Britain’s longest campaign of World War II – Burma
Japan invaded Burma in 1942, then part of the British Empire, beginning what was to become the longest continuous campaign fought by the British during the war. It was fought in some of the most challenging terrain in the world, in a tropical climate that claimed many men before they had a chance to fight. It was fought by a unique combination of American, Chinese and British Commonwealth troops. It involved some bitter fighting that prevented further Japanese advances into China and prevented a Japanese invasion of India – of huge strategic importance. Yet their struggle was little known, even at the time.
I understand you believe you’re the forgotten army. That’s not true … The truth is nobody’s ever bloody well heard of you!
Lord Louis Mountbatten, Far East Commander, addressing men in Burma in 1943.
This page highlights some of resources where you can discover more.
The Cambridge University story of Charles Mackerell, the ‘Elephant Man’ which provides a good picture of the desperate retreat through Burma in 1942:
The Burma Story has a growing collection of material about the war in Burma.
Most recently ‘For Your Tomorrow’ has been released, a compelling video account of memories from Burma veterans:
Later fighting in 1944 were African troops – see comment from Mark below.