The Burma Campaign

[Transcribed from National Archives File WO 172/974, War Diary 1st Burma Rifles by:  Steve Rothwell - The Burma Campaign web site.

[The file contains other documents including the actual war diary for January 1942 and a further reconstruction for February 1942.]

 

Reconstructed war diary.  1 burif

8 dec 41 – 20 may 42

 

DECEMBER 1941.  On the outbreak of war with JAPAN the battalion was stationed in LOIMWE situated in KENGTUNG STATE, S.S.S. [Southern Shan States] some 100 miles from the THAI frontier and was under the command of Lieut.-Col. B. RUFFELL, O.B.E.[1] [2]  The role of the battalion was primarily, to deny the use of the TACHILEK-KENGTUNG road to an enemy force invading the SOUTHERN SHAN STATES from THAILAND and secondly, to destroy any enemy force operating in the hilly country N.E. and S.W. of this road.  In order to successfully carry out these roles the following tasks had been completed or were in the process of completion:-

(1)   A main defensive position had been constructed on a hill feature astride the TACHILEK-KENGTUNG road, approximately 4 miles S.E. of LOIMWE.  Wiring was completed during December.  This position was known as MIDDLE HILL.

(2)   Three minor defensive positions, or delaying positions, had been constructed in the vicinity of M.S. [milestone] 42, M.S. 36 and M.S. 27 on the same road.

(3)   Tracks leading into KENGTUNG STATE from the YUNNANESE, INDO-FRENCH and THAI frontiers were reconnoitred.

Immediately on the outbreak of hostilities final emergency measures were put into operation and officers on leave were recalled.

The remainder of December was spent strengthening the defences on the frontier road and further reconnaissance of important tracks.

During the latter half of the month H.Q. 1 Inf Bde [1st Burma Infantry Brigade Group] moved up to LOIMWE from TAUNGGYI.

JANUARY 1942.  The month saw no action by the battalion although the troops, in obedience of the Div Comd’s Order of the Day calling for the offensive spirit, were anxious to cross the THAI frontier and operate against enemy troops and posts in the frontier areas.  They were not allowed to do so.  The delaying positions forward of MIDDLE HILL were continuously manned, the garrison companies with their supporting arms being changed every fortnight.

 

During the month CHINESE troops had been moving south towards KENGTUNG STATE and eventually entered MONG YAWNG from CHELI in YUNNAN during the first half of January.  Further CHINESE troops entered KENGTUNG town from the north about 27th January.

FEBRUARY 1942.  1 Burif [1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles] was ordered to leave LOIMWE on 5th February.  Between the 2nd and 4th of the month the battalion handed over the defence of the area to the CHINESE who moved troops into LOIMWE on the 5th.  From LOIMWE to TONGTA the move was by route march.  This was done in four stages marching by night.  Halts were made 8 miles E of KENGTUNG town, 7 miles W of KENGTUNG town, KUILONG and finally TONGTA.  From here the battalion was taken by M.T. [motor transport] to NAMMAWNGUN and subsequently to HOPONG where orders were received to proceed by M.T. to SHWENYAUNG and thence by rail to NYAUNGLEBIN where the unit arrived on approximately 20 Feb and came under the orders of 2 Inf Bde [2nd Burma Infantry Brigade Group].  Instead of detraining here the battalion was sent further south to PEGU arriving at midnight.  Here certain excess baggage and equipment was disposed of.  On the 21st 2 Bde changed the orders previously issued and ordered the return to NYAUNGLEBIN by march route.  A halt was made at DAIK-U where a “box” position was dug and wired.  No contact was made with the enemy who by this time had crossed to the West bank of the SITTANG RIVER.  The local civil authorities were frightened of civil disturbances and asked for assistance in policing the town.  The battalion evacuated the DAIK-U “box” approximately 25th February and reached NYAUNGLEBIN on 26th morning having travelled the PYUNTAZA-NYAUNGLEBIN section by train.  A position on the East of the main road and S.E. of the town was dug and wired for all-round defence.  Frequent recce patrols were sent out as far as the SITTANG RIVER and to beyond PYUNTAZA.  Daily M.T. patrols went southwards as far as PAYAGALE [Payagyi] where they contacted armoured patrols of 17 Div. [17th Indian Infantry Division] [3] and northwards to KYAUKTAGA.

MARCH 1942.  On the 5th the south M.T. patrol under command Jem. [Jemadar] AUNG THAN [4] (Burman) encountered an enemy road block on a bridge 1½ miles south of PYUNTAZA and suffered some casualties.[5]  The CHIN company,[6] under command 2/Lieut. J. MOIR,[7] with one section Support Pl.[Platoon] and one detachment of Mortar Pl. was despatched to clear this road block.  The attack reached its objective but the company commander was killed and the company forced to withdraw by heavy M.G. and mortar fire.  As a point of interest regarding enemy practices, it was later reported that MOIR’s head had been severed from his body and stuck on the top of the bridge on which the block had been established.  Patrols were subsequently sent out to recce the enemy position.  Great enterprise was shown by Hav. [Havildar] MAUNG KYAW (Burman) who disguised himself as a villager and managed to enter the road block ostensibly to help in digging trenches for the enemy.  He made his way out of the block again and returned to 1 BURIF lines with most valuable information, including a sketch of enemy dispositions, which was sent to Bde H.Q. [8]  A Bde attack was ordered to take place about 8/9 March [9] with the primary task of clearing the enemy road block and secondly, exploitation beyond to DAIK-U.  The attack on the road block was to be carried out by the 2/7 Rajputs and Divisional BREN CARRIERS supported by 2nd MTN BTY. [Mountain Battery] [10] whilst 1 BURIF and 5 BURIF were to carry out the exploitation.  Positions were taken up on the night of approximately 8/9 March [11] and the attack put in at dawn by the RAJPUTS.  1 BURIF was deployed East of WINGABAW in readiness for the exploitation role.  2/7 RAJPUTS rear Bn H.Q. and the Bty wagon lines were established about a mile to the south on a small wooded hill.  This was attacked during the morning by a small Japanese “noise party” and the elements established there fled in disorder through 1 BURIF position.  1 BURIF patrols found the hill unoccupied and collected any equipment abandoned by 2/7 RAJPUTS and 2 MTN BTY as could be found for return to those units.

Although the attack by 2/7 RAJPUTS met with some initial success, counter-measures of the Japanese drove them back in some confusion.  The Bde Comd now decided not to press the attack and 1 and 5 BURIF remained in position astride the RANGOON-MANDALAY road 1 mile North of PYUNTAZA, 1 BURIF West of the road, 5 BURIF East of road.  This position was held for 36 hours during which minor patrol encounters only occurred.  Withdrawal Northward along the main road was then ordered and the position was evacuated by night without incident.  This was the start of two months continued withdrawal.

At this stage the exhaustion caused by night marching combined with extensive patrolling and the recce and preparation of positions by day became apparent.  Men fell asleep on their feet and at halts during night marches it was necessary to keep a proportion of offrs[sic] and men standing.  Those who sat down fell asleep immediately.

It was often not known for how long a position was to be held, or an over-estimate was given.  This resulted in over-elaborate preparation of positions which were immediately abandoned and in loss of essential hours of rest.  Withdrawals with practically no warning also resulted in the loss of distant patrols which were necessary in the absence of mobile troops or M.T.

The first “stand” after the commencement of the withdrawal on this front [12] was made on the line of the river crossing the main road approximately 8 miles South of PENWEGON.  The battalion prepared a position around CHAUTAYA village behind the RAJPUTS and 5 BURIF who had taken up positions one mile further South.[13]  The enemy attacked on the night of approximately 17th March.[14]  Just prior to this attack 1 BURIF had been moved out of the prepared position to the West of the main road from where they were again moved back to the vicinity of the original position at the crucial moment when the RAJPUTS and 5 BURIF were being ordered to withdraw.  The withdrawal was covered by 1 BURIF until midnight when the battalion vacated the hastily taken-up position and withdrew through 5 BURIF who were holding the bridge at PENWEGON which was blown up as soon as the battalion was safely over.  Several patrols were lost during this action.

The withdrawal was continued by night marches until KYWEBWE was reached where another position astrise[sic]  the main road was prepared.  This was in the rear of CHINESE troops[15] through whom the unit had passed at PYU and who were now engaged with the enemy a few miles South of KYWEBWE.  This “box” was occupied for about 56 hours when it was handed over to the Chinese who were being driven back on to the town and had begin to site L.M.Gs. etc. amongst 1 BURIF posts without regard to fields of fire of our weapons.  The unit, on evacuation of the KYWEBWE position, withdrew to BAMBWEGON where it took over the right flank of a position astride the road which was being held by the RAJPUTS (left) and 5 BURIF (right).  This position was not held long enough to gain contact with the enemy who were still being held to the South by the CHINESE.  Further withdrawal to TOUNGOO [modern Taungoo] was ordered; RAJPUTS, who acted as rearguard, sent one Coy to take over the right flank position on withdrawal of 1 BURIF.

On arrival in TOUNGOO on approximately 21st March the battalion was accommodated in the buildings of the Landing Ground.[16]  Here orders were received to send all KARENS under command Capt. A.L.B. THOMPSON to MAWCHI in support of the KAREN levies in that area. [17]  This det. consisted of some 170 all ranks armed with rifles only.  All BURMANS were also to be dispatched to PYINMANA.  The unit departed from TOUNGOO about 23rd March and entrained at KYUNGON en route for TAUNGDWINGYI thereby closely escaping the JAPANESE attack on the Landing Ground the following morning, an attack in which the KARENS fought a creditable action.[18] [19]  On arrival at PYINMANA the BURMAN party was dropped.  The battalion eventually detrained at SATTHWA, about 20 miles South of TAUNGDWINGYI, and encamped some 4 miles from the railway station on the West side of the PROME road.  Alarm posts and slit trenches were dug but no enemy attack was anticipated.  The battalion now consisted of a reduced H.Q. Coy and two rifle coys with a total of 50% establishment.

On about 26th March the unit moved by M.T. to KYAUKPADAUNG from where they carried out a demonstration towards SHWEBANDAW suppo[r]ted by one troop of Light Tanks.  The demonstration having been uneventfully accomplished, the battalion moved by M.T. to PYALO where a 24 hour halt was made.  A move Southwards by march route was then made to a point of the PROME road opposite KAMA where the hills come down to the IRRAWADDY and the road runs through the East side of a river defile.  The role was to protect the defile against attack by enemy infiltration.

APRIL 1942.  The defile was held for three days and two nights during which time 17 Div. passed through after their action at PROME.  The RAJPUTS, who had been occupying a position some 6 miles to the South, were now withdrawn to the defile and took over its defence from 1 BURIF who were moved to the higher ground some 2½ miles to the East of the defile to fill a gap between the RAJPUTS and 5 BURIF who were still further to the East.  This gap was occupied for a matter of hours only when the battalion withdrew once again and took up a position on thee North bank of the BWETGYI chaung.  The bridge was blown immediately the battalion had crossed over.  Trenches were dug and patrols sent out and a 25pdr. Bty came under command in support of the defence of the position.  No contact was made a further withdrawal was made 36 hours later through 5 BURIF, who were then in position South of ALLANMYO, into the town itself where accommodation for the next day was found in a pongyi kyaung.[20]  At ALLANMYO 1 Bde went on to a pack basis preparatory to marching up the East bank of the IRRAWADDY which was unfit for M.T.  The Bde left ALLANMYO on approximately 6th April and took up a temporary position on the North bank of the river running into the IRRAWADDY some 8 miles North of ALLANMYO.  The bridge was destroyed at midnight 6th April (approx date) and the Bde left the PROME-TAUNGDWINGYI road shortly afterwards.

Progress during the first night along the river bank was somewhat chaotic; troops, bullock carts, mules, and chargers being intermingled in one slowly moving mass.  Providentially the enemy did not worry the Bde that night.  In fact no further contact was made until the commencement of operations in the MIGYAUNGYE area which was reached on the morning of 9th April.  1 Bde was disposed as follows.  Bde H.Q. in Rest House, RAJPUTS South of MIGYAUNGYE with one Coy at SINBAUNGWE, 1 and 5 BURIFS in the town.  On the 10th April the battalion was inoculated against cholera and a Coy of KACHIN reinforcements arrived from 3 BURIF via 9 BURIF.  In spite of the 24 hours rest at MIGYAUNGYE (during which the inoculation was done) the battalion had not recovered from the exhaustion caused by continuous night marches and occupation of positions by day.  Positions were often evacuated without contact with the enemy and continued withdrawal in these circumstances depressed the men who were anxious for a successful engagement.  A visit by Gen. ALEXANDER to 1 Bur Bde at MIGYAUNGYE and the communication of his confident views to the men had, however, helped to dispel the growing depression.  The battalion now consisted of a reduced H.Q. Coy and three rifle coys, a total of some 400 men.

On the night of the 10th orders were received for 1 BURIF to move to a position about 6 miles East of the town immediately South of the MIGYAUNGYE-TAUNGDWINGYI road.  This was intended to be a “stop” whilst 5 BURIF and RAJPUTS were operating further to the South against an enemy force which had been reported by M.I. [Military Intelligence] earlier that evening.  This “stop” was occupied on the morning of the 11th and held until the night of 12/13 April when Bde H.Q., RAJPUTS and 5 BURIF moved into position and relieved the battalion which had been ordered to return to MIGYAUNGYE and occupy the Southern edge of the town.

Owing to delay in receipt of orders for the move of 1 BURIF, the battalion did not start until 0300 hours 13 April.  MIGYAUNGYE at this time was held by one Coy 2/7 RAJPUTS and one B.F.F. coln[column] (believed to be WAS and LAHUS)[Burmese tribes]; Q.Ms. of 1 and 5 BURIF with Bn tpt [transport] had also remained there.  1 BURIF reached the bridge East of MIGYAUNGYE at about 0600 hrs 13 April and was met by a B.F.F. representative with a rough sketch of dispositions in the area.  No enemy was reported to have been seen or heard although it was found later that the JAPANESE had been in the area since 0300 hrs and that most of our troops in the area had disappeared.  Comd 1 BURIF went at once to B.F.F. H.Q., having ordered the battalion under 2nd-in-comd to take up preliminary dispositions South of the town.  Immediately after the arrival of the C.O., B.F.F. H.Q., which was in an isolated hut, was attacked by the Japanese and the C.O. and two B.F.F. offrs taken prisoner.  During subsequent fighting the C.O. escaped, one B.F.F. offr, although wounded, also escaped, and the second B.F.F. offr was killed.[21]

As the battalion continued its move in the dark it was attacked by the Japanese and split into several portions.  Lieut. SHAN LONE, [22] Capt. MENON, [23] 2 Pls B Coy together with mortars, medical equipment and S.A.A. [small arms ammunition] reserve were lost to the enemy who deceived the men by announcing themselves as CHINESE in a YUNNANESE dialect.

The 2nd-in-comd with the forward elements of the battalion consisting of A Coy (CHINS) under Capt. DIX were cut off and fought a separate action.  Capt. DIX was wounded and evacuated.[24]  After several hours this party withdrew to the North having inflicted casualties on the enemy in the town and on patrols to the North of it.  This party subsequently joined H.Q. 1 Bde which had withdrawn along the MAGWE road.

Parts of H.Q., B and C Coys were assembled in a square North of the road by Capt. HERRING [25](Adjutant) and Capt. RANSFORD [26] (O.C. B Coy) and daylight was awaited to clarify the situation.  As it became light the “CHINESE myth” was finally exposed and heavy L.M.G. and mortar fire was opened on 1 BURIF “square”.  The C.O. now rejoined having escaped from the enemy, and a bayonet assault dislodged the enemy from some broken ground South of the road.  A further attack under Capt. RANSFORD dislodged the enemy from the late B.F.F. H.Q. and a number of men previously taken prisoner were released and some equipment recovered.  Capt. RANSFORD was wounded during this engagement and evacuated, and some 20 men were killed and wounded.

A message was got through to Bde H.Q. by runner that the battalion had been surprised in the dark, that the position was confused and than amn[ammunition] was low.

One 3” mortar and some amn had been retaken from the enemy and this was used effectively against enemy groups in buildings and compounds.

It now became apparent that further progress could not be made against the enemy as the initial surprise had disorganised the battalion and amn was very low.  The enemy was also observed to be moving wide round the east flank and infiltrating to the North.  Orders were therefore issued at about 1100 hrs for the battalion to withdraw N.E. to the MAGWE road.  This was carried out in small parties owing to heavy enemy mortar and L.M.G. fire.  The battalion collected and remained at this R.V.[rendezvous] during the night of 13/14 April.  The strength of the battalion was now some 300 men and although casualties had been severe, it is believed that enemy casualties were greater.

On 14 April the reduced battalion was moved North to PEDO by M.T. and put in Bde reserve with an immediate task of close protection of Bde H.Q.

The C.O., Lt.-Col. B. RUFFEL, was sent to M.D.S [Medical Dressing Station] on the night 14/15 April for dressing as medical store had been lost.  It was learnt later that this Fd. Amb was attacked and destroyed by a JAPANESE infiltration party shortly after patients had been moved to a river steamer.  The C.O. was therefore unable to rejoin BURDIV until the end of April.  The Comd of the battalion devolved on Maj. D’OYLY-LOWSLEY[27] during this period.

The night 14/15 April was quiet and all ranks had an opportunity to recover from the previous strenuous 48 hours.  Contact by the enemy was not made with the remainder of the Bde, who were deployed along the line of the YIN chaung, until the night of 15th April, when they infiltrated through our lines and caused considerable confusion by cutting L/T lines and making loud explosions.  This night was a continuous “stand to”.  The Bde withdrew from this position on 16th April to the MAGWE-YENANGYAUNG road, 1 BURIF acting as a rearguard.  The enemy followed the withdrawal closely as far as the TAUNGDWINGYI-MAGWE road supporting their pursuit with Infantry gun and heavy mortar fire which caused five casualties in 1 BURIF.

Burma Division was now fighting in the heart of the Dry Zone and the lack of water was causing increased hardship to the already fatigued troops.

The withdrawal along the MAGWE-YENANGYAUNG road was closely watched by the enemy Air Arm and much M.T. was damaged by bombing.  The sight of burnt-out vehicles and the complete lack of support by the R.A.F. was disheartening to the men who by now were depressed by our lack of success.  The news of the JAPANESE occupation of YENANGYAUNG to the North of BURDIV was received by them without comment. [28]  Three casualties were inflicted by enemy machine gunning from the air.

The role of the battalion during the preliminary attack on the enemy in the oilfields was protection of the Divisional transport.  Owing to the failure of the operations on 19th April the transport was sent via the by-pass to the East of YENANGYAUNG.  From a vantage point midway between the MAGWE road and the PIN chaung the line of transport etc. had to be seen to be believed.  Guns, tanks, M.T. of all types, Bren Gun carriers, A.T. [animal transport] carts, bullock carts, mules, chargers and troops were moving Northwards in a tightly packed mass.  Fortunately they were not troubled by the enemy air force.

The Division took up a perimeter camp for the night 19/20th April, 1 BURIF being allotted the area on the South side of the camp and East of the by-pass.  The night was a quiet one but was disturbed ½ hour before dawn by firing from the North which caused an uncomfortable “stir” in the battalion sector, and probably in other sectors as well.  The day 20th April was intensely hot and everybody suffered from the lack of shade, food and water. [29]  The mules and chargers were in a pitiful state and were uncontrollable when they smelt the water of the PIN chaung later the same day.  The enemy caused several casualties among men and the massed M.T. by mortar fire but this did not pass without some retaliation.  The unit still had one 3” mortar left and a supply of bombs which were used up on a small party of enemy which were observed to be making their way into a collection of huts to the South of the perimeter and some 1000 yards away.  The range was confirmed with the third bomb and fire was then held until the enemy reached the hamlet which was treated as an “area” target.  Six bombs left, a switch of 1º 30’ right, six bombs rapid right and every bomb fell in the target area as the enemy entered it.

The order for the withdrawal of 1 Bde from the perimeter camp was received about 1400 hrs 20th April. [30]  1 BURIF acted as rearguard.  The line of withdrawal was to be firstly 2 miles to the East followed by a dash to the PIN chaung and over.  This was carried out successfully through not without further loss of men from 1 BURIF.  On approaching PIN chaung the Adjutant halted the men in dead ground and sent a patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 3 men ahead to recce a village on the river bank.  The C.O. however ordered the continuation of the withdrawal forthwith.  It transpired that the village to be reconnoitred contained enemy troops who deceived one pl of KACHINS that they were CHINESE and took them prisoners and also opened fire with L.M.Gs. on the remainder of the battalion which hastily sought cover in the thicker country on the river banks.

The PIN chaung was crossed at approximately 1700 hrs and the battalion made its way to an area on the YENANGYAUNG-KYAUKPADAUNG road some 6 miles North of the river. [31]  This was behind the CHINESE lines who were still operating on the PIN chaung.  Sentries were posted and the battalion “bedded” down for the night.

On 21st April the unit was conveyed by M.T. to MOUNT POPA where they were given a three days rest and the opportunity was taken to refit as far as possible.  No action took place in this area and on approximately 24th April the battalion was once again moved by M.T. to TAUNGTHA.  Here 1 BURIF remained for three days during which time all Bren Guns and Thompson Machine Guns were handed in to 1 Bde.  From TAUNGHTA the unit proceeded by march route to SAMEIKKON via MYINGYAN.  The battalion was ferried across the IRRAWADDY RIVER and was followed during the next 48 hours by the remainder of 1 BURDIV who concentrated on the West bank of the river opposite SAMEIKKON.

MAY 1942.  On approximately 1st May the battalion left the IRRAWADDY RIVER with orders to proceed to MONYWA.  By this time the only form of transport was bullock carts over a hundred of which had been collected by the unit whilst waiting opposite SAMEIKKON.  The halt for the night approximately 1/2nd May was 10 miles South of CHAUNGU where the news was received of the attack upon Division H.Q. and of the enemy occupation of MONYWA.  The battalion, which had been considered as divisional troops since TAUNGHTA, moved into CHAUNGU on the evening of 2nd May (approximate date) and was given the task of holding a part of the road suitable for establishing a road block against any enemy attempt to use it as such.  The battalion was about 175 strong and armed only with rifles.

The following day BURDIV attacked MONYWA.  1 BURIF was acting as a rearguard to the long line of divisional tpt which was slowly moving Northwards [to the South of MONYWA].  The enemy Air Arm was particularly active this day and caused much delay by forcing troops to take cover.  They frequently dive-bombed the troops and tpt and inflicted a number of casualties.  The attack on MONYWA having been discontinued, 1 and 5 BURIFS were ordered to escort the wounded and tpt around the town to the East on the night of 3/4 May and concentrate in ALON [on the East bank of the Chindwin River to the North East of Monywa]. [32]  This task was successfully accomplished but not without considerable delay.

The battalion moved from ALON on the evening 4th May and moved by march route to North of BUDALIN.  The 12 hours spent in ALON had been a succession of enemy raids but no casualties had been suffered.  North of BUDALIN three 3-ton lorry loads of men embussed and taken as far as YE-U.  A few miles further on the remainder were embussed into vehicles of the [7th] Armoured Bde who conveyed a number of them many miles beyond YE-U along the SHWEGYIN road where they debussed and made their own way to the CHINDWIN RIVER.  This had been unexpected and might have led to serious consequences had the battalion been given any important role before reaching the river.  The men who had debussed at YE-U were picked up by the C.O. who brought them up to SHWEGYIN where once again the divided remnants of the battalion joined forces.  1 BURIF remained at SHWEGYIN for 2 days during which time patrols were sent out to the South on either side of the CHINDWIN but no contacts were made.  The river crossing from SHWEGYIN to KALEWA was made on approximately 9th May, the steamer being attacked by enemy aircraft en route.

The battalion remained at KALEWA for three days and then moved by march route to INBAUNG where the night was spent.  From here a number of CHINS left to join the CHIN levies.  From INBAUNG to TAMU the battalion was moved again by M.T.  It was on this stage of the journey that Capt. ADLINGTON was injured in an accident and subsequently died. [33]  At TAMU the unit remained for another two days whilst H.Q. 1 BURDIV closed.  The ASSAM-BURMA frontier was crossed on approximately 15th May the unit having embussed at TAMU earlier in the day.  1 BURIF passed the night 15/16th May at PALEL and moved to area of MS.109 where they debussed and went into bivouac.

GENERAL.  The campaign was an unfortunate one for the BURMA RIFLES.  The withdrawal through the heart of BURMA meant that the troops were leaving their homes further and further behind them which is a hard test to a man’s loyalty.  This fact does not seem to have been appreciated by many Indian Army and British Service officers who adversely criticised the Regt.  At the outset a number of BURMANS did desert but a proportion of the remainder showed great enterprise and bravery, notably Jem. MAUNG KYIN and Hav. MAUNG KYAW. [34]  Desertions amongst the KARENS did not start until the TOUNGOO area was reached and then only a few men living in this region slipped away to find their homes and families.  The CHINS and KACHINS were made of sterner stuff, remained with the battalion to the end when they were released with amns [ammunition]  to return to protect their homes.  These two classes sustained the majority of the battle casualties and their numbers were badly depleted by the time the CHINDWIN RIVER had been crossed.  A number of KACHINS were permitted to return to their homes from INBAUNG but prior to their departure they were most insistent that their action should not be misconstrued.  They emphasised their loyalty and their intention to rejoin the Regt. when we returned to BURMA.  The CHINS were split into two parties at INBAUNG , the party that returned to the CHIN HILLS to join the levies and the party who came to INDIA with the battalion.  The campaign had not affected their morale to the same extent as their homes and families had not been touched by the fighting.

The continual withdrawal with its attendant hardships, preparation of positions followed by the evacuation from them, often without any contact with the enemy, was a great strain on the men.  Owing to the rapidity with which positions were evacuated, patrols frequently had to be left behind and many men became casualties in this way although a number subsequently rejoined.  This was inevitable in view of the lack of warning given prior to withdrawals.  They were also discouraged by the absence of R.A.F. support and the unchallenged control of the air by the JAPANESE and by the streams of dejected troops BRITISH, INDIAN and BURMAN who passed through the series of rearguard positions held by the battalion.  When the battalion left LOIMWE the morale was high and all ranks, including the BURMESE Coy, were keen to go into action.   They had no previous experience of modern warfare, and although morale was gradually affected by the factors stated above, their endurance and discipline proved to be good, and there were many incidents showing individual courage and determination of a high order.

[signed] B. RUFFELL, Lt.Col.

16 [???] 43.



[1] According to Major J.H. Turner, the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles arrived in Loimwe from Taunggyi in June 1941.  In July 1941 the battalion lent instructors to F.F.3 to help train the unit in the use of newly issued Bren and Tommy Guns and 3inch mortars (“Short History of F.F.3” by Major J.H. Turner, WO 203/5702(Short History of F.F.3).

[2] 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).

[3] Actually elements of the 7th Armoured Brigade, recently arrived in Burma and now under the command of 17th Indian Division.

[4] Possibly Lt. Aung Tun (ABRO 1258), Mentioned in Despatches 17th October 1947, listed then as Burma Army Reserve.  Or possibly (post 1942) Levy Aung Than, Burma Levies.  Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted 19th September 1946 (London Gazette).

[5] The road block was at the Yenwe Chaung bridge, defended by a mixed force of Japanese and Burmans.  The action took place on 4th March 1942 (Indian Official History, The Retreat from Burma 1941-42, p226).

[6] ‘A’ Company (Indian Official History, p226).

[7] Actually 2/Lt. William Martin Moir, OCTU Cadets, commissioned 2nd Lt. (189649), General List, 28th April 1941, killed 4th March 1942 (Commonwealth War Graves Commission).

[8] Havildar Maung Kyaw was awarded the Burma Gallantry Medal on 2nd June 1943 (London Gazette).

[9] On 7th March, the 1st Burma Division received orders to attack Shwegyin and Daiku and to exploit a success southwards.  The attack took place on 11th March 1942, with the 1st Burma Brigade on the right, with the objective of securing Pyuntaza and Daiku, whilst 2nd Burma Brigade (less one battalion) was to take Madauk and Shwegyin across the Sittang River (Indian Official History, pp226-7).

[10] 2nd Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery, one of three batteries of the 27th Mountain Regiment, IA.  The regiment was assigned to support the 1st Burma Brigade for the attack of 11th March 1942 (Indian Official History, p227).

[11] The night of 10th/11th March as above.

[12] The Sittang sector.  The 1st Burma Division withdrew up the Sittang River valley along the line of the main road and railway.

[13] The 2/7 Rajputs and the 5th Battalion, Burma Rifles were on the line astride the main road and railway just south of Kyauktaga  (Indian Official History, p229).

[14] The first Japanese attack on the Kyauktaga position took place on the evening of 16th March 1942.  The action that followed took place the next day which was indeed 17th March 1942 (Indian Official History, pp229-231).

[15] The Chinese 200th Division (Indian Official History, p232).

[16] The landing ground was at Kyungon, north of Toungoo (Indian Official History, p232).

[17] 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).

[18] Captain Thompson’s company took part in “…. the first battle of Mawchi road in 1942.  After the Japanese capture of Toungoo a Karen Coy which fought its way out of Toungoo was assigned to the Northern Karen Levies and took part in a spirited action on the Mawchi road.  A glance at the map shows the strategic importance of this road, which is one of the main roads into the Shan States by way of Mawchi, Loikaw and Taunggyi.  The Coy, 150 strong, was under command of Captain Thompson and held a strong Japanese vanguard for many hours at the 28th milestone, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.  Boyt, by dint of driving all night from Mawchi, arrived in time for the battle and both he and Thompson had narrow escapes.  Boyt being blown up (but only slightly injured) by a mortar bomb, and Thompson having a dud bomb rolled down the hill between his legs.  When it became clear that they were greatly outnumbered and could no longer hold the Japanese they withdrew up the road blowing up all the bridges.  This action, for which Thompson was awarded D.S.O. and Boyt the M.C., and the destruction of the bridges delayed the Japanese for several days, and gave the Chinese 6th Army time to prepare positions east and west of Mawchi where they fought stubbornly.  Although Thompson and Boyt estimated that they killed only thirty Japanese, Karen villagers later reported counting more than eighty graves.  When they occupied Mawchi, the Japanese made propaganda amongst the people by saying that at the 28th milestone they, a column of only 700 men, had vanquished and driven back the spearhead of the Chinese 6th Army.  Standing instructions at that time were that, when an area was overrun by the Japanese, officers were to make their way North and levies were to hide their arms, lie low and wait for the British return.”  Thompson’s party was encountered by the 14th Burma Rifles at Naungwo on 30th April 1942.  Thompson was accompanied by about 80 Karen Levies (from Karen Coy 1 Burif) and Capt Nimmo with a further 120 Karen Levies. Thompson and Boyt survived the war.  The quotation is from ‘Memoirs of the Four Foot Colonel’, Smith Dun, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Library (1980) (London Gazette; War Diary 14th Burma Rifles WO 172/986 (War diary 14th Burma Rifles).

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).

[19] Stubborn resistance was put up to this Japanese attack on 24th March 1942, by the 23rd Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery and F.F.3 of the Burma Frontier Force (Indian Official History, p232).

[20] A Buddhist monastery.

[21] The BFF Column was F.F.5  (Indian Official History, pp281-2).  The B.F.F. officer captured and killed was the recently appointed Commanding Officer of F.F.5, Major H.J.N. Edgley.

Hugh John Norman Edgley born, Darjeeling, India, 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.  (Note: Is listed in error as "H.G.E. Edgley" in WO 203/5702).  Served with the Burma Frontier Force.  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, March 1942.  According to WO 203/5702, killed "2 days following" appointment as Commanding Officer, F.F.5. Actually believed captured by the Japanese at Migyaungye along with the C.O. the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles and another B.F.F. officer (both later escaped) when the Headquarters, F.F.5, Burma Frontier Force, was overrun, 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); Anglo-Burmese Library; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; FindMyPast; The Dragon School Oxford, Memorials of the Old Boys Who Gave Their Lives in The War of 1939-1945; London Gazette; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles)).

[22] Shan Lone born, 1910.  A Kachin, commissioned as 2nd Lt. ABRO (ABRO 130), 28th April 1941.  Believed captured by the Japanese near Migyaungye, 13th April 1942.  Lone must have escaped Japanese capture for he was later a Major in SOE, operating in support of the 2nd Chindits expedition, 1944.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 28th October 1942.  Served with the Chindits, working with Dah Force led by Lt. Colonel D.C. Herring, 1944.  Served with SOE Force 136, 1944-45.  Awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 13th January 1944, the citation for which reads:

Corps:    G.S.I.(k)

Unit:       Burma Rifles

Date of Recommendation:                               24th November 1943

Action for which recommended :-   Since the 15th June 1943, captain SHAN LONE has travelled 300 miles on foot through enemy-occupied territory in Northern Burma.  During this period he has been transmitting intelligence of high military value by means of his wireless set.  This officer, having contacted other loyal personnel and members of his operational party, who had landed by parachute, is now rallying support and continuing to transmit valuable military intelligence.

Bearing in mind the extreme penalty for the smallest error and the arduous existence in such hazardous circumstances, he has shown personal courage, initiative and determination of the highest order.

For security reasons this citation should not be published.

Recommended by:             [unrecognisable signature], Colonel, G.S.I.(k); Lieut-general W.H. SLIM, G.O.C.-in-C Fourteenth Army and Major M.S. Cumming, M.B.E., G.S.I.(k)

Signed By:            [unrecognisable signature], Maj. Gen. DMI; G. Giffard, General

Awarded M.B.E., 4th January 1945.  Relinquished his commission as 2nd/Lt. and granted the rank of Honorary Major, 20th January 1946.  Awarded O.B.E., 29th December 1946  ("The Chindit War, The Campaign in Burma 1944", Bidwell, Hodder & Stoughton, London (1979); Anglo-Burmese Library; Special Forces Roll of Honour; London Gazette; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles); WO 373/31/241).

[23] Possibly Captain Thannikal Bhaskara Menon.  Commissioned as Lieutenant, ABRO (M), (ABRO 55), as medical officer, 14th December 1940.  Promoted to Captain, 14th December 1941.  Awarded O.B.E., gazetted, 1st January 1945 (Anglo-Burmese Library; London Gazette).

[24] Charles Beattie Dix born, 28th September 1912.  Assistant Conservator with the Burma Forest Department, Utilization Cir., Rangoon, 1939.  Commissioned as Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO 31), 4th September 1939.  Assistant Conservator with the Burma Forest Department, Myitmaka Division, Tharrawaddy, 1941.  Serving with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, March/April 1942.  Wounded and evacuated, 13th April 1942.  As Lieutenant (temporary Captain), The Burma Rifles, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 28th October 1942. for which his citation reads:

Brigade:                 1 Inf[antry] Brigade [1st Burma Infantry Brigade]

Division:                1 Burma

Corps:                    Bur[corps]

Unit:                       1 Burif [1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles]

Date of Recommendation:                               15th April 1942

Action for which recommended :-   At MIGYAUNGYE on the 13th April 1942 after the surprise attack on the Bn. Lieut (A/Capt) DIX rallied his coy and led it into the village in an attempt to clear the eastern outskirts of the village of Japanese.

He showed conspicuous bravery and complete disregard for his won safety and wasd partly instrumental in affecting the release of some prisoners captured by the Japanese in their first onslaught.  During the course of this action he was twice wounded and only ceased encouraging and leading his men when forced to do so by loss of blood.  His coolness, leadership and devotion to duty were an example to all men.   

Recommended by:             Lt-Col G.L. D’Oyly-Lowsley, Comd, 1 Burif

Signed By:                            J.B. Bruce, Maj-Gen, Comd, 1 Burdiv; H.R. Alexander, General (21/6/42)

As temporary Major, awarded the O.B.E., gazetted, 6th June 1946.  Died, 1996? (Anglo-Burmese Library; FindMyPast; London Gazette; WO 373/30/180; Thacker's Directory 1939; Thacker's Directory 1941; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles)).  

[25] Denis Clive Herring, born 6th December 1916.  Commissioned, Regular Army Reserve of Officers and Territorial Army, Royal Armoured Corps, 24th October 1936.  From the Supplementary Reserve of Officers, Royal Tank Corps, appointed 2ndLt., 13th October 1937, retaining current seniority.  Appointed Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO32), 10th November 1939.  Trained with the 1st Burma Rifles at Kangyi in 1940.  Served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles during the 1942 Campaign; during April 1942, as Captain, was battalion Adjutant.  As acting Major, part of the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion, India, June 1942.  As Lieutenant (temporary Captain), the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted 5th August 1943.    As Captain, C.O. of the Independent Mission, a platoon of Burma Rifles, in support of the first Chindits' Northern (No 2) Group in February 1943.  Commanding Officer of ‘Dah Force’, operating in the Kachin Hills in 1944 during the 2nd Chindit Expedition.  The purpose of Dah Force, which was composed of some 70 British, Burmese and Hong Kong officers and other ranks, was to organise a Kachin rebellion in the hills during the Second Chindit Expedition into northern Burma, but they achieved only limited success as they were unable to operate in their most promising recruiting district and their 270 Kachin levies were ill-trained; there were problems over supply and in relations with the other British units (Morris Force and an SOE detachment) and Chinese guerrillas operating in the area.  A member of SOE Force 136, participated in Operation ‘Hainton’ in Kengtung State February-July 1945, in which he was involved in recruitment and training of locals and in planning raids on Thai and Japanese forces, creating disturbances along the Salween and northern Siam lines of communication.

Lt (Temp Capt) DC Herring MC - Transcript of Military Cross Citation 

Brigade:                 77th Indian Infantry Brigade          
Corps:                    4th Corps             
Unit:                       Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, attached The Burma Rifles        
Regtl. No.              69361   
Rank and Name: Lieutenant (temp. Capt.) Denis Clive HERRING        

Action for which recommended :-  

OPERATIONS IN BURMA - MARCH 1943

On March 1st 1943, Captain HERRING was detached from the main body of 77 Ind Inf Bde, and directed with his platoon of Kachins to the Kachin Hills, with a view to ascertaining whether the Kachins could be raised and organised to fight the Japanese. Moving at great speed, Captain HERRING crossed the IRRAWADDY River and entered the Kachin Hills, about the middle of March. Speaking fluent Kachin, and enjoying to the full the confidence and affection of his platoon, the news of his coming rapidly spread through the hills and offers of help and assurances that the tribesmen were ready to rise as soon as he should give the word came in from all quarters. Other parties which reached the area in April all report his name as being known everywhere, and there is no doubt that as a result of his efforts two to three thousand riflemen could have been forthcoming had circumstances justified the word being given. As it is, his mission has greatly raised the spirits of the Kachins, the work has been greatly facilitated for a future date, and accurate information is in our possession of the temper of the inhabitants of an area of vital importance. His mission over, Captain HERRING withdrew his party safely to Fort Hertz.     

Recommended By:             Brigadier O.C. Wingate, DSO, Commander 77th Indian Infantry Brigade Group

Honour or Reward:             Military Cross      

Signed By:                            Brigadier O.C. Wingate, Comdr. 77th Ind. Inf. Bde; General Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India               

As Lt. Colonel (temporary), mentioned in recognition of gallant and meritorious services in Burma, 26th April 1945.  As Major, Mentioned in despatches, 25th September 1947.  As 2ndLt., war substantive Major, promoted to Major and granted the honorary rank of Lt.Colonel, 12th January 1949.  Died 7th January 2006 , Poole, Dorset.  A record for Lt.Colonel Herring is held by the National Archives however it remains closed until 2031 (London Gazette; Summary of Private Papers of Lt. Col. DC Herring, MC FRICS, IWM Collection at IWM Collections; Chindits Special Forces Burma 1942-44 - Awards; http://www2.tapperfuneralservice.co.uk/; National Archives).

[26] James Kenneth Ransford, born, 18th October 1913.  Baptised Abbottabad, India, December 1913.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 1st February 1934.  Assigned to the Indian Army, 2nd Gurkha Rifles, as 2nd Lt. (IA294), 12th March 1935.  Promoted to temporary Captain, 1st May 1936.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 1st May 1936.  Seconded to the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 29th November 1937.  Seconded to the Burma Defence Force, 29th November 1937.  Served with the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles, from 1938.  Promoted to Captain, 1st February 1942.  Company Commander, 9th (Reserve) Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 16th February 1942.  Commander "B" Company, the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, April 1942 until wounded and evacuated.  As acting(?) Lt. Colonel, assumes command of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 12th June 1944.  Promoted war substantive Major, temporary Lt. Colonel, 12th September 1944.  Leaves the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment en route for 61 days war leave in the United Kingdom, 22nd January 1946.  Returned from war leave and reassumed command of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment in the Arakan, 22nd April 1946.  Left the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment for the Staff College at Quetta, 24th June 1946.  As temporary Lt. Colonel, the 2nd Gurkha Rifles, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted, 19th September 1946.  Promoted to Major, 1st February 1947.   As Major (375889), from Special List (ex Indian Army), to be Major, 7th December 1947, with seniority from 1st February 1947.   As Lt. Colonel, Employed List (l), late Royal Artillery, retired on retired pay with Reserve Liability, 27th July 1960  (British Army List; FindMyPast; Indian Army List; London Gazette; Seppings interview; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles); War Diary 4th Burma Regiment WO 172/5037).

[27] Geoffrey Lionel D'Oyly-Lowsley born, 10th January 1900.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 1st October 1918.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt. (IA 1227), attached to the 4th Gurkha Rifles, 7th October 1918.  Served Afghanistan, North-West Frontier, 1919.  Served Waziristan, 1919-21.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 7th October 1919.  Served Waziristan, 1921-24.  Promoted to Captain, 1st October 1924.  Promoted to Major, 1st October 1936.  Seconded to the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 18th May 1937 to June 1942.  Attached to the 1st Punjab Regiment from 1st April 1938.  Temporarily in command of the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 14th April 1942 to end April 1942.  Commanding officer of the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1st October 1942 to late 1942/early 1943.  As Major (acting Lt. Colonel), April 1943.  As temporary Lt.-Colonel, appointed Commanding Officer, 14th Gurkha Rifles, a training battalion, at Mohan, near Saharanpur, September 1943.  The 14th Gurkha Rifles formed part of the 115th Indian Infantry Brigade (Training), part of the 39th Indian Training Division.  The 39th Division was formed at Shillong on 20th June 1942 from remnants of the 1st Burma Division, September 1943.  Died ("accidently killed"), 12th September 1944.  Buried at Dehra Dun (later Delhi War Cemetery), 13th September 1944 ("A History of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, 1857-1948", Volume 3, Macdonnel, Ranald; Blackwood (1952); "Loyalty & Honour, The Indian Army September 1939 - August 1947; Part II, Brigades", Kempton C., Military Press (2003); “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); British Army List; FindMyPast; Indian Army List; Indian Army List 1943; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles); Private Papers of Lt. Col. I.C.G. Scott (IWM)).

[28] The Japanese had marched around the Eastern flank of 1st Burma Division and by the evening of 16th April had created blocking positions north of Yenangyaung, one on either side of the Pin chaung waterway.  Attacks on the Northern block, North of the Pin chaung, were supported by Chinese troops of the 113th Regiment, 38th Division.  Despite attacks through the 17th, 18th and 19th April, the Japanese blocks could not be shifted sufficiently to clear the crossing (Indian Official History, pp289-302). 

[29] This was in fact 19th April 1942 (Indian Official History, p301).

[30] 19th April 1942.

[31] The 1st Burma Division finally by-passed the Southern Japanese block to cross the chaung two miles north-east of Twingon on the afternoon of 19th April 1942, and not the 20th (Indian Official History, p301).

[32] This withdrawal took place on the night of 2nd/3rd May (Indian Official History, pp332-3).

[33] Leslie Reginald Adlington born in Essex, September 1910.   Commissioned as 2nd Lt. (200904), The Essex Regiment, by Regular Army Emergency Commission with seniority dated from 9th August 1941.  Served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1942.  As Captain (temporary or acting), whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, injured in an accident, May 1942.  Died, 12th May 1942.  (Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.peterdriver.net/ind11572.html; London Gazette; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles, WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles).

[34] Jemadar Maung Khin, awarded the Burma Gallantry Medal, 4th January 1947.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt., ABRO, 22nd May 1945.  On 20th January 1946, Maung Khin relinquished his commission as 2nd/Lt. and was granted the rank of Honorary Major  (Forces War Records; London Gazette; Anglo-Burmese Library).