The Burma Campaign

F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force

Formation and Organisation

F.F.3 was formed from the Loimwe Detachment of the Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force on 1st November 1940 and was established at Mong Hpyak [Mong Hpayak] on the Kengtung - Tachilek - Siam Road in the Southern Shan States.  Upon formation the detachment was organised into a Headquarters section, an Indian mounted infantry troop and two infantry columns all supported by animal transport consisting of Chinese mules and muleteers:[1]

-  H.Q. Section : Major J.H. Turner (C.O.)[2]
-  Indian Mounted Infantry Troop (Sikhs)
-  No. 1 Infantry Column (Shans) : Captain A.G. Sandeman[3]
-  No. 2 Infantry Column (Gurkhas) : 2nd Lieutenant H.G.E. Edgley[4]

On 15th November 1940 the Shan Column was recalled to Taunggyi, the headquarters of the Southern Shan States Battalion, B.F.F., and replaced by a Gurkha Column.  A second mounted infantry troop of Sikhs arrived at Loilem from Taunggyi.  Brigadier J.B. Scott, the then commander of the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade, visited Mong Hpyak and Tachilek in February 1941.[5]  He ordered the engineers to prepare a demolition scheme for the Tachilek - Kengtung road, building on a scheme prepared by Major Turner for the Loilem - Tachilek road back in September 1940.[6]

Between March and May 1941 F.F.3 was strengthened and reorganised and by the end of May consisted of a headquarters section, a mounted infantry column of three troops and four infantry columns, each of a small headquarters and three platoons supported by animal transport.  The detachment strength was 600 combatants of all ranks, 150 non-combatants, 120 ponies for the mounted infantry, 500 mules and two Chevrolet trucks.  The organisation was as follows:

-  Headquarters: Major J.H. Turner (C.O.); Captain H.G.E. Edgley (Adjutant and Quartermaster); Jemadar Lilamand Limbu (Quartermaster Jemadar)

- Demolition Squad: Jemadar Mandhoj Limbu and 7 Indian other ranks
- Wireless Detachment : Jemadar Saw Po Aung and 4 operators

-  Mounted Infantry Column : Captain A.G. Sandeman

- One Troop (Sikhs) : Jemadar Dalip Singh and 33 all ranks
- One Troop (Sikhs) : Jemadar Harnam Singh and 33 all ranks
- One Troop (Sikhs & Punjabi Mussalmen) (drawn from the Governor's Body Guard) : Jemadar Fazal Elahi and 33 all ranks
- Wireless Detachment

-  No. 1 Infantry Column (Gurkhas) : Lieutenant T.M. McCann;[7] Subedar Lalbahadur Thapa; Jemadar Mitrabahadur Limbu

- Three platoons (each 33 all ranks)
- Wireless Detachment

- No. 2 Infantry Column (Gurkhas) : 2nd Lieutenant P.L. Hope;[8] Subedar Kajiman Chhetri; Jemadar Debu Ram

- Three platoons (each 33 all ranks)
- Wireless Detachment

- No. 3 Infantry Column (Kumaonis) : Lieutenant A.K. Scott;[9] Subedar Kishanbir Chhetri; Jemadar Ambar Datt

- Three platoons (each 33 all ranks)
- Wireless Detachment

-  No. 4 Infantry Column (Shans) : Lieutenant N.S. McClintock;[10] Subedar Sao Htun Yin; Jemadar San Hai

- Three platoons (each 33 all ranks)
- Wireless Detachment.[11]

The Southern Shan States

In June F.F.3 was withdrawn to Loimwe following a medical recommendation given that the Mong Hpyak and Monglen areas were malarial.  However one column remained at Mong Hpyak and a detachment of Mounted Infantry were located forward at Monglen and Tachilek.  These were relieved every month.  Lieutenant McCann transferred to F.F.2 and was replaced by 2nd Lieutenant J.R. Balharry.[12]  Using local labour, extra huts were built at Loimwe to accommodate the additional strength of F.F.3.  The detachment was joined at Loimwe by the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles who arrived from Taunggyi under the command of Lt. Colonel B. Ruffell.[13]  The area remained the responsibility of the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade.[14]

The following month saw the issue of new weapons when the detachment's elderly Lewis guns were replaced by Bren guns and 3 inch mortars and Thompson sub-machine gun.  The distribution of these was: one Bren and one Tommy gun per platoon and mounted infantry troop; one 3-inch mortar per infantry column.  Training for these new weapons was provided by the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles.[15]

In October all Burma Frontier Force units in the Southern Shan States and Tenasserim were placed under the operational control of the Army and became subject to the Burma Army Act.  Army scales of rations and clothing were sanctioned for these units but for all other purposes they remained under the control of the Inspector General, Burma Frontier Force.  F.F.3 now came under the direct command of the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade, commanded by Brigadier G.A.L. Farwell.[16]  The brigade's headquarters were around 310 miles away at Taunggyi.  A second F.F.3 column was sent from Loimwe to Mong Hpyak to allow the column already there to move forward to Monglen to cover the tracks leading into Burma from French Indochina, in response to the Japanese extending their control over the whole of the country earlier in July.  Major Turner reconnoitred Loimwe-Tachilek road to identify defensive positions and work on these was started at milestones 85, 67, 64 and 49.  During November the dispositions of the 1st Burma Infantry Division were:

Headquarters 1st Burma Infantry Division and Headquarters 1st Burma Brigade:  Taunggyi

Under command of the 1st Burma Brigade:

- 5th Battalion, the Burma Rifles: Mong Hpan, approximately 220 miles from Taunggyi

- 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles: Loimwe, 310 miles from Taunggyi

- F.F.3: Loimwe, Mong Hpyak and Tachilek, approximately 400 miles from Taunggyi.

13th Indian Infantry Brigade with F.F.4 under command at Loilem.[17]

Japanese Attacks - December 1941 (Indian Official History)

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On 7th December 1941, F.F.3 was ordered to war stations and within two hours of the orders being received the columns were on the move.  The Mounted Infantry Column set off for Tachilek and arrived there the next morning, a march of 90 miles in around 24 hours.  The No.2 Infantry Column went to Namhok and the No.1 Infantry Column went to Monglen.  The No.3 Infantry Column was sent to Mong Yawing to watch the flank along the Mekong River and to cover the entry of Chinese troops from Yunnan.  The detachment headquarters and the No. 4 Infantry Column moved to Mong Hpyak and the Headquarters of the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade moved forward to Loimwe.  Early patrols reported the Japanese to be in strength across the Thai border at Mesai (Maesi), opposite Tachilek, with strong posts on the line of the Mesai River Eastwards to the Mekong River.  Britain declared war on Japan on 8th December.  Almost immediately several patrols from F.F.3 penetrated across the border into Thailand and the first casualties were reported on 10th December.[18]

By 20th December there was almost continuous patrolling being carried out by F.F.3 owing to the huge area to be covered.  Replacements for casualties were called for from the Reserve Battalion, B.F.F. at Pyawbwe but F.F.3 was informed that none were available nor were likely to be in the near future.  The patrols observed Thai troops being led by Japanese officers and N.C.O.s and on 20th December it was reported that the enemy had crossed the border and occupied Tachilek.  On the night of 22nd December F.F.3 attacked Tachilek and drove the enemy forward elements back across the border.  The unit's 3-inch mortars were used to bombard Mesai Police Station and storage sheds and several direct hits were seen.[19]

Patrolling continued and on New Year's Day 1942 the No.2 Column moved forward to Wan Hok and discovered that the enemy had built a bridge across the Mesai River at Wan Pakok.  Four days later No.s 2 and 3 Columns attacked Wan Pakok and reached the bridge.  However they were unable to force a crossing as the enemy were well hidden in tall tiger cross and supported by light machine guns and mortars.  Captured positions revealed the enemy to be experienced for the trenches had no parapets and were invisible from ten yards away.  Several positions consisted of underground tunnels with well hidden firing points provided for the defenders.  The F.F. columns suffered five casualties.  At the same time patrols from the Mounted Infantry column had forced back several enemy patrols in the Namnok - Tachilek area.  Elsewhere, thirty miles to the East up the Mekong River, the No. 1 Column clashed several times with enemy patrols.  It was for action in one of these clashes that Havildar Astaman Rai was awarded the Burma Gallantry Medal.[20] [21]

For the rest of January F.F.3 undertook extensive patrolling.  The Mounted Infantry Column suffered around 30 percent casualties in killed wounded and sickness due to malaria, and it was decided to relieve them with the No. 4 Column.  Controversially F.F.3 had been ordered by the 1st Burma Infantry Division commander, General Scott, to carry out a scorched earth policy.  This policy had not previously been agreed with the civil administration and the Burma Frontier Service Commissioner for Kengtung State, Captain V.G. Robert, was very forceful in stopping the policy being implemented. [22]   Perhaps with some irony, the Japanese themselves completed the destruction intended by the Burma Army when they subsequently bombed every major village between Loimwe and Kengtung.[23]

The Chinese operation to take over the defence of the area was by now in full swing and on 1st February the No. 3 Column was withdrawn to Mong Hpyaw as their patrol area to the East of the Mong Hpyak - Monglen road was now the responsibility of the Chinese.  More Chinese troops arrived at Mong Hpyak each day and lacking transport and medical supplies of their own made a serious dent in the supplies held by F.F.3.  On 2nd February the No. 4 Column set off to relieve the Mounted Infantry Column at Monghai.  However the next day these orders were withdrawn by the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade as Chinese forces were to take over the whole area.  Transfer of responsibility to the Chinese was completed by F.F.3 on 9th February and all columns were withdrawn to Loimwe.  From here the infantry columns were taken by lorries to Taunggyi on 12th February.  The Mounted Infantry and the animal transport remained at Loimwe with orders to follow by march route.  A demolition section from the 56th Field Company, Sappers and Miners, led by Lieutenant Gimmingham, R.E., was left in Mong Hpyak to support the Chinese.[24] [25]

The Toungoo Front

On 15th February orders were received sending F.F.3 to the Toungoo front by road and rail.  On arrival at Toungoo Major Turner was made Officer Commanding Toungoo Station as well as being ordered to take on the anti-parachute defence for the area from the satellite aerodrome ten miles North of Toungoo down to Tantabin, nine miles South of the town.  Given the Mounted Infantry and animal transport had yet to catch up this was a near impossible task for F.F.3. A unit known as "1 A.R.T.Y." arrived from Rangoon, under a Lt. Colonel Kay and was placed under the command of Major Turner.  This unit, despite having no transport and only 200 rifles, was detailed as Aerodrome Defence Troops, Toungoo.[26]

On 19th February a column was ordered down from Toungoo to Kyauktaga to come under the command of the 2nd Burma Brigade.  The column's role was to maintain contact between the left flank of the 17th Indian Infantry Division and the 2nd Burma Brigade.  The column sent was presumably Captain McClintock's No. 4 Column of Shans for on 23rd February the column was sent further South to join the 17th Indian Infantry Division in the Pegu area.  They were never to rejoin F.F.3.[27]

The story of McClintock’s column is best told here.  On joining the 17th Indian Infantry Division McClintock's column formed part division's "F.F. Group", under the commander of the F.F.2 commander, Major Mostert.[28]  The column was simply referred to as "F.F.3" by the 17th Indian Division.  On 25th February 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.[29]  There were no functioning wireless sets available so Major Mostert kept in contact with his columns by visiting them in his Jeep.  Unable to hold the Pegu area and with the evacuation of Rangoon a distinct possibility, on 5th March the 17th Infantry Division gave orders for withdrawal from Pegu line to the Hlegu area.  The F.F.3 column was part of the rear guard formed by the 7th Armoured Brigade.  The column was ordered to withdraw immediately into Pegu and then on to Hlegu where it would revert to the direct command of the division on arrival.  By the 10th March the F.F. detachments under command of the 17th Indian Infantry Division 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.[30]  It seems that McClintock's column may have subsequently withered away from casualties and desertions.  McClintock himself was taken into F.F.2 in the Prome area in early April.  He was killed by a sniper on the march from Yeu to Shwegyin on 8th May 1942.[31]

At Toungoo, the station and town bazaar were bombed by the Japanese on 20th February and despite F.F.3 needing to deal with unexploded bombs the damage was minor.  For the next five days around 3,000 stragglers, as referred to by Major Turner, passed through Toungoo to the North.  Turner organised some 250 or so of these into two companies.[32]  The next day all of the unit's lorries were ordered to Rangoon to help evacuate elements of the Kokine Battalion, Burma Frontier Force.[33]

1st Burma Division at Pyuntaza (War Diary WO 172/447)

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Toungoo was bombed again on 24th February, the main target appearing to be the electricity generating power house.  The bazaar was set on fire and the hospital had to be evacuated.  That same day F.F.3 was ordered to hand over Toungoo to the Commanding Officer of the 27th Indian Mountain Artillery Regiment, Lt. Colonel W.G. Constable, and to support the 1st Burma Infantry Division carrier platoon in conducting reconnaissance patrols across the Sittang River on the division's left flank.[34]  The plan was to escort the carriers as far South as either of the Ananbaw or Okpya ferries and to cross over to the left bank of the river.  If the ferries proved unusable by the carriers then the Malerkotla Sappers at Pyu were to be summoned to build rafts capable of taking the carriers.  Once across the combined force of carriers and F.F.3 were to patrol as far as Minlan Thazeik in three bounds, via Kyaukkyi and Bawgata.  There was enough motor transport to take one column and the others set off on foot.  Having collected the officer commanding the Malerkotla Sapper party they arrived at Ananbaw at 08:00 the next morning.  The ferry was found to be unusable and the Sappers reported that it would take two days to repair or to build a raft as there were no suitable materials available locally.  The remainder of F.F.3 was brought on by the lorries performing a shuttle operation and all had arrived by the evening.  The next day orders were received form the division to leave the carriers on the West bank of the Sittang and for F.F.3 to get on to Kyaukkyi.  On the way a party of ten stragglers from the 1st Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles were encountered, having escaped Japanese capture at Mokpalin following the premature demolition of the Sittang Bridge.  At first the Gurkhas refused to identify themselves, believing in the dark that F.F.3 were Japanese troops.  Minlan Thazeik was reached the next night and although there were no signs of the enemy the local Karens complained of the activities of Burman dacoits.  Turner was informed by some local Karens that on the way down F.F.3 had unknowingly passed the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles who were headed North over the hills rather than risking the Sittang River valley.  Here Turner was joined by Lieutenant R.W. Reid from Headquarters, 1st Burma Division.  Reid had worked for the Macgregors teak firm and knew the area.[35] [36]

The 1st Burma Infantry Division Operation Order No. 6, dated 2nd March, placed F.F.3 in the area of Kyaukkyi and gave instructions that no unit other than F.F.3 was to be employed East of the Sittang River.  Around about 8th March F.F.3 encountered a rifleman of the 7th Battalion, Burma Rifles who had been captured by the Japanese and forced to work for them.  He had then been sent out to gather information for his captors and on running into F.F.3 asked to be returned to his battalion.[37] [38]

F.F.3 on the Toungoo Front (Indian Official History)

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On 9th March Turner was called to a conference at the 2nd Burma Infantry Brigade Headquarters at Nyaunglebin.  The 1st Burma Infantry Division planned to attack Southwards with the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade attacking down the main road and the 2nd Burma Infantry Brigade attacking Shwegyin.  F.F.3 was ordered to reconnoitre the route from Yondaing to Waing and to provide guides to lead the Brigade from Waing to the Shwegyin - Minlan Thazeik road.  The plan called for the 7th Battalion, Burma Rifles to capture a bridgehead across the Sittang at Waing (Inwaing) to allow the Brigade to cross and attack Shwegyin.  These orders were carried out and on the night of10th/11th March F.F.3 met the 5th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment on the road about five miles North of Shwegyin.  Orders were now issued by the 2nd Burma Infantry Brigade for the attack on Shwegyin which was to be conducted by the 5th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment less one company supported by F.F.3.  Shwegyin was to be bombed for 30 minutes by the Royal Air Force from 07:00 and the attack was to go in immediately following the bombing.  Despite no planes turning the up the attack went in and was a complete success and by 13:00 on 11th March the town had been cleared.  There were few casualties and the enemy, mainly Burmans and a few Japanese, fought to the end, individuals having to be killed in hiding places under houses, in culverts and up trees.  Two F.F.3 columns were sent out on patrol to Saze and Shanywa, followed later in the day by a third column patrolling up the Shwegyin Chaung to the junction with the Mezaung Chaung with orders to return via Yondaing.[39]

Elsewhere however things had not gone so well and the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade began to fall back as part of a general withdrawal by the 1st Burma Division.  The 5th Battalion, 1st Punjab Regiment were ordered to withdraw from Shwegyin up the Sittang River.  F.F.3 was ordered back to Ananbaw via Kyaukkyi.  The Punjabis left immediately however F.F.3 was delayed for 24 hours waiting for the columns out on patrol to come in.  Ananbaw was reached four days later, on 15th March.[40]  F.F.3 now came under the command of the 1st Burma Brigade.[41]

Turner was now ordered to relieve the 5th Battalion, Burma Rifles in the Kyauktaga area.  F.F.3 was in position by 16:00 that day with a road block near the Kyauksayit ferry.  That evening it was discovered that the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade was moving back and F.F.3 was ordered to withdraw up the line of the Sittang River, leaving Ananbaw once the Malerkotla sappers had destroyed the ferry there.  This was done in the early hours of the following morning and F.F.3 then set off.  Tantabin, nine miles South of Toungoo, was reached after three days of forced marches.  On arrival they were sent to bivouac on the aerodrome seven miles North of Toungoo where it was hoped they would have four days rest.   On reaching the aerodrome that evening, 19th March, they met the Mounted Infantry Column under Captain Sandeman who had arrived from Mawchi the previous day and were now operating independently from F.F.3.  At the aerodrome it was found that the Headquarters of both the 1st Burma Infantry Division and the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade were preparing for the relocation to the Irrawaddy front.  Since the withdrawal of the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade from Kyauktaga, F.F.3 had been under the direct command of the 1st Burma Infantry Division as divisional troops.[42]

Also present at the aerodrome was the Karen Company of the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles under Captain A.L.B. Thompson.[43]  This company had been ordered to Mawchi to support the Karen Levies under Captain N.E. Boyt.[44]  To carry the Company’s rations and equipment, Thompson arranged to take over 25 of F.F.3’s bullock carts.  The carts were to be handed over on the morning of 24th March.[45]

 The Chinese Army was now in full charge of the defence Toungoo and they had prepared the road and rail bridges South of Toungoo for demolition.  The Chinese headquarters were at Kyungon.  Just one mile North of Kyungon was a satellite landing ground guarded by a company of the Kokine Battalion, Burma Frontier Force under Captain D.K. Milligan.[46] [47]  By 20th March the 23rd Indian Mountain Battery under Major Witherow had withdrawn into a position near the main road about a mile South of Kyungon.[48] [49]  On the morning of 24th March the Japanese got by the Chinese defences and placed a road block between Kyungon and the satellite landing ground.  F.F.3 took the only available cover in the area along the line of the road and the railway embankments.  Captain Thompson went across to the F.F.3 position which was under mortar fire and found Frontier Force unit preparing to move Northwards.  Discovering that all but three of the promised bullock carts had been sent away, Thompson took the remainder back to his own position and managed to get away to Mawchi that afternoon.[50]  Meanwhile, as F.F.3 attempted to attack through the block to join up with Captain Milligan, it ran into the 23rd Mountain Battery which was trying to find a way around the Japanese.  The Frontier Force men provided an escort for the battery as both units moved around to the East of the road block before rejoining the main road again near the landing ground.  The company of the Kokine Battalion had withdrawn two miles North of the landing ground and the three units now had a brisk battle with the Japanese.  Following this F.F.3 held positions astride the main road covering the further withdrawal of the 23rd Mountain battery to Myohla. 

F.F.3 were ordered to Myohla during the night.  Arriving here Turner heard the sad news of the death of Captain Sandeman of the Mounted Infantry Column.  The Mounted Infantry column under Sandeman had been left behind at Mawchi when the main body of F.F.3 moved to Toungoo in February.  Sandeman caught up with F.F.3 on 19th March at the aerodrome near Toungoo, having arrived from Mawchi the previous day.  By this time the Mounted Infantry were detached from Turner's command and were operating independently of F.F.3.  Later on 19th March, Sandeman's column encountered what they thought was a force of Chinese troops.  Advancing to what they thought were friendly troops only too late was it realised that they were in fact Japanese.  In the ensuing confusion, Sandeman and many of his men were killed.  There has been something of a myth built around these events, describing the Sandeman's action as the "last cavalry charge" of the British Army.  Whilst Sandeman was undoubtedly a gallant officer it is unlikely that he met his end in a "cavalry charge".  His men were mounted infantry who used their ponies as transport and who were trained to dismount and fight on foot when the enemy were encountered.[51]  The survivors of the F.F.3 Mounted Infantry Column were later amalgamated with those from F.F.1 at Yenangyaung in early April.  They formed a new, independent Mounted Infantry Column commanded by Captain G.B. Thunder.[52]  The new column was reported as being retained by the 1st Burma Division. [53]  However it also seems that this new Mounted Infantry force may have been split into two squadrons for the Burcorps Operation Instruction of 3rd April gave details of the regrouping of the F.F. columns, with “A” Squadron, M.I. (F.F.1), attached to “Striking Force” (the 1st Burma Division, the 48th Indian Infantry Infantry Brigade and the 7th Armoured Division) and “B” Squadron, M.I. (F.F.3), 17th Indian Division.[54]

Reorganisation and the Action at the Pin Chaung

F.F.3 entrained at Myohla with the mountain battery and the next day, 24th March, pulled out for Pyinmana.  After much confusion the train eventually arrived at Pyinmana that evening and after further confusion and changes in orders set off for Meiktila which was reached the following afternoon.  The next day F.F.3 set off for Yenangyaung, home to the relocated depot of the Burma Frontier Force, arriving at the end of March/early April.[55]  The higher command had decided to reorganise the F.F.s to break up the “big” F.F.s and make them into smaller mobile units of two companies each and to create a separate force of Mounted Infantry by amalgamating the surviving mounted elements.   Orders to this effect had been issued on 3rd April.[56]  It was decided to carry out the reorganisation at Yenangyaung which had recently become the Advanced Headquarters of the Inspector General of the Burma Frontier Force, having been relocated there from Pyawbwe in February, the Rear Headquarters moving to Myitkyina.  At Yenangyaung the Inspector General, Brigadier Roughton, combined these duties with that of the Commander, Central Area, responsible for maintaining and protecting the lines of communication.[57] [58]  By April Yenangyaung was also home to a draft of B.F.F. reinforcements.  F.F.1., F.F.3., and F.F.4. were concentrated in the scrub along the North of Pin Chaung and reorganisation and re-equipping began around 4th or 5th April 1942.  Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce was appointed Commander Corps Burma Frontier Force.[59] [60]  Major W.R.V. Russell was appointed Commander Frontier Force (C.F.F.) to the 1st Burma Division, a role similar to that which Major Mostert had been performing and would continue to do so for the 17th Indian Division.[61] [62]

As far as F.F.3 was concerned the reorganisation was very disappointing.  The Mounted Infantry and No.4 (Shan) Columns had been detached earlier in the campaign.  Now the No. 3 (Kumaoni) Column was given up, transferred to the Reserve Battalion, B.F.F. and subsequently marched out to Indian under the command of its senior Governor's Commissioned Officer having been assigned to F.F.9 at Mount Popa.[63]  The Adjutant and Quartermaster, Captain Edgley was appointed the commander of F.F.5.  Lieutenant Balharry went to the Reserve Battalion, B.F.F. and Lieutenant Hope was appointed Adjutant and Quartermaster to F.F.4.  The 3-inch mortars were handed over to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Rajput Regiment who Turner believed lost them shortly afterwards.  In their place was a new F.F.3 consisting of two Gurkha columns commanded by Captain A.K. Scott and 2nd Lieutenant Perkins respectively.[64] [65]

There were insufficient personnel and the resulting newly reorganised infantry columns were somewhat below the planned establishment.  All were re-equipped except for wireless equipment by the morning of 16th April. [66]  Sometime on or just before 16th April, the newly reformed F.F.3 together with the similarly reorganised F.F.1 and under strength F.F.4, moved back to the North of the Pin Chaung where they were camped prior to being sent out as an information screen.  By now the 1st Burma Infantry Division had withdrawn from the Magwe area to Yenangyaung, South of the Pin Chaung.[67]  It was then that a new threat to the 1st Burma Infantry Division emerged.

What follows is described by Lt. Colonel Pryce:

F.F. Detachments at the Pin Chaung 16/17th April 1942

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In the evening of 16th April when at _________ (I forget the name of the place but the road goes right to Kyaukpadaung and a left branch goes to Chauk [the village is Gwegyo]), I was ordered to detail two F.Fs. to proceed to the two tracks between the two routes MAGWE – YENANGYAUNG, TAUNGDWINGYI – NATMAUK along which 1 Burdiv and 17 Div respectively were withdrawing.  I proceeded there and gave orders to the Os.C. [Officers Commanding] F.F.1 & F.F.3 (Majors D.R. Turner and J.H. Turner).[68]  I was about to return to Corps H.Qrs about 2030 hours but stopped to speak to Capt. Forbes.[69]  A station wagon passed me proceeding in the direction of the village where the Kyaukpadaung and Chauk roads fork. When it reached a point about 500 yards ahead, just before the rise in the ground, a sudden burst of L.A. [light automatic] fire was heard and the station wagon burst into flames.  F.F. Commanders were called and ordered to arrange local protection while proceeding with their preparations to move as ordered.  Shortly afterwards the driver of the station wagon came in and reported that the fire had come from the East of the road.  Several vehicles from the North then came through unmolested.   About this time 2 Bn. R. Tanks Corps [2nd Royal Tank Regiment] arrived.  The officer commanding was given all information and stated that he proposed to push on, so I ordered F.Fs. 1 & 3 to be prepared to follow the Tanks.  The first tank went up the road and when opposite the burning station wagon, one of its tracks was blown off by a grenade or mine and the road was blocked.  O.C. 2nd Bn. R.T.C. [2nd Royal Tank Regiment] then decided to remain for the night or until the road was clear, sent a tank up near the disabled tank, ordered the crew of the latter to evacuate their tank as soon as covering fire was opened by the 2nd tank.  This was done successfully and the crew were evacuated safely. Shortly afterwards the tank was set alight by the enemy.

I then ordered F.F.4. to sweep the area E of the road and they moved off about 2330 hours. Throughout the night there were a number of bursts of L.A. fire and the noise of crackers etc., but it was obvious that no contact was made.  I therefore decided to put a sweep through on both sides of the road, starting just before dawn. F.F.1. was detailed.  At first no opposition was encountered.  At about dawn heavy fire was heard and F.F.4 was later seen withdrawing on the EAST of the road and suffered considerable casualties.  F.F.1 was then held up on the East of the road but advanced on WEST of the road for a time, when this flank was also held up by fire further to the West.  One Pl. F.F.3 was then despatched to deal with this enemy post and receiving valuable aid from a section of tanks, were able to overcome the opposition and the advance continued.  The right flank was still held up and the tanks were unable to help.  I went to this flank and was able to get a small party of about 1 section forward to within 50 yards of the high ground occupied by the enemy.  About ½ of the section became casualties and further progress was impossible owing to the enfilade fire of a L.A. further to the East.  By this time those on the West of the road had advanced and were about level with the party on the East of the road.  I proceeded over to them, decided to put in an attack on the high ground on the EAST of the road from the West, and went back to arrange for co-operation with the Tanks.  The O.C. Tank Bn., put one tp. at my disposal to support the attack.  One A.A. [anti-aircraft] gun also came into action and engaged the enemy position.  The attack went in and the enemy evacuated the position and withdrew to the East. Having proceeded about 300 yards to the EAST of the road a position was occupied under heavy S.A.A. and Mortar fire.  The Tanks and a good deal of the transport which had been piling up all night went through.  The enemy then infiltrated round our flanks and got back to the road preventing any further movement along the road and also taking us in the rear.  “A” Company of the KOYLI [King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry] who were on the far side of the road block had occupied the highest ground astride the road further to the North and we withdrew on them.  On our departure a flight of about 12 Japanese bombers bombed what transport remained in PINCHAUNG [sic]." [70]

The 1st Burma Infantry Division eventually escaped across the Pin Chaung on the afternoon of 19th April, having had to abandon most of its motor transport.  F.F.3 had suffered a number of casualties and together with F.F.1 had been concentrated at the village of Gwegyo, North of the Pin Chaung where the Kyaukpadaung and Chauk roads fork.  From there they were sent to the Mount Popa area.  When news was received that the enemy were advancing in strength on Kyaukpadaung, F.F.1 and F.F.3 were ordered to protect that village.  Later, upon withdrawal from Kyaukpadaung, F.F.3 was placed under the direct command of the 1st Burma Infantry Division and F.F.1 became Corps Troops (under the direct command of the 1st Burma Corps).[71]

Withdrawal to India

In the three days following the fight at the Pin Chaung, F.F.3 moved back and forwards between Mount Popa and Kyaukpadaung three times in support of the jittery Chinese.  On or around 22nd April they were withdrawn again, this time to a position ten miles North of Popa.  That night they were sent out to Sagyan twelve miles to the West and ordered to patrol to the Irrawaddy.  They were forced to hire bullock carts to provide transport.  At Popa there had been an outbreak of cholera and three men died as a result.  At Sagyan Turner found ten mounted infantry "sowars" from the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police whom he quickly added to his small force.  The next day F.F.3 was ordered to withdraw to Myingyan.[72]  On 25th April, F.F.3 and the Mounted Infantry Column were placed under command of the 13th Indian Brigade, in the Myingyan area, and charged with watching the Division’s West flank and delaying any enemy advance.[73]

Arriving at Myingyan on the evening of 27th April the place was found to be in flames.  Although ordered to relieve the 7th Battalion, Burma Rifles in guarding prisoners at the local jail it was eventually agreed that the Burma Rifles would release the prisoners late that evening.  Moving out of Myingyan the next morning, F.F.3 was ordered by Brigadier Curtiss of the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade to let his brigade pass through and then for F.F.3 to take over the rear guard from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Rajputs.  Three hours later the Rajputs arrived closely followed by the 1st Burma Brigade.  The commander of this brigade, Brigadier Rae now ordered F.F.3 to take over the rear guard of his brigade, leaving Major Turner feeling very badly done by.  Bringing up the rear of these two brigades of the 1st Burma Division, F.F.3 reached Sameikhon on the evening of 28th April and crossed the Irrawaddy by steamer during the night.  The next day the divisional commander, General Scott told Turner that he had censured both his brigade commanders for their treatment of F.F.3.  A day's rest was taken at Sameikhon and the unit was expected to be placed under the command of the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade after recuperation. However it appears that F.F.3 reverted to the command of the 1st Burma Brigade, together with F.F.1, until the withdrawal reach Monywa.[74]

On 1st May the Headquarters, 1st Burma Infantry Division was attacked by the Japanese at Monywa.  The attack was driven off but Monywa remained in Japanese hands so the withdrawing 1st Burma Infantry Division took a diversionary route around Monywa via Alon, Budalin and on to Yeu.  Once again F.F.3 formed the rear guard and the withdrawal continued under constant dive bombing which inflicted many casualties.  The Monywa - Thazi Road was crossed by F.F.3 at 04:30 on the morning of 2nd May three and a half hours after the covering force from Monywa passed through however the Japanese did not follow up.  Alon was reached at midday but when the Japanese approached on rafts up the river, coming under British artillery fire, F.F.3 were ordered on to Budalin.[75]

The next morning at dawn, the division was attacked again.  The available motor transport was used to ferry out the 1st and 5th Battalions, Burma Rifles and F.F.3 were transported to safety aboard tanks of the 7th Armoured Brigade.  Some miles up the road F.F.3 transferred to lorries sent back for them and that evening they reached Yeu.  The town was in a dreadful state, having been the subject of a cholera epidemic and the place was covered with flies.  That night F.F.3 took its place in the line on the right of the 5th Battalion, Burma Rifles.  The following morning the withdrawal resumed via Pyingyaung to Shwegyin which was reached around 4th May.  Roughly nine days later, F.F.3 crossed the Chindwin River from Shwegyin to Kalewa and went to Tamu partly by motor transport and partly on foot.  A week later they marched into Palel and on to the camp at Milestone 109 on the Tamu - Manipur Road.  After ten days here they moved on to the Burma Frontier Force and Military Police camp at Milestone 105.  Here F.F.3 was rejoined by the Kumaoni column that had been given up at Yenangyaung.  All the mobile detachments were now disbanded and the men entered the general B.F.F. and B.M.P. pool.[76]

After three days at this camp F.F.3 was transferred to Ranchi and from there to Hoshiarpur, the new base camp for the Burma Army, arriving on 15th June.  All troops were given three months’ pay in advance and sent on leave.  However many of the married men remained, hoping for news of their families.  For most the news was very bad, for many families had attempted the trek to India despite the onset of the rains and many had died on the way.[77]

22 November 2017



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

[2] John Hector Turner, born, 6th August 1903.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 31st January 1924.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt.(IA 525), 15th March 1925.  Served with Hodson’s Horse from 18th March 1925.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th April 1926.  Served with the Hazara Pioneers from 1st May 1927.  Served with the 7th Gurkha Rifles from 1933?.  Promoted to Captain, 31st January 1933.  Appointed Assistant Commandant, Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, Taunggyi, 8th March 1938.  Commander, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force from formation until disbandment, 1st October 1940 to 20th May 1942.  Promoted to Major, 31st January 1941.  As Major, author of “Burma Frontier Force: short history”, WO 203/5702 - a history of F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, 31st May 1943.  Commanding Officer, the 4th Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles, 16th March 1944 to 4th December 1944.  Promoted to temporary Lt. Colonel, 16th June 1944.  As Lt.-Colonel, C.O. of the 4th Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles, during the Battle of Pakokku, wounded, 10th February 1945.  Died, 11th February 1945 ("History of 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles", J.N. Mackay, Blackwood (1962); “Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short History of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); British Army List; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Indian Army List; London Gazette).

[3] Arthur Guy Sandeman born, 4th November 1912.  Attended Haileybury School, 4th November 1924.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 2nd February 1933.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt. (AI 15), 2nd April 1934, attached to the Central India Horse.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 2nd May 1935.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Force as Assistant Commandant, Burma Frontier Force from 24th August 1939.  Served as Assistant Commandant, the Northern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1st September 1939.  Served as Assistant Commandant, the Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, Loimwe, 1940? to 31st October 1940.  Served as Assistant Commandant, the Reserve Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 16th February 1940.  Assistant Commandant, the Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 4th November 1940.  Commander, No. 1 Infantry Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, November 1940 to March-May 1941.  Promoted to Captain, 2nd February 1941.  Commander, Mounted Infantry Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, March-May 1941 to 19th March 1942.  The M.I. Column was detached from F.F.3 to operate independently in the Mawchi area, mid-March 1942.  Died, killed in action, "leading a charge", at Toungoo having approached a Japanese position believing it to be Chinese, 19th March 1942 (“Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short History of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); British Army List; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Haileybury; Indian Army List).

[4] Hugh John Norman Edgley, born Darjeeling, India, 7th August 1917.  Attended The Dragon School, Oxford, May 1926 to July 1930.  Attended Eton College, 1930 to 1935.  Attended New College, Oxford from Autumn 1936.  Worked for the Burmah Oil Company from 1939.  Sailed for Burma on the SS "Stratheden" to Bombay, occupation listed as "Assistant", 20th August 1939.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 73), 10th November 1939.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1940.  (Note: Is listed in error as "H.G.E. Edgley" in WO 203/5702).  Commander, No.2 Infantry Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, November 1940 to March-May 1941.  Adjutant and Quartermaster, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, March-May 1941 to March 1942.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 11th May 1941.  Appointed Commanding Officer, F.F.5, Burma Frontier Force, around 11th April 1942.  Captured by the Japanese at Migyaungye along with the C.O. the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles and another F.F.5 officer, Lieutenant P.F. Taylor, when the Headquarters, F.F.5, Burma Frontier Force, was overrun.  Ruffell and Taylor later escaped however Edgley was murdered by his captors, 13th April 1942.  According to WO 203/5702, killed "2 days following" appointment as Commanding Officer, F.F.5, 13th April 1942.  Died, believed murdered by Japanese captors, 17th April 1942 (“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; Burma Army List October 1940; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Dragon School Memorials; FindMyPast; http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/WWII/library/The-Dragon-School-Oxford-Memorials-of-the-Old-Boys-Who-Gave-Their-Lives-in-the-War-of-1939-1945/files/assets/basic-html/page118.html; London Gazette; Private Papers of Lt. Col. I.C.G. Scott (IWM); War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974)).

[5] James Bruce Scott born, 25th December 1892.  Attended Exeter School and Sandhurst, Royal Military Academy.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 20th January 1912.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., 13th March 1913.  As Captain, Company Commander, the 1st Battalion, 33rd Punjabis from 23rd March 1913.  Served Egypt, 1914.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 20th April 1914.  Served France, 1915.  Served Egypt and Aden, 1916.  Promoted to Captain, 20th January 1916.  Served German East Africa, 1917.  Awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 1st January 1918.  As Captain, made temporary Major while serving as temporary Second-in-command, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Punjabis from 23rd August 1918 to 31st March 1919.  Served Afghanistan, North West Frontier, 1919.  As local Major, employed as Officiating Commandant, the North Waziristan Militia, Frontier Corps, 25th April 1919 to 24th April 1922.  Served Waziristan, 1920-21.  Served Waziristan, 1921-24.  Attached to the 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, 20th July 1922.  As local Major, the North Waziristan Militia, Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished service in Waziristan, 1920-21, gazetted, 1st June 1923.  Appointed Company Commander, the 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, 8th July 1924.  Promoted to Major, 20th January 1929.  Served North West Frontier of India, 1930.  As Major, the 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished service on the North West Frontier of India, 23rd April 1930 to 12th September 1930, gazetted, 1st September 1931.  Served as G.S.O. 2, India, as Major (Brevet Lt. Colonel), 1st April 1932 to 31st January 1933.  Served North West Frontier of India (Mohmand), 1933.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel (Brevet), 1st January 1934.  Served as Assistant Director of Intelligence until, November 1935.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel (substantive), 2nd November 1936.  Appointed Commander, the 1st Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles from 2nd November 1936.  Specially Employed as local Brigadier, Commander the Maymyo Brigade, Burma, 29th June 1939 to 30th September 1939.  As Lt. Colonel, granted the temporary rank of Brigadier whilst employed as Commander, the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade, 7th November 1939.  As temporary Brigadier, Commander, Headquarters Upper Burma Area, Maymyo from 7th November 1939.  Promoted to Colonel, 21st December 1939, with seniority from 1st January 1937.  As Colonel (temporary Brigadier), appointed Commander, the 1st Burma Division with the acting rank of Major-General, 1st July 1941.  Commander, the 39th Indian Light Division (redesignated from the 1st Burma Infantry Division) from 20th June 1942 to 27th March 1943.  Promoted to temporary Major-General (number 191952), 1st July 1942.  Awarded the Distinguished Service Order, gazetted, 28th October 1942.  As Colonel (temporary Major-General), Inspector of Infantry, retaining the rank of temporary Major-General, 28th March 1943.  Commander Peshawar Area, 12th November 1943 to 12th November 1946.  Made Companion of the Order of the Bath, gazetted, 1st January 1944.  Retired from the Indian Army, 10th May 1947.  Died, 30th May 1974 ("Loyalty & Honour: The Indian Army, September 1939 - August 1947, part III", Kempton, C, Military Press (2004); “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); British Army List; Burma Army List October 1940; Wikipedia - James Bruce Scott; Orders of Battle; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List 1921; London Gazette).

[6] WO 203/5702

[7] 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 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).

[8] Philip Lynton Hope, born, 31st July 1917.  Employed as a mercantile assistant, General Staff, Steel Brothers.  Travelled to Rangoon from Liverpool, 1938.  Emergency Commission from Cadet at O.C.T.U. to the General List, as 2nd Lt. (189602), 28th April 1941.  Served as Column Commander, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, May 1941 to April 1942.  As Lieutenant, appointed Adjutant and Quarter-Master, F.F.4, Burma Frontier Force, April 1942.  Promoted to war substantive Lieutenant, 10th July 1942.  Served with the Northern Kachin Levies, December 1943 to 1944.  Served as Adjutant, the Northern Kachin Levies, 1944.  As temporary Captain, General List, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 5th April 1945.  As war substantive Captain, relinquished commission and granted the honorary rank of Major, 6th August 1946.  Employed as a mercantile assistant, Steel Brothers, 1946-47? ("Amiable Assassins, The Story of the Kachin Guerillas of North Burma", Fellowes-Gordon I., Robert Hale (1957); “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; British Army List; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; Thacker's Directory 1941; London Gazette; War Diary of the Kachin Levies, WO 172/2656).

[9] Alastair Kerr Scott born, 11th November 1915.  Employed as a clerk, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.  Travelled to Rangoon from Birkenhead on the S.S. "Prome", 12th October 1937.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 72), 7th March 1940.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1940.  As Lieutenant, Column Commander, No.3 Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force from March-May 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 14th November 1941.  As Captain, Column Commander, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, April 1942.  According to "Scots in Burma" by A. McCrae" died of wounds while serving with the Burma Rifles".  Died, attached to the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 2nd April 1944 ("Scots in Burma", McCrae, A, Kiscadale (1990); “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; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; FindMyPast; "Scots in Burma", McCrae, A, Kiscadale (1990)).

[10] 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 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).

[11] WO 203/5702

[12] John Ross Balharry born, 16th March 1907.  Attended Eastern Public School, Grove Academy and Dundee Technical College.  Worked as Office Manager, Consolidated Tin Mines, Tavoy, 1936-41.  Attended the Militia Company, Burma, 15th May 1941 to August 1941.  Emergency Commission to the General List from Cadet at O.C.T.U. as 2nd Lt. (217675), 26th October 1941.  Joined F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, replacing Lt. McCann as Column Commander, No. 1 Column (Gurkhas) (at end or after October 1941 when commissioned and not in June 1941 as implied in WO 203/5702), October 1941.  As Lieutenant, transferred from F.F.3 to the Reserve Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, early April 1942.  Transferred to F.F.8, Burma Frontier Force, April 1942.  Promoted to war substantive Lieutenant, 25th June 1942.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1942? to 1944?.  Promoted to temporary Captain, 1st August 1943.  Married Anne Lyall, 14th November 1943.  Served as Staff Captain, Burma Section, in India from 11th February 1944.  Wife, Anne (nee Lyall) gave birth to a child at Reardon's Nursing Home, Calcutta, 15th August 1944.  Served with Special Operations Executive, attached Force 136, as Staff Captain, Siam Country Section, from 1st February 1945 to 9th July 1945.  Moved to the X4(b) List, awaiting repatriation to the United Kingdom, 9th July 1945.  After the war returned to work for Consolidated Tin Mines of Burma as an accountant.  Travelled to Burma on board S.S. "Highland Princess", 30th August 1946 ("Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697 (Burma Frontier Force, WO 203/5697); “Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short History of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); British Army List; Dundee Courier; FindMyPast; HS 9/80/6; London Gazette).

[13] Bernard Ruffell born, 6th September 1898.  Served with 172nd Punjabis from 29th June 1916.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 29th June 1916.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt. (12 IA), 3rd July 1916.  Served Mohmand, 3rd October 1916 to 24th November 1916.  Served as Brigade MG Officer (as Temporary Captain), 12th January 1917 to 21st February 1917.  Served with 93rd Burma Infantry from 28th February 1917.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 29th June 1917.  Served with 85th Burman Rifles from 6th February 1918.  Served Iraq, 10th February 1918 to 11th November 1918.  Temporary Captain, 1919.  Served Kurdistan, 1919.  Acting Captain from 24th March 1919.  Promoted to Captain, 29th June 1920.  As Lieutenant, attached for a short time to the 10th Gurkha Rifles, possibly the Regimental Depot at Maymyo, for training, 1921?.  Attached, the 20th Burma Rifles from 28th January 1921.  Married Myrtle Nancy Turner, 5th November 1924.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  Promoted to Major, 29th June 1934.  Staff Captain, India, 28th March 1935 to 18th June 1936.  Staff Captain, Auxiliary & Territorial Force, Burma, 1st April 1937 to 6th December 1937.  Attached, the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Rifles from 1st April 1937.  Served as D.A.A. & Q.M.G., Burma from 7th December 1937.  Served as D.A.A.G., Burma from 15th March 1940.  Commanding Officer, the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 15th October 1940 to 31st May 1942.  Acting Lt. Colonel, 15th October 1940 to 14th January 1941.  As Major (acting Lt. Col.), Indian Army, attached The Burma Rifles, awarded O.B.E., 1st January 1941.  Promoted from Major to Temporary Lt. Colonel, 29th June 1942.  A.A. & Q.M.G., Burma Army, 31st August 1942 to 1946.  As Lt. Colonel, Special List (ex Indian Army), retired, 26th October 1947.  As Lt. Colonel (384193), late Indian Army (retired), granted honorary rank of Colonel, 26th October 1947  (“War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); Ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; British Army List Oct 42; Burma Army List; FO 643/2; Indian Army List; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List 1921; London Gazette; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974).

[14] WO 203/5702

[15] WO 203/5702

[16] Gerald Alexander Leith Farwell born at Dehra Dun, India, 11th November 1895.  Commissioned to the Unattached List as 2nd Lt., 1st October 1914.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt. (AI 638) and attached to the 122nd Rajputana Infantry, 16th December 1914.  Attached to the 26th Punjabis from 16th April 1915.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st October 1915.  Served Iraq, 3rd January 1916 to 12th April 1918.  As 2nd Lt., appointed acting Captain while commanding a company, the 26th Punjabis, from 29th June 1916 to 29th November 1916.  Served as acting Captain, 11th February 1917 to 3rd April 1917.  Served as acting Captain, 22nd April 1917 to 14th May 1917.  As Lieutenant, appointed acting Captain while commanding a company, attached to the 26th Punjabis, from 6th June 1917 to 30th September 1918.  As Lieutenant (acting Captain), Mentioned in Despatches for service with the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, gazetted, 15th August 1917.  Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 15th August 1917.  Served North West Persia, 12th April 1918 to 29th April 1919.  Promoted to Captain (substantive), 1st October 1918.  Served Iraq, 30th April 1919 to 3rd November 1919.  Married Doris Lilyan Dixon at Naini Tal, India, 25th May 1920.  Awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 12th July 1920.  Served Waziristan, 1921-22.  Attached to the 15th Punjab Regiment, 16th April 1922.  As Captain, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 20th July 1923.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  Served as Assistant Commandant, the Bhamo Battalion, Burma Military Police, 25th November 1931 to 1933?. Promoted to Brevet Major, attached to the 2nd Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment, 1st January 1932.  As Captain (Brevet Major), promoted to Major, 1st October 1932.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police, 1933.  Served North-West Frontier of India (Loe Agra), 1935.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 1st December 1937.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Junior Commanders' School from 25th November 1940.  Commanding Officer, the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade, 13th July 1941 to 20th June 1942.  Acting Brigadier from 13th July 1941.  Commanding Officer, the 106th Indian Infantry Brigade (formerly the 1st Burma Infantry Brigade), the 39th Indian Light Division, 20th June 1942 to March 1943.  As temporary Brigadier, Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in Burma during the period December 1941 to May 1942, gazetted, 28th October 1942.  Promoted to Colonel, 18th November 1942, with seniority from 1st December 1940.  As Colonel, Indian Army (9305), retired with the honorary rank of Brigadier, 11th June 1947.  A farmer in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), post-war.  Died Salisbury, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), 24th November 1960 ("Loyalty & Honour: The Indian Army, September 1939 - August 1947, part II", Kempton, C, Military Press (2004); “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); Ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; FindMyPast; India Office List 1933; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List October 1932; London Gazette; British Library IOR/L/MIL/14/11138; Indian Army List; London Gazette).

[17] WO 203/5702

[18] WO 203/5702

[19] WO 203/5702

[20] WO 203/5702

[21] Havildar Astaman Rai, as Havildar Ustman Rai, The Burma Frontier Force, awarded The Burma Gallantry Medal, gazetted 24th March 1942 (London Gazette).

[22] Vivian Godwin Robert, born, 1893.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. (temporary), The King's Royal Rifle Corps, 22nd October 1914.  Promoted to temporary Lieutenant, 1st January 1915.  Service for promotion (Indian Army Reserve of Officers) from 22nd July 1915.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 22nd June 1916.  As 2nd Lt. I.A.R.O., awarded the M.C., gazetted, 4th June 1917.  Appointed to the Indian Army from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, 5th June 1917.  As acting Captain, served as Adjutant, the 1st Battalion, 129th Baluchis, 1st February 1918 to 1919.  Company Officer, the 2nd Battalion, 129th Baluchis from 1st April 1918 to 1921?.  Promoted to Captain, 22nd July 1919.  As Captain, the 129th Baluchis, made M.B.E., gazetted, 17th June 1921.  As Captain, retired from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, 28th July 1922.  As Captain, transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, ex Indian Army, 14th April 1923, with seniority from 8th April 1920.  As Captain, M.B.E., M.C., appointed to the Burma Frontier Service, 8th September 1923.  Secretly betrothed to Miss Norah Cecilia de Vahl, who died and left £22,500 in her will to Captain Robert, 14th August 1935.  Assumed charge of the Southern Shan States Kengtung Station, 15th October 1939.  Served with the Burma Frontier Service as Administrator Kengtung State, January 1942.  As Captain, recorded on the Burma Civil List 1942, 1st June 1942.  As war substantive Lt. Colonel, Regular Army Reserve of Officers, having attained the age limit of liability to recall, relinquished his commission and granted the honorary rank of Colonel, 6th January 1946.  As "Mr" (occupation "Army"), sailed from Manchester to Montreal aboard the SS "Manchester Regiment", 13th November 1950 (“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 Civil List 1942; FindMyPast; Hart's Army List 1915; London Gazette; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List 1921; London Gazette; India Office and Burma Civil List 1938; The Quarterly Civil List for Burma 1941; The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 6 September 1935 (http://tinyurl.com/SingaporePress)).

[23] WO 203/5702

[24] C.C. Gimingham.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., Royal Engineers, Regular Army Emergency Commission, 23rd April 1940.  Promoted war substantive Lieutenant, 23rd October 1941.  Possibly Christopher C. Gimmingham, as Captain, captured by the Japanese 1st May 1942.  Held in Rangoon POW Camp 1943-45  (British Army List; Forces War Records; Pegasus Archives - Rangoon PoWs).

[25] WO 203/5702

[26] WO 203/5702

[27] War Diary of the 2nd Burma Brigade, WO 172/548; WO 203/5702

[28] 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 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)).

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

[30] “Notes on [the] Burma Frontier Force” by Major D. Mostert, WO 203/5700

[31] WO 203/5700; WO 203/5702

[32] WO 203/5702

[33] WO 172/548

[34] Walter George Constable born in Wandsworth, London, 15th October 1897.  Commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery as 2nd Lt. (15252), 26th August 1916.  Served France & Belgium, during which was wounded,, 19th January 1917 to 25th August 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 26th February 1918.  As Lieutenant, attached to the 9th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 23rd December 1918.  Appointed to the 22nd Derajat Pack Battery (Frontier Force), Indian Artillery, from Indian Mountain Artillery Depot, Dehra Dun, 17th December 1919.  As Lieutenant, the 22nd Derajat Pack Battery, Indian Artillery, participated in the Chitral Relief of 1920, 13th September 1920 to 22nd October 1920.  As Lieutenant, attached to the 22nd Derajat Pack Battery, Indian Artillery, 1921.  Adjutant, Territorial Army, 21st March 1929 to 20th March 1933.  Promoted to Captain, 26th August 1929.  Promoted to Major, 1st August 1938.  Appointed Commanding Officer, 27th Indian Mountain Regiment on formation of the regimental headquarters at Ambala, 1st November 1941.  Promoted to acting Lt. Colonel, 1st November 1941.  Arrived at Rangoon with Headquarters, 27th Indian Mountain Regiment, 28th November 1941.  Acted as Commander Royal Artillery (C.R.A.) to the 1st Burma Infantry Division, 1942.  Promoted to temporary Lt. Colonel, 1st February 1942.  As Major, having exceeded the age limit for retirement, placed on retired pay and granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 19th December 1948.  Died, 1969 ("Historical Record of 22nd Derajat Pack Battery", Andrews UK Limited (2012); "History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, The Far East Theatre 1941-46", Farndale M, RA Institution (2000); "The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery", Graham C.A.L., Gale & Polden (1957); Ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; Indian Army List 1921; London Gazette).

[35] Randolph Wilson Reid born, 8th December 1909.  Worked as staff, MacGregor & Co., Rangoon, 1939-41?.  Joined F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, from Headquarters, the 1st Burma Infantry Division, 25/26th February 1942.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 440), 1st March 1942.  Served with Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), Force 136, 1943-45?.  As temporary Major, Mentioned in Despatches in recognition for gallant and distinguished services whilst engaged in Special Operations in South East Asia, gazetted, 7th November 1946. Died, Surrey, 1979 (“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; Anglo-Burmese Library - Vivian Rodrigues; HS 9/1243/7; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory 1941).

[36] WO 203/5702

[37] War Diary of the 1st Burma Division, WO 172/447

[38] “Rfn Ba Than who was captured when Japs entered SHWEGYIN escaped and reported that there were 200 Japanese plus Burman traitors there, armed with Mortars and MGs.  Rfn Ba Than also gave the dispositions of these weapons” (War Diary of the 7th Burma Rifles, WO 172/979).

[39] WO 203/5702; WO 172/548

[40] WO 203/5702

[41] WO 172/548

[42] WO 203/5702

[43] Arthur Leonard Bell Thompson born, 1st December 1917.  Before joining the Army, worked on the staff of Steel Brothers, Rangoon, 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 088), 14th October 1941.  Served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941 to 23rd March 1942.  As Company Commander of the Karen Company, 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, ordered to take his company from Toungoo to support the Karen Levies operating in the Mawchi area., 23rd March 1942.  Served as Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1944.  Served with Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), 1944 to 1945.  As temporary Captain, The Burma Rifles, awarded the Distinguished Service Order, gazetted, 22nd March 1945, the citation for which reads:

Brigade:            Burma Levies, Burma Army

Unit:  1st Burma Rifles, attached Burma Levies

Action for which recommended: -           On March 23rd, 1942, Captain Thompson, with 135 Karens of his Bn. was ordered to join a Burma Levies detachment under Capt. Boyt in the Karen Hills.  His force was limited to one rifle and 50 rds. per man, plus four TSMG [Thomson Sub-Machine Guns].  Capt. Thompson was ordered to cover demolitions by levies on the Toungoo-Mawchi road.  On 2/4/42 the Japs moved up the road a spearhead of approx. one Bn. supported by AFVs and m/c troops.  Capt. Thompson engaged this greatly superior enemy force at the Paletwa bridge, which had been destroyed, and delayed it with heavy casualties till his left flank was overrun and his position turned.  Capt. Thompson then extricated his force and took up another position further up the road.  25 Karens were lost in this engagement.  Sporadic minor clashes occurred as the enemy moved cautiously forward until 4/4/42, when the party took up a new position over the next major demolition and again fought it out till overrun, inflicting heavy casualties on the Japs and greatly delaying and discouraging them.  In this action the Karens lost a further 45 men including Sub. Thong Pe.  After assisting with further demolitions the party then passed through the Chinese who had by then moved up.  Throughout this period Capt. Thompson’s party was subjected to constant pressure by a greatly superior enemy.  Capt. Thompson showed the highest quality of courage, leadership, and skilful handling of his men throughout.  His determined reaction to enemy pressure during this critical period was of the utmost importance to all concerned in this very significant action.  In all Capt. Thompson gained some four days time for regrouping of the Chinese 6th Army in the Southern Shan States.  This enabled the 6th Army to hold up the Japs just long enough to let the Chinese 5th Army, then fighting at Pyinmana, send a division (the 200th) round to Taunggyi in time to stem the enemy’s thrust westwards through Thazi-Meiktila-Yenangyaing.  It is a fact that Capt. Thompson’s magnificent delaying action saved the Chinese and British armies in Burma from encirclement.

Though this particular action forms the subject of this recommendation it was not the end of Capt. Thompson’s excellent work.  Although later cut off by the enemy, he withdrew the very small remnants of this force through their lines and brought his men to safety in Fort Herz after a march of some 900 miles.  Throughout this desperate adventure, made as it was with virtually no supplies and very little money for food, Capt. Thompson continued to display the same high standard of leadership, and it is safe to say that without it none of the party could have made the journey.

Recommended by: H. Stevenson (late Lt. Col, Commandant Burma Levies)

Worked as an industrial journalist for the steel industry, post- war.  After the war became a writer of crime and thriller novels, writing under the pen name of Francis Clifford, late 1950s.  Died, 24th August 1975.  Wrote an account (under his pen name Francis Clifford) of his trek through Burma to Fort Herz from where he was eventually flown out to India.  Published after his death, 1st January 1979  ("Desperate Journey", A.L.B. Thompson writing as Francis Clifford, Hodder & Stoughton (1979); Anglo-Burmese Library; HS 9/1/1460/6; Wikipedia - Francis Clifford; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory 1941; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974).

[44] Noel Ernest Boyt born, 26th December 1901.  Worked as a Forest Manager for Steel Brothers, 1941.  Appointed 2nd. Lt, ABRO (ABRO 422), 26th February 1942.  Served with the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade, February/March 1942?.  Undertook demolitions on the Mawchi Road, protected by a party of 150 Karens and Karen Levies under the command of Captain A.L.B. Thompson, late March 1942.  As Lieutenant (temporary Captain), "Whilst serving with the Burma Frontier Force", awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 28th October 1942, for which the citation reads:

Unit:     Army in Burma Reserve of Officers
Date of Recommendation:                     16th June 1942

Action for which recommended :-           This officer when handed over (by 13th Indian Infantry Brigade) the demolitions on the Mawchi Road, carried out the difficult task successfully in spite of a sustained offensive up the road by a Japanese force vastly superior in arms and numbers to the defenders.
Capt. Boyt was frequently under mortar and small arms fire.  He had as transport only a lorry with 3 tyres which he drove by day and night along this very difficult road often in full view of the enemy.  Covered by a small force of 150 Karens armed with rifles and 50 rounds a piece Capt-Boyt [sic] stuck to his duty over nearly 100 miles of road under almost constant enemy pressure.
Two thirds of the enemy force very ably handled by Capt. Thompson of the Burma Rifles, became casualties.  Had it not been for Capt. Boyt’s successful efforts, the Mawchi Loikaw debacle would have been much more sudden, and the consequences to the Chinese and British Armies in Burma of the 6th Army’s collapse much more serious.

Recommended by:        [unreadable signature]  M.G.G.S., H.Q. Army in Burma
Signed By: H.R. Alexander, General

Served with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) Oriental Mission (Burma) as Captain, 1942.  Served with Force 136, achieving rank of temporary Major, 1944-45.  Liaison Officer to 10th U.S.A.A.F, later IV Corps, 1944-45?.  As temporary Major, ABRO, awarded the O.B.E., gazetted, 7th November 1946 ("Burma Invaded 1942", C.M. Enriquez; Anglo-Burmese Library; Special Forces - Roll of Honour; London Gazette; WO 373/30/182; National Archives file HS 9/196/7).

[45] “Diary of Capt. Thompson & Report on Movements of Karen Company from Toungoo – Mong Pawn and Thereafter”, Burma Levies, WO 203/5712

[46] David Kennedy Milligan born, 1917.  Sailed to Rangoon from Liverpool on S.S. "Prome", profession listed as Burma Forest Service, 7th October 1939.  Commissioned to the General List from Cadet at OCTU as 2nd Lt. (189612), 28th April 1941.  Promoted war substantive Lieutenant; promoted temporary Captain, 14th March 1942.  As Captain, commanded a company of the Kokine Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, guarding the satellite airfield one mile North of Kyungon, North of Toungoo, 16th March 1942.  Second-in-Command of F.F.9, Burma Frontier Force, April-May 1942.  As temporary Major, served with the Chin Hills Levies, September 1942 to 9th November 1943.  Died on "the withdrawal from Falam", possibly buried by the Japanese near Mangkheng, near Falam, 9th November 1943.  "Sadly burned alive by the Japanese in Burma" whilst a POW in an unknown POW camp, 9th November 1943.  As Major, Indian Army Unattached List, died in Burma, 9th November 1943.  From a memorial in Dunscore Churchyard, Dumfriesshire; "Major, Burma Frontier Force, Younger son of Fergus Milligan of Merkland.  Killed in Action in Burma 9th Nov. 1943, aged 28 years.", 9th November 1943 ("Distinctly I Remember", H. Braund, Wren (1972); British Army List; Burma Frontier Force; Short History of F.F.3 by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702; Private Papers of Lt. Col. I.C.G. Scott (IWM); CWGC; FindMyPast; Dunscore Churchyard, Dumfriesshire; Rhodesian Services; London Gazette).

[47] WO 203/5702

[48] Thomas Marcus Witherow born, 30th November 1897.  Educated at King's College, 1914-1917?.  Commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery, Royal Artillery as 2nd Lt. (1123), 6th June 1917.  Served France & Belgium (wounded), 31st July 1917 to 11th November 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 6th December 1918.  Served Mahsud, 1919-20.  Served Waziristan, 1919-21.  Served as A.D.C. to the G.O.C.-in-C., Western Command, India, 14th June 1923 to 4th February 1924.  Married Florence Eileen Spence at Bombay, 13th December 1924.  Promoted to Captain, 6th June 1930.  Served as Staff Captain (temporary), India, 7th August 1931 to 23rd February 1934.  Seconded for service with the Territorial Army, 24th February 1934.  Served as Adjutant, 57th (Lowland) Medium Brigade, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army, 24th February 1934 to 31st January 1938.  Restored to the establishment, Royal Artillery, 1st February 1938.  Promoted to Major, 1st August 1938.  Commanding Officer, the 23rd Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery, 1941? to June 1942?.  Having exceeded the age limit for retirement, placed on retirement pay and granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 20th June 1948.  As Lieutenant, Holt School Contingent, Combined Cadet Force, resigned his commission, 28th April 1962 ("The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery", Graham, C.A.L., Gale & Polden (1957); "Mountain Battery", Carmichael P., Devin Books (1983); Ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; London Gazette; FindMyPast).

[49] "Mountain Battery", Carmichael P., Devin Books (1983)

[50] WO 203/5712

[51] WO 203/5702

[52] Geoffrey Bernard Thunder born in Tanjong Rambutan, Malaya, 30th December 1908.  Commissioned to the Unattached List as 2nd Lt. (IA 75), attached to Hodson's Horse, 31st January 1929.  Served North West Frontier of India, 1930.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., 20th March 1930.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th April 1932.  Seconded to the Burma Frontier Force as Assistant Commandant, Northern Shan States Battalion, 21st May 1937 to 1st January 1938.  Assistant Commandant, Myitkyina Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1938 to 1942.  Promoted to Captain, 28th March 1938.  Raised and became the Commanding Officer of F.F.5, Burma Frontier Force, 15th September 1941.  Appointed the Commanding Officer, Mounted Infantry Column, Burma Frontier Force, formed by the amalgamation of the survivors of the Mounted Infantry Columns of F.F.1 and F.F.3 on or just before, 16th April 1942.  Temporary Major, 18th May 1944.  As Captain, retired, 27th September 1946.  Died in Lacken House, Kilkenny, Ireland, 25th August 1963 ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; “Burma Frontier Force by Lt. Col G.G. Pryce”, WO 203/5697).

[53] “Burma Frontier Force by Lt. Col G.G. Pryce”, WO 203/5697

[54] WO 172/403

[55] War Diary of the 1st Burma Corps, WO 172/403; WO 203/5702

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

[57] Francis Arthur Guy Roughton, born, 6th July 1884.  As Cadet, Royal Military Academy, commissioned as 2nd Lt. (3886), Royal Garrison Artillery, 15th July 1903.  Promoted to Lieutenant, Army, 15th October 1905.  Promoted to Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery, 15th July 1906.  Appointed Lieutenant, Indian Army, the 113th Infantry, from the Royal Garrison Artillery, 3rd March 1908, with seniority from 15th  October 1905.  Promoted to Captain, 15th July 1912.  Served as Staff Captain, Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force, 9th September 1917 to 25th April 1918.  As Captain, appointed D.A.Q.M.G., Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force, with the rank of temporary Major whilst so employed, 26th April 1918 to 5th January 1919.  Promoted to Major, 15th July 1918.  Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant services in Mesopotamia (Iraq), gazetted, 27th August 1918.  Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant services in Mesopotamia (Iraq) whilst serving with the 113th Infantry, gazetted, 21st February 1919.  Served as D.A.A. & Q.M.G., India, 13th May 1919 to 15th September 1919.  Served as D.A.Q.M.G., Northern Command, India, 1st November 1920 to 31st May 1923.  Served as G.S.O. 2, India, 1st June 1923 to 31st October 1924.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 6th February 1929.  Promoted to Colonel, 6th February 1932.  Transferred to the Unemployed List, 6th February 1933 to 13th October 1933.  Served as A.A. & Q.M.G., India, 14th June 1934 to 24th June 1935.  Promoted to Colonel, 14th June 1934, with seniority from 6th February 1933.  Employed as Inspector-General, Burma Frontier Force, granted the temporary rank of Brigadier whilst, 1st April 1937.  Retired, 25th June 1940.  Awarded C.B.E., 12th June 1941.  After the fall of Rangoon in early March 1942, moved to Yenangyaung with the Advanced Headquarters, Burma Frontier Force where he also became Commander, Central Area (a line of communication headquarters), March 1942.  Exhausted, he was evacuated across the Pin Chaung with the C.O. of the 1st Burma Division, Major Bruce Scott, by carrier, 19th April 1942.  Was evacuated to Mandalay and from there by hospital launch where shortly after he died, 21st April 1942.  Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 28th October 1942 (British Army List; CWGC; Indian Army List 1921; London Gazette; WO 203/5698; WO 203/5698; CWGC).

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

[59] Gordon George Pryce, born, 21st May 1901.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 28th December 1921.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., 17th April 1923.  Attached to the 5th Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment, 17th April 1923.  Served Waziristan, 1923-24.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 23rd March 1924.  Promoted to Captain, 23rd December 1930.  Seconded and served as Assistant Commandant with the 2nd Rangoon Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1st April 1937.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Northern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1938 to 13th July 1940.  Promoted to Major, 23rd December 1938.  Formed F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force at Kutkai and became first Commanding Officer, 14th July 1940 to 1st October 1941.  Appointed as Commander Corps, Burma Frontier Force, attached to Headquarters, 1st Burma Corps, 29th March 1942.  Mentioned in Despatches for service in Burma, attached to the Burma Frontier Force, gazetted, 28th October 1942.  Served with the 8th Punjab Regiment, 13th April 1943.  Died (buried at Delhi War Cemetery), 8th December 1943 ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); “Burma Frontier Force by Lt. Col G.G. Pryce”, WO 203/5697; “F.F.1’s Part in the Burma Campaign by Lt. Col. W.R.V. Russell M.C.”; British Army List; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Indian Army List; Burma Army List; London Gazette).

[60] WO 203/5697

[61] William Rodney Villiers Russell born, 15th March 1914.  Usually went by his middle name, Rodney and called "Roddie" by some.  Educated at Wellington College, 1926ish.  Commissioned into The Rifle Brigade as 2nd Lt. (62669), 1st February 1934.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st February 1937.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Force, Assistant Commandant, Myitkyina Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 10th September 1938 to late 1939.  Special Employed, 11th September 1938.  War Substantive Major, 10th January 1940.  Assistant Commandant, Northern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force and Officer Commanding the Kutkai outpost detachment, late 1941.  As Assistant Commandant, Burma Frontier Force, on Special Duty in the Northern Shan States, 1941 to June 1942.  Served as Commanding Officer, F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force (incorrectly recorded in recommendation for M.C. as "W.B.R. Russell"), 1941 to May 1942.  Promoted to Captain, 1st February 1942.  Temporary Major, 14th March 1942.  As Captain (temporary Major), attached to the Burma Frontier Force, while in command of F.F.1, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 28th October 1942, for which the citation reads:

Division: 1st Burma Division, Burma Corps
Unit:  F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force

Date of Recommendation:           4th June 1942

Action for which recommended :-           During the operations South of TOUNGOO subsequent to 11 March 1942 Maj RUSSELL was in command of F.F.1 a column which through no fault of his had lost touch by wireless with the remainder of the force and had of necessity to be left behind during the withdrawal.  In spite of many vicissitudes and brushes with the Japanese cavalry (the column was for some time behind the Japanese lines) Maj RUSSELL managed to bring out his column complete, men and animals, across the PEGU YOMAS, living on the country wherever food could be found for two weeks and marching 25 to 30 miles daily.  Rations were approximately a handful of rice per man per day.  The morale of the small force under Maj RUSSEL’s [sic] leadership never waned and on all rejoining the division although tattered, thin and exhausted, their spirit was magnificent.  This I am convinced was due to the personality and character of their leader.           

Recommended by:  Maj-General J.B. Scott, M.C, Comd 1 Burma Division
Signed By:  H.R. Alexander (General)

Appointed Commander Frontier Force (C.F.F.) to the 1st Burma Infantry Division, 14th April 1942.  As Lt. Colonel, Commanding Officer, The Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1st September 1942 to 4th November 1944.  Temporary Lt. Colonel, 4th November 1943.  Relinquished command of the Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment and left for repatriation to the U.K., 4th November 1944.  As War Substantive Major, promoted to Major, 1st February 1947.  Died, 7th December 1994 ("Distinctly I Remember", H. Braund, Wren (1972); British Army List; Indian Army List April 1940 - January 1941; Indian Army List January 1941 - July 1942; "Kelly's Burma Campaign", Kelly D., Tiddim Press (2003); London Gazette; WO 373/30/171; WO 373/35/131; WO 203/974; War Diary of the Chin Hills Battalion, WO 172/5040; www.thepeerage.com/p8058.htm).

[62] WO 203/5697

[63] Private Papers of Lt. Col. I.C.G. Scott (IWM)

[64] George Perkins, born, 19th March 1913.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 558), 30th March 1942.  Commander of a Gurkha Column, F.F.3, Burma Frontier Force, April 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Died, 1994 (“Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702 (Short Hstory of F.F.3, WO 203/5702); Ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943).

[65] WO 203/5702

[66] WO 203/5699

[67] “Indian Armed Forces in World War II, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42”, Prasad, B, Orient Longmans (1954); WO 203/5699

[68] David Rae Turner. Emergency Commission as 2nd Lt. to the General List (217666), 26th October 1941.  As Captain, Column Commander of a Gurkha Column, F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force at Pyuntaza, February 1942.  Became Commanding Officer of F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force when the appointed C.O., Captain Gaudie, went sick, mid-April 1942.  Continued as Commanding Officer of F.F.1 following the amalgamation with F.F.7, May 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942 (“Burma Frontier Force by Lt. Col G.G. Pryce”, WO 203/5697; “F.F.1’s Part in the Burma Campaign by Lt. Col. W.R.V. Russell M.C.”, WO 203/5699; British Army List; London Gazette).

[69] Edward Gordon Forbes, born, Bengal, India, 16th November 1905.  Occupation given as "Planter" when sailing from London to Singapore aboard the "Atsuta Maru", 11th February 1927.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the ABRO (ABRO 69), 10th November 1939.  Served with the Burma Frontier Force, 1940.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 10th May 1941.  Served with F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force, 1st January 1942.  Was temporary Commander of H.Q. F.F.1, Burma Frontier Force at the fighting at Pyuntaza, on or around, 10th March 1942.  Temporary Captain, 14th March 1942.  Commanding Officer of the "newly reorganised" F.F.4, Burma Frontier Force, April-May 1942?.  Occupation given as "Accountant" when travelling from London to Auckland, New Zealand aboard RMS "Rangitata", 18th December 1958 ("Burma Frontier Force" by Lt. Colonel G.G. Pryce, WO 203/5697 (Burma Frontier Force, WO 203/5697); “F.F.1’s Part in the Burma Campaign by Lt. Col. W.R.V. Russell M.C.”, WO 203/5699; Burma Army List; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast).

[70] WO 203/5697

[71] WO 203/5697

[72] WO 203/5702

[73] WO 172/447

[74] WO 203/5702; WO 172/447

[75] WO 203/5702

[76] WO 203/5702

[77] WO 203/5702