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 just some of the resources where you can discover more. For those who had family fighting in this theatre, see the comments below about the Burma Star Facebook page:


Taunggyi lies among rolling hills about 6000 feet high and the battalion started training for the type of war likely to be fought for possession of a single road in hilly open country. It was un­fortunate that this training was not to prove of much value for the greater part of the K.O.Y.L.I.’s fighting took place at sea level and in dense jungle. Throughout September and October the rain fell constantly and in their thin khaki drill the men often felt the cold. Fortunately there was little malaria.

On December 1 the battalion moved to Loilem nearer the frontier and on arrival news came that relations with Japan were critical; out in their company camps the officers and men were keyed to that state of tense excitement that always possesses soldiers when war appears imminent and inevitable.

It was a lovely morning with a nip in the air when, on December 9, 1941, Lieut. Colonel C. J. Keegan, who had taken over command, walked up from his tent to breakfast. He was met by Major G. T. Chadwick, the second in command, with the news of Pearl Harbour. The war with Japan had begun. Next day orders came for the K.O.Y.L.I. to move to Takaw on the Salween.

The Salween is one of the very great rivers of the world and it has the unenviable distinction of being probably the most useless of them. For all except the last hundred miles to its mouth, it cuts its way through high mountains. Because of its speed and many rapids it is useless for navigation; there is no level ground on either side so it cannot be used for irrigation. Few people live along its course, no great trade routes follow it or cross it, and this huge mass of water pours relentlessly down to the sea without being of any use to man.

At Takaw the Salween is only 800 feet above sea level, but two miles away on either side are mountain peaks 7000 feet high. It is like looking down into a great slit in the earth’s surface, a great dark chasm at the bottom of which can occasionally be seen the glint of the water. The river at that point is only 400 yards wide, running with a smooth mighty rush almost frightening in its enormous power.

This was a place where a couple of battalions could easily hold a division, and the K.O.Y.L.I. set to work to dig positions on the precipitous western side for two battalions. A gang of 500 coolies assisted with the work. “C” Company (Capt. H. M. Green) was, however, given a special task. Across the river was an amazing gorge; it cut through the mountains at right angles due east for – fourteen miles and it was up this gorge that the road ran. The sides rose practically vertical for 2000 feet or more. Although within the tropics, the direct rays of the sun only reached the bottom for a short period at midday each day.

Down in this gloomy canyon “C” Company constructed a series of rearguard positions over a distance of eight miles. The road was mined and prepared for demolition by a detachment of Bengal sappers and miners. Plans were made to block the small river by blowing down huge masses of overhanging rock. All the stores, men, and vehicles for this work had to be carried across the Salween on the ferry, which consisted of two fiat bottomed boats lashed together and capable of carrying one 3-ton lorry at a time. It was attached by a cable to a wire rope, suspended high across the river from bank to bank. So great was the force of the current that as the ferry moved crab-like across the river, bow waves broke on either side as with a destroyer moving at full speed.

Christmas 1941 was spent amid this overpowering scenery, but the C.O. now had serious worries. There had been no sign of the Japanese, but all the same men were being lost at an alarming rate. The valley was a death trap of malaria and Colonel Keegan had been warned that the battalion would probably be decimated. It was a risk that had to be accepted, but although only one man died, a considerable number were evacuated to hospital. Captain Clarke, the Medical Officer, opened a temporary hospital in the battalion area and himself treated large numbers of men to avoid having to evacuate them. An even more serious aspect was that a great proportion of the battalion was infected, and went down with malaria several weeks later as resistance to the illness became reduced by the strain of fighting and marching.

While all remained quiet atTakaw it soon became clear that the Japanese were preparing to advance into Burma by the southern route. The enemy came flooding across the Kawkareik Pass, brushing aside the meagre garrison of Indian troops. Air-raids, in which anti-personnel bombs had been used with terrible effect on the unsuspecting population, had utterly disorganised Rangoon. More than half a million Indians had started their fight to India, a march that was to end in death for many tens of thousands. It was against this background that on January 23, the K.O.Y.L.I. received orders to leave Takaw and move south.

The journey began at once and continued for eight days, partly in lorries and partly by train. The C.0. had been told that the battalion was to go straight through to Martaban where it would be ferried across the Salween to Moulmein, which was under fierce attack by the Japanese. On January 31, however, the train was stopped at Hninpale, a small station on the east side of the Gulf of Martaban and Colonel Keegan was ordered to de-train, for Moulmein had already fallen.

The following thirty-six hours must have been highly depressing for a battalion about to go into action for the first time. Train after train passed through the station filled with wounded and men who had lost their units.

It should be realised that the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. were in a different situation from other British units who later came to Burma and the Far East. Burma had been the home of many of the men for several years. Wives and children had been left behind in Maymyo ever since August, looked after by a small detachment of sick men under the command of Lieutenant C. A. Fox. Although the majority of men had not got wives with them in Burma, many of the unmarried men had Anglo-Indian and Burmese girl friends.

As the battalion moved into the war area they saw all too plainly the collapse of the civil administra­tion and the helplessness of the refugees. The only way out of Burma was by ship from Rangoon and that route was rapidly being closed. It was only natural that officers and men should be intensely anxious about their women and children How the married families of the battalion were got out of Burma could almost be a story by itself.

A few went by ship before Rangoon fell Some were flown out from Myitkyina in the far north under circumstances of the gravest danger. Most were carried in lorries along the dusty roads and tracks from Mandalay to the Chindwin and thence trekked on foot into India. This was a journey of the utmost horror, along tracks infested with malaria and cholera, and lined by the rotting bodies of many thousands of Indian refugees. As soon as the road in India was reached they were hurried first by lorry and then by train to hill stations but not all of them lived to reach safety and comfort. It should therefore be realised that many officers and men went through this campaign in a state of terrible anxiety for their womenfolk, possibly greater than any other British unit had to suffer in the war.

Read the whole of the fascinating account at Burma Many thanks to James Gilpin (see below) for alerting me to this.

The Retreat into India: British troops destroy equipment and machinery at the Yenangyaung oilfields before retreating.

The Cambridge University story of Charles Mackerell, the ‘Elephant Man’ which provides a good picture of the desperate retreat through Burma in 1942:

Logistics: Chinese and American troops pick up supplies dropped by parachute in Northern Burma
An American mortar team bombard Japanese positions around Lashio, railhead of the old 'Burma Road'.
A mule column of the 2nd Punjabi Regiment carries supplies to the front line, Burma, 1944.
A lorry of 36th Infantry Division enters the town of Tigyiang during the advance down the Irrawaddy Valley towards Mandalay, 22 December 1944.

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.

Troops of 11th East African Division on the road to Kalewa, Burma, during the Chindwin River crossing.
Troops of 11th East African Division on the road to Kalewa, Burma, during the Chindwin River crossing.

125 thoughts on “Britain’s longest campaign of World War II – Burma”

  1. My grandpa was in the U.S. Army Enemy Equipment Intelligence Service (EEIS). The EEIS was charged with capturing novel enemy equipment. He fought in Burma. Like many have posted here, he never spoke of the horrors of combat. He briefly summed up his time in the EEIS as “backpacking behind enemy lines, ambushing the enemy, and capturing their equipment.” I inherited a trunk of Japanese field equipment that he brought back. The family never knew he was awarded a Bronze Star until we found it cleaning out the house after he died in 1993. He never mentioned it. He was Richard M. Leonard. Started the war as a Leutenant, ended as a Major.

  2. Reply to Richard, September 12 2016
    We’ll, better late than never…

    Hi Richard,
    My Dad was with the 25th mountain regiment (John Martin) so they walked the same ground.
    With over 2,000,000 men fighting in that theatre, who knows?
    Interesting thing is that he did re-enlist and stayed until 1947.
    And guess where he lived until 2000 when he passed away.
    God bless em all…

  3. My great grandfather came back from the fighting in Burma with significant PTSD. He suffered from mental health illness and wore his uniform, apparently daily, till he died. He became a euphemism, a thing to be made fun of, in what was then called Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe. There must be some recognition for the bravery of those who were too dark to be seen and too grotesquely maligned to be recognised.

  4. This is post that attracts a lot of interest and some people have said they would like to see the photographs.

    One way of proceeding, if you are interested, would be to post scans of the photographs to a free photo sharing website like Flickr.

    The best way of sharing photographs is to scan them – you can simply photograph them with a good mobile phone camera these days, see:

    and then add them to a free online service like:

    and then share a link in the text of a comment left on

    This means that no difficulties over copyright arise, you can choose from a variety of licenses at:
    – you can leave a clear message on Flickr what the terms are for people reusing the picture (if at all) and how to contact you for permission to use them.

    Many people would be interested to see you pictures, not just people reading World War II Today, and I would expect them to be tagged by groups interested in aspects of WWII etc.

  5. Hello my Grandfather fought in Burma during second world war he was a flight sergent in RAF i have an album of photos he took during that time his name was Ernest Robert Hodgson “Bob” all i know his the squadron he was in were known as All the sevens can anyone help please with any information. i do have a typed itenery of a flight he may have taken part in.

  6. Tawak 2nd Battalion KOYLI.

    To reinforce the point made about the lack of information available, my father RSM Joseph (Tug) Wilson walked out of Burma (via Yenangyaung) to find out that my mother was safe (evacuated in the hold of a US plane) but his 9 month old son had died of gastroenteritis during the evacuation.

    It is with regret that I record the passing of Gerald Fitzpatrick (Captain 2nd Battalion KOYLI.) in August at the age of 99.

    Author and Commentator on the Burma Campaign and Churchill and for years organiser of the KOYLI reunions until natural attrition forced their demise.

  7. My uncle known as Bobby Stanfield worked on the railway in Burma and was paralysed in accident and spent most of his life in a military hospital in the uk. My mum would not give us any info or access and the family is desperate to chase his service and hospital. Anyone got any ideas. Tried all sites to no avail

  8. My father Ghulam Muhammed participated in wwr2 in burma.he got burma star and also prisioned as wwr 2 prisioner by japnese forces.
    his aramy no is 13448, Eng core.Our family doesnt get any finanional aid or pension from british army.Also uk entry as given by Queen Elzbath announced in her pakistan visit in early 60.
    sarfraz ahmed 00923419614696

  9. My grandfather was a prisoner of war who was forced to work on the Burma Railroad. He never received his Burma Star which he was entitled to. My uncle has been trying to get it but was recently told there are none for the military to provide. Does that sound right to anyone? If anyone can provide any insight it would be greatly appreciated. My grandfather has long since passed but it took 30yrs after his service to just get his other medals as they’d never been presented to him.


  10. Very pleased and proud to see my father’s name on the list of London Gazetted war heroes, awarded and honored distinguished bravery war medals in Burma campaign that resulted a real victory, but, still forgotten army indeed!thanks for sharing such informative and educative post.

  11. AHMED

  12. My father Ron Allan was war sergeant in the 27th (jungle) field regiment of the royal artillery signals of the 14th Army under SEAC in late ?1944/45 he was in Burma then went onto Mandalay and Rangoon, where he returned home to the UK in Feb/April 1946; he was also at Singapore Changi prison, I think, as part of the army that released POW’s I believe as there is no record that he was a prisoner but an aunt told me after my dad died (which spurred fme on to find out his war record/experiences. If anyone has any pictures/information of that time it would be great to see. I have only found out since my fathers death that he had any war experience. He always made out he had an easy time and missed it all!! My Father joined the Royal artillery in 1938 in Dudley West Midlands as a gunner then was part of the signals division

  13. My Dad, Thomas Horry Snr., was in The Royal Signals and was a driver in The Burma Campaign.For a while he drove round Gracie Fields she as entertained the troops.I have a letter he wrote home that was signed by Gracie, with a greeting.

  14. Hi,
    How can we find out about Major John Duncan Aitken who served in Burma.
    He was a tea planter in India who joined the army and was involved with
    possibly supplies as we think he was involved with mules.
    Any help for research appreciated.

  15. Hello, my mum’s brother Sapper Alfred John Brooks from Ramsgate Kent served in the Royal engineers and was killed early in the war. I wish I had more details than that, but I don’t. He would have been very young in his early 20’s. Its a long shot, but if someone has anymore information, I would be grateful.

  16. My father was in Burma with the 14th army he passed away some years a go but every November I wear his Burma star pin and a poppy not just for my father but for all who were in Burma.

  17. My Grandfather, Arthur Leonard Hughes, fought in Burma & died in action on 21st March 1944.
    He was a schoolteacher in his 30s when he volunteered to join up barely a month after marrying my Grandmother.
    I know that he served in the Royal Artillery, 27th regiment.
    My Mum (his daughter) was born in 1942 & he never did get to see her. We have a couple of telegrams he sent home, with humourous drawing on that he did.
    When you read of what they went through out there, it’s heartbreaking. Heroes, one and all.

  18. Hi there;
    Two of my mothers brothers died on this railway.

    One with appendicitis.

    Surname : Dixon [ Now lost but not forgotten in time ]

  19. My late husband, James R. Keck, was in the Army Air Corps. He ‘flew the hump” in the China-Burma India campaign and was attached to 2519 AAF BU. He was from Seminole, Oklahoma, and passed in June 2009. If anyone has heard of him I would appreciate any information you might have. I have a lot of pictures but no names. I tried to get his complete service records but apparently they were burned in 1973 along with many, many others.

  20. My late father, Clement Havens, from Norwich, Norfolk fought in the Burma Campaign. He did not go into many details except to mention the names of the towns and rivers in the area of Burma where they were fighting.
    If anyone’s relative ever mentioned his name I would be very pleased to hear about it.

  21. Trying to find out whether my father (Eustace Beale) served in the 14th Army or the Chindits. A British officer & engineer joined the Indian Army while in Burma. While crossing the Chindwin river he contracted gangrene and later Malaria. Found by his father in a Burmese village and brought back to Rangoon. Don’t know where he fought after this but returned home to Rangoon after the War ended.

  22. my dad Arthur Jones who will be a hundred next year fought in Burma in ww2. He was attached to the 16th commandos and fought in Palawa and Gangaw. does anybody have any more info on this. also he has lost his Burma star. Is there a list of men who were awarded this medal?

  23. My Dad was in British Intelligence in Burma during WW2. He would not talk about it.
    Does anyone have any info on Felix Peter de Arden Albu (known as Peter)?
    Thank you. Toby Albu.

  24. Hello. Iam trying to find some information about my cousin

    JOHN [Jackie ] Martin [b] Newcastle upon Tyne I have a picture of him in uniform and Gurker hat but there is nothing to show what battalion he belonged to .

    all I no he served in Burma ww2,

    Can anyone help ??

    regards Sarah

  25. My father, Philip Sackville Wibmer, served in the RIASC as a company commander of 57th Mule Company. This was part of the 7th Indian Division which experienced the Battles of the Admin Box and Kohima. He never talked to me about the horrors he witnessed, and it was only after he died at the early age of 66 that I found that he had left me his medals, maps, field compass and a Japanese hat, a blood drenched Jap flag and a Jap sword. There was also a book written by his Brigadier M R Roberts DSO. The book is called ‘Golden Arrow’. It relates very accurately the events and the people involved. I have read many other accounts of the war in Burma, and use the book to accurately paint the frightful picture. For those people looking for information I recommend this book. I am sure that my poor old Dad never really recovered from this long ordeal. I can only feel proud of a very brave man. He was awarded The MBE.

  26. Very interesting submissions here. My DAD Nahashon Kirura who is late now fought in this war and was In Burma for many years among st his peers from the common wealth troops. Who were under the command of King George. Coming from East Africa Kenya under ”The King’s Rifles East Africa”. He headed a platoon and He always had fond memories of narrow escapes most times.Very proud of what they achieved.Unfortunately no history talks about these late veterans.Thanks for this page and God bless the hands that fight for the course of justice for all .AMEN

  27. In reply to Bob Youel, posted March 2016, my dad, Mark Wolstenholme, was also a machine gunner with the Manchesters, 2nd Battalion. Perhaps our dads knew each other. Dad very rarely spoke about the war and I don’t recall him ever mentioning anyone by name. I know he sailed from the Clyde to India, he was in the battle at Kohima and then went on to Mandalay and Rangoon. Now I am older, I wish I had asked him so much more about his experiences. Sadly it is too late now, he died in 2007 a couple of days before his 89th birthday.I have his medals and some of his papers. He was mentioned in dispatches and I am trying to find out more about that. There is a Museum of the Manchesters in Ashton-under-Lyne Town Hall. It is closed for renovations I think at the moment but when it re-opens I am going to go and see what I can find out there.

  28. my Dad passed away in 2014 he was in North Africa and then Burma, I know only snippets of his time there as he told me “he didn’t want to remember” now reading ‘Burma Victory’ by David Rooney , I can in some small way understand his not wishing to remember. Dad (Richard) was a Gunner #4 in a 25lb field gun crew. with the royal artillery, after North Africa and the 8th Army at El-Alamein, he was sent as part of the 14th Army in Burma attached to 4th Indian Artillery, as a Chindit.
    at this stage I know little more but an hunting down whatever I can find.
    his good mate through all this was a chap known as ‘Johnny’ who I believe re-enlisted after the war and ended up living in Canada?

  29. I would like to remember my father, Ernest Battensby, here. He served with the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I., and was stranded in the retreat over the Siitang river in 1942. As a result he was taken POW and held by the Japanese at Rangoon, to be forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway. I am one of his five children, I was born in 1949 (my eldest sister was born in ’46).

    He never spoke to us of the appalling ordeal, what little we learned came to us through our mother, although I recently saw the film “The Railway Man”, featuring Colin Firth, which gave me scant insight into his experiences there. He died in 1976 at the age of 57, with no compensation or apology in his lifetime for his terrible suffering.

  30. My Great-Grandfather Edward Serrell fought in the Forgotten War in the Gunner Royal Artilery. He left for Burma in 1942 whilst my Great-Grandmother was pregnant with their first child, who was to become my maternal Grandmother. He returned in 1946 when my Grandmother was aged 4. We still have the handbag and dress he brought home with him. As he had never met his daughter, he didn’t know what size she was and the dress which was brought home was far too small! So it’s actually never been worn!

    Like most of the comments say on here, Granda never really spoke about what happened over there. He once came to my Primary School to give a talk about WW2 and that was the only time I ever actually heard him talk about it in detail.

    He died happy and peaceful 4 years ago at the ripe old age of 94. As the curtain closed, a member of the British Army played the Last Post on the bugle…such a tribute to an amazing man Gone but most certainly not forgotten.

  31. Hi my grandad Henry Brayshaw or Harry as he was known to his friends and was in the forgotten army he didn’t speak much of it as found it very painful as his dear friend was killed in front of him. I know he was fairly high in his rank and should of collected the cross for his bravery but my grandma said he was to proud to collect it and always stated he did no more than any other man so why did he deserve a medal?. I would love to know more as I’ve tried searching for information before and not had much luck. If anybody has any info or pictures it would be grately appreciated. Thanks X

  32. My great uncle fought and was presumed killed in action in Burma on 03/04/1943. He fought for the Royal Scots regiment I wonder if someone can tell me what category ‘C’ means .

  33. My dad [ Walter Youel ] was with the Manchesters [in the machine gunners] in Burma – he never spoke about it but was very proud == unfortunately he died when I was 18 [~50 years ago] so I did not get to talk to him much about his life then == if anybody knows anything about him/the Manchesters please post a comment

    as an x sapper my self i feel that Brit service people get forgotten as fast as possible in this country both yesterday and today

  34. My dad was in Burma with the 1st battalion royal Scots
    He was wounded but treated some where and carried on
    His name was Thomas Mabin from Edinburgh spent the rest of his life in Hull

  35. i can not find anything about 101st aa rgt royal artillary t.a. from scotland my dad joined up he lied about his job he was a coalminer and already had 5 kids be grateful if anyone has info on this rgt as all his papers and medals got stolen also cannot find him in any records

  36. My father was with Armed forces health services in British india during world war 2 and had shown reports of malaria in the troops while fighting In Burma now Myanmar as part of Burma campaign and it was ghastly.Zika is a grim reminder

  37. Can someone please help me why I can find or know more about my uncle kutubo Darboe, from West Africa, Gambia.he was among the British troops but never came back

  38. My father is Julius Bommel. When he was 18 years of age, he served the Dutch Navy in Surabaya and later joins the Air Force in Bandoeng (Bandung). He was in the (B) class of the Air Force training school. On March 3rd 1942 came the unfortunate event, the surrender to the Japanese forces.

    As P.O.W., he worked on the Burma Road. One of the survivors of the Burma Road infamy. After the war in 1945, he joined the Air Force. He married Daisy in 1947 and in 1950 they left the Pacific for the Netherlands.

    I would like to know more story about the Burma Road infamy. Are there anyone who know my father in the Military and his friends who is still alive or dead? I would love to hear from them.
    Thank you.

  39. Hello everyone. What a support group we have in each other. I remember daddy spending hours listening to Vivaldi and crying in his soul over his experiences in Burma as head of British Military Intelligence.

    Luis Raymond George Baker.

    If anyone knows of him please let me know. He died when I was a young girl and I miss him deeply. He had married older so although I was young he was 65. Still too soon to die. His heart was broken over there. But with all of his training he was no match for my alcoholic mother. She killed him with rage and hysterical drunken fits nightly. He would sit and take it until 3am every night. I always wondered why he never came unglued and told her to shut up! But now I know. He had enough of fighting and perhaps he might have been controlling his passions because I know he had to take many lives over there, by hand, deep in the jungle. Poor daddy. He played a big part and I don’t know very much more.

    I think real curses were out on our soldiers and the survivors suffered great trauma in their families after the war. I’ve found myself with the same unrecognized, incurable disease daddy suffered with later in his life. I wish I knew more, but perhaps it would be too hard to handle. It was a gruesome experience that few people know anything about.

    Thanks everyone for your input! Jenny

  40. My Grandmother was a part of the INA in Rangoon and was a part of the nursing efforts. Her father, a doctor for the imperial family in Burma, was a close friend of Netaji and she often tells us tales of mutilated soldiers and such. Quite scary.

  41. Hi
    My gdad served in burma his name was william ackroyd i remember as a young lad he showed m a old black n white photo of him n some Gurkha’s standing round a tiger that some of the Gurkha had killed for dinner he and the man he was with put up a brave and running fight with the Japanese through the jungle but i cant find his name anywhere on any registrar for the burma war how do i find his medals and number

  42. I was in touch with a world war 2 veteran, Indian born Jew in the Gurkha Regiment. He told me that, the British army, brought South African Bore tribesmen to Burma war zone. Bore tribesmen, caught hold of Japanese soldiers, who were eaten alive with the war dance. As the news spread, Japanese soldiers, left their positions and ran off.

  43. Hello, I am looking on behalf of a friend of mine Brian Paling whose father was in the Burma war. His fathers name was Thomas Albert Sims. He was told he was a Supreme Commander and Chief and in charge of the Chindits. From what I can gather he was an older soldier and he died in a plane crash.
    I have had no luck in finding anything about him or even a photo. Brian is in his late 70s and would love to know anything about him.
    Thankyou for your time.
    Rhonda Sanders.

  44. Very interested to hear from Sue Sims, having read her blog above. There are some similarities with my own father’s story in India and Burma, although his name was different. He married Rosina Budd in Portsmouth in the late 1920’s. Hopefully can contact via this site. It may just be coincidence, but he also had a brother and a son with Rosina, called Harold.

  45. I would like to remember by father, Charles Arthur Stock-Hall who was posted to Kohima/Imphal serving as War Substantive Warrant Officer, Class 1, Ordnance Department. I was 12 years when he died.

  46. hy
    my grand Father fought in world war 2 in burma he was caption and he got award in this
    but i have not any tale about i need some book or documentary for know
    i have not see him but i wish to know abut her
    my grand Father got some major British award

  47. My father William McAnea was from Glasgow. He was in a private in the Kings regiment in Burma from July 1944 until around September 1946. He spoke little of his experiences there but I know from my mother that he had like the others terrible experiences, contracted Malaria there which left him with health problems for the rest of his life and he died aged 58 in 1979.

  48. Hi
    Am also from Somaliland and my acal is One of those forgotten army in purma
    And I do have his numer
    He lost a leg in that war

  49. Hi ,
    My Grandfather Dr BS Joshi, surgeon in the Indian / British army.
    Helped many people. Evacuated when the Japanese invaded, with his wife ( my grandmother) and 2 month old baby (my aunt). If anyone recognises his name or has any info. Please reply.

  50. Just published my father’s diaries from 1943 (69LAA) 1944 (Lancashire fusiliers and Chindit) and a brief account of the LFs role in Operation Thursday. Plus a small chapter on the propaganda unit he was in in 1945. There are maps photos and I have indexed all names mentioned.
    Book is called Before the Show and is available at Amazon as a paperback and kindle. My website gives more details.

  51. I would like to know anything about my uncle, Shakti Prakash Kapila. He was awarded the Military Cross for his heroic acrion in Burma. I believe it was a battle for Buthidoung where he snuck out at night and located the position of the Japanese, alerted his commander (?) and it resulted in a surprise dawn attack and victory for the Allies. Would love to know more. He died in 1955 in an accident at a firing range outside Delhi. He was always remembered with affection by the family.

  52. My father served with the 9th Battalion Royal Sussex.I have been researching this unit for some years.I discovered a set of secret diaries written by Sgt Cyril Grimes who served with him.Now published under the title “Not Forgetting The 9th” Covers 1944 and 45.Happy to hear from others interested in the 9th.

  53. My Granddad Wilfred Churton was a POW in Burma, I believe that he was a Motor Cycle Dispatch Rider, I know that he had great respect for the Gurkhas who he served along side. I never met him as he returned home from the war very unwell and later died of Stomach Cancer. He also lost other family members who were out there with him. He never got his medals and I believe my grandma never wanted them. She truly believed it was Burma that had killed him.
    All I know from others who knew him, was that he was a gentleman, loved his family and died in a lot of pain, but no one spoke of the war or what had happened.

  54. My Dad, Peter Seddon was in
    India/Burma 17/3/42 to 27/11/45
    2nd Duke of Wellington Regiment on 8/3/42.
    2nd Expedition Chindits.
    1st Bn West Yorkshire Regiment on 3/1/45.
    Won M.M. for bravery in 1945 while with West Yorks Reg.
    Served in India/Burma for 3 years and 8 months.
    Had Malaria 12 times while there.
    Unfortunately, some Japs continued to fight despite the war being over and therefore British soldiers had to remain overseas longer to mop these Japs up.

  55. My dad was a Lieutenant, later Captain of brigade artillery 32 bgd, 20th Indian Division from 1942. They had Anti-Tank 25lbrs on the run from Rangoon to Imphal and Kohima, and Light AA (Bofors) on the way back. The Bgd was nearly always composed of a Gurkha Btn, a Sikh btn, a British line Btn and Bgd Artillery (RA).

    Fighting was hand-to hand of course, and he didn’t talk about most of it, but he did say that one of their duties on the retreat towards India was to blow up existing British and American installations as they went through them. They were so hungry that a couple of times they unloaded ammunition from the 25lbr Quads and loaded rations that they found, which they could actually have been shot for, but it was needs must.

    He was awarded a gong for crossing the Chindwin under fire, but he never wore his medals. I still have his kukri, which I’ll give back to the Army soon.
    I’d like to find his record, but I don’t know his service number.

  56. My Dad Enock Gudu Sifuya fought in Burma WW2 and was not mentioned anywhere, it is the forgotten army indeed

  57. Hi, an account of east african soldiers fighting in burma can be found in “tales from the king’s african rifles” by John Nunneley, askari books 1998. ISBN 0-304-35349-3

  58. Eagerly in need namer of nyasaland soldiers who missed in the entire second world war

  59. I know two East Africans, Omwanda Lumuli and Manyasa Andanje who fought gallantly in the Burma 2nd World War campaign. They have since passed on. They were proud of what they did. How I wish historians would write a proper account of these people. They were not a “gang of coolies” as some accounts indicate. please!

  60. Hi all,

    My grand father was with the 14th Army in the Burma Campaign. He was at Fort White, Tonzang and Imphal. While trying to know more about him i came across this website: which is informative and interesting. Hope you like it too. God bless

  61. Hi everyone, I am an Honorary Friend Member of the Burma Star Association in Birmingham UK. My late father served with the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in India and Burma. Can I suggest that you take a look at my Facebook page dedicated to the men and women of the Burma Star Association. Here you can post questions and ask for information from many of our followers and get advice on how to find out about an individuals service in the Burma Campaign of WWII.

    PLease give the page a “like” and post any details you have about your relatives, we would be very interested in reading them, and please do post photos too.

  62. I would love to see a movie made of the Burma campaign. The heroism, the tragedy. The huge variety of nationalities, U.S., UK, East African, Indian (both sides), Japanese, Burmese (all sects). An amazing story of human endeavour and sacrifice. Imphal and Kohima have been described as the Stalingrad of SE Asia yet little recognition for either side. For your tomorrow…

  63. Grandma twin brothers got killed their name was read love to know anything

  64. My grand father fought in Burma he was British Somaliland soldiers ww2 and names jibril mahamud .still I havenot any docomenet please help if there you kwon really ID and were you life

  65. My uncle Eric West. Service No. 14737510 was in the 2nd Battalion Border Regiment, 14th Army. He served in the Burma campaign 1944-1946. I was born in Australia and as he lived in the U.K. I never met him. He was married but had no children. Before he passed away in 2009 he sent his medals and a couple of old photographs along with a small magazine booklet. He circled a few towns in the booklet which I presume is where he was during his active service time. Bombay, Poona, Calcutta. (India). Imphal, Meiktila. (Burma). So the memoirs I am doing I will use the booklet as I cannot trace any other details from the web sites. The booklet is “BURMA, A Miracle in Military Achievement.”
    At the bottom of the cover page it reads, “Price Annas 8 ‘SEAC’ Newspaper, Calcutta.

    David Prince.
    Western Australia.

  66. Hi
    I have been working along the same line that you guys are doing. While posted in Assam, I chanced upon a volley of information about the war in the Indian Northeast and Myanmar, then Burma. How the japanese made their way into the Pagoda town of Rangoon and then the great long march of Indian refugees through the most inhospitable terrain of the world. Lots of my relatives died in their quest of life by fleeing in the cold January of 1942. And many of them, who could finally make it, became completely deranged. So were the stories of several British, American and African soldiers, who fought valiantly both the almost invincible Japanese force as well as malaria and cholera. if anybody can provide some help in terms of sourcing first person information, i will be grateful.

  67. Hi my dad was William (Bill) gill. He served I think with a battalion in the leeds rifles. He served in the Burma conflict. He became deaf through gun fire. I am trying to trace any fellow comrades

  68. My father in law fought in Burma. He came home with a bullet very close to his heart, and died with it intact. He would not talk about what happened. I have no idea what regiment he was in but would like to find out. My husband would really like to find more information. Any ideas where I should start?

  69. My dad Thomas William WRIGHT born Gloucestershire, fought in Burma with the Dorset Regiment 1943-45.

  70. My dad Thomas William WRIGHT born Gloucestershire, fought in Burma with the Dorset Regiment 1943-45.

  71. Hi everybody my father was in Burma his name was Dennis Reginald frank Neale if there is anybody who knew my father I would be pleased 2 hear from them my father would never talk about his time out there I don’t even know what regiment he was in all I know is he court malaria while he was out there he was only about 16-18yrs old when he went he came home & convalescent at mount Vernon hospital in middx I know he got some medals but family won’t let me see them I don’t even have any photos of him in his uniform all I’ve got is a table cloth that he embroiled while in hospital I hope someone can help me sadly my father passed away in the year 2000 I miss him loads thank u look forward 2 hearing from somebody

  72. Hi,

    My grandfather fought in Burma during WW2. My grandfather was pte (Later cpl) Colin Bates and he was in the RASC his army number was T/14690324.

    I created this website so I could organise and hopefully piece together his journey. I still have a lot of work to do but as they say “Lest We Forget”

  73. My father James Gilpin was in the KOYLI mentioned in despatches, He got malaria, didnt talk too much about the war as such, came to a cross roads where a jap was on traffic duty, he stopped the japanese convoy and let the British through,instead, They slipped through before the japs realised. Had to sleep on the floor for a year when he got home.
    Look at Burma Star Assosiaton, Tragedy in Burma part1 and 2 good reading

  74. My dad was in Burma – Frederick Arthur Apps. Like many he didnt tell us what he went through, only things that wouldnt frighten us, like he had a pet monkey and how his cigarette case saved him from dying. How he had maleria, and three times the doctors covered him and said they couldnt do any more for him. His love for my Mum somehow gave him the strength to get better and come home.

  75. My uncle Sgt John Owen Davies, Royal corps of Signals maintained a radio behind Japanese lines in Burma. I have the group photos he took in Meerut 1942. Names of soldiers Brett, Love, Lott, Stoffel, Regardsoe, Wintle, O’Neil, Gascoyne and Davies. Pls advise how to load the photos. Valerie Davies

  76. My uncle Sgt. John Owen Davies, Royal Corps of Signals maintained a radio behind Japanese lines in Burma. I have some group photos he took in Meerut 1942. Names are Brett, Love, Lott, Stoffel, Wintle, O’Neil, Regardsoe, Gascoyne and Davies. Pls let me know how I can load the photos. Valerie Davies

  77. My uncle Sgt John Owen Davies of royal corps of Signals maintained a radio behind Japanese lines. I have many photos taken in Meerut 1942. Names on back are: Brett, Love, Lott, Gascoyne, Stoffel, O’Neil, Wintle, Regardsoe and Davies. Pls let me know how I can load some of the froup photos. Valerie Davies

  78. Dear sir
    My grandfather was participated group of Somali-Scot in second war, still he in Somaliland but help him any person really.
    Please help me if there is any person and i know his ID numer of that somali-Scot and Full Name and His is Called Abdi Dool

  79. I’m Somali origin and I met many somali veterans who fought in Burma but their history never being told.

    Being warriors by nature, the British brought them from British Somaliland in east africa to put them in most feared fronts. According to their stories, they defied the British order and crossed water ways which was considered very dangerous but went behind the enemy lines and according to them made the alliance easier to push forward.

    About a thousand in number, very few of them came back with no recognition let alone to qualify for pension. There are still some of them still live in Somaliland today. I hate to say, but that is one of the reasons I dont carry the poppy flower.

  80. My Grandfather worked & died as a pow in Burma. He is buried at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. If I had the funds,I would love to travel & pay my respects.Sadley I can’t. But I can via websites like this.

  81. In Photograph six the vehicle is a Gun Tractor towing a 25pdr gun. The case for the dialsight can be seen attached to the gunshield just above the tyre. The tactical sign ’42’ on the vehicle indicates it is from the senior Field Regiment of the Division. If it is 36th British Division then the vehicle belongs to 130th Field Regiment Royal Artillery. The person standing in the vehicle would be the Number One of the Gun, a Sergeant, and appears to have a map in front of him.
    Tigyain was occupied on 22 December 1944, See Page 157 of ‘130th Field Regiment RA and its Burma Campaign’ by Mr. D McLeod published 1996, which reprints the Press comment of this stage of the Regiment’s story.

  82. I give much respect to all ww2 soldiers especially who fought for my country. I am very grateful if the channels like NGC, discovery show about british operations to fight japs at burma.

  83. Hi my father Patrick Anthony Talbot was in the Burma Railway Treck and was driving a train with his brother Ossie John Talbot (which is now my name John Oswald Talbot). I am seeking to talk with anyone that knows us and our family also my mother who was Crystal Mary Everard, and her married name is Talbot. This last train out of Burma was filled with Chinese troops one of which had guns to my father’s and Uncle Ossies head to make them drive the train. They could not communicate to see if the railway line was clear and an oncoming train in the opposite direction collided with the train they were driving. They jumped out on time. It is a familiar story in my family. If anyone knows my family I am happy to be contacted on email. I live in Brisbane Australia:

  84. My Grandfather fought in the Burma Campaign he was lucky enough to have been General Slims driver for what I believe was a large portion of the campaign. He did not talk about his experiences much but spoke very highly of Slim.

  85. There is a very good board where there are a few people with a lot of knowledge about the Burma campaign and can help searching for individuals. Newcomers are usually advised to get hold of the soldiers service record, which does take Well worth joining.

  86. Ted

    Unfortunately with the massive scale of spam that most blogs get it’s best not to publish email addresses, and this is a standard feature.

    Your comments about the Indian contribution are well made. They deserve to be remembered even if some in the Indian subcontinent are rather ambivalent about this period of their history.


  87. I would like to get back to some people who have written here but there are no email addresses.Regarding Indian troops in particular, they do seem to have been forgotten, but not by me, though I’m just an ex-regular soldier who served long after WW2.The Indian soldiers numbered 1,338,620 in WW1 surpassed only by the English at 3,987,804 [and that does not count the Scots, over half a million, and Welsh soldiers over quarter of a million] the Canadians were next to the Indians with 619,636. So the Indians do deserve very much to be remembered in both wars, and in particular for the Burma campaign. Ted Rowland.

  88. My name is Chloe Dawn.I was born in Burma in 1943.My mother’s maiden was Mary Lashley.She did not talk much about her father,Mr.Lashle.From what my uncle Charles Lashley told us about my grandfather (his father ) was that he was a Canadian soldier who came to Burma in the early ninties.He spoke Turkish fluntly The British Army brought many Turkish prisoners of war to Burma to a prison in Tha yet Myo in upper Burma.He met my grand mother there and married her.For doing so he was cut off from his family who lived in Canada and because my grandmother was not allowed to enter the British Clubs he became very angry and upset,and stayed to himself.My grandmother gave birth to six children fathered by my grandfather Mr.Lashley.He named them James.George.John,Mary,Charles and Robert,and Baptist by religion.He died in Rangoon before world war 11.All my uncles worked as chief wardens in Burma prisons in different parts of the country.To tell you the sad truth is I did not even knew my gnandfather’s first name.I live in America now and learnt to use the computer recently.If somebody can tell me more about my grandfather whom I never met and give me some idea to find some information about my grandfather I’ll be extremely grateful.

  89. Good morning to all ,
    I’ve just found this site my father fought in Burma with no1 commando no 4troop he was wounded on hill 170 his best friend / buddy Andy pllu died not far from my fathers position he saw it happen and it haunted him until the day he died not being able to save his best mate. If any boby has any other information please get in touch

  90. Hi All I dont know if anyone can help, I dont seem to be able to get any info on my dad all I know is he was in the Cameronian Scottish Rifles and was listed at his marriage as a rifleman I aware that he was in Burma and was wounded im not sure how but think he stood on a mine he lost his leg and part of his face, His name was George Raeside and was born in scotland (Bellshill ) in 3 may 1914 , he was married on 18th December 1943 and was listed as Rifeman ,Cameronians. his address was 124 Hamilton road Bellshill but was now engaged in War Service.If anyone could help I would be so grateful , Thank you in advance

  91. Hi my granddad fought in Burma in 1944 is name was Stanley Keable he trained at strensall York i have a photo of is battlion could have be taken in Burma they is a number on the back it reads 18638 can anyone help please

  92. My grandfather fought in Purma and before purma and i would like to know more.

  93. Dear Sir,
    I am from Tigyaing, my hometown in Burma(Myanmar). It is great delight for me when I saw my hometown WW ll photo in your website. My father and grandfathers told me WWll stories in bedtime at the young age. Now they passed away and I miss them.
    If you have any related photos to my hometown, please send me to email.
    Thank you very much in advance.
    Best regards,
    Min Khant Soe

  94. my grand fathers,mother father and fathers father both fought in Burma also their bother was on the same war zone in Burma, and also their father(my great grand father fought first warld war),and I still have original and real shape documents (pay slip , moving order ,their letters from war place to home and some medials) in our custody,we belong from marshal land, and present Pakistan biggest military award medal Nishane hadier ,majority from that land more then half people who got that biggest award nishane hadier fron belongs from that marshal land,

  95. My father was also served in Burma for several years he would speak very little of what happened but did suffer 5 nervous breakdowns due to his experiences . We know the continued living or should i say surviving conditions were horrendous and i believe it was possible that some of those killed in Burma were killed by their own regiment when they could no longer stand the strain of the atrocities of the Japanese and although ill were silenced to save the rest of the troops.

  96. Hi. My grandfather Bill Robinson fought in Burma but i was unfortunate not to have met him as he passed away before i was born. According to my grandma, he never spoke about it apart from he got shot in his left arm above the elbow. I was wondering if anyone whos relatives fought in the same war knew him and would be able to tell me more about him and what he did.


  97. My Grandad fought in Burma, he was drafted at 19 years old. I can not imagine what he went through, even though he has told me many of his stories from the war. He was part of the Burma Star Association in Skegness and Sheffield. Unfortunately he passed away 2 weeks ago. My dad has inherited all his memorabilia and I have his medals from the campaign. Be sure that I will never forget him and also the people he fought with in Burma to me you are not the forgotten army and I will make sure that my nephews and children (when they arrive) won’t forget you either.

    He was also a Chindit in Burma.

  98. My father served in Burma/india as Gunner he bought back many photos -but I am trying to research more of this WW2 history as he was with 351 Medium Regiment RA/TA there is little information to be found .Can anyone enlighten me please.

  99. Omer June 04, 2014

    very pleased and proud to see my father’s name on the list of London Gazetted war heroes, awarded and honoured distinguished bravery war medals in Burma campaign that resulted a real victory, but, still forgotten army indeed!

  100. My father Harold Budd served in India and Burma, I am trying to trace his army records. I wish I had asked him more about his time out there but I don’t think he would have told me anything, Mum said that he was reported missing presumed dead and his army trunk was sent home,( I kept it until it fell apart ) but he just turned up somewhere, from the wedding picture that I have to a picture with me when I was two he looks as though he had lost about 6 stone in weight, he was mentioned in despatch and his last title was Acting warrant officer, I wish I could find out more about him but I am not having much luck

    Sue Sims

  101. My Dad, Lieut Eric Barnard, known as Barney, fought with the 27th field regiment in Burma. He was killed by Tree Burst on 23rd Nov 1944 when i was just 2. He had been due for repatriation but gave up the opportunity in order that another could get bak to sort out major problems at home. Strangely enough his repatriation papers came through just after he died. this told me by Stewart Guild who knew Dad in the battle and has told me all about that time and how he died. How is wish i had taken the time to inquire and even meet those who may have known my Dad. However we get so mixed up with our own lives that it isnt till we have time, retired, to sit and reflect what could have been. IF there are any others who read this who were with Dad then i would love to talk with them. I have been to Yangon and visited the war cemetery where dad is buried and cried at the place where he lies. What a waste of lives but so necessary to preserve world peace.
    To all those who still survive, i hold you in admiration and gratitude.
    God Bless

  102. Burma was sandwiched between Japanese and Allied Troops. My great uncle 2nd Lieutenant He Hlei from Allied Troops successfully attacked the Japs and destroyed their ammunition store in Gangaw Battle. He was awarded BGM. And also, he won the battle of Mt. Rung near Hakha, the Capital of Chinhills. But the war was over and Chin veterans including He Hlei who fought along with the Allied Troops got forgotten. Mrs. He Hlei is still alive but he passed away in 1990. He Hlei loved the Allied but the Allied forgot him and his service.

  103. Greetings from Zambia. My name is Jonathan Kruger. I look after and support the last few Zambian WW2 veterans in this country. I know many of the African soldiers who fought in Burma and North Africa are the forgotten African soldiers of WW2. But we have a website to honour them all the Northern Rhodesia Regiment, The Kings African Rifles, Royal West African Frontier Force. If you are interested in supporting the last few African veterans please let me know. Our website is at

  104. My grandfather(rip) fought in Burma too he was from Somaliland.he used to tell us stories about the war i cant believe that they are so forgotten.i would love to know if i can find list of all troops under British command.any ideas!

  105. Mark

    My farther spent about a year in Burma and some time in Vietnam and Cambodia. I’m still hoping to get his memoirs published this year, which include the war years in some detail – end of the war in Europe, but a continuation in the Eastern front. I also found a British memoir on line by Phil Kaiserman who was posted to India with the RAF and later to Vietnam. There is some stuff on his war experiences in it – the same timeframe as my father’s. It’s called From Barber Shop to Paper Mill. These are more interesting than the official material.

  106. Shampa

    I am always looking for good sources about the Indian experiences in the war if you have any suggestions


  107. Amazing that there is no mention of the Indian troops, part of the British forces, that took over from the East Africans. I am working on my father’s memoirs and he was following the Indian troops as a ‘British’ correspondent for the Eastern Front. I am trying to find out about an Indian trade union worker who lived among the Burmese in the villages near Yenangyaung and was executed by the Japanese as a British spy.

  108. I’m doing some serious research into the Burma campaigns as my father was there, now passed on, and what I need to know is, what allied forces were there apart from the British. There is a definite reason for asking.

  109. My dad was in Burma for most of the War – they certainly were the Forgotten Army. I have some diaries of his and they hold some interesting information i e when the Bismark was sunk, number of POW’s on particular ships, gun placements, firing co-ordinaries etc. he was in the artillery
    and very proud of the Army in which he served. I also have a letter that he wrote in 1944 of his observations of India. He was very graphic in his writing and it makes very interesting reading. It explains the different cultures and religions, the Ganges, funeral pyres and life in general. His admiration of the Gurkhas that he fought along side with was second to none.
    I would like to know a lot more about his life out there but it is difficult to find information. If anyone who may read this has any knowledge regarding the fighting in India, I would be very interested.

  110. My dad,Danny Cuthbert from Scotland, was also a Burma veteran. I have many pictures that he brought back with him. He was a radio operator.

    I have written a 43 page narrative poem which can be viewed on the Burma Star website.

    I am trying identify the shrines and temples in the pictures.


  111. Mark

    Not completely forgotten – I managed to find one photograph. Be very interested to find an account from someone who fought with them.


  112. My grandfather fought in Burma, he is African – we are not mentioned anywhere so I guess we are the forgotten heroes

  113. My Dad fought in Burma, he was a British soldier and never spoke of what happened over there, some information was passed on from my uncle what dad went through with leeches and how they burned them off with a lit cigarette, another thing was that he seen his fellow troops/friends dying also that he was saved from a land mine as he was standing over one and his fellow troops managed to get him free for which he was grateful for.
    I would love to know more about what took place what they went through and i would love to visit the Taj mahal one day as every time i see a picture of it i feel peaceful.

  114. Would Burma have been different without American pressure to keep the Burma road open to China? Roosevelt had an irrational love of Chang ah Shek and pressured the British to keep the supplies going to them. The Chindits were a disaster but did they prove that air supported troops could work?
    Burma itself had only been “conquered” by the British fifty years before, and the Burmese then and now, did not feel that warm and fuzzy feeling that the Indians had towards the Raj.In fact this article has some very interesting facts about Aung San (father of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi) and his anti colonial feelings.

    The British seem to have this nostalgic feeling about Burma, however our influence on that country stopped c.1966, when democracy ended and it became a closed corrupt Asian dictatorship.I really think we should take off our rose coloured glasses and evaluate the battles with cold reality.
    My Dad wore his Burma Star for every reunion as did a lot of men of his generation, but do we really know what happened out there?

  115. I have finished Viscount Slim’s “Defeat Into Victory”, so this post is quite timely and interesting. Definitely a forgotten army.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.