Burma-India and the ‘forgotten’ Victoria Crosses

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by airlana, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. airlana

    airlana Member

    Rather than rework the old data I’ve done a new list with some additional information.

    Much of what follows is based on the citations as published in the London Gazette, which is what I originally used for the list.

    As mentioned in post #17, there appears to be no hard and fast rule applied by the Authorities when using the terms “Burma” and “India” in the citations. The only explanation seems to be that British Assam was considered as part of Burma, but as we will see, not consistently.

    There were 29 VC’s awarded in Burma and India. By my reckoning, 21 were for action in Burma, 7 for action in India, and one that I’m not sure about. Yet in the London Gazette citations, no less than 6 are clearly stated for action in Burma when in fact the action was in India. More about this shortly.

    At this point I would like to mention Andy’s excellent thread All The Victoria Crosses of World War Two. Much of Andy’s material could be incorporated here, which would be a bit pointless and unfair to duplicate, so I’ve cross referenced each of the VC recipients below with Andy’s numbering system, thus making it easy for those who wish to study any of them further. Also, in some of the official citations, the location where the award was earned is a bit vague. With the location details below, this problem is largely overcome. Both threads have much in common, so I do hope everyone agrees with the cross referencing and I haven’t broken any forum rules.

    Listed below are the 29 VC’s. Accompanying each is the ‘location’ of where the VC was won. It’s very much my own ‘definition’ of the location. It’s not precise as in ‘to the nearest 100 meters’ but will point you fairly close to where the VC was won. I’ve used miles for distance, as this was the norm at the time. Most of the towns and villages are marked on the 1:250,000 scale army maps, often with slight spelling variations.

    Regarding #94 Gaja Ghale, the best location I can find is “Basha East hill on the Tiddim-Imphal road, Chin Hills area”. Tiddim is in Burma and Imphal in India, but where is “Basha East”. Can anyone assist ?

    Where the citation has the location incorrectly as Burma instead of India, I’ve added a “Citation reads” comment.
    See reference numbers #105, 106, 115, 117, 121, and 122. These are the six referred to earlier.

    They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” so thought we had better have one, in the form of a map.
    Using the reference numbers once again, the map shows the approximate location – within the limits posed by a small
    scale map - of where each of the VC’s was won.

    regards Ash

    Victoria Cross - India & Burma - World War Two

    #73 Parkash Singh
    Location: Donbaik on coast about 7 miles north of southern tip Mayu Peninsular, Arakan, Burma

    #94 Gaje Ghale
    Location: Basha East Hill on Tiddim-Imphal road. Chin Hills area. Exact position ???

    #98 Alec George Horwood
    Loacation: Kyauchaw on the Kaladan River about 20 miles north of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #101 Charles Ferguson Hoey
    Location: near Ngakyedauk Pass, about 60 miles north of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #102 George Albert Cairns
    Location: Henu village near Mawlu about 30 miles north of Indaw, Burma

    #103 Nand Singh
    Location: Maungdaw-Buthidaung road about 50 miles north of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #105 Abdul Hafiz
    Citation reads "In Burma………..north of Imphal"
    Location: Imphal about 60 miles south of Kohima and 40 miles from the Burma border. Assam, India

    #106 John Pennington Harman
    Citation reads "In Burma at Kohima"
    Location: Kohima about 60 miles north of Imphal and 50 miles from the Burma border. Assam, India

    #108 John Neale Randle
    Location: Kohima about 60 miles north of Imphal and 50 miles from the Burma border. Assam, India

    #115 Hanson Victor Turner
    Citation reads "In Burma, at Ningthoukong"
    Location: Ningthoukong past Bishenpur about 20 miles south of Imphal on Imphal-Tiddim road, Assam, India

    #116 Michael Allmand
    Location: Pim Hmi Road Bridge near Mogaung about 30 miles west Myitkyina, North Burma

    #117 Ganju Lama
    Citation reads "In Burma……..north of the village of Ningthoukhong"
    Location: Ningthoukong past Bishenpur about 20 miles south of Imphal on Imphal-Tiddim road, Assam, India

    #119 Tulbahadur Pun
    Location: Mogaung about 30 miles west Myitkyina, North Burma

    #121 Sudabar Nebrabahadur Thapa
    Citation reads "at Bishenpur.in Burma"
    Location: Bishenpur about 20 miles south of Imphal on the Imphal-Tiddim road, Assam, India

    #122 Naik Agansing Rai
    Citation reads "In Burma"
    Location: near Bishenpur about 20 miles south of Imphal on the Imphal-Tiddim road, Assam, India


    #123 Frank Gerald Blaker
    Location: Taunghi on rail line about 15 miles south of Mogaung, Burma

    #146 Ram Sarup Singh
    Location: Kennedy Peak 10 miles east of Tiddim. Tiddim about 20 miles north west Kalemyo, Burma

    #148 Bhandari Ram
    Location: Mayu Peninsular, Arakan, Burma

    #150 Umrao Singh
    Location: Kaladan River valley which runs north from Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #154 Sher Shah
    Location: Kyeyebyin, Kaladan Valley area, north of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #156 George Arthur Knowland
    Location: Kangaw about 40 miles east of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #157 Prakash Singh
    Location: Kanlan Ywathit about 30 miles west of Sagiang, Burma. ???

    #162 Fazal Din
    Location: near Meiktila, Burma

    #163 Gian Singh
    Location; Kamye-Myingyan Road about 60 miles south west of Mandalay, Burma

    #164 William Basil Weston
    Location; Meiktila about 80 miles south of Mandalay, Burma

    #165 Bhanbhagta Gurung
    Location: Snowden East near Tamandu about 20 miles west of Ann, Arakan, Burma

    #166 Karamjeet Singh Judge
    Location: Cotton Mill area near Myingyan about 60 miles south west of Mandalay, Burma

    #167 Claude Raymond
    Location: Talaku about 5 miles south of Taungup. Taungup 140 miles south of Akyab, Arakan, Burma

    #178 Lachhiman Gurung
    Location: Taungdaw about 60 miles north west Prome, Burma
     

    Attached Files:

    Drew5233 likes this.
  2. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Regarding #94 Gaja Ghale, the best location I can find is “Basha East hill on the Tiddim-Imphal road, Chin Hills area”. Tiddim is in Burma and Imphal in India, but where is “Basha East”. Can anyone assist ?


    "Basha East" is hill to the south-east from Tiddim, couple miles south from Kennedy Peak, about half mile north from Fort White and in Burma.

    Cheers
    Enes
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    excellent work chaps.
    keep it coming.
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Top Banana...I hope you will get round to doing all the other VC's too :)
     
  5. airlana

    airlana Member

    "Basha East" is hill to the south-east from Tiddim, couple miles south from Kennedy Peak, about half mile north from Fort White and in Burma.

    Cheers
    Enes



    Many thanks sol, I can now mark it on the 1:250,000 maps.

    That makes the final count of 22 Burma and 7 India

    regards Ash
     
  6. airlana

    airlana Member

    Top Banana...I hope you will get round to doing all the other VC's too :)

    Actually I thought about that when doing this lot. Must have experienced one of those 'seniors moments' :D

    Seriously though, I could probably handle the 20 for Asia/Far East/Pacific but would be way out of my depth with Europe and North Africa etc. which I think is 133.

    regards Ash
     
  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Many thanks sol, I can now mark it on the 1:250,000 maps.


    Now you will hate me. After I check again I discover that I made a little mistake. "Basha East" is couple of miles east from Fort While (but still in Burma). I mark its approximate position on the map (1:250000).

    :sign_sorry:
     

    Attached Files:

  8. airlana

    airlana Member

    Thanks again sol. Not to worry, little mistakes sometimes happen.

    I appreciate your attention to detail and providing the revised location.

    regards Ash
     
  9. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  10. airlana

    airlana Member

    Yes sol those maps are very useful and now have over 200.

    In post 21, I purposely used more general references for the locations so those without these maps could still find the approximate place on an atlas or general tourist/road map.

    Old books and reports on the Frontier Areas are a good source of information too. Way back in the late 1800's Basha Hill was known as Leisan. (which I had forgotten about until your assistance).

    regards Ash
     
  11. jonwilly

    jonwilly Junior Member

    I am good friends with a 90 year old Veteran of Burma 42-45.
    He did the retreat from the Sittang, First and Second Arakan and the advance back to the Sittang. Marvelous chap.
    He sometimes gets quite upset about two of the Indian Jamandars in his Company who where involved in trying to destroy jap pill boxes/strong points 2nd Arakan.
    Both where killed in action and awarded MID which at the time was only alternative to a Posthumous VC.
    Later as Major company Commander he tried to get the awards upgraded but had no luck.
    john
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi John,

    Do you know there names? The MiD's maybe available online.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi all,

    Sorry I have left it late to join in on this one. Attached is a photo of Pagoda Hill, Henu. This was taken by me in March 2008. This is the hill where Cairns fought and was awarded his VC. "White City" is located to the left of this hill and runs parallel with the railway for approx. 200 metres.

    I was part of the British Legion Chindit Tour and lucky enough to be allowed to travel into the countryside where all the main Chindit actions took place.

    It was a fantastic trip and I was fortunate indeed to be present with three Burma campaign veterans. One 1943 Chindit, a 1944 Chindit and an officer with the Punjabis at Mandalay.

    The people of Burma were wonderful hosts, very polite and gentle, they made the trip even more special than it was always going to be.

    Bamboo.

    PS. If I can find a good picture of Mogaung (M. Almand) I will post it later.
     

    Attached Files:

    sol likes this.
  14. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Thank for photo Bamboo. It's hard to find a good pictures of the battlefields in Burma and the Easter India so I'm very grateful for any one of them.

    Cheers
    Enes
     
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi all,

    As promised some more photos. These are shots of Mogaung and its river. The larger panorama photo shows the lowland around the Mogaung area. This was taken in March 2008, several weeks away from the monsoon and in an area not affected too much by cyclone Nargis.

    However, during the time of Allmand's VC award the whole of this area was in severe flood and conditions were atrocious for the troops.

    The other photo shows the bridge (as it is today so to speak) where the Gurkhas had to attack the Japanese head on. I think we can imagine the courage it took to stand up and charge enemy machine gun nests, down such a narrow and restrictive pathway.

    The young fellow in the foreground is my brother or camera crew as he was on that trip.

    Bamboo.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. jonwilly

    jonwilly Junior Member

    Drew
    I may see my friend this week. His health as not been the best of late.
    If I do so then I will ask.
    I know that he as a Major took the matter up with the Divisional Commander Geoffry Evans, after the war late 45 when they where in Bangkok locking up jap.
    From what he has said, jap make an excellent worker, obedient and willing.

    john

    Drew
    My memory says the unit was Indian State Force Troops.(100% true)
    Originally Mallakota Miners and Sappers (100 %)and I know that alter he was with the Bengal Miners and Sappers (90 %).
    john
     
  17. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    I am good friends with a 90 year old Veteran of Burma 42-45.
    He did the retreat from the Sittang, First and Second Arakan and the advance back to the Sittang. Marvelous chap.
    He sometimes gets quite upset about two of the Indian Jamandars in his Company who where involved in trying to destroy jap pill boxes/strong points 2nd Arakan.
    Both where killed in action and awarded MID which at the time was only alternative to a Posthumous VC.
    Later as Major company Commander he tried to get the awards upgraded but had no luck.
    john

    Seems there might have been more of the same, my Uncle was nominated for a posthumous VC after being KIO in Burma, but was given a MID instead. Although many people over the years tried to get his posthumous VC awarded, which his widow was told he was to get, it never happened.
     
  18. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Lt Alex Horwood gained his VC whilst serving with the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regt at the Kyaukchauw on 18-21st January 1944. This is in the Kabaw Valley south of Tamu and not in the Arakan. The 20th Division formed the forward defence line of the 14th Army in front of Imphal and came up against the Japanese pushing forward towards India. The Northamptons fought there and then with the rest of the Division, fell back to form a ring around Imphal, fighting in the Silchar track where two additional VCs were gained by Rai and Thapa. Horwood was buried at Kyaukchauw with other casualties of the fighting but their graves were not found later.

    Regards
    Tony
     
  19. airlana

    airlana Member

    Lt Alex Horwood gained his VC whilst serving with the 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regt at the Kyaukchauw on 18-21st January 1944. This is in the Kabaw Valley south of Tamu and not in the Arakan.
    Regards
    Tony

    Quite correct Tony and thank you for setting the record straight.

    There are several very similar names in Burma including KYAUKTAW in Arakan and KYAUKCHAW in Kabaw Valley. Just to confuse things there are several variations on the both spellings depending on the source of information.

    KYAUKCHAW is shown on map NF46-3 as a 'generic' location rather than a 'point' or village location. It is indeed in the Kabaw Valley at 23°58'N 94°25'E or about 18 miles 'as the crow flies' 160° from Tamu.

    It's somewhat unfortunate that the Citations don'y always give the exact location.

    And whilst on the subject or errors, Latimer in "Burma - The Forgotten War" page 196
    "On 20 January following extensive patrolling, 1st Northamptonshire Regiment made an attack on a Japanese position at Kyaukchaw (showing that here at least the Japanese were well forward of the Chindwin), during which Lieutenant John Horwood won a posthumoius VC after 'displaying remarkable endurance for 3 days and 2 nights'.
    Latimer references this in his notes to "LHCMA Gracey Papers 1/11. 'Account of Operations against Kyaukchaw position, 17-25 Jan 44; NRHC 569, 'The Northamptonshire Regt. Burma December 1943-April 1945; Compiled by Lt.Col.D.E.Taunton D.S.O'

    I'll get around to re-doing the original list and incorporate this and a few other corrections.

    Thanks again for your imput

    regards Ash
    airlana
     
  20. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Thanks for the response. I have been researching my father-in-law's war service with the Northamptons in Burma and one of his recollections was being part of the burial party for Horwood. Kyaukchaw has a small mission post but is no more than a village near the river.

    Interested in anyone who has a good quality, largish scale map of Kyaukchaw or the Silchar track they could scan for me......or anyone else interested in the 1st Bn Northants or any of the battles they fought in.

    Cheers
     

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