Cooke heard later that the whole Mandalay foreshore was bombed the day after they left.   The "Shwemyo" made a very slow speed due to the “flats” lashed to either side to increase carrying capacity.  The launch carried 30 days rations for the troops and a lot of stores for the aid of civilian evacuees.  Cooke was also responsible for seventeen lakhs of Rupees destined for the District Commissioner at Katha.[43]  On the way the gunners were let off at Kyaukmyaung.  Some fish and vegetables for the officers were bought at the riverside villages passed on the journey upstream.  At Katha on 30th April Major Cooke met Major L.H.O. Pugh who passed on the news that Lashio had fallen and that the actual whereabouts of the Japanese were unknown.[44]  Given the uncertainty as to whether Bhamo was in Japanese hands, Cooke considered taking the 9th Battalion to India via Katha and up the Chindwin.  However in the absence of any definite news he decided to press on to Bhamo.  Later that day he took the precaution of stopping the launch at Shwegu, about 20 miles down river from Bhamo and sent Captain N.H. Montefiore-Castle ahead into Bhamo to find out what was happening.[45]  This officer returned with orders for Cooke to proceed to Bhamo.[46]

The "Shwemyo" arrived at Bhamo the next morning, 1st May.  Although by now all information being received was confused, it was clear that the Japanese were advancing rapidly into northern Burma.  While the launch was being unloaded and all heavy kit being dumped, it was realised that there was nothing between Bhamo and the advancing Japanese.  Cooke had by now become a medical case and was ordered to Myitkyina to escort two sick and wounded officers, Captains J.W. Mustarde and W.D. Griffiths, and Captain Griffin’s wife and two young boys.[47]  It was intended that Cooke's charges would be placed on an air evacuation flight to India at Myitkyina airfield.  He left the next morning and after a difficult journey managed to get Mrs Griffin and her boys across the Irrawaddy where they succeeded in catching one of the last evacuation flights to India from Myitkyina airfield.[48]

The Japanese 56th Division advanced with surprising speed and captured Lashio on 29th April.  Its main objective was the bridge over the Salween River in China, which would effectively close the Burma Road.  In doing this the Division would also complete the destruction of a large part of the Chinese Army in Burma.  Having captured Lashio the main body of the 56th Division headed for the Salween crossing.  Given the speed of the advance and the imminent arrival of reinforcements, the Division also took the opportunity to launch a secondary thrust to capture Bhamo and Myitkyina.  On 30th April the Division's 56th Reconnaissance Regiment left Lashio for Bhamo.  Two Chinese rearguard positions were overcome at Hsweni and Kutkai, both former outposts of the Burma Frontier Force.  At Mong Yu late on 2nd May the Japanese captured a Chinese force mounted in trucks.  Driving on, early the next morning the Japanese reached the suspension bridge across the Shweli River at Manwing near Namkhan.  The bridge had been prepared for demolition and was guarded by the Northern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force.  For reasons unknown the demolition of the bridge failed and it was captured intact, the Burma Frontier Force commander, Lt. Colonel J.R.K. Wallace being killed.[49]  Taking advantage of this the Japanese raced on to Bhamo.[50]

Meanwhile in Bhamo, on the morning of 3rd May an officer reached Bhamo in a lorry and reported that he had been fired at and chased by Japanese lorries which had crossed the Shweli bridge at Manwing.  He declared that the Japanese might be in Bhamo at any minute.  As far as can be ascertained the Commandant, Lt. Colonel R.M. Jacob issued orders that all troops were to get to India in small groups in the best possible way they could.[51]  Jacob appears to have headed towards Sinlumkaba.  He and his senior Assistant Commandant, Major T.H. Geake, Burma Military Police, were not heard of again and it was later reported that Jacob and Geake had been murdered by a Sikh orderly.[52]  Lt. Colonel Blaber and the 9th Battalion set off on foot for Myitkyina later that that morning.[53]  On the evening of 5th May the Battalion Quartermaster, Captain Griffin, crossed the Irrawaddy into Myitkyina and found Major Cooke.  He reported that the 9th Battalion was now 40-50 miles from Bhamo but was without rations and exhausted after having marched throughout the night.  Cooke and Griffin went into Myitkyina to speak with the Brigadier N.R. Upton, the senior officer then in Myitkyina, about arranging for supplies to be sent to the 9th Battalion.[54]  Upton radioed the Royal Air Force at Dinjan with an approximate map reference of the location of the Battalion and asked that an air drop be made.  However the R.A.F. were overstretched and lacked fighter planes to protect the transports and no air drop was made.[55]

At about midday on 6th May, Lt. Colonel Blaber arrived in Myitkyina and told the story of the demise of the 9th Battalion.  The Battalion had evacuated Bhamo on 3rd May, just ahead of the Japanese arrival.  After a brief fight with a small detachment of Chinese troops, the Japanese captured the town at around 23:00 that evening.  At the riverfront they captured thirteen boats loaded with weapons and supplies.  They then set off towards Myitkyina, in the wake of the withdrawing 9th Battalion and other British troops and stragglers.  Sometime the next day the 9th Battalion was caught and ambushed by the Japanese on the Myitkyina road.  There had been many casualties and in its depleted state and with many sick the Battalion had disintegrated.  Blaber escaped in a car riddled with bullet holes.  Of the Adjutant and other officers nothing was known but it was later learned that all had escaped into the jungle and subsequently made their way to India except for Captain O'Neill-Hobson who died of dysentery on the way to Manipur.  Lieutenant W. Wallace had been on the Namkhan road, manning a machine gun post with a detachment of Gurkhas and Kumaonis of the Indian Company of the 9th Battalion, and inflicted some casualties on the Japanese.[56]  He eventually reached Assam in a terrible state of exhaustion.  These desperate actions spelled the end for the 9th Battalion and after this date it ceased to be a functioning unit.[57]

For some days now the state of affairs in Myitkyina had been chaotic, with large numbers of British civilians and hospital cases hoping to be evacuated by air.  Stragglers of the Burma Frontier Force, the Burma Military Police, the Burma Auxiliary Force and most of the regular units in Burma were passing through the town.  Numbers of relatively fit civilians en route to India by foot also continued to arrive.  During 6th May heavy air raids took place on the aerodrome and part of the town.  Two R.A.F. Dakotas were caught and destroyed while loading civilian evacuees and wounded soldiers, bringing about the end of the air lift.  The following day the evacuation of the town began.  The Japanese crossed the Irrawaddy in the early hours of 8th May and took the town without loss.[58]

Of the survivors of the 9th Battalion not more than 70 officers and men reached Assam.  The remainder were either killed, taken prisoner or escaped to their homes elsewhere in Burma.  Blaber made it to India as did Captain Griffin.  Major Cooke also reached India, arriving in a terrible state of health, having trekked with another small party of officers.[59]

On 3rd June 1942, after arrival in India, all ranks remaining in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th Burma Rifles battalions were formed into a composite Burma Rifles battalion, with a total strength of 20 G.C.O.s and 308 Other Ranks, and an unknown number of British Officers.  The Composite Burma Rifles Battalion was commanded by Lt. Colonel C.H.D. O'Callaghan, former commander of the 2nd Burma Rifles.  This unit left for Ranchi on 8th June, arriving there five days later.[60]

[All but the February 1942 entries of the war diary were destroyed during the retreat.  The file is available at the National Archives at Kew as WO 172/981.  A transcription of the file, together with extensive footnotes gleaned from other sources, can be read or downloaded here.]

 15 November 2017



[1] The Formation of the 9th and 10th Battalions, The Burma Rifles, IOR M/3/1213;

[2] Francis William Haswell, born, 9th February 1898.  Mobilised with the Territorial Force, service 1 year, 150 days, to 17th  May 1918.  Served in France and Belgium, 14th April 1917 to 15th  February 1918.  Commissioned into the Regular Army as 2nd Lt., 19th September 1917.  Served with the 107th Pioneers, 13th May 1918.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2ndLt (IA453), 18th May 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 19th September 1918.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 107th Pioneers, 1st  April 1919.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 61st  Pioneers, 1st  April 1921.  Served Waziristan, 1921-24, Wana.  Station Staff Officer, 2nd Class, Wana Column, 4th May 1921 to 17th  October 1921.  Served with 48th Pioneers, 4th January 1922.  Promoted to Captain, 12th September 1922.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Pioneers, 20th December 1926.  Served with the Bombay Pioneers, 1st  April 1929.  Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police, 1933. Commandant, Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Military Police, 12th December 1932 to 1937, then Commandant, Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1937 to early 1938? Promoted to Major, 12th September 1935.  Attached to the 4th Gurkha Rifles, 1938 to early 1940?  Commandant, the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st  April 1940 to 28th  December 1941.  Commanding Officer, the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to March 1942.  Charged to raise the Chin Levies, April/May 1942?.  Commanding Officer, the Chin Levies, June 1942.  Promoted to Lt.Colonel, 12th September 1943.  As Lt.Colonel (Local Colonel), attached Burma Frontier Force, for raising Chin Levies and leading them with detachments of the Burma Rifles, awarded D.S.O., 16th December 1943.  Promoted to temporary Colonel and to temporary Brigadier, 3rd March 1944.  Took over Command of Fort Hertz Area Headquarters from 28th May 1944 until disbandment of the Headquarters in December 1944.  Commander, 553 Sub Area, Burma, 1945.  Retired, 10th February 1949 ("Operations in Burma from 15th December 1941 to 20th May 1942", London Gazette, 5th March 1948; "War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; India Office List  1933; Indian Army List; London Gazette; Seppings Interview, Seppings Interview - IWM Collection; War diary of Fort Hertz Area Headquarters, WO 172/4485; War Diary of the 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975, (War diary 2nd Burma Rifles); War diary 2nd Burma Regiment, WO 172/7802; WO 372/31/113).

[3] IOR M/3/1213

[4] “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44

[5] IOR M/3/1213

[6] Cooke diary

[7] IOR M/3/1213

[8] Edward Hewitt Cooke born Ireland, 22nd August  1900.  As 2nd Lieutenant, late General List, Royal Flying Corps, on probation, confirmed in rank as 2nd Lieutenant, Observer Officer, 29th June 1918.  As 2nd Lieutenant, transferred from the Royal Air Force to the Unemployed List, 4th February 1919.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant to the Unattached List  for the Indian Army, attached to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 14th July 1921.  Arrived in India, 14th October 1921.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant (20 IA), attached to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Madras Regiment (late 83rd Wallajahbad Light Infantry) until disbandment of the Battalion, 14th November 1922 to 21st  September 1923.  As Lieutenant, attached to the 20th Burma Rifles from 21st  September 1923 to 1st  April 1937.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 14th October 1923.  Served with the 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles from 1st  April 1925.  On leave, ex India, 90 days from 26th August  1925.  Attached to the 3rd Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, serving with the 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, 1926 to 14th August  1927.  Quartermaster, 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles from 5th July 1926 to 14th August  1927.  Qualified in Chinese, Hakka dialect, 1927.  Assistant Recruiting Officer, Burma from 1st  August  1927.  On leave ex India, early 1928 to 14th August  1928.  Promoted to Captain, 14th July 1929.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  Served as Assistant Commandant, 1st  Battalion, Assam Rifles from 19th April 1930 to 3rd May 1931.  Adjutant, 3rd Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles from 4th May 1931 to late 1934.  On leave, ex India, March 1933 to 9th November 1933.  Qualified in languages of Burma (2nd Class), July 1934.  Served with 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles from 4th May 1935 to 1st  April 1937.  Attached to the 1st  Kumaon Rifles, 19th Hyderabad Regiment from 1st  April 1937.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Forces, 1st  April 1937.  As Company Officer to the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, served as Company Commander with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles (late 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles) at Maymyo, 1st  April 1937 to 1938.  Sailed from Southampton to Colombo aboard the M.S. "Johan V. Oldenbarnevelt", departed, 5th November 1937.  Served with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1938 to 24th July 1941.  Promoted to Major, 1st  August  1938.  Officiating Assistant Recruiting Officer, Burma, 1938.  Assistant Recruiting Officer, The Burma Record, Reservist  and Recruiting Centre from 16th November 1938.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to June 1942.  Trekked to India from Myitkyina via the Hukawng Valley, 7th May 1942-June 1942.  Served as Intelligence Officer, G.H.Q.(I), 1943 to 1945.  As temporary Lt. Colonel, on military employ, Burma Defence Forces, 1945-46.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, promoted to Lt. Colonel, 13th July 1947.  Retired from position of Head Recruiting Officer of the New Burma Army, September 1947.  As Lt. Colonel, Special List  (ex Indian Army) British Army, retired, 1st  October 1948.  Died Malta, 9th February 1954  ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); Burma Army List  1938, 1940; Burma Defence Services List  1941; FindMyPast; Indian Army List  1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1943, 1945, 1946; London Gazette; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44)

[9] Subedar Nand Singh died in the Burma Military Hospital at Meiktila on 20th February 1942 (War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981).

[10] Hugh Kenneth Blaber born, London, 22nd August  1899.  As Cadet, Wellington College, commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant to the Unattached List  for the Indian Army, 31st  January 1918.  As 2nd Lieutenant, appointed from the Unattached List  to the Indian Army (AI 979), 4th February 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 31st  January 1919.  Attached to the 4th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles, 4th March 1919 to 1921.  Officiating Quarter Master, 4th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles, 1920.  Attached to the 1st  Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles, 1922.  Quarter Master, 1st  Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles, 1922.  Promoted to Captain, 31st  January 1923.  Company Officer, 20th Burma Rifles from formation of the regiment in 1922.  On leave to 27th October 1925.  Served as Company Officer, 1st  Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, 28th October 1926 to 1st  April 1937.  Served as Senior Staff Officer, Mandalay, early 1927.  Married Hilma Wells Bigelow, 21st  July 1928.  On leave ex India to 15th November 1928.  Served as Instructor, Army Signal School, Poona, 8th February 1929 to 1st  December 1932.  Served as Officiating Intelligence Officer, Burma District from 15th March 1934 to 1935?  Attached as Company Commander to the 11th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, Indian territorial Force, Mandalay from 23rd January 1936.  On leave ex India, March 1936 to 5th December 1936.  Promoted to Major, 9th October 1936.  Appointed Company Commander, the 1st  Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, 1st  March 1937.  Served as Company Officer, the 1st  Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st  April 1937 to 24th July 1941.  As Major, second in command, the 9th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to March 1942.  Commanding Officer, 9th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, March 1942 to June 1942.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, promoted to Lt. Colonel, 31st  January 1944.  As Colonel, Officer Commanding, the Burma Regimental Centre, awarded C.B.E., gazetted, 1st  January 1948.  Married Margaret Joyce Churton in Melbourne, Australia, 5th November 1948.  As Lt. Colonel, Special List  (ex Indian Army), retired (401454), granted the honorary rank of Colonel, 3rd January 1949.  As Lt. Colonel, Indian Army, retired, 3rd January 1949.  Died, 1976  (Burma Army List  1938; http://www.blaberfamily.org.uk/; Indian Army List  1919, 1921, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1934, 1936, 1937; London Gazette; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975).

[11] Cooke diary

[12] Morris Hudman Whyte born Balbriggan, County Dublin, Ireland, 2nd March 1907.  As Gentleman Cadet, Royal Military College, commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, The Essex Regiment, 29th January 1927.  As 2nd Lieutenant, attached to the 2nd Battalion, The Essex Regiment, 1928 to 1933.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 29th January 1930.  Employed with the Royal West  African Frontier Force, 8th May 1935 to 3rd January 1936.  Arrived in India and appointed to the Indian Army, as Lieutenant, attached to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment, 4th January 1936, with seniority from 9th April 1929.  Promoted to Captain, 29th January 1936.  Attached to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment, 19th March 1936.  On leave to 31st  March 1939.  Acting Major, 3rd September 1939 to 29th September 1939.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Forces, 8th November 1939.  Served as Assistant Commandant with the Myitkyina Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 8th November 1939.  Served with the 8th (Frontier Force) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941.  Acting Major until, 10th May 1941.  Temporary Major, 11th May 1941 to 6th June 1941.  Temporary Major, 18th June 1941 to 30th June 1941.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to June 1942.  Acting Major from 1st  March 1942.  Served as Assistant Provost  Marshall, 1943.  Promoted to Major, 29th January 1944.  Promotion to Major cancelled, gazetted, 19th May 1944.  As Captain, retired from the Indian Army on grounds of ill health and granted the rank of honorary Major, 19th May 1944.  Became a film and TV star in Hollywood under the name Patrick Morris Hudson Whyte, post-war.  Died Los Angeles, USA, 11th June 1984  (British Army List  1942; Burma Army List  October 1940; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; Indian Army List  1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1943; London Gazette; www.findagrave.com/).

[13] George Henry Charles Griffin born Henry Charles Griffin, 4th August  1904.  Joined the British Army but was discharged as under age, 1920.  Rejoined the British Army as George Henry Charles Griffin, signing on for seven years service and five years reserve.  Served with The King's Royal Rifle Corps (3284332), 22nd February 1921.  Posted to India to the 1st  Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps, 24th November 1921.  Promoted to Lance Corporal, 22nd October 1922.  Promoted to Corporal, 2nd November 1926.  Extended his term to be 12 years "colour service", 29th March 1927.  Transferred to the Indian Unattached List, 30th August  1927.  Appointed Staff Sergeant Instructor whilst  employed with the Auxiliary Force, India, 1st  September 1927.  Promoted to Sergeant, 24th January 1928.  Married at Christ  Church, Rangoon, 8th November 1928.  Re-engaged to complete 21 years service, 30th April 1930.  Staff-serjeant Instructor with the Rangoon Battalion, Auxiliary Force, India, located at Akyab, 1930.  Acting Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, Rangoon Battalion, Buma Auxiliary Force, 1939.  Posted to the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 14th February 1940.  Discharged having been appointed to a commission, 31st  August  1941.  Emergency Commission to the General List  as Lieutenant (205224), from acting Regimental Sergeant Major, 1st  September 1941.  Posted to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles and appointed Quartermaster with the rank of Acting Captain, 1st  September 1941.  Appointed Acting Captain, 2nd September 1941.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st  September 1941 to June 1942.  Appointed Company Commander, the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 9th December 1941.  Appointed Temporary Captain, 22nd January 1942.  Trekked from Myitkyina to India, his wife and two sons having been evacuated by air from Myitkyina a day or two earlier, 7th May 1942 to June 1942.  Appointed Acting Major, 1st  December 1943.  Appointed Temporary Major, 1st  March 1944  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; Army Service Record; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; India Unattached List  1930; India Unattached List  1939; London Gazette).

[14] James William Mustarde born, 1919?.  Attended Glasgow High School, 1933-36.  Joined his father's business in Glasgow, 1936.  Worked as a junior partner of Grierson, Anderson & Co., March 1939.  As late Cadet, Glasgow High School Contingent, Junior Division, Officer Training Corps, commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, attached to the 6th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment) (91022), 1st  July 1939.  Appointed to the British Army, 24th August  1939.  Served in France, June 1940.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st  January 1941.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 12th May 1941 to June 1942.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Forces, 12th May 1941.  Acting Captain from 15th August  1941.  Commanded a company of the 5th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1942?  Trekked from Myitkyina to India, 7th May 1942 to June 1942.  Died in the British Military Hospital, Mussoorie, Assam and buried in the military cemetery at Landour, 19th July 1942.  Died from dysentery and malaria at Ranchi, 19th July 1942  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; British Army List; Burma Army List  July 1941; London Gazette; The High School of Glasgow The Book of Service and Remembrance, 1939-1945).

[15] Russell Anton Bertram O'Neill-Hobson born, 1901.  Promoted to Lieutenant (120556), 26th July 1939.  As Lieutenant (120556), The Queen's Regiment (Royal West  Surrey), relinquished his commission on enlistment into the ranks, 21st  February 1940.  Appointed Lieutenant, The Queen's Regiment (Royal West  Surrey), 26th March 1940.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, early 1942? to 18th June 1942.  Died of dysentery on the trek to India from Bhamo, May-June 1942.  Died and buried at Kohima War Cemetery, 18th June 1942  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; London Gazette; www.findagrave.com).

[16] The then 2nd Lt. C.E. Seppings, in his IWM interview, recalls that when he was posted to the 9th Burma Rifles in February 1942.  Seppings arrived for duty at Meiktila on 16th February (Seppings Interview, Seppings Interview - IWM Collection; War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981)

[17] Cooke diary; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941

[18] IOR M/3/1213; Cooke diary

[19] Cooke diary

[20] Cooke diary

[21] Cooke diary; Indian Armed Forces in World War II, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42”

[22] War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981

[23] War diary 8th Burma Rifles, WO 172/980

[24]Short History of F.F.3”, Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702

[25] War diary 4th Burma Rifles, WO 172/977

[26] War diary 1st  Burma Rifles, WO 172/974

[27] War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975

[28] War diary 5th Burma Rifles, WO 172/978

[29] Cooke diary

[30] Indian Official History

[31] Cooke diary

[32] Samuel Alexander Cope born at Stone, Staffordshire, 22nd August  1914.  Apprentice, Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, City of London, 1929.  Sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon, occupation given as "merchant", aboard the S.S. "Oxfordshire", departed, 9th October 1936.  Worked as a Forest  Assistant for the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation, 1939-41.  Sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon, occupation given as "forest  assistant", aboard the S.S. "Staffordshire", departed, October 1940.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 378), 9th February 1942.  As 2nd Lieutenant, arrived for duty with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles at Meiktila, 16th February 1942.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 16th February 1942 to June 1942?  War substantive Lieutenant from 1st  October 1942.  Joined Burma Section, Special Operations Executive, given S.O.E. symbol B/B564, with effect from 9th October 1943.  As temporary Major, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services whilst  engaged in special operations in South East  Asia, gazetted, 7th November 1946.  Sailed from Rangoon to London, occupation given as "merchant", aboard the S.S. "Worcestershire", departed, 23rd November 1949.  Sailed from Southampton to Singapore, occupation given as "merchant" and residence given as North Borneo, aboard the M.S. "Willem Ruys", departed, 7th November 1956.  Died, 1971  (ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List  1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory; War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44).

[33] Denis Patrick Fforde Lutter born Mandalay, 6th January 1905.  Baptised at St. Mary's Queen Victoria Memorial Church, Mandalay, 16th January 1905.  Commissioned into the Army in India Reserve of Officers as 2nd Lieutenant, 30th June 1931.  Attached to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles, 1933-34.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th September 1933.  As Lieutenant, Army in India Reserve of Officers, serving in Burma, 1st  January 1938.  Army in India Reserve of Officers, serving in Burma, 1st  January 1938 to 4th September 1939.  As Lieutenant relinquished his commission in the Army in India Reserve of Officers on being granted a commission as Lieutenant in the ABRO (ABRO 31), 4th September 1939.  As Lieutenant, acting Captain, while attached to the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, served as Officiating Staff Captain, A & Q, Headquarters Army in Burma, Rangoon from 1st  October 1940 to July 1941.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to June 1942.  Succeeded as Commander, Headquarters Company, 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles by Major E.H. Cooke, October 1941.  Promoted to Captain, 30th June 1942.  As temporary Major, identified for transfer from the 1st  Gurkha Regimental Centre to the Burma Intelligence Corps., 12th October 1944.  Served at the 1st  Gurkha Regimental Centre, Dharmsala, 1944.  As temporary Major, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 19th September 1946.  As "aviation assistant" sailed from Rangoon to Liverpool on board the S.S. "Cheshire", arrived, 29th May 1947.  As "merchant" sailed from Greenock to Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Prome", departed, 25th November 1947.  As "assistant in Burmah Oil" sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Warwickshire", departed, 9th October 1951.  Died, 1997  ("Burma Intelligence Corps", WO 203/48 206; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List  1938, 1940, 1943; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; FindMyPast; London Gazette; WO 172/7802).

[34] Cooke diary

[35] Geoffrey Ernest  Fane born, 9th August  1905.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, The Burma Railways Battalion, Auxiliary Force India, 8th July 1926.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 8th July 1929.  Served with The Burma Railways Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 1st  April 1937 to 28th April 1941.  Promoted to Captain, 9th September 1937.  Emergency Commission to the General List  as 2nd Lieutenant (189596), 28th April 1941.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1st  July 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, temporary Captain from 14th March 1942.  Served as Major, "railway official", Mandalay, April 1942.  Appointed from the General List  to the Royal Engineers as war substantive Captain, 1st  September 1942.  As Lieutenant, appointed from Emergency Commission to Lieutenant (Short Service Commission) Movement Control Section, Royal Engineers, 1st  September 1953, with seniority from 15th August  1950.  Promoted to Captain, Movement Control Section, Royal Engineers, 23rd November 1954.  As Captain, Movement Control Section, Royal Engineers, transferred from the Active List  to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers and is granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 1st  September 1956.  Relinquished his commission, retaining the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 1st  September 1961  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; Burma Army List  1938, 1943; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; Indian Army List  July 1928, 1930; London Gazette).

[36] Duncan Cecil Coward.  First  commission, 16th March 1919.  As temporary 2nd Lieutenant, appointed to the Royal Sussex Regiment retaining the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, 24th February 1922.  Served with The Burma Railways Battalion, Auxiliary Force India, 7th February 1925 to 1st  April 1937.  Promoted to Captain, 12th December 1932.  Served with The Burma Railways Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 1st  April 1937 to 14th March 1942.  Promoted to Major, 9th September 1937.  Emergency Commission to the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant, 14th March 1942.  War substantive Captain, temporary Major from 24th November 1942.  Acting Major from 31st  March 1943.  As war substantive Captain, acting Lt. Colonel, served the Indian Corps of Engineers, Railway Operating (Traffic), 1945  (Burma Army List  1938, 1940; Indian Army List  1928, 1945; London Gazette).

[37] Peter Paul Abernethy born Ireland, 29th June 1897.  Commissioned to the Unattached List  for the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant (IA 491), 30th January 1917.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant, attached to the 63rd Palamcottah Light Infantry (disbanded 13th September 1922), 7th February 1917.  Served as Company Officer with the 58th Vaughan's Rifles from 13th June 1917.  Served Egyptian Expeditionary Force, October 1917 to 31st  October 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th January 1918.  Attached to the 58th Vaughan's Rifles, served Waziristan, 1920-21.  Served as acting Captain, while commanding a company of the 58th Vaughan's Rifles (later 5th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force) until, 27th June 1920.  Acting Captain, while commanding a company of the 58th Vaughan's Rifles (later 5th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force) until, 29th January 1921.  Promoted to Captain, 30th January 1921.  Served as Company Officer with the 5th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles following redesignation of the 58th Vaughan's Rifles, 1922.  Mentioned in despatches for service in Waziristan, gazetted, 1st  June 1923.  Mentioned in despatches for service in Waziristan, gazetted, 12th June 1923.  Instructor (Class 2) Small Arms School, India, 18th January 1925 to 5th October 1926.  Promoted to Major, 30th January 1935.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Forces as Company Officer with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 8th November 1937.  Acting Lt. Colonel, Officiating Second in Command, 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 25th February 1941 to 24th May 1941.  Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 25th May 1941 to June 1942.  Temporary Lt. Colonel from 25th May 1941 to 29th January 1943.  Served with the Sindh Police Rifles, 1943 to 1945.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 30th January 1943.  Retired from the Indian Army on account of ill health, 23rd August  1946  ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; Indian Army List  1919, 1923, 1942, 1943, 1945; London Gazette).

[38] George Luen Merrells born, 14th December 1915.  Served as Assistant Commissioner, Burma Civil Service, 1938 to 1941.  Appointed to the Burma Civil Service (Class I), 1st  September 1938.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lieutenant (217664), 26th October 1941.  Commander of a detachment of the 6th Burma Rifles at Mandalay Hill which subsequently accompanied the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles to Bhamo, 20th April 1942.  Presumed to have left Bhamo to trek to India when the town was evacuated, 2nd May 1942.  Served in North Arakan, late 1942-1943.  As a Civil Affairs Officer, CAS(B), attached to the 25th Indian Infantry Division, 1944-45.  Lecturer in Burmese at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1947-51.  Married Anne C Gledhill, 1949.  With occupation as "H.M. Foreign Service", sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Prome", departed, 5th April 1951.  Appointed to Her Majesty's Foreign Service, 23rd October 1952.  With occupation as "H.M. Foreign Service", sailed from Rangoon to London aboard the S.S. "Staffordshire", arrived, 21st  May 1953.  With occupation as "H.M. Foreign Service", sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Worcestershire", departed, 11th September 1953.  Sailed from London to New York aboard the R.M.S. "Queen Mary", departed, 30th April 1959.  Appointed to be Her Majesty's Consul for the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois, gazetted, 28th August  1959.  Died, 1990  (ancestry.co.uk; Anglo-Burmese Library; Burma Army List  1943; Cooke Diary; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Mss Eur C646 : 1944-1945; www.soas.ac.uk/).

[39] Cooke diary; Indian Official History

[40] Leslie James Vernall born, 3rd February 1911.  Worked as Assistant Conservator, Department of Forests, Burma Civil Service from 31st  October 1932.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant to the ABRO (ABRO 69), 10th November 1939.  Assistant Conservator, Department of Forests, Myitmaka Division, 1st  January 1940.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1940 to 1941.  Divisional Forest  Officer, Department of Forests, Tharrawaddy Division, 1st  January 1941.  Temporary Captain from 7th April 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 11th May 1941.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 24th July 1941 to June 1942.  War substantive Captain and temporary Major from 2nd July 1942.  "Later went to Staff College", 1943-45?  Changed his surname to Vernell by deed poll, gazetted, 17th May 1946.  As "Civil Servant" sailed from Southampton to New York aboard the S.S. "Queen Elizabeth", departed, 13th February 1947.  As "UNO Official" sailed from Southampton to New York aboard the S.S. "Queen Elizabeth", departed, 17th May 1947.  As "agricultural organiser" sailed from New York to Southampton aboard the S.S. "Caronia", arrived, 20th April 1950.  Author of report of the Technical Committee of Forestry and Forest  Products, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1964-65.  Died, 1979  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; ancestry.co.uk; Anglo Burmese Library - Civil List  1942; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; Burma Army List  1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory; www.fao.org).

[41] From March 1942, Lt. Colonel J.W. Kaye was the Commanding Officer of the 28th Mountain Regiment, Indian Artillery.  In February, at the battle of the Sittang Bridge, the Regiment’s two batteries, the 15th and 28th destroyed all their guns when the men were forced to find any means possible to cross the river following the early destruction of the bridge.  By the end of March the 15th Mountain Battery was at Prome where it had refitted with fresh armament, seven 77mm Skoda guns.  The 28th Mountain Battery was acting as infantry with only a single recently acquired 3.7-inch howitzer.  The 15th Mountain Battery was in action later, at Monywa, on 1st  May and then was ordered to destroy its guns at Ue-U on 5th May.  The 28th Mountain Battery took part in a successful rearguard action at Shwegyin on 10th May and eventually succeeded in getting their single gun to Imphal in an ambulance. (“The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery”, Graham C.A.L., Gale & Polden (1957), pp309-319).

James William Kaye born, 10th January 1899.  As Gentleman Cadet, Royal Military Academy, appointed 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery, 20th September 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 20th March 1920.  Employed with the King's African Rifles, 8th July 1926 to 7th July 1932.  Temporary Captain, 13th July 1928 to 10th July 1930.  As Lieutenant, granted the temporary rank of Captain while serving with the King's African Rifles, 13th July 1928.  As Lieutenant, temporary Captain, granted the local rank of Major whilst  employed with the King's African Rifles, 11th July 1930.  Promoted to Captain, 20th September 1931.  As Captain, relinquishes the local rank of Major on ceasing to be employed with the King's African Rifles, 8th July 1932.  Restored to the establishment as Captain, Royal Artillery, 16th October 1932.  Served with the 16th Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery, July 1936 to January 1937.  Appointed Adjutant, 1st  April 1937 to 5th October 1939.  As Captain, Served with the 24th Mountain Brigade, Indian Artillery as Adjutant, April 1938.  Promoted to Major, 1st  August  1938.  Served with the 24th Mountain Regiment, Indian Artillery as Adjutant, October 1939 to October 1939.  Served as Senior Special Service Officer with the Mountain Battery, Gwalior State Forces, Indian States Forces, July 1940 to October 1941.  Acting Lt. Colonel, October 1941.  Temporary Lt. Colonel from 24th October 1941.  Commanding Officer of the 28th Mountain Regiment, Indian Artillery from March 1942.  As temporary Lt. Colonel (12178), mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 19th July 1945.  As Major, war substantive Lt. Colonel, promoted to Lt. Colonel, 7th September 1945.  As Captain, temporary Major, acting Colonel, acting Brigadier from 11th November 1944.  As Captain (Lt. Colonel (honorary Brigadier), Reserve of Officers, Royal Artillery), relinquished his commission, 30th March 1946.  Having exceeded the age limit for retirement, was placed on retirement pay and granted the honorary rank of Brigadier, 26th May 1949.  Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, Regular Army Reserve of Officers, Royal Artillery, 1st  February 1952.  As 2nd Lieutenant, Territorial Army General List, promoted to Captain, 1st  February 1952.  Having exceeded the age limit of liability to recall, ceased to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, 26th September 1956  (“The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery”, Graham C.A.L., Gale & Polden (1957), pp309-319; British Army List  Supplement 1942; Indian Army List  1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1945; London Gazette).

[42] Cooke diary

[43] A “lakh” is equal to 100,000 and in the Indian convention of digit grouping, it is written as 1,00,000.

[44] Possibly Lewis Hugh Owain Pugh who was working for Special Operations Executive and later went on to become Director of Country Sections, Force 136 by 1943.  On 9th March 1943 he led what came to be known as the Last  Action of the Calcutta Light Horse.  The action was against  German merchant ships thought to be transmitting Allied positions to U-boats from the Mormugao harbour in Portugal's neutral territory of Goa.  This wartime incident was published in 1978 as “Boarding Party – The Last  Action of the Calcutta Light Horse” by James Leasor, and was subsequently portrayed in the 1980 film, “Sea Wolves”, starring Gregory Peck as Pugh, and including a host  of other well known names  (http://tinyurl.com/zb8sbf8)

[45] Norman Henry Montefiore-Castle born about, 1912.  As late Cadet, Wrekin College Contingent, appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 10th London Regiment (Royal Berkshire Regiment), Territorial Army, 24th March 1937.  Appointed as 2nd Lieutenant (70890), 7th Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment, 7th May 1939.  War substantive Lieutenant, 23rd March 1940.  Attached to the 1st  Battalion, The Burma Rifles, served with the Reserve Centre, the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles from 12th May 1941.  Temporary Captain, 15th November 1941.  Arrived with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles from attachment to the 2nd Burma Infantry Brigade Headquarters, Signals, 3rd February 1942.  Evacuated from Mandalay with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles by river launch.  Sent ahead to Bhamo to assess the situation, 30th April 1942.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment, 1st  January 1943.  As Lieutenant, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment, admitted to hospital, Madras, 21st  March 1943 to 2nd April 1943.  Posted from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment to No. 25 Reinforcement Camp, 17th July 1943.  As war substantive Lieutenant, Royal Berkshire Regiment, resigned his commission, 7th April 1944.  AS "BBC Television" staff, travelled from Southampton to New York aboard the M.S. "Batory", departed, 8th July 1947.  Died San Diego, 1980  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong[sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; London Gazette; War diary 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment, WO 172/2497; War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981).

[46] Cooke diary

[47] William Douglas Griffiths born, 23rd April 1916.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 83), 10th November 1939.  Attached to the 1st  Battalion, The Burma Rifles, served as Company Commander, 13th (Shan States) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, Burma Territorial Force, 1940.  Served with the 1st  Battalion, The Burma Rifles as Quartermaster from 15th February 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 12th November 1941.  Temporary Captain, 1st  October 1942.  As Lieutenant, temporary Captain, 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, awarded the Military Cross for service with the First  Chindit Expedition, 16th December 1943  (Burma Army List  1943; Burma Army List  October 1940; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; London Gazette; WO 373/31/147).

 

[48] Cooke diary

[49] James Rupert Kenneth Wallace, born 22nd January 1898.  Commissioned 10th November 1916, Indian Army Reserve of Officers, seniority from 10th August  1917.  Appointed to the Indian Army 24th October 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 10th August  1918, attached 98th Infantry, became 19th Hyderabad Regiment from 1922.  Served  Mahsuds,  6th June 1917 to 10th August  1917; Iraq, 29th September 1917to 31st  August  1918; Salonika, 1918; Black Sea, 1920, wounded, Mentioned in despatches, gazetted 11th December 1920.  Awarded the Military Cross whilst  serving as Lieutenant (acting Captain) with 95th Russell’s Infantry during the action at Sultan Chift on 5th July 1920 in the Turkish War of Independence, gazetted 28th October 1920.  Served Waziristan, 1921-24.  Served with the 19th Hyderabad Regiment until 13th June 1935, then General duty 14th June 1935 to 27th August  1935.  Promoted to Major, 5th July 1935.  Appointed to the Supplementary List, 28th August  1935.  Appointed M.E.O., Army in Burma, 24th May 1935.  Appointed Inspecting Officer Military Lands and Cantonments, Army in Burma, (18th June 1934, 1st  April 1937, appointed 21st  October 1937).  As Commandant, Northern Shan States Battalion, B.F.F., died 3rd May 1942.  According to a Japanese account, he may have been killed by Indian soldiers (British Army List; Indian Army List; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); “Burma 1942, The Japanese Invasion”, I.L. Grant, K. Tamayama, Zampi (1999)).

[50] “Burma 1942, The Japanese Invasion”, I.L. Grant, K. Tamayama, Zampi (1999)

[51] Rupert Montague Jacob, born 31st  July, 1886.  Commissioned from Cadet to the Unattached List  as 2nd Lt., 23rd January 1906.  Appointed to Indian Army, 17th March 1907.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 24th April 1908, 124th Baluchis.  Promoted to Captain, 24th January 1915, 130th Baluchis.  Awarded the Military Cross, gazetted 1st  February 1917.  Staff Captain until 23rd February 1917.  Mentioned in Despatches, 6th August  1918.  As Captain, temporary Major, promoted to Brevet Major, 11th February, 1919.  As Brevet Major, 130th Baluchis, relinquished appointment as D.A.A.G., 19th February 1919.  Promoted to Major, 24th January 1921.  As Major, serving with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Military Police in 1924.  Promoted Lt. Colonel, 24th January 1932.  Burma Police, 1933.  As Lt. Colonel, whilst  serving with the Burma Military Police, awarded the King’s Police Medal for distinguished service, gazetted 7th January 1936.  In July 1937 was Commandant of the Bhamo Battalion, BFF at Bhamo.  Retired 25th January 1938.  Recalled for duty and, as Commandant, Bhamo Battalion, BFF, died 6th June 1942 (“murdered by a Sikh orderly”), recorded on the Rangoon Memorial.  Located at Bhamo as Commandant, Bhamo Battalion, BFF - "Said to have gone to Simlum with some of his troops but was never hard of again, presumably killed with Major Geake" (London Gazette; Indian Army List; FindMyPast; Mss Eur E250/(133); “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; BACSA).

[52] Thomas Henry Geake, born, 16th March 1899.  Joined the Army, the 35th Training Reserve Battalion at Newton Abbot, 2nd June 1917.  Appointed temporary Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, 1st  May 1918.  Served with the "Hood" Battalion, 189th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, 1918-19.  Served France, from June 1918.  Served as Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve until appointed temporary 2nd Lieutenant, the Royal Fusiliers, 14th May 1919, with seniority from 1st  May 1918.  Served Russia, July 1919.  As temporary 2nd Lt., the Royal Fusiliers, relinquished his commission on appointment as cadet, the Royal Military College, 29th January 1920.  Commissioned to the Unattached List  as 2nd Lt. (AI 701), 24th December 1920, with seniority from 1st  May 1919.  Appointed to the Indian Army as Lieutenant, attached to the 30th Punjabis, 10th March 1922, with seniority from 1st  May 1920.  Attached to the 16th Punjab Regiment from 1st  January 1923.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st May 1925.  Served North-West  Frontier of India, 1930-31.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  Seconded and served as Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police, 27th May 1930.  Promoted to Major, 1st  May 1937.  Transferred to the Special Unemployed List, 1st  March 1938.  Assistant Commandant, the 1st  Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police from 31st  March 1940 to May 1942.  Commanding Officer of the training companies of the Rangoon Battalions, Burma Military Police, when these withdrew from Rangoon to Mandalay and then Bhamo, 1942 to May 1942.  Murdered by a Sikh orderly, buried Sagaing, May-June 1942.  Accompanied Lt. Colonel R.M. Jacob, Northern Shan State Battalion, from Bhamo towars Sinlumkaba and neither were heard of again, presumed murdered, May 1942.  As Major, acting Lt. Colonel, (10th Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment) (AI 701) died, 6th June 1942.  Commemorated on the St. Agnes War Memorial, Cornwall, 1st  August  2015 ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); ADM 339/3/653; BACSA; British Army List; CWGC; Indian Army List  1921; Indian Army List  January 1942; London Gazette; Navy List  January 1919; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; “Report of Burma Military Police” by Major H. Chappell, WO 203/5693; WWI Army Service Record (ancestry.co.uk); www.roll-of-honour.com/Cornwall/StAgnes.html).

[53] Cooke's diary suggests that the 9th left Bhamo on 2nd May however other accounts indicate that Bhamo was evacuated by all troops present during 3rd May so I have gone with this date.

[54] Norman Royce Upton born, 5th March 1896.  Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, Eastern Mounted Brigade Transport and Supply Column, Army Service Corps, 27th August  1914.  Appointed temporary 2nd Lieutenant, 22nd September 1914 to 18th February 1915.  Temporary Lieutenant, 19th February 1915 to 22nd November 1915.  Served 1914-21, France & Belgium, June 1915 to June 1916.  As 2nd Lieutenant, appointed temporary Lieutenant, 9th Battalion, The Essex Regiment, 23rd November 1915 to 5th August  1916.  Appointed as 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Army, The Essex Regiment,, 23rd November 1915, with seniority from 4th November 1915.  As 2nd Lieutenant, The Essex Regiment, seconded in the role of Staff Captain, Milford Haven Garrison with the rank of temporary Captain, 6th August  1916 to 22nd October 1916.  Served as Staff Captain, Home Forces with the rank of temporary Captain, 23rd October 1916 to 18th October 1917.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st  December 1916.  Served 1914-21, France & Belgium, July 1917 to 11th November 1918.  Appointed as General Staff Officer, 3rd Grade and appointed temporary Captain whilst  so employed, 3rd July 1918.  General Staff Officer, 3rd Grade, France with rank of temporary Captain, 3rd July 1918 to 6th April 1919.  Relinquished his appointment as General Staff Officer, 3rd Grade and the temporary rank of Captain, 7th April 1919.  Served Russia, 14th May 1919 to October 1919.  Staff Captain, Archangel with rank of temporary Captain, 27th June 1919 to 5th October 1919.  As Lieutenant, restored to the establishment, 6th October 1919.  As Staff Captain, relinquished the temporary rank of Captain, 6th October 1919.  As Lieutenant, temporary Captain, awarded the M.B.E. in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the military operations in Archangel, North Russia, gazetted, 6th February 1920.  As 2nd Lieutenant, promoted to Lieutenant from 1st  December 1916, gazetted, 30th March 1921.  Appointed as Adjutant, The Essex Regiment, 7th July 1922 to 6th July 1925.  Promoted to Captain, 13th September 1926.  Served as Adjutant, Territorial Army, 24th February 1927 to 26th October 1931.  As Captain, 7th Battalion, The Essex Regiment, vacates the appointment of Adjutant, 27th October 1931.  As Captain, restored to the establishment, 27th October 1931.  Seconded whilst  a student at the Staff College, 21st  January 1932.  As Captain, restored to the establishment, 7th April 1934.  As Captain, seconded for service on the Staff, Regular Army, 12th November 1935.  Served as Brigade Major, Eastern Command, 12th November 1935 to 27th November 1937.  Promoted to Brevet Major, 1st  January 1937.  As Captain and Brevet Major, 12th Infantry Brigade, appointed General Staff Officer for Weapon Training (Class CC to 31st  July 1938), Western Command, 28th November 1937 to 15th May 1939.  Promoted to Major (substantive), 1st  April 1938.  Seconded, 1st  August  1938.  As Major, restored to the establishment, 12th September 1939.  As Major, served as General Staff Officer, 2nd Grade (G.S.O. (II)), Headquarters, Army in Burma, 1st  October 1939.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, served as General Staff Officer, 1st  Grade (G.S.O. (I)), Headquarters, Army in Burma, 3rd December 1940.  Acting Lt. Colonel, 3rd December 1940 to 2nd March 1941.  Temporary Lt. Colonel, 3rd March 1941.  Officer Commanding, Myitkyina, April 1942 to 7th May 1942.  Died, 29th June 1942.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel (5059), awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma during the period December 1941 to May 1942, gazetted, 28th October 1942  (“Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong[sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44; British Army List; Burma Army List  1940; Burma Defence Services List  July 1941; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; London Gazette).

[55] Cooke diary

[56] William Wallace born, 16th November 1908.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 371), 9th February 1942.  Served with the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 16th February 1942 to June 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  As 2nd Lieutenant, relinquished commission and granted the honorary rank of Major, 1st December 1946  (Burma Army List  1943; London Gazette; War diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981; “Personal Diary of events in Burma prior to and during the campaign with an account of the retreat through the Hukong [sic] Valley”, Edward Hewitt Cooke, National Army Museum Acquisition No.1972-02-44).

[57] Grant-Tamayama;Cooke diary

[58] “Report on the B.F.F. 1939-1942”by Brig J.F. Bowerman, WO 203/5692; Grant-Tamayama

[59] Cooke diary

[60] WO 172/975

 08 November 2017