The Burma Campaign

Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police

[I am grateful to the Learmond family for granting permission to use the personal account of Lt. Colonel Learmond in preparing this history.]

The Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police was raised in April 1887.[1]

At the start of the war in 1939 the Battalion Commandant was Major A.W.S. Learmond.  He had a long association with the Burma Military police and had been Battalion Commandant between 1932 and 1936.[2]

In December 1941 the Battalion was reported as having a strength of 1,751 officers and men.[3]

Central Burma - Mandalay

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The Battalion’s main role was the protection of the rail lines between Mandalay and Myitkyina.  The Battalion Headquarters were at Mandalay with posts stretching from Thayetmyo to Katha.  An outpost was also maintained at Magwe.[4]  The task of controlling these posts from Battalion Headquarters under active service conditions was therefore quite impossible.  The Battalion Headquarters remained at Mandalay almost to the end and saw the town gradually destroyed by bombing attacks.  During these raids assistance of all kinds was given and law and order was maintained.  Escorts and guards at different points were also provided and when the time for withdrawal came numbers of these were lost and had to find their way out as best they could.  Many of the Burmans in the Battalion deserted but some remained faithful to their posts until the Battalion marched out to India.[5]

In February 1942 a detachment of six infantry platoons was sent from Mandalay by train to Rangoon under the command of 2nd Lieutenant H.J.M. Lindsay.[6]  Lindsay and his men arrived the next day, 5th February, and were sent to help guard the oil installations at Syriam, under the command of Major G.W.V. Ladds, a company commander of the 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.[7]  This force was joined by the hurriedly formed F.F.7, a mobile detachment of the Burma Frontier Force.[8]  Lindsay took under his command two platoons of the 2nd Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police that were on column duty at Thongwa.[9] When the installations were blown up on 7th March, Lindsay and his Burma Military Police men formed the rearguard and were among the last to embark upon the waiting launches that took them to a ship and on to Calcutta.  Arriving in Calcutta on 11th or 12th March, Lindsay went with the other evacuees to the Elephant Falls Camp at Shillong.  Here he elected to return to Burma and the Mandalay Battalion.  He flew to Myitkyina and from there on to Mandalay, arriving back at the Battalion in early April.  His men remained at Shillong and were subsequently incorporated into the Assam Rifles.[10]  

On 7th February 1942, Major C.M. Enriquez was appointed from retirement as Assistant Commandant at Mandalay.[11]  Also present at Mandalay was 2nd Lieutenant N. Mitchell who was commissioned into the Army in Burma Reserve of Officers on 7th March 1940 and also appointed to the Mandalay Battalion.[12]  At the beginning of April the newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant N.P.G. Hoole arrived to join the Battalion at Mandalay.[13] [14]

The 1st Burma Corps ordered a reorganisation of the Rangoon Battalions of the Burma Military Police on 1st April, effectively disbanding the Battalions as functioning units and assigning the platoons to the Burma Frontier Force, itself the subject of a major reorganisation ordered on 25th March.  The same order also included the transfer of the Mounted Infantry of the Mandalay Battalion to the Burma Frontier Force, presumably to reinforce the new Mounted Infantry unit being formed.[15] 

Mandalay had been bombed by the Japanese as early as February 1942.  A later raid on April 3rd was especially devastating and the fire that was started destroyed around two thirds of the town.  Elsewhere things continued to go badly for the Indo-British forces and the Japanese advance northwards continued.  It was planned to hand over the defence of the approaches to the town to the Chinese Army and Chinese troops began to arrive.  In preparation for an anticipated withdrawal from Mandalay, the Battalion sent its clerks, books and records to Myitkyina on 13th April.[16]

The detachment of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police at Magwe was at that time under the command of Captain C.G.B. Scovell, Assistant Commandant with the Mandalay Battalion. [17]  Also located in Magwe was the 12th Battalion, The Burma Rifles and this unit took the Burma Military Police detachment under its command on 17th April, when the 12th Burma Rifles became part of ‘Magforce’.  The force formed the rearguard for the 1st Burma Division on the night of 17th/18th April while Magwe burned.  The 12th Burma Rifles subsequently joined the retreat to Nyaunghla and Yenangyaung and the fighting that took place there.  By this time Scovell’s command had all been lost – three platoons and two troops of Punjabi Mounted Infantry having deserted.  By the time Scovell rejoined the Mandalay Battalion at Mandalay he had only three men left.[18]

At around this time a significant portion of the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police withdrew through the area by train from Meiktila to Mytikyina.  A detachment of around 90 men could not be accommodated on the train and with their Commanding Officer, Major H. Chappell, went by road in a convoy of seven lorries and a bus.[19]  They reached Ywataung where they arranged to board a train on 17th April.  In addition to taking stores and records, this detachment also took clothing to be used to refit the Burma Military Police in Myitkyina.  The clothing was obtained from the Battalion Commandant of the Mandalay Battalion, Lt. Colonel Learmond.  After the Rangoon Battalion detachment entrained, the lorries and the bus that had brought them from Meiktila were sent to the Mandalay Battalion in Mandalay.[20]

On 23rd April the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police began to withdraw by train to the North of the city to guard the railway line to Myitkyina between Sagaing and Katha, as ordered the previous day.  Most of the Battalion’s heavy supplies were sent to Myitkyina and the Lines in Mandalay handed over to the 5th Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment.  The Dogras burned down the Lines a few days later at Lt. Colonel Learmond’s request.  The Battalion Headquarters with Lt. Colonel Learmond and 2nd Lieutenant Lindsay, three platoons of infantry and one or two troops of mounted infantry went to Tantabin in the Shwebo district.  Captain Scovell, Assistant Commandant of the Battalion, had command of a similar sized detachment at Kawlin.  Another detachment went to Kanbalu.  Major C.M. Enriquez, Assistant Commandant, took three platoons to Katha from where he was to provide a platoon for Indaw to work with the Royal Engineers there and a further platoon for the railway junction at Naba.[21]  Soon after arrival at Myitkyina on 24th April, the Rangoon Battalion sent a platoon of Punjabi Mussalmen to Shwebo, two platoons of Kumaonis to Katha and a platoon of Kumaonis to Wuntho.  These detachments subsequently came under the command of the Mandalay Battalion.[22]

These dispositions were short lived however.  Mandalay was evacuated towards the end of April 1942 and during 29th April the 1st Burma Corps cleared as much as possible of the stores held there and destroyed the rest.  That night the last brigade on the East bank of the Irrawaddy River fell back to the Ava Bridge.  By midnight on 30th April the final elements of the Indo-British forces had safely crossed the river and two of the huge spans of the bridge were blown into the river.  Defence of the town was handed over to the Chinese who had only the strength to fight a brief delaying action.  Further withdrawal to the North became inevitable.[23]

Silver salver with map of Mandalay Battalion trek - presented to Lt. Colonel Learmond by Captain Scovell (Learmond Family)

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On 1st May 1942, the Battalion Commandant, Lt. Colonel Learmond led a party by special train from Tantabin with the intention of establishing his headquarters at Naba.  The party consisted of Battalion Headquarters, part of the Tantabin detachment and two troops of mounted infantry.  On reaching Kanbalu Learmond arranged with Lt. Colonel C.C.R. Edwards of the Burma Railways to organise special trains to collect the Kanbalu and Kawlin detachments.[24]

The next day Learmond's train passed through Kawlin and Wuntho.  At Wuntho he met Captain Scovell, commander of the Kawlin detachment.  Scovell had gone to Wuntho to contact a platoon of the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police which had been sent there to carry out patrols under Scovell's command.  Learmond warned Scovell to be ready to leave Kawlin for Naba at very short notice.  Learmond's train then moved out and Scovell returned to Kawlin to make preparations of his own withdrawal.  The following day the trains arrived, bearing various Army detachments and military families, and were loaded before moving on to Wuntho.  The trains operated without signals as the signalling system had broken down.  However all reached Indaw on 4th May.

Further progress Northwards by train was impossible as the line beyond Indaw was blocked.  All on board the trains disembarked and readied themselves to go ahead on foot to Homalin.  A message was received that Major Enriquez had left Katha with the detachment there and would follow on a day behind.  Jemadar Bhim Bahadur and 25 Gurkha other ranks decided to try to contact their families by heading for Myitkyina.  (This party reached Mogaung on 9th May where most carried on for Myitkyina.  The Jemadar and seven others went on to Assam by way of the Hukawng Valley.)  The balance of Learmond's men set off and reached Nantha, about eight and half miles from Indaw in the early hours of the next morning.  Here they found the Battalion advance party.  A platoon of reinforcements for the Gloucestershire Battalion were picked up and taken along as they had no knowledge of the country or language.

The 5th May was spent resting at Nantha.  The road was full of civilian evacuees making good their own escape.  Two officers of the 10th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, Major C.S. Sullivan and Captain H.C. Butcher were encountered here.[25] [26]  That evening the Mandalay Battalion party moved on before camping on the bank of the Maza River, around nine and a half miles from Nantha.  Nearly all were exhausted from the march which was undertaken in very hot conditions.  The next day's march brought the party to a camp near Inbin, above the village of Banmauk.  Some officers of the Tenasserim Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force were met along with Lt. Colonel J.A. Drysdale, Captain T.G.C. Murray and Captain R. St.C. Stracy of the "P.O.L. Group" (P.O.L. – Petrol Oil Lubricants), all employees of the Burma Oil Company,.[27] [28] [29]

Details from silver salver with map of Mandalay Battalion trek - presented to Lt. Colonel Learmond by Captain Scovell (Learmond Family)

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Further marching on 7th May brought the party to a camp site on the Chaunggyi Chaung about two miles from Thayetkon, around 48 miles from Indaw.  The march continued the next day.  On 10th May, help was given to the senior sick, including Colonel C.G. Stewart, Burma Police, and Lt. Colonel W.M. Hodge of the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force who were carried on ponies.[30] [31]  That day a note was found left by Mr. B.E. Smythies of the Burma Forest Department.[32]  Smythies' note advised evacuees to take the Tonhe route via Naungpu-Aung and not to go to Homalin.  The note also advised of where a supply of rice might be obtained however Chinese troops had got there first.  The Battalion party continued on and at Naungpu-Aung tried unsuccessfully to divert civilian evacuees to the Tonhe route.  Instead they followed the Mandalay Battalion to Homalin which was reached on 12th May.  The town was practically deserted however some rice was purchased and then men occupied the abandoned Burma Military Police lines.

One of the items with which the party was burdened was an amount of silver coins.  In the interests of maintaining the pace of the trek, Learmond dumped the lot into the middle of the river to prevent any potential looters being tempted to go back for it if left on dry land.[33]

The next day, 13th May, was spent at Homalin resting men and animals.  Lt. Colonel Learmond took a boat down river to Tonhe hoping to organise supplies and river craft.  He met Lt. Colonel Abernethy of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles and Lt. Colonel Tudor-Craig of the 11th Battalion, both looking for advice about which routes to take.[34] [35] [36]  Abernethy decided to lead his battalion out via the Somra Tract.[37]  That evening, Captain E.W. Booker of the Bhamo Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, arrived and reported that he had joined Major Enriquez's party at Katha and that the party was only five miles behind and would join up the following morning.[38]

Major Enriquez and his men arrived the next day just as Learmond's party was leaving.  Nyaunghintha was reached around midday after a three mile march.  Further hard marching brought everyone to Tonhe on 16th May, where a party of Royal Marines were found, then to Thanan on 18th May and to the village of Kashom Khulan by the evening of 20th May.  The next day the party began the descent from the hills on to the Manipur Plain and reached Yaripok on the morning of 22nd May.  That afternoon Thousal was reached, the party by now some 234 miles from the start of the march at Indaw.  A day's rest was taken and many of the sick were taken by lorry to hospital at Imphal.  Major Sullivan and seventeen other officers of the 10th Battalion and other battalions of the Burma Rifles arrived.  Lt. Colonel Learmond went on ahead to obtain information from Imphal.  The next day he returned with news and supplies and the party took a further day to ready itself for the march into Imphal.  On 26th May they marched into Imphal, with Learmond going on ahead to arrange for accommodation.  On arrival, the men of the Mandalay Battalion took up accommodation in one of the "enclosed villages" just beyond the bombed out bazaar.  Since leaving Indaw the party had covered 248 miles on foot with the help of a few ponies.

Lt. Colonel Learmond's account ends with the arrival of his party at Imphal.  He and his men would later find their way to Ranchi and then on to Hoshiarpur where the remnants of the Burma Army were being gathered for rest, re-equipment and reorganisation.

 13 November 2017

 



[1] "The Lineages and Composition of Gurkha Regiments in British Service", by J.L. Chapple (1984)

[2] Alexander William Swanson     Learmond born, South Leith, Edinburgh, 7th March 1891.  Attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps, 1st January 1909 to February 1909.  Attached to the Royal Scots Regiment, February 1909 to 1912.  Attached to the 8th Allahabad Rifles, 1st October 1914 to 10th May 1915.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., IARO  (AI 770), 30th April 1915.  Posted to the 55th Coke's Rifles (Frontier Force), Kohat, 1st June 1915.  Attached to 55th Coke's Rifles from 23rd June 1915.  Posted to the 51st Sikhs, Jullundur, 1st January 1916.  Served Mesopotamia (Iraq), 6th January 1916 to 1st June 1919.  Attached to 51st Sikhs from 7th January 1916 to 24th May 1919.  Served Iraq, 24th January 1916 to 14th April 1916.  In Mesopotamia, wounded, 6th April 1916.  Promoted to Lieutenant, IARO, 30th April 1916.  Married Gertrude Pattie Florence Needham at St. Andrew's, Ferozepore, India, 25th October 1916.  From his early days in the Army was known by the nickname of "Tarzan".  Invalided to India, 1917.  Served Afghanistan, N.W. Frontier, 1919.  Promoted to Captain, IARO, 30th April 1919.  Posted to the 16th Indian Division, Kohat, as Field Cashier, 1st June 1919 to 1st October 1919.  Posted to the 3rd Echelon, Bombay, 1st October 1919 to 31st January 1920.  Served as Staff Captain, 10th October 1919 to 30th September 1921.  Posted Army Headquarters, Delhi, as Staff Captain, Military Secretary Branch, 31st January 1920 to 1st April 1920.  Appointed to the Indian Army from the IARO as Captain (Indian Army List gives 30th January 1920), 30th March 1920, with seniority from 29th January 1920.  Posted Army Headquarters, Simla, as Staff Captain, Military Secretary Branch, 1st April 1920 to 1st October 1921.  Served with the 37th Dogras, (redesignated the 1st Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment in 1922), 10th October 1921 to 1st October 1925.  Attached to 17th Dogra Regiment, 1st October 1921 to 5th March 1937.  Served Waziristan, 1922-23.  Seconded to the Burma Military Police as Assistant Commandant from 12th October 1925 to 5th May 1929.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Western Battalion, Burma Military Police, Myitkyina, 10th October 1925 to 20th November 1926.  Served as Assistant Commandant, Southern Shan States Battalion, Burma Military Police, Loimwe, 1st December 1926 to 5th May 1929.  Served with the 1st Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment, Jubbulpore, 10th October 1929 to 10th May 1931.  Served as Assistant Commandant,  the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police, Loimwe, early 1930.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), with the 1st Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment, 11th May 1931 to 14th March 1932.  Seconded to the Burma Military Police as Commandant, the Mandalay Battalion, 15th March 1932 to 14th March 1936.  For service in Burma, 1930-32 (Saya San Rebellion), Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 20th December 1932.  Promoted to Major, 29th January 1934.  Served with the 1st Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment as Company Commander, Bannu, 15th March 1936 to 14th March 1937.  Served North-West Frontier, 1936-37.  On separation of Burma from India, seconded to Burma Military Police as Commandant of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, 6th March 1937.  Served with the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police as Commandant, 15th March 1937 to 30th November 1942.  For service in the North-West Frontier, 1936-37 campaign, serving with the 1st Battalion, 17th Dogra Regiment, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 18th February 1938.  Married Kathleen Higginbotham at Scots Kirk,Rangoon, 4th May 1939.  Awarded the King's Police Medal for Distinguished Service, 1st January 1941.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 29th January 1942.  As Lt. Colonel, attached to the Burma Military Police, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 28th October 1942.  Appointed Administrative Commandant, Hoshiarpur, 1st December 1942.  Administrative Commandant to the Government of Burma, 1st November 1945 to 1st March 1946.  Worked at Mawchi Mines, September 1946 to 27th July 1949.  Left Burma for Ireland, 1949.  Worked as House Governor (Secretary/Manager) in the National Children’s Hospital, Harcourt Street, Dublin, 1954 to 1966.  Died, Dublin, 27th September 1971  ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; Family records; Find a Grave; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List 1921; Indian Army List 1930; IOR/L/MIL/14/61435; IOR/M/4/1529; London Gazette).

[3] WO 106/3675

[4] “Burma Frontier Force”, WO 106/3673

[5]Burma Frontier Force, Report on the B.F.F. 1939-1942by Brigadier J.F. Bowerman, WO 203/5692

[6] Hugh John Mainwaring Lindsay, born, 7th July 1907.  Discharged at his own request from the Honorable Artillery Company Infantry Battalion, 23rd November 1925.  Worked for the Indo-Burma Petroleum Company, 1937.  Worked for Steel Brothers, pre-war.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 96), 7th March 1940.  Served with the Burma Military Police, 1940-42.  Married, 1941.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 5th November 1941.  Assistant Commandant, the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, February 1942 to May 1942.  Commanded the detachment of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police on coast watching duty in the Hanthawaddy District, 4th February 1942 to 7th March 1942.  Having been transferred to the battalion, arrived with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 5th November 1943.  Part of the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles that served with the first Chindit Operation, 1943.  As Lt.Colonel, relinquished his duties as Deputy Secretary, Government of Burma, Defence and External Affairs Department, 31st December 1945.  Transferred from the Indo-Burma Petroleum Company to the Burmah Oil Company, post war.  Granted the honorary rank of Major on release from military service, 25th March 1946.  Travelled from Liverpool to Rangoon on board the S.S. "Worcestershire", departing, 29th July 1946.  Returned to Burma from Digboi and took up post as Manager, Chauk, 1952.  Retired from Burmah Oil Company, from the post of Manager, Chauk and lived in Fleet, Hampshire, 1959.  Attended the "Indigenous Forces Luncheon", 4th October 1963.  Died, Hampshire, 26th December 1991 ("Distinctly I Remember", H. Braund, Wren (1972); “Burma Invaded 1942”, Enriquez C.M. (2013); Ancestry.co.uk; Anglo-Burmese Library - Chindits; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; Eulogy - Ancestry.co.uk; Thacker's Directory 1939; War Diary of the 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/2658).

[7] “Narrative of the Burma Campaign, 1 Glosters”, War Diary of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, WO 172/861

[8] "Some Were Lucky, The War in and Around Burma as Seen By C.A. McDowall", MSS EUR C417; "Distinctly I Remember", H. Braund, Wren (1972)

[9] “Report of Burma Military Police” by Major H. Chappell, WO 203/5693

[10] “Burma Invaded 1942”, Enriquez C.M. (2013)

[11] Colin Metcalfe Dallas Enriquez, born in Fyzabad, India, 3rd October 1884.  Educated in England and at King's College., 1st January 1899.  Graduated from the Royal Military Academy, 1903.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, stationed at Peshawar, 10th October 1903.  Transferred to the Indian Army, attached 21st Punjabis, Multan, 3rd April 1905.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 10th January 1906.  Served during Operations in the Mohmand Country, N.W. Frontier of India, 1908.  Adjutant, 21st Punjabis, 1st August 1909.  Promoted to Captain, 10th October 1912.  Assistant Commandant, attached to the Putao Battalion, Burma Military Police, later the Myitkyina Battalion, Burma Military Police, 1913? to 1917?.  As Captain (acting Major), Company Commander, the 85th Burma Rifles, from 1st September 1917.  Acting Major, 29th October 1917 to 9th October 1918.  As Major, Company Commander, the 1st Battalion, 21st Punjabis, attached the 85th Burma Rifles, from 22nd January 1918.  Promoted to Major, 10th October 1918.  As Captain (temporary Major), appointed Divisional Recruiting Officer, Meiktila (Burma), 11th June 1919.  Wrote a number of books, drawing on his travels and experiences on the North-West Frontier and in Burma, 1900s.  Posted to Malaya, 1926.  Retired, 29th February 1928.  Appointed Assistant Commandant, the Mandalay Battalion, the Burma Military Police, 7th February 1942.  Returned to his home in Mogok, 1945.  Died, Rangoon, 29th May 1969.  Wrote "Burma Invaded 1942" describing the disaster of the British retreat from Burma, published, 2013 ("A Burmese Enchantment", C.M. Enriquez, Thacker, Spink & Co. (1916); "Burma Invaded 1942", C. M. Enriquez, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2013); “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); British Army List 1920; Hart's Army List 1913; http://cmenriquez.com/about/; Indian Army List 1919; Indian Army List 1921).

[12] Norman Mitchell, born, 2nd January 1916.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 94), 7th March 1940.  Served with the Burma Military Police from March 1940?.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 2nd November 1941.  Served with the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, February 1942? to May 1942?.  Served as company commander, 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 16th May 1945 to 1946.  Served as Second-in-Command, 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1946 to 9th April 1946.  Left the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment and proceeded on release from the Army, 9th April 1946.  As Lieutenant, war substantive Captain, temporary Major, the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, awarded the M.B.E., gazetted, 6th June 1946.  Died, January 2001.

As Lieutenant, war substantive Captain, temporary Major , awarded the M.B.E., gazetted  6th June 1946, his citation follows:

Brigade:  552 Line of Communication Sub Area
Division: 505 District
Corps:                XII Army
Unit:       2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment

Date of Recommendation:         20th August 1945        

Action for which recommended :-           Throughout the period under review 16 May – 15 Aug ’45 this officer has continued to do excellent work while commanding a rifle coy of the Bn in rounding up dacoits and in ye collection of unauthorised arms and amn in the Shwebo District.  During June and July 1945 he took part with is Coy in the operations in the Monywa Dist when his coy was responsible for shooting two of three Japanese Officer Intelligence agents.  His success in raids ins due to the care[sic] preparation and trouble he always take sin making a sound plan.  Previous to the period this officer did excellent work in the Kawlin Dist in rounding up dacoits and an operation conducted by him later in the Shwebo Dist resulted in the killing of the Dacoit leader Shwe Si who had long been wanted by the Police.

Recommended by:  Lt. Col H. Chappell, Comd, 2 Burma Regiment; Lt. Col J.E. Fairlie, Officating Commander, 552 L of C Sub Area; Major-General A.H.J. Snelling, Commander 505 District.

Signed By: Lieutenant-General Sir Montagu George North Stopford, G.O.C.-in-C., Twelfth Army; General M.C. Dempsey, C-inC Allied Land Forces SEA

 (“Burma Invaded 1942”, Enriquez C.M. (2013); ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List October 1940, 1943; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; War diary 2nd Burma Regiment, WO 172/7802, WO 172/10320; WO 373/82/281).

[13] Norman Peter Gledhill Hoole, born, 9th May 1916.  As member of the Police Service, sailed from Birkenhead for Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Burma", departed, 1st November 1935.  Appointed to the Burma Police, 6th December 1935.  Served as Assistant Superintendent of Police, Burma Police, 6th December 1935 to 1941.  Served as Assistant Superintendent, Headquarters, Burma Police, Myingyan, 1940.  Married Barbara Mary Jeens, London, 1940.  Sailed with wife from Liverpool for Rangoon aboard S.S. "Burma", departed, 12th August 1940.  Served as Sub-Divisional Officer, Burma Police at Yenangyaung, 1941.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO (ABRO 578), 1st April 1942.  Served with the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, April 1942.  Released from active service with effect from 9th October 1942.  Relinquished commission as 2nd Lt. and granted honorary rank of Major, 20th January 1946.  As member of the Indian Police, sailed from Liverpool for Rangoon aboard the S.S. "Worcestershire", departed, 18th February 1947.  Died, 1988 (“Burma Invaded 1942”, Enriquez C.M. (2013); India Office and Burma Civil List 1938; Births 1870-1953 (Anglo-Burmese Library); Burma Civil List 1942 (Anglo-Burmese Library); ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory).

[14] Enriquez

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

[16] Enriquez

[17] Charles George Barrington Scovell, born, 22nd September 1905.  Worked as a Senior Assistant with Foucar & Co. Ltd., 1931.  Emergency Commission as 2nd Lieutenant (189607), 28th April 1941.  Appointed to the Burma Military Police as Assistant Commandant, 1941.  Assistant Commandant, the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, 1942.  As Lieutenant, joined the 1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 29th July 1944.  As war substantive Captain, relinquished his commission with the honorary rank of Major, 26th April 1946.  As temporary Major, Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in Burma, gazetted, 9th May 1946.  Attended the Burma Indigenous Forces Luncheons of 1963 and 1964, 1st January 1963 (Anglo-Burmese Library; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; London Gazette; Thacker's Directory; War diary of the 1st Burma Regiment, WO 172/5036).

[18] War Diary of the 12th Burma Rifles, WO 172/984; Eniquez.

[19] Hereward Chappell born, 21st April 1898.  Educated Wyggeston School, Leicester.  Enrolled as Cadet in the Saugor Military Academy, India, 1916.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 18th April 1916.  Appointed as 2nd Lt. (AI 847) to the Indian Army, 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles (18th Royal Garhwal Rifles from 1921), 27th April 1916.  Served Iraq, 20th March 1917 to 28th September 1918.  Served Salonika and Turkey, 25th October 1918 to 11th November 1918.  Served Waziristan, 1919-21.  Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 5th June 1919.  Promoted to Captain, 18th April 1920.  Inspector of Messes, Waziristan Force, 17th May 1922 to 2nd October 1922.  Staff Captain, 5th December 1923 to 24th February 1924.  Served North-West Frontier of India, 1930.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  Seconded to and served as Assistant Commandant with the Burma Military Police from 7th August 1931.  Promoted to Major, 18th April 1934.  Transferred to the Special Unemployed List, Indian Army, 1st November 1935.  Officiating Commandant, Northern Shan States Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1937.  Commandant, 2nd Rangoon Battalion, Burma Military Police, 1938 to May 1942.  Joined the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1943.  Commanding Officer, the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 20th August 1945.  Promoted from Major (temporary Lt. Colonel) to Lt. Colonel, 18th February 1946.  Retired, 6th June 1948.  As substantive Lt. Colonel, Officer Commanding the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Regiment, awarded O.B.E., 12th June 1947, gazetted, 20th August 1948.  Died, 28th December 1978 ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; WO 373/82/281).

[20] WO 203/5693

[21] This paragraph is drawn from “Burma Invaded 1942”, Enriquez C.M. (2013)

[22] WO 203/5693

[23] “Indian Armed Forces in World War II, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42”

[24] C.C.R. Edwards, Deputy Chief Engineer, Burma Railways.  In World War I he served as a Flight Commander with the Royal Naval Air Service, winning the D.S.C. and Croix de Guerre.  Later was Captain, temporary Major with the Royal Air Force, 1918.

[25] Cecil Stevens Sullivan born, 18th October 1898.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, Indian Army Reserve of Officers, 15th January 1918.  Served The War of, 1914-21.  Appointed to the 4th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles, 12th June 1918.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant, 7th August 1919, with seniority from 15th January 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 7th October 1919.  Served Iraq, 1920.  Served with the 3rd Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 20th July 1920.  Served with the 5th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 1st April 1922.  Served with the 20th Burma Rifles from 3rd September 1922.  Promoted to Captain, 1st October 1924.  Appointed Company Officer of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 16th June 1936.  Promoted to Major, 1st October 1936.  Served as Officiating Officer-in-Charge, The Burma Rifles Regimental and Recruiting Centre, Maymyo, 1939 to 1940.  Served as Senior Staff Officer, Mandalay, late 1940.  Served as Second-in-Command of the 10th (Training) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941 to May 1942.  Acting Lieutenant Lt. Colonel, 1943.  As Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, promoted to Lt. Colonel, 1st October 1944 ("War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; Burma Army List January 1938; Burma Army List January 1940; Burma Army List October 1940; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; Indian Army List January 1919; Indian Army List 1921; Indian Army List April 1943; London Gazette; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond).

[26] Harold Cecil Butcher born Pakokku, Burma, 18th November 1903.  As Gentleman Cadet from the Royal Military College commissioned from as 2nd Lieutenant to the Unattached List, 27th August 1924.  Appointed to the Indian Army, attached to the 4th Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment, 10th October 1925, with seniority from 27th August 1924.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 27th November 1926.  Served North-West Frontier of India, 1930.  Served Burma (Saya San Rebellion), 1930-32.  On Special Duty at Pegu with the Burma Military Police from 9th August 1931.  Assistant Commandant with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Military Police, 6th November 1932 to 20th February 1935.  Promoted to Captain, 27th August 1933.  Served North-West Frontier, 1936-37.  Assistant Commandant with the Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 30th October 1939 to 1939?.  As Captain, acting Major, served with the 8th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st November 1940 to 1942.  Served as acting Major, 1st November 1940 to 31st January 1941.  Served as temporary Major, 1st February 1941 to 26th August 1941.  As Captain, served with the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941.  Promoted to Major, 21st August 1941.  As Captain, served with the 10th (Training) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1942?.  Died in Delhi, India, 3rd June 1950?  ("History of the Chin Hills Battalion", Mss Eur E250; "War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Indian Army List 1932; Indian Army List January 1942; London Gazette; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; FindMyPast; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond).

[27] John Alexander Drysdale born, 15th November 1908.  Worked for the Burmah Oil Company, 1920s to 1960s?.  Travelled from Quebec, Canada to Southampton on board the S.S. "Empress of Britain", occupation given as Assistant, Burmah Oil Company,arrived, 18th August 1928.  Appointed Controller of Petroleum Products, responsible for their distribution, 15th March 1942.  Commissioned into the ABRO (ABRO 655), 15th April 1942.  War substantive Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, 15th July 1942.  Released from active service with effect from 12th August 1942.  As acting Lt. Colonel, Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 1st June 1943.  Relinquished commission as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO and granted the honorary rank of Colonel, 9th September 1946.  Joined the board of the Burmah Oil Company, 1st March 1960.  Died, 28th March 1986  ("A History of the Burmah Oil Company, 1924-1966", Corley T.A.B. (1988) - extract on the Anglo-Burmese Library website; ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943; London Gazette; The Glasgow Herald (Google News).

[28] Thomas George Chapman Murray born, 7th July 1913.  Worked for the Burmah Oil Company.  Emergency Commission from Cadet  to the General List as 2nd Lieutenant (189608), 28th April 1941.  Served with the 5th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941.  Appointed "A" Company Commander, the 10th (Training) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st February 1942.  Participated in the destruction of oil installations at Chauk, Syriam and Mandalay, 1942.  War substantive Lieutenant, temporary Captain from 15th March 1942.  Encountered by The Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police on the trek to India at Inbin, part of the "P.O.L. Group", 6th May 1942.  Attended the Staff College, Quetta, 1944?.  As war substantive Captain, temporary Major from 6th June 1944.  As war substantive Major, relinquished his commission and was granted the honorary rank of Lt. Colonel, 27th September 1946.  Sailed for Singapore from Liverpool on board the S.S. "Georgic", occupation given as Oil Company executive, departed, 12th October 1946.  Died, 1st January 1985 ("SUSAN MURRAY’S ESCAPE FROM BURMA", Anglo-Burmese Library; ancestry.co.uk; British Army List; Burma Defence Services List July 1941; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond; War diary of the 10th Burma Rifles, WO 172/982).

[29] Russel St. Clair Stracy (Stracey) born Bombay, 27th May 1908.  Worked for the Burmah Oil Company.  Married Kathleen Edith Martin, Rangoon, 1936.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant and served with the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 3rd March 1940 to 15th December 1941.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 276), 15th December 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, temporary Captain from 1st May 1942.  Encountered by The Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police on the trek to India at Inbin, part of the "P.O.L. Group", 6th May 1942.  Released from active service with immediate effect, 16th February 1943.  As Lieutenant, acting Captain, Burma Auxiliary Force, Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in the field, gazetted, 1st June 1943.  Sailed from Bombay to Liverpool on board the S.S. "Empress of Scotland", occupation given as office assistant, arrived, 7th May 1947.  Sailed from Greenock for Rangoon on board the S.S. "Burma", employee of the Burmah Oil Company, departed, 17th September 1947.  Sailed from Liverpool to Rangoon aboard the M.V. “Derbyshire", occupation given as Assistant, Burmah Oil Company, departed, 11th September 1951.  Sailed from London for Bombay on board the S.S. "Strathaird", last country of permanent residence given as Pakistan, departed, 1st November 1955 (ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; London Gazette; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond).

[30] Clyne Garden Stewart born, 1889.  Educated at Robert Gordon's College and Aberdeen University graduating MA, 1911.  Joined the Burma Police as cadet, 1912.  Burma Police, 2nd Grade, Officating 1st Grade, Tharrawaddy, 1915.  Married Lilias Harriet Brice at Rangoon, 17th February 1915.  Assistant to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police for Railways and Criminal Investgation, 1st January 1920.  Head of the Police Training Academy Mandalay, 1920s.  District Superintendnet of Police, Mandalay, 1925.  As District Superintendent, Burma Police, Awarded the King's Police Medal, 1st January 1926.  District Superintendent of Police, Insein, 1930-31.  As District Superintendent Burma, Indian Police Service, awarded the O.B.E., gazetted, 3rd June 1932.  Sailed from London for Bombay on board the S.S. "Strathnaver", occupation given as India Police, departed, 2nd October 1936.  Awarded the Burma Police Medal, 1937-42?.  Chief of Police in Rangoon, 1937?.  District Superintendent of Police, Officiating Deputy Inspector-General, 1938.  Deputy Inspector-General of Police, 1939-40.  Director, Defence Bureau Burma, 1939-41.  Interrogated the Burmese nationalist political leader Gallon Saw while he was being held in detention in Palestine, 1941.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 311), 7th January 1942.  War substantive Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, 7th April 1942.  Defence Bursar, 1942.  Trekked to India with the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, 1st May 1942 to 22nd May 1942.  Burma Intelligence Liaison Officer, New Delhi, September 1942.  Joined Mountbatten's Southeast Asia Command in Delhi as intelligence officer with rank of Colone, 1943.  Returned to Aberdeen and worked for Ministry of Food before undertaking teacher training, 1945.  Headmaster for some years of a village school in Aberdeenshire.  Died Aberdeen, 22nd November 1959.  His description of this journey "The Trek from Burma" (item 15267, box ref 06/114/1) was accepted into the IWM Documents Department, 1st January 2008  (ancestry.co.uk; Burma Army List 1943; Burma Civil List 1938; Burma Civil List 1939, 1940; Burma Civil List 1942; Burma Police List 1939; FindMyPast; IWM Collections;  London Gazette; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond; Thacker's Directory).

[31] William McIndoe Hodge born, 1897?  Assistant, Graham Trading Co. Ltd, Rangoon, 1925.  Committee member of the Burma Motor Insurance Agents Association, 1925-30.  Member of the Burma Marine Insurance Agents Association, 1925-31.  Member of the Burma Fire Insurance Association, 1925-39.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, 23rd September 1925.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 23rd September 1927.  Married Helene Keith Howes at Rangoon, 7th December 1927.  Company Officer with the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 1st July 1928.  Promoted to Major, 18th January 1935.  Vice-Chairman, the committee of the Burma Motor Insurance Agents Association, 1939.  Vice-Chairman, the committee of the Burma Marine Insurance agents Association, 1939.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 18th January 1939.  On leave outside of Burma until, 28th February 1939.  Manager, Graham Trading Co. Ltd, Rangoon, 1940-41.  Commanding Officer of the Rangoon Battalion, Burma Auxiliary Force, 1939 to May 1942.  Trekked to India with the party of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police led by Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond, May 1942.  Transferred to the Supernumeray List, 12th October 1942 (Burma Army List January 1938; Burma Army List January 1939; Burma Army List January 1940; Burma Army List 1943; FindMyPast; Indian Army List July 1928; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond; Thacker's Directory).

[32] Bertram Evelyn Smythies born Naini Tal, India, 11th July 1912.  Read Botany and Forestry at Balliol College, Oxford, 1930-33?  Joined the Burma Forest Service as Assistant Conservator, 2nd November 1934.  Assistant Conservator, Burma Forest Service, Myitmaka Division, 1st January 1939.  Author of several books on birds and flowers, 1940-1984.  Assistant Conservator, Burma Forest Service, North Toungoo Division, 1st January 1941.  Left a note advising evacuees trekking to India to take the Tonhe route, found by Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond's party of the Mandalay Battalion, Burma Military Police, 10th May 1942.  Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 1347), 23rd November 1943.  As 2nd Lieutenant, relinquished commission and granted the honorary rank of Major, 20th January 1946.  As temporary Major, Mentioned in Despatches for gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted, 19th September 1946.  Appointed to the Colonial Forest Service, Sarawak, January 1949 to 1964.  Married Florence “Jill” Mary, 1964?  Died Redhill, 27th June 1999 (Burma Civil List 1942; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertram_Smythies; London Gazette; Private papers of Lt. Colonel A.W.S. Learmond; Thacker's Directory).

[33] Family anecdote.

[34] Peter Paul Abernethy, was born 29th June 1897.  He was commissioned to the Unattached List, 2nd Lt., 30th January 1917.  Assigned to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt. (IA 491), 7th February 1917, 13th Frontier Force Rifles.  Served Egyptian Expeditionary Force, October 1917 to 31st October 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 30th January 1918, acting Captain from 27th June 1920 (while commanding a company, 58th Vaughan’s Rifles (13th FFR) to 29th January 1921, promoted to Captain, 30th January 1921.  Served Waziristan, 1920-21, for which Mentioned in Despatches, 1st June 1923 and 12th June 1923.  Instructor (Class 2) Small Arms School, India, 18th January 1925 to 5th October 1926.  Promoted to Major, 30th January 1935.  Seconded to the 4th Burma Rifles, 8th November 1937.  With the rank of Temporary Lt. Col., Commanding Officer of 4th Burma Rifles.  Promoted to Lt.Colonel, 30th January 1943.  He retired on account of ill-health on 23rd August 1946 (London Gazette; Indian Army List; British Army List; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004)).

[35] Philip Carlisle Tudor-Craig, born 24th July 1893.  Commissioned temporary 2ndLt., 4th September 1914 to 18th November 1914; temporary Lieutenant 19th November 1914 to 9th August 1915; temporary Captain, 10th August 1915 to 21st September 1917.  Commissioned as 2ndLt., Royal Irish Fusiliers, 9th June 1915, seniority from 15th March 1916.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 4th June 1916.  Appointed to the Indian Army as Lieutenant, 20th October 1917, acting Captain 1st April 1918 to date unknown.  Attached as Captain, Company Commander, 3rd Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force), during 1921.  Promoted to Captain, 2nd June 1919 and to Major 2nd June 1933.  Commandant of the 11th Burma Rifles since 16th March 1938.  Died 5th July 1950 and buried at Kandapola, Sri Lanka (British Army List; Indian Army List; www.ancestry.co.uk).

[36] Lt.Colonel Tudor-Craig, commanding officer of the 11th Battalion, The Burma Rifles had been in command of a mixed party of officers and men of the 11th and 12th Battalions trekking to India.  On 3rd May the party reached Naba railway station where they were placed under the command of Lt. Colonel of the 4th Battalion who had been made Officer Commanding of the local area.  On 5th May the men remaining in the 11th and 12th Battalion party were given the option of going to India or of being disembodied from service.   All bar Tudor-Craig, two British officers and three Karen riflemen opted to be disembodied and return to their homes.  Tudor-Craig’s small party of six eventually reached India (War Diary of the 11th Burma Rifles, WO 172/983).

[37] Lt. Colonel Abernethy of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles wrote of factors influencing his choice of route to India:  It was difficult to get information of routes to India as the Civil Officials had gone and the local villagers knew the country only one day or two days from their own villages.  They pointed with fearsome awe towards the Naga hills.  In deciding which way to go my chief problem now was food and water.   I had nearly 400 Officers and men to feed on a route on which already people were dying of starvation and exhaustion.  It would have been relatively easy with a small party.  There were many tracks and the problem resolved itself to a choice between three – One to the North used by General Stilwell, one via Tamu to the South, or by a lesser known route, difficult, but shorter and directly West, in the Centre.  I sent the sick and weak via Tamu, and took the centre route.” (War Diary of the 4th Burma Rifles, WO 172/977).

[38] 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 he 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).