The Burma Campaign

F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force

Formation and Early Days at Mergui

The mobile detachment known as F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force was originally formed towards the end of 1940 by its first commander, Major S.W.A. Love.[1] [2]  One of the companies, a Gurkha column, came from F.F.1.[3]  It seems that for a time F.F.2 may have been composed of one mounted infantry column and two infantry columns.[4]  During January 1941, the Chin Hills Battalion sent a detachment of one Chin Platoon (Zahow tribesmen) and one Gurkha Platoon to Pyawbwe for inclusion within F.F.2.[5]

From its formation up until the outbreak of war with Japan, the detachment was based in the Mergui-Tavoy area.  The main role was to defend Mergui Island, especially the aerodrome and the harbour, a challenging task for such a small force.  In addition there was almost constant patrolling down to Victoria Point and of the many tracks and waterways leading to the Siamese border.[6] 

On 15th February 1941, the mounted infantry (two troops) were at Tavoy.  Two infantry columns were at Mergui with a third expected by 25th February.  The location of the columns was unchanged in April 1941.[7]

The detachment soon came to be formed of a headquarters and three infantry columns.  There were about 50 men in the Headquarters Section, including wireless and medical staff.  Each column had a British Officer as Column Commander, a small headquarters of around 20 men and three platoons, each of 33 men.  The three platoons in each column were commanded by a subedar, a jemadar and a platoon havildar respectively.  All the infantry were Gurkhas and Headquarters was made up of Gurkhas, Sikhs, Punjabi Mussalmen, Karens, Burmese, Kachins and Chins.

- Headquarters :  Major S.W.A. Love (C.O.); Captain T.M. McCann (Adjutant);[8] Captain Maung Myint (Medical Officer)[9]
- No. 1 Column :  Captain J.O.V. Edwards[10]
- No. 2 Column :  Captain E.W. Booker[11]
- No. 3 Column :  Captain E.J. Stephenson.[12] [13]

Over time F.F.2 acquired an unusual mix of transport including five boats or schooners, 150 mules and 19 elephants.[14]  The five boats were named "Gurkha", "Karen", "Kachin", "Chin" and "Burman".  They had some bullet-proof plating mounted on the upper decks and were armed with a dual purpose light machine gun.  A motor car headlamp was fitted at the bow for use at night and wireless aerials were fitted to accommodate wireless sets whenever on board.[15]  Additional followers included Madrassi boatmen, 60 Chinese mule drivers, around 60 elephant drivers and assistants and a number of Karen pony drivers.  The three columns were allotted transport most appropriate to their assigned role.  All told F.F.2 amounted to around 600 men.[16]

The Border with Siam and Preparations for Scheme “Yacht”

In June 1941, Captain Stephenson, who had some experience of the country in Tenasserim having worked there as a rubber planter, was ordered by Love to find a suitable campsite up-country near the village of Thawbawleik.  The village lies to the South-East of Mergui, reached after a journey of around 185 miles up the Tenasserim River followed by a further 40 miles by track.  Stephenson found a suitable site to the South West of the village on the site of an abandoned Government cincona plantation.[17]  Construction of the camp began, aided by pioneers sent down by Burma Frontier Force Headquarters and locally hired contractors.  Stephenson was sent away on a month long demolition course in Malaya and when he returned most of F.F.2 had moved in to the camp.  In the meantime Captains Edwards and Booker had been reconnoitering the district.  Booker had used the "fleet" to patrol the rivers and Edwards had covered a large area on foot, on one occasion going as far as the Siamese border.  When Stephenson returned he began giving demolition classes of his own and towards the end of the rainy season in October the detachment was ready for operations.[18]

In October 1941, F.F.2 were relieved of the task of defending Mergui by the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles.  The detachment then focussed on its normal role of "watch and ward" of the frontier with Thailand.[19]  At a unit conference, Major Love gave his command their various roles.  Edwards and No. 1 Column were to be centred on Lenya and reconnoitre the routes from Siam into Burma, ready to stop any infiltration in the event of hostilities.  Booker and the "fleet" were to patrol the coast and rivers between just South of Bokpyin and up to Mergui.  Stephenson and No. 3 Column were ordered to patrol the Naw-Tawgo area, guard the Maw Daung Pass and any possible infiltration routes.[20]

Love also issued details for an operation to hinder Japanese moves from Bangkok by destroying two railway bridges on the Bangkok-Malaya Railway.  The bridges were located south of Prachuab Khirikhan near the villages of Hnohng Hin and Mwa Dhon.  Moving to and across the Maw Daung Pass, No.s 1 and 3 Columns were to make to the road junction some ten miles from the pass.  From the junction No.1 Column was to head for Hnohng Hin and demolish the bridge there while No.3 Column did the same for the bridge at Hwa Dhon.  Each column was to act independently and not attempt to give any assistance to the other column should it become involved with the enemy.  No.2 Column would remain at the Maw Daung Pass in a defensive position covering the withdrawal of the other two columns.  Major Love would remain with Booker and No.2 Column at the pass, ready to direct Booker should other action become necessary.  The whole operation went under the name of Scheme "Yacht".  There were several difficulties to overcome in the execution of Scheme "Yacht".  No reconnaissance across the Siamese border was permitted ahead of the operation.  The columns needed adequate warning to assemble at a jungle camp to be prepared by Captain Stephenson.  No animal transport was to be taken forward of the border and the operation had to be carried out at night.  The only maps available were quarter-inch maps made in 1909 and which had not been updated since.[21]

Given his orders to establish a forward base or jungle camp, Captain Stephenson decided to cut a new track from Thawbawleik to join up with the main route to Maw Daung pass at Naungbwa, a task that took ten days.  He then found a site for the jungle camp at roughly a day's march East from Naungbwa, at Mai-Nam-Wat-Y-So, the site of a long abandoned village.  Having built the camp, Stephenson began to reconnoitre the surrounding area up to the border.  On the first patrol, upon reaching the Maw Daung Pass after a morning's march, signs of Siamese Frontier Police patrols were found.  A hilltop was found that gave an unrestricted view to Prachuab Khirikhan (and was thus labelled "viewpoint hill") where activity at the aerodrome was observed, together with trains pulling into the station there.  These patrols continued until early December 1941, in the face of food shortages and disease.[22]  Throughout this period, until the end of November 1941, F.F.2 Headquarters remained in Mergui with the columns undertaking their patrol tasks as ordered by Major Love.[23]

The Outbreak of War and Implementation of Scheme “Yacht”

In December No.s 1 and 3 Columns and the F.F.2 Headquarters with Major Love moved to the jungle camp and were concentrated there by 8th December, the day Britain declared war against Japan.  That same day F.F.2 sent a report to the Headquarters of the 2nd Burma Brigade that an unidentified aircraft had seen flying high over Maw Daung Pass.[24]

Japanese Attacks & Scheme "Yacht" - December 1941 (Indian Official History)

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The next day, orders were received to send a column to investigate the Japanese presence at Prachuab Khirikhan.  On no account was the column to engage the enemy.  Captain Edwards won the draw to take on the mission and set off later that day.  Captain Booker moved his column to the Maw Daung Pass and Stephenson remained with Major Love at the jungle camp.  On the following day, probably 10th December, the order to implement Scheme "Yacht" was received.  Love and Stephenson set off for the Maw Daung Pass and reaching there and being unable to contact Edwards by wireless, Love decided to send both Stephenson’s' No. 3 and Booker's No.2 Columns to carry out the attacks on the railway bridges.  Booker had been out at the viewpoint hill and got lost on his return to the Pass so No.2 Column was placed under the command of its Subedar.  Stephenson would lead both columns until the road junction was reached where they needed to split and proceed to their separate objectives.  That evening the two columns set off.[25]

During the night the wireless sets of both No. 2 and No.3 Columns stopped working and early the following morning, 12th December, a ration party from No. 1 Column was encountered.  They told Stephenson that all was well and that Edwards was attempting to approach Prachuab Khirikhan.  An hour later a runner arrived from the Pass with a message from Major Love that he had contacted Edwards.  Stephenson was to meet Edwards at the agreed track junction from where the original plan was to be launched with Edwards making for Hnohng Hin and Stephenson for Hwa Dhon.[26]

Later as Stephenson's men were resting, waiting for nightfall, the sound of heavy firing was heard to the North-East, from the direction of Edwards' Column.  Deciding that Edwards was in trouble and that there was no point in sending No.2 Column under the Subedar to Hnonhg Hin, Stephenson set off with both columns for the Hwa Dhon objective.  Shortly afterwards two of Edwards' men reached Stephenson to report that Edwards had been attacked by a large number of Japanese and that there had been many casualties.  Later other stragglers from Edwards' column were seen in the distance but Stephenson pressed on.  Despite searching all night it was only the following morning that the railway was found.  The target, the bridge, however could not be found and when it seemed that enemy foot and aerial patrols were active in the area, Stephenson withdrew West back into the jungle, intending to lie up for the day.  At the first rest point they were spotted by a Japanese patrol and were forced to move on in a hurry.  Another spot was found some miles away and the men rested until the evening.  They set off for the bridge again that night but hunger, sickness and lack of sleep led Stephenson to realise that the attempt was beyond the capability of his men.  It was called off and they turned westwards back to base at the jungle camp. Marching all day and most of the next, No's 2 and 3 Columns finally reached the jungle camp on the evening of 15th December.  Booker had returned from his misadventure two days after Stephenson had set off.  Edwards and many of his men were also at the camp.  Edwards told of how his wireless section had been lost and messages and ciphers captured by the Japanese, including details of Stephenson's orders which probably explained why the Japanese were so active in Stephenson's area.  It was also revealed that H.Q. Burma Army had sent an order to cancel Scheme "Yacht" given the Japanese presence in the target area but the message could not be passed on to the columns because of wireless failures.  Stephenson later discovered that the area had changed significantly since his out of date map had been drawn, with much land having been reclaimed from the river.  This explained his difficulties in finding his target.  On 17th December F.F.2 withdrew from the camp, leaving No. 3 Column to cover the route.[27]

On 18th December the 2nd Burma Brigade, now the senior headquarters in Tenasserim, placed F.F.2 under the command of Commander Troops, Mergui, Lt. Colonel O'Callaghan of the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, from 16:00 hours the next day.[28]  The next day F.F.2 reported they had conducted a reconnaissance to Point 279 and had seen no enemy movement towards Maw Daung Pass.[29]

Bokpyin and the Death of Major Love

On 21st December Command Mergui reported a rumour of a Japanese landing at Bokpyin.  Aerial reconnaissance was unable to confirm this and a patrol from F.F.2 was sent to investigate and to take offensive action if necessary.[30]  On Boxing Day Captain Booker led a column, transported on the detachment's schooners, with the intention of attacking the Japanese at Bokpyin the next day.  Circling out to sea, they landed around five miles South of Bokpyin, meeting up with a Burma Royal Navy Reserve motor launch on the way.  Arriving in the early evening, and with the tide out, Booker landed two platoons, using canoes to cover the mile or so between the anchorage and the shore.  During this operation firing was heard from the North which turned out to be the destruction by other B.R.N.V.R motor launches of a Japanese attempt to sneak into Bokpyin harbour from the sea.  The next morning, Christmas Day, Booker led a reconnaissance before meeting up with Major Love that evening.  The plan formed was for Booker to lead one platoon in an assault on the main objective, the Bokpyin police station, whilst Subedar Surabjit Ali led the other platoon against the Court House.  Major Love would accompany the Bren gun section who were to provide covering fire from a nearby hill.  They would be without supporting mortar fire as the ammunition had not arrived in time.  The attack went in as planned the next morning but despite reaching the walls of the police station, Booker was forced to withdraw to the edge of the jungle.  Here Major Love came up with one of the Bren guns and as they started to advance on the police station once more they were fired upon by Japanese troops who had got around behind them.  Major Love was hit and died almost immediately so Booker retreated out through the left flank.  The attack on the Court House had also failed, the Subedar's platoon being unable to suppress the enemy with their only Bren gun.  Leading the men across nearly 200 yards of open ground in the face of an unsuppressed enemy was an impossible task and having got only half way the Subedar ordered a withdrawal.  Total casualties had been Major Love and two men killed and four badly wounded.  Booker was wounded in the shoulder.  He reported the bad news to Mergui and was told to stay put while a company from the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles was sent down as reinforcement for another attack.[31]

The Burma Rifles under Captain Lyne arrived the next day in motor boats convoyed by a motor launch commanded by Lieutenant Campbell.  Booker and Lyne made a new plan for the attack and later that day one of the Navy motor launches sailed close enough to Bokpyin harbour to shell the jetty, killing two Japanese officers.  The next morning, 28th December, the planned attack was called off when two Indians in a sampan sailed out to the British force to inform them that the Japanese had fled towards Victoria Point during the night.  Bokpyin was reoccupied, briefly, without a fight.[32]  Captain Edwards assumed command of F.F.2 and on 31st December it was reported that Major Love's body had been brought in and buried.[33]

Evacuation and Reorganisation

On 4th January 1942, the 2nd Burma Brigade noted that Major D. Mostert[34] was to take over command of F.F.2, which was to be reinforced by absorbing the remnants of the Victoria Point garrison that had reached Mergui.  The brigade location statement for 7th January placed F.F.2 at Thawbawleik, covering the Maw Daung-Lenya area.[35]  On 17th January, the Commander Mergui reported to his counterpart at Tavoy that the Japanese were on the move throughout the area, along the Lenya River and through the Maw Daung Pass.  F.F.2 was ordered to verify these movements.  The next day it was decided to evacuate Mergui and to concentrate all troops at Tavoy, using small boats and motor launches.  The evacuation was to be covered by F.F.2.  However, later on 19th January the ordered was modified.  No further troops were to be sent to Tavoy, now under dire threat, and instead the Mergui garrison was to be evacuated by sea to Rangoon.  There were serious concerns over the evacuation of F.F.2 to Mergui.  The men could be evacuated by boat however it was thought it would take the animal transport up to ten days to reach Mergui overland from Thawbawleik.  A patrol at Maw Daung encountered an enemy patrol and there were casualties on both sides, however the Japanese appeared not to be advancing.  Wireless contact with F.F.2 was very patchy.[36]  Despite there being no further reports it appears F.F. 2 was successfully withdrawn by sea from Mergui to Rangoon between 20th and 22nd January, when Mergui was itself evacuated.[37]  At some point the evacuation of a part of F.F.2 to Mergui was assisted by the T.O.[?] who took the steam launch "Kimwa” belonging to the District Commissioner up the Tenasserim River to reach the detachment.[38]

Upon reaching Rangoon, F.F.2 was sent to Pyawbwe to be reconstituted.  The majority of the men were in poor health and suffering from low morale.  The new commanding officer, Major Mostert, exchanged all the men with replacements from the Reserve Battalion, Burma Frontier Force at Pyawbwe.  The detachment was now organised into a headquarters section and two infantry columns.  Captain Edwards retained command of No. 1 Column and No.2 Column was commanded by the former Adjutant, Lieutenant McCann.[39]  The new Adjutant was 2nd Lt. F.G. Fortescue.[40] [41]

Divisional Reconnaissance Unit and the Sittang Disaster

By the beginning of February F.F.2's new role was confirmed as that of Divisional Reconnaissance Unit for the 17th Indian Infantry Division and it was given the codename "PEPA".  The detachment arrived in the Divisional area at Kyaikto around 9/10th February.  By this time the 17th Indian Infantry Division was attempting to hold the line of the Salween River but under constant Japanese pressure had been forced to pull back to the area of Kuzeik-Duyinzeik-Thaton by 11th February.  On 12th February the 17th Indian Infantry Division issued additional code names to F.F.2; No. 1 Column being given "BOBA" and No. 2 Column "KOBI".   The next day the Division issued Operation Instruction No. 11 which set out how F.F.2 was to be employed in the role of Divisional Reconnaissance Unit.  The detachment headquarters was to remain at Kyaikto, co-located with the Headquarters 17th Indian Infantry Division.  No. 1 Column under Captain Edwards was detailed to patrol the area between the road from Kyaikto to Thaton and the coast from Kyaikto to the track running from Theinzeik to Kadaik.  In addition to mounting patrols, Edwards' column was to support the coast watching detachments of the Burma Auxiliary Force and the Burma Military Police and to report immediately any Japanese landings.  Edwards also had under command three platoons of the Burma Military Police to assist with patrolling and general defence of the area.  Under the command of Lieutenant McCann, No. 2 Column was ordered to the North-East to watch the area behind the Salween River bounded by the villages of Kamamaung and Shwegun on the Salween and Wintapa to the West.  The column was to liaise with patrols from ‘A’ Company of the 8th Burma Rifles at Kamamaung and ‘C’ Company of the 4th Burma Rifles at Shwegun.[42]  Any enemy penetration of the area was to be reported immediately and the Japanese were to be delayed as much as possible until the arrival of reinforcements.  There was a heavy reliance on effective wireless communications between the F.F.2 columns and divisional headquarters.[43]

F.F.2 at the Bilin Line - 15/16th February 1941 (Indian Official History)

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Believing the Thaton position to be untenable and to have been outflanked already to the North, the 17th Indian Infantry Division withdrew behind the Bilin River between 14th and 15th February.  In support of the defenders of the new line under the 16th Indian Brigade, the 17th Indian Infantry Division ordered the two F.F.2 columns to continue to safeguard the extreme flanks.  Captain Edwards’ No.1 Column was to continue to operate on the coast as far as the Bilin River, in support of the coast watching platoons of the Burma Military Police scattered along the coast itself.  Lieutenant McCann’s No.2 Column was sent to the North, to Melan, with orders to watch all approaches to the West flank of the area.[44]

The Japanese began attacking the Bilin River line on 16th February.  On the morning of 18th February a report was received at the 17th Infantry Division Headquarters from Burma Military Police coast watchers that the Japanese were on the coast South-West of Bilin in the Kali-Tawgyi-Taungou area.  That evening, “B” Company, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to contact the B.M.P. and F.F.2 patrols that were holding isolated posts along the Bilin-Kyaikto road.  The initial target post was not found nor was contact with Captain Edwards made.  Edwards was ordered to find this company and to seek out the enemy on the coast and attack them.  The next day the Gurkha company ran into the vanguard of Japanese forces near Taungzun.  About an hour later, the Company second-in-command contacted the F.F.2 patrol at Pauktaw and was told the Japanese were advancing from the coast and were within half a mile of the post.  The 17th Indian Infantry Division Headquarters was becoming increasingly concerned by the worsening general situation and also what it thought were desertions from F.F.2.  With the Japanese growing stronger at the division's centre and continuing to infiltrate on the right flank between the road and the sea, it was decided to withdraw the 16th and 48th Indian Brigades, the latter having been in reserve,  on the night of 19th February.  This soon became a general withdrawal with the purpose of forming a new defensive line on the West bank of the Sittang River.[45]

The 17th Indian Infantry Division’s intention now was for F.F.2 to cover the vital North flank of the division and to provide protection from Japanese infiltration from the North.  During the afternoon of 20th February one column was covering the area between Kyaikto to Kinmun Sakan and the other from Kinmun Sakan to a point around five or six miles to the North of there.  Their orders were to hold this line until 14:30 hours on 22nd February and then to withdraw towards Mokpalin at the Sittang River, covering the area to the North of it.  At about 14:30 hours on 21st February the Southern column, Edwards’ No.2, was heavily engaged by the Japanese.   McCann’s No.1 Column, to the North, was also engaged.  Believing that Edwards had been surrounded, McCann’s column disengaged and headed by way of jungle tracks to the North of the road for the Sittang River, just North of Mokpalin.  In fact Edwards was able to extricate his column and head for the river by the same route and actually got ahead of McCann’s column.  Moving separately and out of contact with each other, both columns encountered Japanese troops near Mokpalin on 22nd February, where the brigades of the 17th Indian Infantry Division were battling the Japanese.  The columns moved off to the North to cross the river some seven miles North of Sittang village.  Major Mostert and his headquarters detachment, travelling with the Headquarters 17th Indian Infantry Division, lost their wireless set and some signallers when they were heavily bombed on the way to the Sittang River but succeeded in crossing the Sittang Bridge before it was blown up, a disaster that left nearly two thirds of the division on the wrong side of the river.  F.F.2 subsequently rejoined the remnants of the division at Pegu, both column commanders reporting to Mostert that their men were very demoralised and ready to retreat at the sound of the first shot.[46]  The 17th Indian Infantry Division were highly critical of what was considered to be the failure of F.F.2 to inform the division of the Japanese thrust around the North flank, which resulted in such “disastrous consequences”.[47]

Pegu and Prome

Despite whatever misgivings there may have been, F.F.2 continued to operate with the division as the latter reorganised and attempted to defend the Pegu area.  Other F.F. detachments were also operating in the area.  On 23rd February F.F.3, operating on the Toungoo front under the 1st Burma Infantry Division, was ordered to send No. 4 Column (Shans), under Captain McClintock, to join the 17th Indian Infantry Division.[48] [49]  Also operating in the Pegu area was the recently formed F.F.6, which for the time being was part of "Pegu Force", an ad hoc formation.[50]  F.F.2 stragglers continued to report for some days following the Sittang bridge disaster.  On 25th February a party of two N.C.O.s and seven men of F.F.2, returning from the area of Kunzeik, reported that the Japanese were expected at that place very shortly.[51]  That same day F.F.2 and F.F.3 were ordered to patrol forward to the North East from the villages of Bawnatgyi and Tandawgyi on the East bank of the Pegu River to the North of Pegu.[52]  There were no functioning wireless sets available so Major Mostert kept in contact with his columns by visiting them in his Jeep.[53]

Unable to hold the Pegu area and with the evacuation of Rangoon a distinct possibility, on 5th March the 17th Indian Infantry Division gave orders for withdrawal from Pegu line to the Hlegu area.  F.F.2 was to be withdrawn with the 48th Brigade by road to Hlegu where it was to report to Divisional Headquarters.[54]  However the stay in Hlegu was short-lived for Rangoon was evacuated on 7th March and the 17th Indian Infantry Division withdrew to the Tharrawaddy area where it hoped to rest and reform, remaining in the area between 10th and 14th March.  The F.F. detachments now under command were F.F.2, F.F.3 and F.F.6 (and possibly a column of F.F.7).  The detachments appear to have been formed, albeit loosely, into a Frontier Force Group (F.F. Group), presumably under a single commander, Major Mostert.  Certainly Mostert, the Commanding Officer of F.F.2, recalls that F.F.6 was added to his command at Tharrawaddy.  He records that F.F.6 consisted of three columns under 2nd Lieutenants Smith,[55] Rathbone[56] and McTurk.[57]  Given that the two columns of F.F.2 were considerably under strength, Mostert added Smith's column to that of Captain Edwards and McTurk's column to that of Lieutenant McCann.  Rathbone's column was retained at F.F.2 Headquarters with Major Mostert.[58]  The first reference to the "F.F. Group" is in the 17th Indian Infantry Division Operation Instruction No. 10, dated 14th March 1942.  The F.F. Group is copied in on this order.[59]  By now the men were in poor shape.  A Staff Captain serving with the Inspector General of the Burma Frontier Force (the Force headquarters), Captain K.L.G. Hales,[60] recalled that "...F.F.s Two (the second F.F.2) and F.F.6 were with 17th Div and had suffered heavy casualties in the fighting round Pegu, the men were weary with fighting and marching and it was essential to bring them back if possible".[61]

Some of the losses suffered by F.F.2 were as the result of men becoming “stragglers”.  Unarmed stragglers from the Chin (Zahow) Platoon of the Chin Hills Battalion began arriving at Kalewa during March.  They had different stories to tell of how they had become separated from F.F.2.  Some stated that after having become separated they had been advised to return to the Battalion by the civil authorities at Monywa.  Others told of how they had been captured by the Japanese and then later escaped.  While there were doubts as to exactly how much effort these men made to rejoin their detachment there was no evidence of outright desertion and although they were at first placed under arrest they were subsequently released.  No stragglers from the Chin Hills Battalion Gurkha Platoon were seen at Kalewa until the final evacuation.[62]

F.F. Group and 17th Indian Division 10/14th March 1942 (Indian Official History)

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Under the 17th Indian Infantry Division, the F.F. Group was disposed as follows: a column and a Mounted Infantry troop with a detachment of Burma Military Police at Henzada; the Headquarters and a column plus a troop of Mounted Infantry with the 17th Indian Infantry Division Headquarters at Tharrawaddy; a column attached to the Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment, the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershires at Thonze.  Mostert's account asserts that at this point Edwards and McTurk's columns were attached to the Gloucesters however the Gloucesters' history describes "a force of 90 of the Burma Frontier Force" being attached, the equivalent of only a single under strength column.[63]  This column was to come under command of the Gloucesters from midday 11th March.  The Gloucesters were to form a road block at the Maion road and river crossing at Thonze and to conduct continuous deep patrols towards Okhan.[64]

During the period 13th to 15th March the 17th Indian Infantry Division withdrew again with Headquarters now at Shwegon and the troops defending the Okpo area.  The F.F. column in Divisional Reserve, located with HQ 17th Indian Infantry Division and the Headquarters of F.F.2, was sent to picquet the withdrawal route.  The Gloucesters with the remaining F.F. column formed the rear guard and were to cover the withdrawal on the night of 13th/14th March.  At first light on 14th March they were to move to Thebyo leaving patrols in the Thonze area.  On arrival at Tehbyo they were to come under the command of the 48th Indian Brigade.  The F.F. Group column at Tharrawaddy was to be withdrawn to Okpo by armoured train at around 09:00 on 13th March.  On arrival at Okpo the column was to guard the area of the railway station.  The F.F. column in Headquarters reserve, together with the F.F. Group Headquarters, was to move by lorry to Thapanbinzeik and to operate patrols to the South East, East and North East to cover the concentration of the Division as it completed its night withdrawal.  The Burma Military Police held several posts throughout this area and the F.F. Column was to liaise with these.  Upon the completion of the concentration of the Division, this column was to withdraw into Divisional reserve at Shwegon.[65]

The second phase of this withdrawal again saw the Gloucesters and their F.F. Column act as rearguard, this time in conjunction with an armoured regiment and the 1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment.  The role was to cover the withdrawal of the 48th Indian Brigade and then to escort the 1st Indian Field Regiment and all of the anti-aircraft artillery to Letpadan.  On 18th March the F.F. column attached to the Gloucesters helped to pull off a successful ambush of Japanese troops in Letpadan.  First an F.F. detachment was sent into Letpadan and then made a great show of packing up and leaving.  Receiving reports from Burmese sympathisers that the British had gone, the Japanese then entered the town.  At this point the Gloucesters launched their surprise attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese before driving them from the town.[66]

On 23rd March Mostert was ordered by the 17th Indian Infantry Division to send his reserve platoon under Lieutenant McTurk to contact and destroy Japanese forces near Kyaukpyu Te.  This was in support of operations by the Musgrave and Karen Groups to block Japanese infiltration of the Pegu Yomas.  Two days later it was reported that the F.F. platoon had contacted the enemy in Tegyinon and that unfortunately they had retreated so rapidly that they left behind a Bren gun and other equipment.  An enemy force, thought to number around 500, occupied Kanauwg.[67]  On 25th March a force of 500 Japanese and 1,500 Thakins was reported to be moving on Kynagon from the South.  F.F.6 contacted this force and the enemy retreated, having become much disorganised.[68]  By 29th March one of the F.F. Group Columns was at Paungdale and the other at Sinmizwe.  Orders were to patrol to the North and South East and to the West from Sinmizwe.[69]

Throughout this period there were further withdrawals until the 17th Indian Infantry Division came to rest in positions centred on Prome.  The F.F. column (or columns) attached to the 1st Gloucesters returned to Mostert's command after the action at Shwedaung on 30th March.  By now casualties had reduced the size of the F.F. columns to a dangerous level so Mostert organised the men into two columns and a detachment Headquarters.  He was reinforced by the addition of three officers from a disbanded column of F.F.9, Captains McClintock and Polglase[70] and Lieutenant Copeman.[71]  This allowed for one British Officer per platoon, there being three platoons per column.[72]

Whilst at Prome, F.F.2 sent both columns on patrol to the East of Prome to watch a road running North-South parallel to the main road.  One night they were able to surprise a Japanese column making a night march up the road.  After inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy, F.F.2 withdrew and made a night time cross country march to join up with the 17th Indian Infantry Division the next day.[73]

The End in Burma

The Japanese came up to the Prome positions at the end of March and after a series of actions, on 2nd April, the 17th Indian Infantry Division withdrew once more, this time to an area behind the 1st Burma Infantry Division which was holding positions at Allanmyo.  British plans were now to defend the oil fields at Yenangyaung with the 1st Burma Infantry Division holding the Minhla-Taungdwingyi line.  The 17th Indian Infantry Division went to Taungdwingyi to the left of the British line.  Orders from Burcorps issued on 6th April allocated F.F. detachments to the divisions.  To the 17th Indian Infantry Division went "B" Squadron, Mounted Infantry (the mounted infantry component previously part of F.F.1) and F.F.6, the latter presumably a part of the merged F.F.2/F.F.6 and possibly under the command of Captain Edwards (Edwards was killed shortly afterwards, on 10th April, in an attack South of Prome).  Other F.F. detachments were allocated to the 1st Burma Infantry Division and to the 2nd Burma Brigade, now operating independently on the West bank of the Irrawaddy.  All other F.F. detachments, including F.F.2, were ordered to withdraw to Yenangyaung for reorganisation, re-equipping and rest.  It is uncertain if F.F.2 actually did so given the accounts that follow of continued patrolling under the command of the 17th Indian Infantry Division.[74] 

The F.F. Group attached to the 17th Indian Infantry Division was active in patrolling to the South of Taungdwingyi.  One column reported Japanese troops at Inwun on 11th April.  Two days later one column was patrolling from Bongon three to four miles to the East, West and South.  Another column patrolled from Ywamana to the area Thabyebin-Thesaw-Thegaw.[75]

The F.F. Group made up part of the defence force of Taungdwingyi under the 48th Indian Brigade on 20th April but left for Natmauk on the evening of 22nd April.  The next day the 17th Indian Infantry Division issued orders for a withdrawal with subsequent concentration in the Mahlaing area.  It seems by now that the F.F. Group, presumably including F.F.6, was at Meiktila and it too was ordered to Mahlaing.  This group may have been the amalgamated F.F.2 and F.F.6 columns described earlier and on 29th April is referred to as "Major Mostert' Group" by the 17th Indian Infantry Division.  The Group was ordered to move on 1st May to Allagappa with the task of watching the river crossing there, taking the 12th Mountain Battery under command on arrival.  For the purposes of this move the Group came under the command of the 16th Indian Brigade until arrival in the new area.  F.F.9 was also under the command of the division at this time but seemingly not part of Mostert's F.F. Group.  Two day's later and there is no reference to Mostert's F.F. Group but F.F.2 and F.F.9 are ordered to concentrate at Kaduma by first light on 4th May with the intention of being ferried to Pyingaing at dawn on the 5th May.[76]

F.F.2 and F.F.6 at Shwegyin 9/10th May 1942 (War Diary of the 48th Indian Brigade, WO 172/589)

Click image to open full size in new window

F.F.2 received orders as part of the 17th Indian Infantry Division's move to Yeu.  F.F.2 less one company (column) accompanied the Divisional Headquarters and Divisional Troops, moving on the night of 1st/2nd May.  Two platoons of F.F.2 and all of F.F.9 moved with elements of the 16th Indian Brigade to Sadaung and the remaining F.F.2 platoon went with other elements of the 16th Indian Brigade from Tizaung to Yeu.[77]

On 8th May the 48th Indian Brigade, acting as the rear guard to the 17th Indian Infantry Division, was ordered to Shwegyin on the Chindwin River.  From here, Burcorps was evacuating all troops, transport and guns by ferry to Kalewa.[78]  Somewhere between Yeu and Shwegyin, Captain McClintock was shot and killed by a sniper, his death is recorded as 8th May 1942.[79]  The Japanese landed unnoticed at Kywe to the South of Shwegyin, on 9th May.  They immediately began to attack and fighting ensued for the high ground above the jetty area that was known as the "Basin".  As the 48th Indian Brigade fought to secure the Basin and to keep the Japanese from the high ground above it, F.F.2 and F.F.6 were placed under the command of the brigade and ordered into the “Basin” with the objective of preventing any Japanese advance from the North, between the Chindwin and the high ground known as the "Coll".  As the afternoon of 10th May wore on a crisis developed when it became apparent that the river steamers could no longer use the jetty and it was decided to withdraw the 48th Indian Brigade through Kongyi to Kalewa along a very difficult track.  The plan was to withdraw the brigade during the evening under the cover of a barrage involving every available piece of ammunition being fired off before the guns were then spiked, it being impossible to transport them up the track northwards.  As a precursor to this, F.F.2 and F.F.6 moved out of the way of the withdrawal just before dusk.  The brigade made good its escape and from Paunggyaung was ferried across the Chindwin to Kalewa.[80]

From Kalewa F.F.2 and F.F.6 went to Imphal and then to the railhead at Dimapur.  The columns would then have been disbanded, the officers and men entering the general pool of Burma Frontier Force and Burma Military Police.[81]

22 November 2017



[1] "Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697 (Burma Frontier Force, WO 203/5697)

[2] Stephen William Addington Love, born, 29th May 1901.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. into The Worcestershire Regiment, 14th July 1921.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 14th July 1923.  Seconded to the King's African Rifles, 30th March 1933 to 17th March 1936.  Served as temporary Captain, 10th August 1934 to 22nd February 1936.  Promoted to Captain, 23rd February 1936.  Appointed to the Indian Army as Lieutenant and promoted to Captain, attached to the 1st Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles, 18th March 1936, with seniority from 14th October 1923.  Promoted to Major, 1st August 1938.  Seconded and served with the Chin Hills and Northern Shan States Battalions, Burma Frontier Force, 20th October 1938 to late 1940.  Raised and appointed Commanding Officer of F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, late 1940.  Whilst leading F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, was killed at Bokpyin, 26th December 1941.  Died, 27th December 1941 ("Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697 (Burma Frontier Force, WO 203/5697); “Indian Armed Forces in World War II, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42”, Prasad, B, Orient Longmans (1954); British Army List; "History of the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles" Mackay J.N., Blackwood (1962); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Indian Army List).

[3] “F.F.1’s Part in the Burma Campaign” by Lt. Col. W.R.V. Russell M.C., WO 203/5699

[4] Burma Frontier Force, WO 106/3673

[5] "History of the Chin Hills Battalion", Mss Eur E250, British Library

[6] "Burma Frontier Force, Short History of Original F.F.2" by Captain E.W. Booker, WO 203/5701

[7] "Burma Frontier Force, Short History of Original F.F.2" by Captain E.W. Booker, WO 203/570; Burma Frontier Force, WO 106/3673

[8] Terence Martyn McCann born, Rangoon, 1st March 1906.  Worked for Macgregor & Co. Ltd., Phayre Street, Rangoon, 1940-41?.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 90), 7th March 1940.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1940.  As Lieutenant, Commanding Officer, No.1 Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force from May 1941 to June 1941.  Column Commander, No.2 Column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, June 1941 to May 1942.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 15th November 1941.  Temporary Captain from 10th July 1942.  Served with the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1944?.  Died, 24th April 1965 ("Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); “Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short History of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); Ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; Thacker's Directory 1941; War Diary of the Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040).

[9] Maung Myint alias Dutta James, born, 8th April 1915.  M.B.B.S. (Rangoon), ?.  Commissioned as Lieutenant into the ABRO (M), (ABRO 42), 1st November 1940.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1941.  Promoted to Captain, 1st November 1941.  Served with F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, 1942 ("Operations of Mobile Force F.F.2" by Capt. E.J. Stephenson, WO 203/5691; Burma Frontier Force, Short History of Original F.F.2" by Captain E.W. Booker, WO 203/5701; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; London Gazette).

[10] John Oswald Valentine Edwards born, 14th February 1912.  As  University Candidate, commissioned from the General List, Territorial Army - University Candidate, as 2nd Lt. (50496), East Surrey Regiment, 28th October 1933, with seniority from 28th January 1932.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 28th January 1935.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Force, transferred to the Special Employed List, and served as Assistant Commandant, Myitkyina Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 11th July 1938 to 1939.  Promoted to Captain, 28th January 1940.  Officer Commanding No.1 Column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, 1941.  Officer Commanding No.1 Column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, 1942 to 10th February 1942.  Column Commander, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, 10th February 1942 to 10th April 1942.  Column Commander, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, attached to the 1st Battalion, The Gloucester Regiment, whilst at Tharawaddy, 10th March 1942.  Identified as "detachment commander, F.F.6" in a newsreel, actually a Column Commander with the merged F.F.2/F.F.6 whose command included elements of F.F.6, late March/early April 1942.  Killed in an attack "just" South of Prome, 10th April 1942.  Died at Paungde, 10th April 1942 ("Cap of Honour, The Story of the Gloucestershire Regiment (28th/61st Foot), 1694-1975", D.S. Daniell, White Lion (1951 & 1975); "Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); British Army List; CWGC; IWM Collections; Indian Army List; "Burma Frontier Force, Short History of Original F.F.2" by Captain E.W. Booker, WO 203/5701).

[11] Eric Windsor Booker born, 22nd November 1914.  Date of first commission or for seniority in A.B.R.O., 17th May 1937.  Worked for the Bombay-Burmah Trading Corporation as "Forest Staff", pre-war.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 33), 10th November 1939.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 10th November 1939, with seniority from 17th August 1939.  As Lieutenant, served as Assistant Commandant with the Mytikyina Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 11th February 1940 to late 1940.  Column Commander, No. 2 Infantry Column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force from late 1940.  Temporary Captain from 14th March 1942.  As Captain, Assistant Commandant with the Bhamo Battalion, joined a detachment of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police at Katha in May 1942.  Trekked with that party to Homalin where reported to Lt. Colonel Learmond of the Mandalay Battalion, 13th May 1942.  As Captain, served with the 5th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1943.  After the war worked as a Forest Assistant in North Borneo (sailed from Southampton aboard S.S. "Corfu" for Singapore, 30th May 1957), post-war.  Died, 1980 ("Short History of Original F.F.2" by Capt. E.W. Booker, WO 203/5701; ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; Indian Army List July 1940; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory 1941; The private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond).

[12] Eric John Stephenson, born, 24th May 1911.  A rubber planter in the Tenasserim District before the war.  Date of first commission or for seniority in ABRO, 26th February 1936.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., Burma Auxiliary Force, 12th January 1937.  On the Supernumerary List, Burma Auxiliary Force, attached to the Rangoon Field Brigade, B.A.F., January 1938 to January 1940.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 26th May 1938.  Appointed to the ABRO (ABRO 29), late 1940?.  Column Commander, No. 3 Infantry Column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force from late 1940.  Temporary Captain from 14th March 1942.  Officer Commanding, 23rd Detachment, The Burma Regiment, July 1943.  Served with the 5th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, July 1943.  As Captain, served with the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1944 ("Operations of Mobile Force F.F.2" by Capt. E.J. Stephenson, WO 203/5691; Burma Army List January 1940; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Army List 1943; War Diary of the Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040).

[13] "Burma Frontier Force, Short History of Original F.F.2" by Captain E.W. Booker, WO 203/5701; "Operations of Mobile Force F.F.2" by Capt. E.J. Stephenson, WO 203/5691

[14] "Operations of Mobile Force F.F.2" by Capt. E.J. Stephenson, WO 203/5691

[15] WO 203/5701

[16] WO 203/5691

[17] Chincona, cinchona or cincona - a large shrub or small tree, indigenous to South America was prized for its bark from which quinine, an important anti-malarial treatment, was extracted (University of Cambridge).

[18] WO 203/5691

[19] WO 203/5701

[20] WO 203/5691

[21] WO 203/5691

[22] WO 203/5691

[23] “Mergui and the Japanese Invasion, December 1941-January 1942” by F. Yarnold, District Commissioner Mergui, WO 203/5691

[24] War Diary of the 2nd Burma Brigade, WO 172/548

[25] WO 203/5691

[26] WO 203/5691

[27] WO 203/5691

[28] Cornelius Howden Denis O’Callaghan, born 30th January 1897.  Mobilised Territorial Force until 7th July 1917, service 1 year, 126 days.  Commissioned into the Regular Army as Lieutenant, (13118) 4th December 1916.  Served in Egypt and Palestine, 1st January 1916 to 4th March 1917.  Appointed to the Indian Army as Lieutenant, 8th July 1917.  Served Iraq, 18th May 1918 to 11th November 1918.  Acting Captain from 2nd August 1918 to 26th February 1919, and from 19th March 1919 to 23rd November 1919.  Promoted Captain, 24th November 1919, served with the 2nd Punjab Regiment (attached 66th Punjabis, attached 82nd Punjabis (1921)) from 24th November 1919.  Served Iraq, 1919-20.  A.D.C. to Division Commander, Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force, 20th January 1920 to 7th October 1920.  Staff Captain, India, 6th October 1921 to 20th December 1921.  Served N.W. Frontier of India 1930, where serving with the 5th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment was Mentioned in Despatches, 6th May 1932.  Promoted to Major, 24th November 1933.  Served with the 5th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment until 4th May 1937 when seconded to the Burma Army as a company commander, the 2nd Burma Rifles.  Commanding Officer, 2nd Burma Rifles from 28th December 1939.  Promoted Lt.Colonel, 14th May 1940.  Commanded the 5th Burma Infantry Brigade in India, from formation in October 1942.  Awarded O.B.E., 28th October 1942, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma during the period December, 1941 to May, 1942.  Promoted to temporary Colonel, 12th April 1943 and temporary Brigadier, 12th April 1943 (British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; IOR/L/WS/1/1313 - Burma: reorganisation of the Burma Army; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004)).

[29] WO 172/548

[30] WO 172/548

[31] WO 203/5701

[32] WO 203/5701

[33] WO 172/548

[34] Derrick de la Grange Mostert, born Cape Town, South Africa, 26th July 1900.  Commissioned to the Unattached List as 2nd Lt., 29th January 1920.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., attached to the 20th Lancers, 5th February 1920.  Attached as Squadron Officer to the 15th Lancers, 1921.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 29th January 1921.  Promoted to Captain, 29th January 1927.  As Captain, seconded as Assistant Commandant to the Burma Military Police, 25th October 1932.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, 25th October 1932 to 1938.  Married Vivien Louise Howell Cooke, Rangoon, 1933.  Attached to the 13th Lancers from 31st August 1937.  Promoted to Major, 29th January 1938.  Transferred to the Special Unemployed List, 1st April 1939.  Attached to the 13th Lancers from 18th October 1939.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force from 27th December 1941.  Appointed Commanding Officer, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, succeeding Major Love (killed in action), around 15th January 1942 to May 1942.  As Major (temporary Lt. Colonel), Indian Armoured Corps, Mentioned in Despatches for service in Burma, gazetted, 28th October 1942.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 3rd July 1946.  As Lt. Colonel (IA 364), Special Unemployed List, retired, 3rd July 1947.  As Lt. Colonel (ex Indian Army retired), appointed Lt. Colonel (408604), 15th/19th Hussars, Regular Army Reserve of Officers, 1st January 1949.  As Lt. Colonel, 15th/19th Hussars, Regular Army Reserve of Officers, having reached the age limit of liability for recall, relinquished his commission, 26th July 1955 ("Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); "War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; FindMyPast; Indian Army List; Indian Army List 1921; Indian Army List July 1942; London Gazette; South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers (familysearch.org)).

[35] WO 172/548

[36] War Diary of the 17th Indian Division, WO 172/475

[37] “Indian Armed Forces in World War II, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42”, Prasad, B, Orient Longmans (1954)

[38] “Mergui and the Japanese Invasion, December 1941-January1942” by F. Yarnold, District Commissioner Mergui, WO 203/5691

[39] "Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700  (http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/WO_203_5700.htm)

[40] Frederick George Fortescue, born, 12th July 1906.  Emergency Commission to the General List as 2nd Lt. (217689), 26th October 1941.  Served as Adjutant to F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force from February 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Acting Captain from 11th March 1943.  Served as Staff Captain, Directorate of Ordnance Services, G.H.Q. India from 11th March 1943.  Temporary Captain from 11th June 1943 (British Army List; Burma Army List 1943; Personal Narrative – Lt. Col. F.C. Simpson, “Operations of F.F.2 – Sittang”, WO 203/5691).

[41] Personal Narrative – Lt. Col. F.C. Simpson, “Operations of F.F.2 – Sittang”, WO 203/5691

[42] War Diary of the 4th Burma Rifles, WO 172/977; War Diary of the 8th Burma Rifles, WO 172/990

[43] WO 172/475

[44] WO 172/475

[45] WO 172/475; Official History

[46] WO 203/5700

[47] Official History

[48] Nigel Stanley McClintock born, 31st December 1915.  Educated at St.Columba's College, Rathfarnham, dates unknown.  Worked with Messrs. T.D. Findlay & Sons, 1939-41?.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO, 7th March 1940.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1940.  Listed as "Lt. E. McClintock", Column Commander, No. 4 Column (Shans), F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, March-May 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 9th September 1941.  As Captain, Column Commander, No. 4 Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, was ordered with his column to come under direct command of 17th Indian Infantry Division, near Pegu, 23rd February 1942.  As Captain, described as "previously belonging to F.F.9", came under command of F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, at Prome, from mid-April 1942.  While serving with F.F.2, killed by a sniper, between Yeu and Shwegyin, 8th May 1942 ("Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); “Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short History of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); Anglo-Burmese Library - Vivian Rodrigues; Burma Army List; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Turtle Bunbury).

[49] “Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/WO_203_5702.htm)

[50] Official History

[51] WO 172/548

[52] WO 172/475

[53] WO 203/5700

[54] WO 172/475

[55] Andrew Clarke Smith born, Bombay, 3rd December 1909.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lt. to the General List (217686), 26th October 1941.  Served as Column Commander, F.F.6, Burma Frontier Force, January/February 1942 to March 1942.  Attached to Captain Edward's column, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force following the disbandment of F.F.6, March/April 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant from 10th May 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant from 1st October 1942.  Temporary Captain from 9th March 1943 (British Army List; Burma Army List; Burma Army List 1943; “Notes on [the] Burma Frontier Force” by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700; "Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697).

[56] Patrick Warre Rathbone born, 15th December 1917.  Burma Civil Service, Class 1, gazetted, 24th September 1940.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lt. to the General List (217678), 26th October 1941.  Served with F.F.6, Burma Frontier Force, January/February - March 1942.  Attached to Headquarters, F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force following the absorption of F.F.6, March 1942 to May 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Served as Adjutant, as Lieutenant and then (acting) Captain, the Western Chin Levies, 1st July 1943.  Served with the Western Chin Levies, July 1943.  As Burma Civil Service, Class 1, Secretary to the Financial Commissioner (Commerce), awarded M.B.E., gazetted, 1st January 1948.  Director of the Liverpool Queen Victoria District Nursing Association, 1st June 1991 to 14th May 1998.  Director of The Abbeyfield Liverpool Society, 30th October 1991 to 31st December 1993.  Died, 26th November 2003 ("Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); British Army List; Burma Army List 1943; companycheck.co.uk; Toxteth Park Cemetery Inscriptions; London Gazette;War Diary of the Western Chin Levies, 1943,  WO 172/2151; "Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697).

[57] John McTurk born, 26th July 1914.  Appointed Burma Civil Service (Class I), 13th September 1937.  Assistant Commissioner, Burma Civil Service (Class I), 1938 to 1940.  Sub-Divisional Officer, Minbu (BCS Class I), pre-war.  Deputy Commissioner, Shwebo, pre-war.  Emergency Commission to the General List as 2nd Lieutenant (57309), 26th October 1941.  Served with F.F.6, Burma Frontier Force, February 1942 to March 1942.  With effective disbandment of F.F.6, was attached to Lieutenant McCann's column of F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force, March 1942 to May 1942.  "On deputation", Burma Civil Service (Class I), 1st September 1942.  Civil Affairs Service (Burma) (CAS (B)), 1944-45.  Civil Affairs Officer with the 26th Indian Infantry Division, Arakan, 1944.  Senior Civil Affairs Officer, Akyab, 1945.  Travelled from Rangoon to Liverpool aboard the S.S. "Reina del Pacifico", arrived, 11th June 1946.  As Lieutenant, war substantive Major, appointed Major, South Staffordshire Regiment, Territorial Army Reserve of Officers, 1st January 1949.  As Major, appointed Major, South Staffordshire Regiment, Territorial Army Reserve of Officers, retired having reached the age limit, granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 26th July 1964.  Died, 1990  ("Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697; “Notes on [the] Burma Frontier Force” by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700; “The Temple Bells are Calling, Memories of Burma”, Mole R.; Ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943; Burma Civil List 1938-1940; Burma Civil List 1942; FindMyPast; London Gazette; War diary 4th Burma Regiment, WO 172/7803).

[58] WO 203/5700; Official History

[59] WO 172/475

[60] Keith Lawrence Goodwin Hales born, 18th March 1911.  Sailed from London to Bombay aboard S.S. "Strathmore", occupation listed as "bank clerk", 15th February 1936.  Worked as Chief Assistant for Thomas Cook & Son (Bankers) Ltd. 102 Phayre Street, Rangoon, 1941.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 80), 16th October 1941.  Staff Captain, Burma Frontier Force, 1942.  Temporary Captain from 14th March 1942.  Served with the 5th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1943.  Served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment as "D" Company Commander, 1944.  Second-in-Command, the 1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment from 6th June 1944.  Arrived at Liverpool from Rangoon aboard S.S. "Salween", occupation listed as "bank assistant", 22nd June 1948.  Arrived at Liverpool  from Bombay aboard S.S. "Caledonia", occupation listed as "banker", resident of Dacca, 14th May 1959.  Died, 1995 (“Notes on [the] Burma Frontier Force” by Captain Hales, WO 203/5698; ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; Thacker's Directory 1941; War Diary 1st Burma Regiment, WO 172/5036).

[61] “Notes on [the] Burma Frontier Force” by Captain Hales, WO 203/5698

[62] "History of the Chin Hills Battalion", Mss Eur E250, British Library

[63] WO 203/5700;"Cap of Honour, The Story of the Gloucestershire Regiment (28th/61st Foot), 1694-1975", D.S. Daniell, White Lion (1951 & 1975)

[64] WO 172/475

[65] WO 172/475

[66] Official History

[67] WO 172/475

[68] War Diary of the 1st Burma Corps, WO 172/403

[69] WO 172/475

[70] Edward Basil Julian (Julyan) Polglase born, Falmouth, 18th August 1905.  Educated St. Peter's College, Radley, March 1920 to February 1924.  Worked for Steel Brothers, general staff, 1926 to 1941?.  As a "merchant's assistant", travelled to Rangoon from Liverpool on the SS "Oxfordshire", 10th September 1926.  Served as Captain, The Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, Summer 1940 to 25th October 1941.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lt. to the General List (217659), 26th October 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, temporary Captain from 4th April 1942.  Served with F.F.9, Burma Frontier Force, April 1942.  As temporary Captain, attached to F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force following disbandment of F.F.9, April 1942.  After the war, returned to work for Steel Brothers, 1st September 1945.  As war substantive Lieutenant, relinquished his commission with the honorary rank of Captain, 7th March 1946.  Editor of the Steel Brothers house magazine, post-war.  Died, Hove, East Sussex, 13th November 1976 ("Calling to Mind, Being Some Account of the First Hundred Years (1870 to 1970) of Steel Brothers and Company Limited", Braund H.E., Pergamon (1975); "Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); Burma Army List; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; British Army Officers 1939-45; London Gazette; St. Peter's College, Radley – Register; Thacker's Directory; FindMyPast).

[71] George Harvey Copeman born, 20th January 1914.  Worked as a clerk for Burmah Oil Company, travelled to Rangoon on the SS "Prome", 14th May 1937.  Emergency Commission from Cadet to the General List as 2nd Lt. (189650), 28th April 1941.  Served with F.F.9, Burma Frontier Force until or just before, 10th April 1942.  Joined F.F.2, Burma Frontier Force at Prome on or just after, 10th April 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Temporary Captain, 9th April 1943.  Relinquished commission as war substantive Lieutenant and granted the honorary rank of Major, 27th May 1946.  Company Director whilst living in Dawlish, Devon, 28th June 1991 to 14th May 1998.  Died, 2002 ("Notes on B.F.F.", F.F.2, by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700 (Notes on B.F.F., F.F.2, WO 203/5700); British Army List; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; www.companiesintheuk.co.uk).

[72] WO 203/5700; “Cap of Honour, The Story of the Gloucestershire Regiment (28th/61st Foot), 1694-1975", D.S. Daniell, White Lion (1951 & 1975); Official History

[73] WO 203/5700

[74] Official History; WO 172/403; WO 203/5702

[75] War Diary of the 16th Indian Briagde, WO 172/570

[76] WO 172/475

[77] WO 172/475

[78] War Diary of the 48th Indian Brigade, WO 172/589

[79] WO 203/5700; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[80] WO 172/589

[81] WO 203/5700