Memorial to 36th Division Arakan 1944

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Shiny 9th, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    36th Arakan Memorial.jpg

    I found this rare image of the memorial to the officers and men of the 36th Division who died in the Arakan 1944. I have never seen a photo of it before, and I suspect it no longer exists.Time and weather will have seen to that. I do not know of its exact location but it cannot have been far off the route taken by 9th Royal Sussex when they pulled out of the Arakan in May 1944- somewhere between the Ngakyedauk Pass and Dosari. It came from a privately published account of Major M.C.Cash's time whilst serving with the 9th Royal Sussex., which was compiled by his son.There must have been a service to unveil the memorial, and you can see the before and after images here. Major Cash was awarded the MC for his actions in taking one of the infamous tunnels on the Maungdaw-Buthidaung Road. Many of the men were decorated too.It was their first action in Burma, but not the last.
    Rothy, sol, PackRat and 5 others like this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Sorry which images where ?? the 2 images of the memorial dont appear to be before & after - or am I missing something

  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    After and before unveiling.

    If we find whatever it is, we'll let you know...
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    PackRat and 4jonboy like this.
  5. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Sorry some of you cannot see the images of the memorials . It is at the very beginning of the thread and the text about it is in my second post.
  6. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Can anyone let me know if the images are not shown, only I can see them, but they are rather large and maybe they don't show on mobile devices.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I can see two images/one scan in post 1. (one after unveiling, one before.)
    Owen likes this.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Can see 2 images of the memorial in post #1 - but to me they look as though they were taken at the same time, whereas in post #2 you say there are images that show before and after - was expecting to see perhaps a much larger time span between the images

    Or maybe I need to go to specsavers [note other opticians are out there]

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Shrunk screen & did a snap, 2 photos there .
    After & before unveiling.

    Attached Files:

  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    TD - As Idler said in earlier post: after and before the unveiling. Not a 'then and now'.

  11. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Sorry if this confused you all. As you have gathered this is a photo of a memorial before it was unveiled, above another of it after it was unveiled.
    There seems to be no mention of it or an unveiling service in the relevant War Diaries.Any other info 're location or who made it appreciated.
  12. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this great picture, Shiny9th.

    I've just had a look through 36 Division HQ 'G' Branch War Diary and it seems that this memorial may be the one mentioned in the page below. If so, it was unveiled at 1700 on 7th May, 1944. Location not mentioned, unfortunately.

    dbf and Rothy like this.
  13. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    PackRat, Am really appreciative you have managed to locate this entry.I have not found any other refs to it apart from a brief one in Murray Gilling's "Shiny Ninth". It looks as if the memorial was in the vicinity of Div HQ. Do earlier entries say exactly where that was?
  14. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    A previous entry on 25th April states "Div HQ to move to BAWLI on 2 May", and the entry for 2nd May confirms "Tac HQ move to new location - BAWLI AREA 2670". Tac HQ stays there until 13th May, when it closes to move back to Shillong with the rest of the Division, arriving on the 20th.

    Can't see any other references to the memorial though. As a long shot there may be something hiding amongst the many appendices of Div HQ's diary - it's an absolutely massive file and I sadly only had time to photograph the main diary pages and skim the appendices for anything that stood out. The file is WO 172/4365
  15. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    If you have a contemporary military map it should be in Map square 26 70. That narrows it down a bit but not as much as a six figure ref would do.
  16. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Thanks anyway.It just seems a sad thing that somebody took the effort to make this small tribute and fix it up out of harms way and so little is known about it. Just one of those stray things that appealed to me.However Bawli must be the area concerned.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Wouldn't Shillong be more likely as it was Div Main rather than Tac?
    Or was Main still somewhere else with only the advance party starting to set up at Shillong? That might allow more time to create the memorial.
    I'm afraid I don't have much grasp of the geography...
    Final thought: the Div RE war diaries might hold some clues - it's a fair bet they built it.
    PackRat likes this.
  18. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Pretty sure it's not in Shillong. I need to find the ref to it in The Shiny Ninth. From memory it says the memorial was erected in the Arakan, but does not give location. PackRat's 36th Division War Diary entry is the nearest I have got to providing additional confirmation of that, apart from Major Cash's photo. But things have moved on, thanks to all and for pointers for future research. When I find ref from The Shiny Ninth, I will come back. Major Cash lost several men from his Company in the Arakan, so it is quite possible he attended the service referred to above.
  19. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    That's a good point. The only engineer diary I've got from 36 Division is 236 Field Company's (field engineers for 29 Brigade) and they don't mention the 36 Div Arakan memorial at all. However in their Jan 1945 diary they do mention creating and placing their own memorial for several men of the company who drowned in the sinking of an improvised ammo raft during the crossing of the Irrawaddy.

    Possibly 324 Indian Field Park Coy's diary or one of these two might hold a clue:

    WO 172/4367 36 Indian Division: Indian Engineers 1944 Feb.- Dec.
    WO 172/4370 36 Indian Division: I.E.M.E. 1944 Jan.- Dec.

    They were on my 'to do' list but I didn't have a chance to go through them at TNA. Full list of engineering units with 36 Division from Geoffry Foster's booklet:

    IMG_0038 copy.jpg IMG_0039 copy.jpg

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    It is definitely not Shillong; Shillong is in India, not the Arakan, for this is the time that 36 Ind Div was beginning to move North for their next campaign.
    The WD mention of the unveiling follows a visit to 72 Brit Bde, and I note that two days later the GOC presented decorations to that brigade at Sinzweya. A possibility, but I can't imagine a better place for a memorial.

Share This Page