4995990 William Gordon BURGOYNE, 2nd Bn Welch Regiment: 30/04/1947, Burma

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by risca_boy, Jan 1, 2022.

  1. risca_boy

    risca_boy Junior Member

    Apologies in this is outside the timescale for this forum - April 1947.
    I'm looking for information about the circumstances of the death of WILLIAM GORDON BURGOYNE, Service No. 4995990, 2nd Bn Welch Regiment. He died on 30 April 1947 and is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma.
    I can't find anything online about the actions of the 2nd Welch at this time.
    Would anyone have access to the book The History of The Welch Regiment, 1919-1951 which may explain their actions?
    Skoyen89 likes this.
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    All I can see from his CWGC records, is that he was originally buried at Meiktila War Cemetery which is probably near to where he actually perished. Looking at his grave concentration document, something happened on the 7th March 1947 too, when seven soldiers of the 2nd Welch died?

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  3. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    The men of the 2nd Welch who died on 7th March 1947 were a party who formed a train guard attacked by dacoits.

    After an active period on internal security in the Toungoo area and on anti-dacoit duties as part of Morforce, the 2nd Welch had returned to Kalaw, except for a detached company. The C.O. introduced a rotation of companies so as to raise the level or training: one on training; one on range work; the third on guard duties in the battalion area. “No sooner had the scheme been put into operation, when one of the greatest losses since the end of the war served to throw it completely out of focus. The train guard of one N.C.O. and six men which left Kalaw for Thazi on 7th March fought a running battle with dacoits who ambushed the train by removing the fish plates from the rails and so causing a derailment. The van in which the guard was travelling stopped in a very steep cutting … and withering fire from rifles, Bren and other automatic weapons was brought to bear upon them. From the accounts of those civilians who escaped with their lives, the guard fought very gallantly for over an hour against an overwhelming superiority of arms and numbers before they were eventually killed. This deliberate attack on men of this unit awakened a desire in all ranks to track down this band of dacoits (which was reported to be over 300 strong) and accordingly plans were laid …”

    One Indian Other Rank and eighteen civilians were also killed.

    The 2nd Welch, with elements of the Frontier Constabulary Battalion of the Southern Shan States, went after the gang. Between 12th and 17th March, they killed five and capture 11, three of whom admitted removing the fish plates. They also found and burned a camp used by the gang. This operation brought peace to the area as the gang now withdrew from the Southern Shan States into Central Burma, where they got caught up in a major anti-dacoit operation, Operation Flush.

    Source: “Epilogue in Burma, 1945-48”, McEnery J.H., Spellmount (1990)
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    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Burgoyne had also been wounded in Burma on 24/07/45 with 2 Welch.
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  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    That's a great find there Rothy. I was wracking my Christmas brain for an answer to the 7th March. Thought it might have been an air crash during transportation or accident whilst clearing the Meiktila battlefield of ordnance or mines. This gives Steve (risca_boy) something to go on at least.
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  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Some here know of my interest in the ending of British rule in India, so I have read this thread with interest. Partly as my parents were "up country" repairing a power station for thirty months till early 1950.

    This 2016 undergrad thesis is a good explanation of Burma's road to independence on the 4th January 1948: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/media/25804399/miles-tewson.pdf

    There is one B&W film of the day itself: There were British troops there and the official party left on HMS Birmingham, with a RM Band playing.

    I did try to see if the 2nd Royal Welch were in Burma for the exit, but as very little known and recorded event I failed to find out. Rothy do you know?
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  7. risca_boy

    risca_boy Junior Member

    Thanks Bamboo43, I noticed this and also wondered why they died. Thanks to Rothy for his comprehensive answer.
  8. risca_boy

    risca_boy Junior Member

    Thanks Rothy, appreciate this, I wondered what had happened to those men.
  9. risca_boy

    risca_boy Junior Member

    Thanks Jitter Party, can I ask where you got that info from please?

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Information from the Casualty Lists compiled by the War Office Casualty Branch and found in WO 417/96 CL1834 of 17/08/1945.

    WO 417 96 CL1834 17 08 45_Page_004.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2022
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  11. risca_boy

    risca_boy Junior Member

    Thanks Jitter Party, sorry for the late reply, for some reason I'm not getting notifications when I receive a reply.
  12. smilingsxith

    smilingsxith Junior Member

    A Very interesting post.

    A good few years ago I bought the medal box & medals to Perkins, was very interesting to find out how the poor chap was killed.

    Must be one of the last men of the Welch killed in WW2.


    Arthur PERKINS

    Rank: Private

    Service No: 14827986

    Date of Death: 28/07/1945

    Age: 24

    Regiment/Service: 2nd Bn. Welch Regiment

    Medals - 1939/45 Star/ Burma Star/ WW2 War medal, with box of issue with NOK listed on the back. Sent to Mrs E PERKINS 4 Wern Terrace, Port Tennat, Swansea.

    Grave Reference:Coll. grave 4. B. 6-20.


    Additional Information: Son of Stanley and Emma Perkins, of Port Tennant, Swansea.

    Noted in Regimental fact sheet - July 1945 the Battalion was now patrolling the lines of communication from Toungou to Thandaung, between the Sittang and Salween Rivers. Although they did not suspect it, WW2 had only a fortnight to run. They suffered their final casualties on the 28th July when a convoy was ambushed on the Thandaug road and twenty men of the battalion and four Indian soldiers were killed

    Attached Files:

  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    An update following Post 3, thanks to Rothy and the cited book:
    Note I have ensured the units listed names are in full to enable future searching.

    So the British soldiers recorded at Independence Day came from the 2nd Royal Berkshire, who had been in India before WW2. A slim history: Royal Berkshire Regiment - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
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  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Thanks to smilingsxith providing a document on the Royal Welch's wartime service in Burma, I note the summary states:


    I have updated Wiki, citing here.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Sticking with the Burma Independence aspect of the thread. The Daily Telegraph has an obituary for Alan Jenkins, a long-serving Gurkha officer and it states:
    Link (behind a pay wall): Alan Jenkins, long-serving Gurkha officer and the last Western witness to the old Tibet before the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army marched in – obituary

    Having looked at the YouTube footage (British Pathe) he is not the officer lowering the Union Jack, that is a Scottish officer with a kilt. I think you can see him as the official party board HMS Birmingham, as a British officer (wearing trousers and a cap) is holding under his arm the Union Jack.

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2022

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