The Burma Campaign

Transcribed from National Archives File WO 172/975, War Diary 2nd Burma Rifles by:  Steve Rothwell - The Burma Campaign web site.

The history of the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles can be found here.


W A R   D I A R Y

2nd Burma Rifles


Hour, Date, Place.

Summary of Events & Information.

1 Jan[1]


Lieut Booker[2] and 4 B.A.O.Rs left to attend Carrier Course, Rangoon.

2 Jan


Sergeant Mitchell[3], B.A. Sigs, arrived to inspect W/T Station.

3 Jan


S.S. Heinrich Jessen[4] arrived with stores.  Left p.m. 4 Jan.

5 Jan


D Coy and det HQ Coy arrived back from Bokpyin.  Sent to Kywegu.
A Coy one pln returned from Kywegu to Golf Course Area.

6 Jan


Informed that Comd Mergui[5] came under Tenasserim Div as from 5/6 Jan.[6]  Received copy of report on Bokpyin from Capt Lyne[7] D Coy.  Copy forwarded to Tsn Div.

9 Jan


Recd correction slip to Comd Mergui Op Order No. 4.

10 Jan


G.O.C. Burma and Gen Comd Tsn Div arrived by plane.[8]



Left by plane for Tavoy.
Recd information that Major Wilder[9] was posted to No 3 Gar Coy and that Major Wheeler[10] was appointed 2nd-in-Comd.

13 Jan


Recd information Major Exshaw[11] not Major Wheeler appointed 2nd-in-comd.

14 Jan


Warning order issued to A and C Coys that they would change duties.
One Pln C Coy moved to Pataw Island.
One Pln A Coy moved to Golf Course Area from Pataw Island.

15 Jan


Remainder of one Sec Bur S&M [Burma Sappers and Miners – engineers] arrived by road.
Major Exshaw arrived by road to take up duties of 2nd-in-Comd.
Recd news of clash with enemy at Myitta near Tavoy.

16 Jan


Two Coys 3 Burif left Mergui for Tavoy by sea and road with 9 of our lorries.
Recd Comd Mergui Op Order No. 5.



Report from Capt Moysey[12] received by W/T.

17 Jan


News of minimum 1000 Japs Kyaukmedaung East of Tavoy.  Verbal instructions (as warning order) from Comd Mergui to prepare plans for evacuation if ordered to do so.  Coy Comds etc warned.

18 Jan


Recd report 3 Coys cut off at Tavoy.



D.C. [District Commissioner] recd news that he must demolish everything of use to the enemy.  Verbal instructions from Comd Mergui to all Comds that pending receipt of instructions all demolitions etc must be got ready for immediate use.



Message from Div saying Mergui would be evacuated, tps would move to relieve Tavoy garrison, and all demolitions would be carried out.  To withdraw by sea or land, preferably by sea, full use to make of local craft.



More shipping requested to evacuate garrison as local craft not enough..  Inshore route dangerous, outside route not navigable for small craft.



Orders from Div not to demolish aerodrome.

19 Jan


Message from div saying may be necessary to divert further North than Tavoy.



Dl [deadline] for evacuation reported 21 Jan, all by sea.  All local power craft and lighters by now collected together and arrangements for demolition in hand.



Recd news that enemy aircraft were already in Tavoy aerodrome.



HQ A.I.B. [Army in Burma] asked for ship to take off 50% force from RV to be given later.
Orders given to Rd patrol Palauk-Tamok to come in with P.W.D. E.E.[Public Works Department, Executive Engineer]  Mr Roper[13] by Tamok ferry from Tamok morning 21 Jan after destroying all ferries and M.T.

20 Jan


N.L.O. [Naval Liaison Officer] arrived.  Suggest RV Tenasserim Island 50 miles West of Mergui.  Force to be shipped there in small boats to await a steamer.



Orders from Burmarmy [sic] confirming that Harvey[14] may be used for evacuating mily personnel.  Plans changed.  Objective given as Rangoon.



Informed HQ A.I.B. of evacuation on Harvey and the remainder of garrison would move to Tenasserim Island, night 21/22 to await a steamer.  Demolitions to be done 21 Jan.  F.F.2 colns [Frontier Force 2 columns] evacuating by boat.



170 Civilians, R.A.F. personnel, C Coy, Kokine dets, Supplies, Hospital, Det Rgn Fd Bde[15], A Coy less one pln, Dets 3 and 4 plns, under 2nd-in-Comd Major Exshaw, left without kit on the Harvey Adamson for Rangoon.

21 Jan


HQ A.I.B. informed of this and that Harvey not sufficient.  Another steamer required.  Confirmed RV Bay N.E. side Tenasserim Island.



Notification from HQ A.I.B. that Heinrich Jessen would pick up tps on Tenasserim Island.
During the course of the day all petrol dumps, stores of clothing magazines etc were destroyed.  Loading of lighters with necessary stores was continued.  The Aerodrome was successfully demolished.



Embarkation commenced on S.S. Kyetma, Sommarjee, Kirtana and Bhagarathi.  Completed 2100 and set sail for Tenasserim Island.  Capt Burns[16] left behind with demolition party to destroy jetties, B.O.C. and remainder transport.
During the loading one lighter sunk containing some personal kit, ammunition, two mortars, and one infantry gun.

22 Jan


Arrived Tenasserim I less S.S. Bhagarathi and two lighters later found to have not been able to keep up.  Men disembarked and food was cooked.



M.L. 1104[17] arrived with Capt Burns, Jem[adar] Moody and one Sapper all badly burnt during demolition.

23 Jan


S.S. Bhagarathi arrived with her two lighters.  Men sent ashore.  All at work collecting firewood for boats.



M.B. arrived with FL Lt Booth Russel and remainder of demolition party.  Reported all demolitions successfully carried out with exception of main jetty.  S.S. Kirtana arrived with DC [District Commissioner], DSP [Deputy Superintendent of Police] and J  M.D., civilians and BMP [Burma Military Police].



Troops began to embark on boats and lighters.  Completed 1830 hrs.



S.S. Heinrich[sic] Jessen dropped anchor guided by M.L. 1100.

24 Jan


S.S. Heinrich Jessen sailed for Rangoon with 140 civilians and 960 troops and mixed stores.  All small boats left behind under orders of navy.  Demolition party of 4 left behind to destroy unwanted boats.

25 Jan

1800 hrs

Arrived Rangoon.  Proceeded direct to 3 Burif lines at Mingaladon.  Unloading continued all night and completed by 0600 hrs 26 Jan when all kit etc was dumped in unit lines.

26 Jan


Received instructions from Burmarmy to be ready to move in four day[s] and refit.  All stores in dump sorted out and checked by Coys.

27 Jan


All indents for lost equipment made out and taken to arsenal.  Recd Burmarmy Op Order No 3, saying that 2 Burif would move to Kyaikto by train on 31 Jan.

28 Jan

1200 hrs

Advised by Rgn Fort that day of departure would now be 30 Jan.



Advised by Rgn Fort that day of departure was now changed to Feb 2.
During the next three days new equipment being drawn from Arsenal.  Work much held up by air raid alarms.

30 Jan


Message from HQ A.I.B. to say 2 Burif would be ready to move 1 Feb.



Verbal instruction that 2 Burif would move night 31/1 to Kyaikto, Warning Order issued.

31 Jan


As many possible of remaining stores drawn from Arsenal.



Bn left by train from Mingaladon.



C.H.D. O’Callaghan[18]

Lieut. Col.
Comd 2 Burif


[The war diaries for February and March are missing.]




Hour, Date, Place.

Summary of Events & Information.

1 Apr


2 BURIF left THAYETMYO by march route.  Lieut.Col SMITH[19] remained in Comd THAYETMYO.  Dump made of bedding and unwanted stores and arrangements made to dispatch it to Bde ALLANMYO.
4 Pl broken up as per Div orders and Bren Guns from 4 Pl and D Coy 12 in number returned to Bde.  Total strength of Bn now only 430 owing to sickness and desertion.  C & D Coys merged into one since 28 Mar.



Arrived MINDE and formed Perimeter Camp.

2 Apr


Left MINDE.  Arrived TON 1200 hrs.  Locals reported area quiet.



Received information from 2 Bde BURCORPS concentrating area ALLANMYO-KYAUKPADAUNG-BWETKYICHAUNG-THAYETMYO.

3 Apr


Left TON.  Arrived THANIBAYA 0900 hrs.  KAMA reported clear of enemy.



Bde reported “Large enemy column of 100 lorries appears to have harboured for night at KYUNGALE”.  Bicycle patrol sent to investigate.



2 Bde reported they were moving today to vicinity high ground NORTH of THAYETMYO.  Role protection WEST flank of Corps if possible withdrawal.  2 BURIF movements left own discretion.



Patrol reported no enemy or lorries in KAMA or KYUNGALE.  Bde informed.

4 Apr


Two plns B Coy sent under Coy Comd to investigate KAMA Area.



Report from Patrol no enemy on KAMA.  700 enemy reported to have passed PYALO moving towards ALLANMYO.



Received orders from Bde to commence withdrawal to THAYETMYO.  Patrol returned with no further information.

5 Apr


Left THANBYA.  Arrived TON 0900 hrs.



Received message from Bde saying they were commencing withdrawal towards MINHLA, final destination YINCHAUNG South of MAGWE.  2 Burif will conform.



Left TON.

6 Apr


Arrived YEMYET.



Left YEMYET.  Arrived BAN BYIN 1800 hrs.

7 Apr


Left BAN BYIN.  Arrived AHLELE 1000 hrs.
Bn for the most part is living off the country.  Rice and paddy always available and sometimes vegetables, oil, meat and dhall.

8 Apr


Left AHLELE.  Arrived LINKE 1330 hrs.



Received instructions from 2 Bde to return via YENANMA or LEHLA, orders to recce motor road YENANMA-MINHLA.  10 Karen desertions during past two days.  Total desertions now 61.  Capt Lyne & 2 BHorls[??] left for MINHLA by bullock cart to go into hospital.

9 Apr


Left LINKE.  Arrived YENANMA 1000 hrs.



Informed by Bde JAP regiment may be advancing on both sides of river.  Task to recce road for passability of M.T. and places for road blocks.

10 Apr


Left YENANMA.  Arrived TAUNG-U 1200 hrs.  Met by C.O. of 8 BURIF.  Camped EAST side of village.



Bde Major arrived and gave verbal instructions as follows-
2 BURIF role remain TAUNG-U area and watch approaches from SOUTH and SOUTH WEST.
8 BURIF to move later to YENANMA to watch main motor road from THAYETMYO.

11 Apr


Received orders from Bde to pass following message to 8 BURIF-
8 BURIF will move YENANMA tonight.



Information from Bde JAPS reported to have crossed from ALLANMYO to THAYETMYO 7 Apr.



O.C. 2 Bde visited Camp.  Received 2 Bde Op Instruction No 18.



A & B Coys moved out to forward defensive areas.  A Coy on hills to SOUTH of village.  B Coy on motor road YENANMA-TAUNG-U WEST of village,

12 Apr


8 BURIF passed through 2 BURIF posn en route to YENANMA.



HQ & C Coys moved to new defensive posn on CHAUNG one mile further EAST.

13 Apr


One Coy 8 Burif and one Coy Chins from 3 and 6 Burif arrived by march route from MINHLA.  Coy 8 Burif en route to join Bn at YENANMA.  Coy Chins to join 2 BURIF and replace KAREN Coy as ordered in re-organization of Burif Bns.  Coy commanded by Sub[edar] SWAK ZAM.

13 Apr


Morning and afternoon spent in collecting together KARENS to be sent back to 9 Burif.  Chin Coy made up to war strength in equipment and arms from KAREN Coy.  Certain selected KARENS kept for specialist jobs in HQ Coy.  List of Kachin and Chin personnel required to complete new establishment sent to Bde.  Chin Coy renamed C Coy and Karens collected for despatch to Bde.



Orders from 2 Bde.  2 BURIF will move at once to take up defensive posn KYOGON 6 miles from MINHLA.  Orders sent to A & B Coys to withdraw at once & divert to KYOGON.



HQ C Coy and KAREN Det marched to KYOGON.  Arrived 1915 hrs.  Perimeter Camp arranged.



Fresh orders from Bde.  Bn will move to take up posn on high ground one mile WEST of MINHLA.  Bde HQ at NYAUNGBINHLA.



B Coy arrived KYOGON.  2330 hrs A Coy arrived KYOGON.

14 Apr


Bn marched to new posn.  Arrived 0700 hrs.  Posn taken up by 0830 hrs.



Bn posn shelled for 20 mins by enemy artillery from EAST bank of IRRAWADDY.  3 BAORs wounded, one serious who died same day.  Considerable confusion among mules, many of whom ran away.  Five mules and one horse shot as result of wounds.  Remaining mules sent back to RV approx one mile back on MINBU RD.
Runaway mules gradually rounded up with exception of 10 mules.  Four later brought in by 7 BURIF.



One Pl C Coy reported to have withdrawn without orders.



Orders from Bde.  2 Bde will withdraw along Rd MINHLA-MINBU.  7 BURIF will withdraw through 2 BURIF.  2 BURIF to withdraw 2 hrs after 7 BURIF clear.  Intermediate posn recced by B Coy.



Last of 7 BURIF passed through 2 BURIF posn.



B Coy commenced withdrawal to intermediate posn.



Bn commenced withdrawal.

15 Apr


Arrived PAIKTIN.  Took up previously recced intermediate posn.



7 BURIF passed through.



Tpt consisting of 30 bullock carts and approx 90 mules marched to MINBU.

15 Apr


Bn marched from MINBU.

15 Apr


Reached harbour area four miles SOUTH of MINBU.



A & C Coys took up defensive psns to cover embarkation of remainder of BDE,

16 Apr


Informed place of embarkation now two miles further South.  Covering position altered accordingly.



B Coy moved to posn astride rd 7 miles South of MINBU.  Adv HQ to behind A Coy posn M.S. 5 and C withdrawn to Reserve M.S. 4.



Informed place of embarkation again changed to sandbank off MINBU chaung.



Warning order from Bde.  MAGWE now evacuated by our tps and no further crossing possible.  Bde will march to SAGU – 2 Burif rear Gd.



B Coy withdrawn.



JAP Gunboat No. 209 steaming up river fired on with L.A. fire by A Coy.  After exchange of fire gunboat withdrew down stream.



A Coy withdrawn through C Coy covering posn.

17 Apr


Arrived harbour area one mile NORTH of SAGU.



Bde left SAGU.  2 Burif Adv Gd.

18 Apr


Arrived WYINGYIT.  2 Burif in defensive posn covering Bde,



Bde left WYINGYIT.  2 Burif Main body.



Report from F.F.8 enemy contacted on West flank.  All precautions taken.

19 Apr


Arrived harbour area two miles NORTH of SALIN.



Report of very heavy fighting on opposite bank North of YENANGYAUNG.

20 Apr


Bde left camp.  Arrived CHAUNGBYU 0500 hrs.  2 BURIF took up defensive posn at daylight.  No news of fighting on opposite bank.



Bde left CHAUNGBYU area.  Arrived TANYAUNG 0200 hrs 21 Apr.

21 Apr


2 Burif motor patrol reported enemy Adv party reached SINBYUEYUN.  Reports of further enemy South of SALIN.  Numbers unknown.



Bde left TANYAUNG.  Arrived SEIKPYU 0330 hrs.

22 Apr


Informed by Bde.  Bde will take up defensive posn North of YAW CHAUNG.  No news of enemy movement since fighting in YENANGYAUNG area three days ago.

22 Apr


Recce patrol returning from CHAUK reports no enemy or own Tps there.  Demolitions apparently complete and looting prevalent.



2 Burif moved to defensive posn area North of YAW CHAUNG.  2 Burif WEST 8 Burif EAST.

23 Apr


Recd orders from Bde.  8 Burif, Bde HQ and baggage train will move to YENANGYAT evening 23 Apr.  2 Burif will move independently morning 24 Apr.



Moved into perimeter camp for night 23/24 Apr.

24 Apr


Left camp.  On arriving LANYWA found that baggage train had spent night there consequently movement henceforth behind, carts very slow.  Arrived YENANGYAT 1530 hrs.  Camped in YENAGYAT village with piquets on surrounding hills.
Bde baggage train consists of approx 240 bullock carts which make movement very slow.  2 Burif Tpt: 96 mules for 1st line, Res Ammn, and one sup hard ration’ 38 bullock carts for remainder of rations and sick men.

25 Apr


Remained in Camp at YENANGYAT.

26 Apr


Bde moved to MYITCHE arriving 0900 hrs.



Received orders from Bde.  2 Burif will separate from Bde and moved to TILIN via PAUK.  Role delay any advance through TILIN on KALEWA.

27 Apr


All rations possible collected locally.



2 Bde less 2 Burif marched to PAKOKKU.

28 Apr


2 Burif with det S&M [Sappers and Miners – engineers] and W/T det left MYITCHE with approx one week’s rations for personnel on bullock carts.  Mules rations to be bought locally.  Arrived TABYA 0800 hrs.



Report from Patrol left at MYITCHE in mufti that 300 Thakins[20] and 1-00 Japs with one gun had arrived that place.  Bde informed.



Message arrived from Bde to say plan now altered.  2 Bde complete will now make for TILIN.  2 Burif to await arrival of remainder of Bde at TABYA.  Bn positions altered and new position recced for Bde.

29 Apr


Bde arrived TABYA by march route from PAKOKKU.



Report from F.F.8 at KANHLA saying that they had been surrounded by enemy.  Report subsequently proved completely false.




29 Apr


2 Burif with W/T det [and] our bullock cart Tpt left by march route.  Arrived THANBYA-AING 1830 hrs.



Brigadier arrived with Adv party from Bde.

30 Apr


B Coy sent as fighting patrol to PAUK to report if any enemy movement there.



Bde arrived THANBYA-AING.



2 Burif less B Coy moved to PAUK arriving 1130 hrs.  All quiet there but village looted and many houses burnt down.  Dacoits common over whole area.  Took up position at PAUK.



Bde arrived PAUK by march route from THANBYA-AING.



C.H.D. O’Callaghan

Lieut. Col.
Comd 2 Burif




Hour, Date, Place.

Summary of Events & Information.

1 May


Remained in PAUK.



One Burman prisoner shot for complicity in stealing a man’s rifle.



Baggage train left for YEBYU.

2 May


Bde marched for YEBYU.



Reported by Spies left in PAUK that approx 200 Thakins armed with rifles arrived there at 0600 hrs.  Bde informed.



Arrived CHAUNG at M.S. 55.  2 Burif left here with Baggage train as not sufficient water at YEBYU.
Remained 2/3 May in perimeter camp on hill North of CHAUNG.

3 May


Received orders from Bde to proceed a once to YEBYU.
Information now received that former report about Thakins in PAUK much exaggerated, probably only a few scallywags with 2 shot guns.



Baggage train marched with C Coy as escort.



2 Burif marched.  Two bridges burnt en route.  Arrived YEBYU 1600 hrs.  Much delay caused by the fact that a party of Thakins from PAKOKKU had previously burned many bridges on road PAUK-TILIN for which diversions had to be made.



Bde HQ and 2 Burif left YEBYU.

4 May


Arrived KYIN.  Delay due to bullock cart train having great difficulty at one of the diversions.

5 May


Bde left KYIN.  Arrived AKYIBAN 0930 hrs.

6 May


Bde left AKYIBAN.  Arrived PONNA 1000 hrs passing through TILIN.

7 May


Bde left PONNA.  Arrived PETWUN 1600 hrs.    hrs break for tea at SEMINDAW.

8 May


Left PETWUN.  Arrived GANGAW 1330 hrs after 1½ hrs break for tea.  Hopes for local stores did not materialize owing to fact partly that many had been distributed to troops passing through and partly that the majority of shopkeepers being Indians had left for India.  Rice, paddy and dhall had so fare been available in villages en route, but little else.  No report of enemy near GANGAW area.  Two Chin deserters.




9 May


Left GANGAW.  Arrived LETPAN 1130 hrs.
Usual procedure in marches is as follows:-
2nd LINE Tpt (carts) leave Camp in evening approx 1800 hrs.
1st LINE Tpt (carts) containing rations and stores required immediately on arrival leave approx 2100 hrs.
Bde fighting group leave early next morning. Arriving usually several hours after carts.
Recce and requisitioning parties leave with 2nd LINE Tpt and by M.T. if any available.

10 May


Left LETPAN.  Arrived CHAUNGGAUK 1030 hrs.
Many men in Bn with sore feet due to long and continuous marches and bad condition of sock and boots.  As many as possible sent in bullock carts.  Remainder marched slowly with 1st Line Tpt.  Six Chins, two Karens missing from previous days march.  Whether unable to keep up owing to sore feet or deserters not known, probably the former.

11 May


Left CHAUNGGAUK.  Arrived KINYAN MYAUK 1030 hrs.  Owing to water shortage Bde HQ and 8 Burif marched on 4 miles leaving 2 Burif and 2nd Line Tpt in KINYAN MYAUK.
Orders received by 2 Bde from BURCORPS to proceed KALEMYO as quickly as possible.

12 May


Left KINYAN MYAUK.  Arrived SIHAN MYAUK 1000 hrs after encountering heavy rain on way.  General reorganization.  Rations drawn from rations dump.  Bullock carts Tpt cut down to minimum.  All kit etc remaining being destroyed.  2 Burif was cut down to 14 bullock carts.  Sick evacuated by lorries.



12 lorries arrived.  9 allotted to 2 Burif to ferry Bn to KALEMYO.



Adv HQ, B, C Coys and Mortar Pl (3 Pl) left by lories for destination now changed to IMBAING.



Remainder of Bn and Mule Tpt and 10 bullock carts marched to NATSHAUNG.  All stores taken on lorries and bullock carts.



Convoy arrived IMBAING.  Placed in temporary Camp by Corps representative.



Further 3 lorry loads left NATSHAUNG with remainder of HQ Coy.



2nd-in-Comd with A Coy and bullock carts escort arrived NATSHAUNG.  Bullock carts unloaded and rations put on lorries.




13 May


Remainder of Bn left NATSHAUNG by lorries.  Arrived IMBAING 0830 hrs.
Orders received from 2 Bde.  2 Burif will [???] to YESAGYO.  Be watch approaches from EAST between YESAGYO and IMBAING.



Adv HQ, A & B Coys left IMBAING by lorries.  Arrived YESAGYO 1130 hrs.  Remainder of Bn left by march route to be ferried by M.T. when available.



A & B Coys left to take up posn as follows:-
A Coy: 6 miles South of Yesagyo guarding track  over hills
B Coy: 3 miles East of Yesagyo.
C Coy and Adv HQ remained YESAGYO area.



All Bn now arrived except Doctor and 3 Pl.  Lorries sent to fetch them and take Mortar Pl direct to Bde HQ, the Bn having no Tpt to carry them.



Reported 2 GCOs, 35 ORs from Chin reinforcement Coy deserted.  Bde informed.



Clocks put back 2 hrs to conform with India Standard Time.

14 May


2 Burif now temporarily under 16 Bde.  Coy Cmds from CHIN reinforcement Coy and 15 more Chin BAORs deserted during the night.



Orders from 16 Bde to move Bn back to M.S. 51.  A & B Coys withdrawn by M/T.



A & B Coys arrived at Headquarters.



Commenced ferrying of Bn by M.T. to destination now changed to M.S. 62.4.  2nd-in-comd & Q.M. sent ahead with Jems.  One lorry for tactical purposes allotted to 2 Burif.



Last of Bn arrived.

15 May


34 Kachins and 33 Chins deserted night 14/15 May.



Took up position astride rd M.S. 62.4 to cover withdrawal of forward Tps.

16 May


Last of forward Tps (8 Burif) passed through posn.



2 Burif marched to harbour area at KAMPAT.



Capt Hodgson[21] with 5 men and one jeep left to patrol rd KALEMYO-TAMU 20 miles ahead of paused Tps to return by 18 May.  Adjutant duty handed over to Captain F.A. Harris.[22]



Bn marched to MINTHAN.  Arrived destination 1830 hrs.

17 May


Bde marched to WATOCK.  A Coy 2 Burif left by M.T. for WATOCK and on arrival there proceeded on to Camp 8 miles North of TAMU.  2 Burif less A Coy arrived WATOCK 0530 hrs.  Left again at 0700 hrs, food distribution ordered  PANTHA and from this place destination changed to camp 3 miles North of TAMU.  This destination was reached by ferrying the Bn as M.T. became available.

18 May


Bde marched to LOKCHAO, 13 miles from TAMU, arriving 0830 hrs.  Here Bn was ordered to defend all approaches to an iron bridge on Main Rd which was being dismantled by engineers.  10 more Chin desertions during night.

19 May


Capt Hodgson rejoined from special mission and took over his former duties as Adjutant.  Orders from 2 Bde received stating 2 Burif were to remain in this posn till 28 May.
Heavy rain all day showed that monsoon had now broken.
Total strength of Bn now 8 B.Os. and 89 Karens 77 Kachins 142 Chins & 4 Other classes and 46 Followers.

20 May


Remained in present posn.

21 May


Warning Order from 2 Bde.  2 Bde is moving by march route approx 1930 hrs 22 May.  Stores to be ferried by jeep, the rd being impassable for heavier traffic.  Mules A.T. [Animal Transport] to be sent for remaining stores.

22 May


Stores being moved on jeeps throughout day.  Orders from 2 Bde.  will move on pack Tpt at 1900 hrs.



Fresh Orders from 2 Bde.  M.T. now available for stores and A.T. will not be used.



Report that Rd is unfit for M.T., orders changed accordingly and all stores made up to mule loads.



Bde left LOCKCHAO[sic].

23 May


Bde arrived M.S. 47 where M.T. was expected to lift the Bde to PALEL.  Mules unloaded sent away.  Stores moved to PALEL by M.T.



Informed by Bde M.T. could not reach M.S. 47 owing to slippery nature of rd and that Bde would march to M.S. 40.



Bde left M.S. 47.  Arrived M.S. 40 1400 hrs.



Bde moved from there in M.T.  Arrived PALEL 1700 hrs and moved into rest camp for night.




24 May


Received orders 2 Bde will move to IMPHAL by M.T.  Two bridges down on rd PALEL-IMPHAL.  Owing to shortage of M.T. between the two bridges, Bde had to be ferried in 8 lorries.



2 BURIF plus stores left PALEL in 8 3 ton lorries.  On arrival at first broken bridge stores unloaded and transferred to other bank but no M.T. was found on the other side as expected.  After waiting four hours Bn moved by march route to other broken bridge leaving stores to await M.T.



Arrived second broken bridge where M.T. was waiting.  Informed destination not IMPHAL but M.S. 108 approx 24 miles beyond.



2 BURIF plus stores left by M.T.  Arrived M.S. 108 2030 hrs.  Found that we not expected.  Tarpaulins borrowed and Bde spent night in open field.

25 May


Moved to Temporary Camp site [????  ????] M.S. 109 pending definite orders.



2 Burif paraded on road and was inspected by H.E. Commander-in-Chief GENERAL SIR ARCHIBALD WAVELL.

26 May


Conference of Cmds of Burif Bns to decide future disposal of Burma Tps.  Decided men to be given the option without bias of going to India or returning to their homes with 3 months pay, all savings and Provident fund and a rifles and 50 rds.  Those that stayed would go to India with the idea of forming a Divisional recce unit.

27 May


Moved up to Camp area.  Men now all under cover in huts, tents or tarpaulins.  Time occupied in 1. Large fatigues to improve rds in Camp under direction of Sappers  2. Calculation of back pay, savings and Provident fund.  3. Bringing up to date of all Casualty returns and records, all records having been lost by Bn B Echelon.  2nd Lt. Hilton[23] reported back for duty.

29 May


Moved to another camp nearer main road at MS 107.  All Burif Bns moved into this area during the course of the day with the intention of easing communication.  Future movements still vague.  Most Chins wish to return home.  Kachins doubtful.

30 May


All spare arms, mortars, tommy guns, Brens, ammn, Signal Eqpt etc handed back to Ordnance in orders of 1 Burdiv.

31 May


Final figures published of men going and men staying:
                                    KACHINS       CHINS      KARENS    FOLLOWERS
Going to Burma                   22               132                 6                  4
Staying                               54                  9                 84                42



C.H.D. O’Callaghan

Lieut. Col.
Comd Burif Bns


2 BURIF - WAR DIARY For The Month of JUNE 1942


Hour, Date, Place.

Summary of Events & Information.

1 Jun


Bn continued making up of accounts of men leaving for BURMA.  THREE forms devised Form “A” to be taken on the war[?] showing name rank Number Service and credit drawn.  Forms B & C kept for record in Office showing (FORM B_ NAME, RANK, No, DATE OF ENLISTMENT, and ADDRESS) (FORM C- Name and details of PAY and credits in REGIMENTAL FUNDS).

2 Jun


A party left for RANCHI consisting of men who did not wish to return to Burma and who would not be needed in new Recce Unit.  2 BURIF party, CAPT P.A.HARRIS, 2/Lt G.M. HILTON, 4 B.A.O.Rs. and 3 Followers.

4 Jun


Money drawn by Bns – 2 Burif drew Rs. [rupees] 62611-0-0.

5 Jun


Men left for Burma in 3 parties 1. CHINS & KARENS taken by M.T. to SHAGANOO [sic].  2. LUSHAI Chins Rd to DIMAPUR and Rail to SILCHAR.  3. Kachins Rd to DIMAPUR Rail to LIDO.  All ranks were given 7 days rations.  CHINS ordered to report to Col HASWELL[24] Commanding CHIN Levies within one month of departure.

6 Jun


All ranks remaining in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th BURIFS formed into composite BURMA RIFLES Bn for the time being consisting of one Coy of Kachins & Chins combined and two Coys Karens with a total strength of 20 G.C.Os. 308 B.A.O.Rs.



The Burma Rifles Composite Bn under Col C.H.D. O’Callaghan was inspected by Lt.GEN. BROAD, Commanding Eastern Army.

8 Jun


Composite Burif Bn left by M.T. for MAO en route for RANCHI leaving behind Capt A.S. DICKIE[25] 5 Burif as Staff Capt 13 Bde and A/CAPT G. ASTELL[26] 5 Burif as Camp Comdt BURDIV.  14 B.Os. and attached M.Os. from Burif Bns accompanied the Bn.

9 Jun


Composite Burif Bn arrived DIMAPUR in M.T.



Composite Burif Bn left DIMAPUR for RANCHI by train leaving behind Major C.S. SULLIVAN[27] and two G.C.Os. to collect Burma Rifles belated stragglers.  Major J.N. Mackay[28], A/Major D.C. Herring[29] and Capt J.C. Bruce[30] proceeded direct to Calcutta by Mail Train on short leave.

10 Jun


En route to RANCHI by train.  Meals for troops being supplied by [????] at suitable halts.




11 Jun


En route to RANCHI by train.  At SANTANAR three coaches containing 4 B.Os. and approx 180 O.Rs. of B.F.F [Burma Frontier Force] and B.M.P. [Burma Military Police] plus a number of families were added to the train.

12 Jun


--- ditto ---.  Capt G.E. Hodgson left Troop train near Calcutta to proceed on urgent dental leave.  CAPT D.C. Robertson[31] took over the duties of Adjutant to the Bn.

13 Jun


Arrived TORI at 0400 hrs.  Bn lifted to “Z” Camp at M.S. 40 in M.T.  On arrival found reception arrangements practically nil but later in day were able to pitch necessary tents.

14 Jun


Kit inspection held and lists of clothing and equipment for requirements drawn up.  2/Lt E.J. BENNELLICK[32] 5 Burif was admitted to RANCHI hospital suffering from Malaria.

15 Jun


CAPT. A BELL[33] left for Calcutta on duty.

16 Jun

1235 hrs

The Bn was inspected by H.R.H. Lieut.-General The DUKE of GLOUCESTER.
2nd Lieuts SHAW[34] and MARTIN[35] proceeded on one month’s leave

17 Jun


MAJOR J.N. MACKAY returned from short leave.  Items of kit received from ordnance issued.  Many items short.

18 Jun


Received a verbal advice that the Bn will not now proceed to HOSHIAPUR but will remain at RANCHI.  Issue of kit continues.  Ordnance have paid little attention in respect to sizes indented for.

19 Jun


Received advice that the information of yesterday was incorrect and that the Bn will proceed to HOSHIARPUR as originally intended.

20 Jun


2/Lt P.M. HEALD[36] 10 BURIF, proceeded on 31 days leave.  CAPT A. BELL returned from Calcutta.  CAPT.  D.C. Robertson handed over the duties of Adjutant to CAPT P.C. BUCHANAN.[37]

21 Jun


One woman in Family Party reported suffering from Small Pox.

22 Jun


Movement order to HOSHIARPUR received.

23 Jun


Morning spent in striking tents.  Bn and families embussed in 27 Lorries from Camp at 1340 hrs.
Another woman of Family Party reported suffering from Small Pox.  Both so ill [??] patients and contacts left at Camp.
Bn entrained at TORI at 1800 hrs and departed 2010 hrs.  Strength BOs 7 GCOs 23 B.A.O.Rs 323  Followers 69  Families 72.

24 Jun


Arrived PASANLI 0526 hrs and depart 1010 hrs.  Morning meal cooked on the station.  Evening meal cooked on the train.  PAJARBEAN arrived 2030 hrs depart 2140 hrs.

25 Jun


Arrived LUCKNOW 0430 hrs and morning meal cooked on the station.  Another case of Small Pox and 28 contacts left at I.H.H. Lucknow [Indian Military Hospital].  Depart from Lucknow 0810 hrs.  Tea as such at MILAK.  Arrived MORADABAD 2110 hrs depart 2135 hrs.

26 Jun


Arrived SAHARANPUR 0835 hrs and morning meal cooked on the station.  depart 1110 hrs.  AMBALA Camp reached 1405 hrs where ice issued.  Afternoon meal cooked on train.  Arrived HOSHIARPUR 2200 hrs.  Night spent on train.

27 Jun


Bn marched to HOSHIARPUR Camp, distance 2½ miles in heavy rain.  Kit brought forward in one lorry.  Camp found partially pitched but re-encamped during day.

28 Jun


Camp arrangements completed.

29 Jun


Training restarted.  6 G.C.Os. and 54 B.A.O.Rs. reported from Burma Details.

31 Jun


Lieut.Col C.H.D. O’CALLAGHAN departed on duty.






C.H.D. O’Callaghan

Lieut. Col.
Comd Burif Bns





[1] On 1st January 1942,  the 2nd Burma Rifles were located at Mergui, in Tenasserim.

[2] C.G. Booker

[3] Sgt. Mitchell cannot be identified.

[4] S.S. Heinrich Jensen, a Danish merchant steamer.. Served in Hong Kong as a tender for naval motor launches, escaped capture when Hong Kong fell in December 1941.  Escaped Singapore, reportedly the last ship to do so before the Birtish surrender.  Also reportedly the last ship to leave Rangoon in March 1942.  Served as a tender to motor launches of the Burma Royal Naval Volunteer reserve based at Akyab before later being commissioned as HMIS Barracuda, continuing to operate in the role of depot ship until the war’s end.  In August 1953, after sailing from Hong Kong, she was reported fired on by an unidentified gunboat in the Formosa Strait, having previously been boarded briefly on 6th May 1953 by Nationalist Chinese guerrillas. (Escape from Hong Kong; Trove - National Library of Australia).

[5] “Comd Mergui” – Commander Mergui.  All troops in and around Mergui were under the command of the Battalion Commander,  2nd Burma Rifles, Lt.Colonel C.H.D. O’Callaghan (see below).  Command responsibility was defined as all troops South of a line drawn East and West through Palauk (inclusive) and the defence of this area (War Diary 2nd Burma Brigade WO 172/548).

[6] Tenasserim Division – 17th Indian Infantry Division.

[7] Captain Lyne cannot be identified – possibly Reginald Harry Lyne?.

[8] Lt. General T.J. Hutton and acting Major General J.G. Smyth, V.C. (the latter until 1st March 1942).

[9] Possibly Burnard Leslie Wilder, born 17th February 1899.  Commissioned, 31s January 1918, appointed to the Indian Army, 6th February 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 31st January 1919.  As Lieutenant, Indian Army, 52nd Sikhs (Frontier Force), First World War service. Served Iraq 1919-20 and N.W. Frontier of India 1930-31. Seconded to the Burma Rifles, 13th January 1931.  Served Burma 1930-32 (Saya San Rebellion).   Promoted to Major, 31st January 1936.  Indian Army, Special Unemployed List, 1st April 1936.  Died 1962 (British Army List;; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004)).

[10] Lyndon Grier Wheeler, born 31st December 1900.  Commissioned to the Unattached List as 2nd Lt., 17th December 1919.  Admitted to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., 18th April 1920, attached to the 3rd Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles.  Attached to the 10th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 11th November 1920.  Attached to the 20th Burma Rifles from 3rd January 1923 to 1st April 1937.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 17th December 1920, to Captain, 17th December 1926 and to Major, 17th December 1937.  As Captain, mentioned in despatches for distinguished services rendered in connection with the operations in Burma during the period December 1930 to March 1932 (the ‘Saya San Rebellion’), gazetted 20th December 1932.  On Special Employment as Intelligence Officer in India from 1st April 1933 to 15th April 1935.   Appointed to the 16th Punjab Regiment, 1st April 1937 to 1st December 1938.   In 1939, as Major, was Deputy Director, Defence  Bureau, Burma, attached the 1st Burma Rifles.  Served with the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Rifles as second –in-command  from mid-January 1942 until around 12th April 1942.  After the break up of the 3rd Burma Rifles in February 1942, was redeployed to Burma Army Command H.Q., and, as temporary Lt.Colonel, is mentioned in the war diary of 12th Burma Rifles on 26th February 1942 as being employed at Burma Army H.Q., where he organised the re-equipping of men without arms following the Sittang Bridge disaster.  Later, as Temporary Lt.-Colonel, 16th Punjab Regiment, attached to the 2nd Burma Rifles; killed 4th April 1943; awarded DSO 16th December 1943, dated from 3rd April 1943 (the recommendation for this award is available to view at the National Archives in file WO 373/31/115).  After the retreat to India, Wheeler became the CO of the 2nd Burma Rifles and commanded the battalion as part of the first Chindit operation.  While with No. 5 Column, Wheeler was killed on 4th April 1943 by a stray bullet at the village of Zibyugin.  He achieved the rare distinction of being awarded a posthumous DSO (Commonwealth War Graves Commission; British Army List; London Gazette; Anglo-Burmese Library; Indian Official History, Reconquest of Burma Vol 1, p. 131; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); War Diary 3rd Burma Rifles, WO 172/976(War diary 3rd Burma Rifles); War Diary 12th Burma Rifles, WO 172/984(War diary 12th Burma Rifles)).

[11] James Exshaw, born, 26th November 1899.  Commissioned as 2nd Lt. to the Unattached List, 15th April 1919.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lieutenant (IA 592), 28th April 1919.  Attached to the 24th Punjabis (the 14th Punjab Regiment from 1922), also served with 112th Infantry, 1920.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 15th April 1920.  Promoted to Captain, 15th April 1925.  Seconded and served as Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police from 27th April 1932.  Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police, 1933.  Promoted to Major, 16th April 1937.  Seconded to The Burma Rifles, 15th May 1940.  As Major, served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st October 1940.  As Major, Second-in-Command, the 6th Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1941.  Appointed Second in Command, the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 13th January 1942.  Arrived with the 2nd Battalion, the Burma Rifles, 15th January 1942.  Served as Administration Commandant, Class II., 1945-1946.  As Major (temporary Lt. Colonel), promoted to Lt. Colonel, 15th April 1947.  Died Warrington, 16th May 1974  (Burma Army List; FindMyPast; The Peerage, accessed February 2018; India Office List 1933; Indian Army List; War Diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975).

[12] Capt Moysey cannot be identified.

[13] William Edward Charles Roper, born 26th June 1902.  Education, B.Engr. (2nd class Hons.)  Appointed Public Works Department, Assistant Executive Engineer, Mandalay, 18th October 1924.  Other appointments include Offg. Assistant Engineer, Sandoway, 14th May 1931; Executive Engineer, Myitkyina Division, 1939; final appointment,  Executive Engineer 1947 (A Project by Vivian Rodrigues Anglo-Burmese Library).

[14] S.S. Sir Harvey Adamson, passenger and cargo ship, operated by the British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd.  Capacity 12 first class, 12 second class and 476 deck passengers; crew of 64.  Employed on Burma coastal service.  After the Japanese conquest of Burma, from 1943, the ship operated as a military store and fuel depot ship for the remainder of the war.  On 17th April 1947, sailed from Rangoon with full crew and 205 passengers.  En route to Tavoy radioed that would be delayed due to bad weather.  She was never heard from again and on 15th May 1947 was declared lost with all hands (P&O - SIR HARVEY ADAMSON 1914.pdf [dead link]).

[15] A detachment of “B” Troop, 5th Field Battery, Rangoon Field Brigade, sent to Mergui on 27th December 1941 for beach defence.  Detachment made up of one British Officer and 20 British other ranks equipped with six Austrian 65mm mountain guns.

[16] Possibly G. Burns.  Regular Emergency Commission as 2ndLt., 28th April 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 15th November 1941, temporary Captain, 15th November 1941.  (British Army List; London Gazette).

[17] One of five operational motor launches operated by the Burma Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (BRNVR) (WO 203/5728).

[18] Cornelius Howden Denis O’Callaghan, born 30th January 1897.  Mobilised Territorial Force until 7th July 1917, service 1 year, 126 days.  Commissioned into the Regular Army as Lieutenant, (13118), 4th December 1916.  Served in Egypt and Palestine, 1st January 1916 to 4th March 1917.  Appointed to the Indian Army as Lieutenant, 8th July 1917.  Served Iraq, 18th May 1918 to 11th November 1918.  Acting Captain from 2nd August 1918 to 26th February 1919, and from 19th March 1919 to 23rd November 1919.  Promoted to Captain, 24th November 1919, served with the 2nd Punjab Regiment (attached 66th Punjabis, attached 82nd Punjabis (1921)) from 24th November 1919.  Served Iraq, 1919-20.  A.D.C. to Division Commander, Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force, 20th January 1920 to 7th October 1920.  Staff Captain, India, 6th October 1921 to 20th December 1921.  Served N.W. Frontier of India 1930, where serving with the 5th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment was Mentioned in Despatches, 6th May 1932.  Promoted to Major, 24th November 1933.  Served with the 5th Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment until 4th May 1937 when seconded to the Burma Army as a company commander, the 2nd Burma Rifles.  Commanding Officer, 2nd Burma Rifles from 28th December 1939.  Promoted Lt.Colonel, 14th May 1940.  Commanded the 5th Burma Infantry Brigade in India, from formation in October 1942.  Awarded O.B.E., 28th October 1942, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma during the period December, 1941 to May, 1942.  Promoted to temporary Colonel, 12th April 1943 and temporary Brigadier, 12th April 1943 (British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; IOR/L/WS/1/1313 - Burma: reorganisation of the Burma Army; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004)).

[19] Possibly Frederick Miller Smith, born, 2nd July 1892.  Served in France and Belgium, March 1915 to December 1917.  In ranks, mobilised with the Territorial Force, 2 years, 28 days; temporary 2nd Lt., a Service Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment, 29th September 1916 to 24th March 1918.  Commissioned into the Regular Army as 2nd Lt., 26th June 1917.  While 2nd Lt., Territorial Force, acting Captain from 20th July 1917.  To be temporary 2nd Lt.,probationary, on appointment to the Indian Army, 13th February 1918.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2nd Lt., 25th March 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 26th June 1918.  While serving with the Northamptonshire Regiment, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 18th July 1918.  Acting Captain while commanding a company, 70th Burma Rifles, 18th September 1918.  Served in Iraq, 1920-21.  Served in N.W. Persia, 1920.  Served with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Madras Regiment from 23rd September 1920.  Promoted to Captain, 18th June 1921.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Madras Regiment from 21st July 1923.  Appointed to the 20th Burma Rifles, 29th May 1926.  Served as Company Officer with the 3rd Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles from 4th June 1926.  Promoted to Major, 18th June 1935.  Adjutant, Auxiliary Force, India, 23rd July 1940 to 11th June 1934.  Officer Commanding, Thayetmyo (possibly), 1st April 1942.  Promoted to Lt. Colonel, 18th June 1943 (British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004)).

[20] The Thakins were a Burmese nationalist group formed around the 1930s and composed of young, disgruntled intellectuals.  They were later credited with forming the Burma Independence Army (BIA) under the guidance and control of the Japanese.  When the Japanese invaded Burma in late 1941 and early 1942, the BIA marched with the Japanese.  The British sometimes referred to the BIA as “Thakins” (

[21] George Egerton Hodgson, born 1917 (approx).  Education, BA (Cantab).  Commissioned as 2ndLt., ABRO (ABRO 081).  Promoted from 2ndLt. to Lieutenant,  25th October 1941.  Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted 24th April 1945.  As temporary Major, the 2nd Burma Rifles, died 25th May 1944 in an aircraft accident.  USAF Douglas C-47A-65-DL (DC-3), serial number 42-100614, crashed during a meat shuttle flight between Calcutta and Dinjan, India, 25th May 1944, with a crew of four and nine passengers, all of whom died.  Of the 13 fatalities, three were British including Major Hodgson, all of the latter being part of the 3rd Indian Infantry Division (The Chindits).  The remains were recovered and placed in a communal grave at Kalaikunda, India.  In 1950 the men, Americans and British, were re-interred and buried at New Albany Cemetery, Indiana, USA, 17th January 1950  (London Gazette; Anglo-Burmese Library; Interment.Net; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; IWM - Memorials;;; ).

[22] F.A. Harris.  Regular Army Emergency Commission to the General List as 2ndLt., 28th April 1941.  Acting Captain from 18th October 1941, war substantive Captain, 7th May 1942 and temporary Major, 22nd January 1943 (British Army List).

[23] G.M. Hilton.  Regular Army Emergency Commission to the General List as 2ndLt., 28th April 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 17th May 1942, temporary Captain, 17th May 1942.  Later listed as commissioned in the Royal Engineers (British Army List).

[24] Francis William Haswell, born, 9th February 1898.  Mobilised with the Territorial Force, service 1 year, 150 days, to 17th  May 1918.  Served in France and Belgium, 14th April 1917 to 15th  February 1918.  Commissioned into the Regular Army as 2nd Lt., 19th September 1917.  Served with the 107th Pioneers, 13th May 1918.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2ndLt (IA453), 18th May 1918.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 19th September 1918.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 107th Pioneers, 1st April 1919.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 61st Pioneers, 1st April 1921.  Served Waziristan, 1921-24, Wana.  Station Staff Officer, 2nd Class, Wana Column, 4th May 1921 to 17th  October 1921.  Served with 48th Pioneers, 4th January 1922.  Promoted to Captain, 12th September 1922.  Served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Pioneers, 20th December 1926.  Served with the Bombay Pioneers, 1st April 1929.  Assistant Commandant, Burma Military Police, 1933. Commandant, Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Military Police, 12th December 1932 to 1937, then Commandant, Chin Hills Battalion, Burma Frontier Force, 1937 to early 1938? Promoted to Major, 12th September 1935.  Attached to the 4th Gurkha Rifles, 1938 to early 1940?  Commandant, the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, 1st April 1940 to 28th  December 1941.  Commanding Officer, the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, Burma Rifles, February 1942.  Charged to raise the Chin Levies, April/May 1942?.  Commanding Officer, the Chin Levies, June 1942.  Promoted to Lt.Colonel, 12th September 1943.  As Lt.Colonel (Local Colonel), attached Burma Frontier Force, for raising Chin Levies and leading them with detachments of the Burma Rifles, awarded D.S.O., 16th December 1943.  Promoted to temporary Colonel and to temporary Brigadier, 3rd March 1944.  Took over Command of Fort Hertz Area Headquarters until disbandment of the Headquarters , 28th May 1944 until December 1944.  Retired, 10th February 1949 ("Operations in Burma from 15th December 1941 to 20th May 1942", London Gazette, 5th March 1948; "War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941", Savannah (2004); British Army List; India Office List 1933; Indian Army List; London Gazette; Seppings Interview, IWM - Collections; War Diary of the 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975, (War diary 2nd Burma Rifles); WO 372/31/113; War diary of Fort Hertz Area Headquarters, WO 172/4485).

[25] Lt. A.C.S. Dickie, appointed ABRO (ABRO 35), 7th March 1940.  Served with the 5th Burma Rifles until assigned from the Composite Battalion, Burma Rifles as Staff Captain to the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade at Imphal, 8th June 1942.  As Captain (temporary Major), Burma Rifles, mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Burma, gazetted 24th April 1945  (Anglo-Burmese Library; London Gazette; War Diary 5th Burma Rifles WO 172/978  (War diary 5th Burma Rifles)).

[26] George Henry Astell, born 17th May 1910. Commissioned to the General List from Cadet, OCTU, as 2ndLt.( 189598), 28th April 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 25th October 1941.  As Captain (temporary Major), awarded the Military Cross, gazetted 4th January 1945, his citation follows:

Transcript of Military Cross Citation              

Brigade: 16th Infantry      

Division: 3rd Indian (The Chindits)

Unit: The Burma Rifles     

Date of Recommendation:               25th June 1944  

Action for which recommended :-  

On 18 April 1944, two Columns under Major ASTELL, which had been taking part in heavy fighting during the previous three weeks, were moving towards a British block which had been established astride a road and railway at HENU, Burma.

At 0630 hours, the leading troop had reached the broad stream bed of the Mawlu Chaung, when heavy fire was opened from the far side. Fighting developed on all sides, the enemy proved to be for the most part in dug-in positions. It became apparent that the route of the columns had taken them right between two strongly defended localities, which the enemy was holding in great strength with heavy and medium machine guns and mortars. The ensuing action, which was exceedingly hard-fought, continued for over four hours, when Major ASTELL received orders to disengage and continue his march by another route. This disengagement was hotly opposed by the enemy, who were by this time all around the columns; but with great skill Major ASTELL succeeded in withdrawing the greater part of his wounded.

Although in this action he lost twenty percent of his strength, the number of Japanese killed is known to have been more than twice his own losses, and is believed to be much higher still. Although twelve out of fourteen mules were killed, all mortars and machine guns were successfully manhandled out of the battle, and carried many miles. The whole action was fought with great determination by all ranks, and reflected as much credit on them as if it had been crowned with success. The personal conduct of Major ASTELL throughout was magnificent. He exposed himself fearlessly where the fire was hottest, his exemplary courage and demeanour inspired his troops to great deeds, and won their admiration for ever.               

Recommended by: Brigadier B.E. Fergusson DSO, Commanding 16th Infantry Brigade  

Signed By: Major General W.D.A. Lentaigne, Comd. 3 Ind Div; General G. Giffard, Commander-in-Chief 11 Army Group

Died 1974.  (London Gazette; Anglo-Burmese Library; Chindits Special Forces Burma 1942-44 - Awards; FindMyPast;

[27] Cecil Stevens Sullivan, born 18th October 1898.  Commissioned into the Indian Army via the Indian Army Reserve of Officers as 2ndLt., 15th October 1918 (appointed from 7th August 1919).  Served with the 4th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 12th June 1918 (IARO).  Promoted to Lieutenant, 15th October 1919.  Served with the 3rd Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 20th July 1920.  Served Iraq, 1920.   Served with the 5th Battalion, 70th Burma Rifles from 1st April 1922.  Served with the 20th Burma Rifles from 3rd September 1922.  Promoted to Captain, 1st October 1924.  Promoted to Major, 1st October 1936.  In 1937, while serving with the 1st Battalion, Burma Rifles, was attached to the Training Battalion, the then 10th Battalion, 20th Burma Rifles prior to conversion to a rifle battalion as the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles.  By January 1938, a Company Officer with the 4th Battalion, Burma Rifles.  In 1939 was the Officer-in-Charge, The Burma Rifles Recruitment and Regimental Centre at Maymyo.  Promoted from Major to temporary Lt.Colonel, Indian Army, 1st October 1944.  Died 4th May 1947, buried at Rangoon War Cemetery (British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); Commonwealth War Graves Commission).

[28] James Noble Mackay, born 18th January 1900.  Commissioned to the Unattached List as 2ndLt., 15th April 1919.  Appointed to the Indian Army as 2ndLt.(IA457), 16th April 1919.  Served Afghanistan, N.W. Frontier 1919.  Promoted to Lieutenant, 15th April 1920.  Served with 1st Battalion, 107th Pioneers (1921).  Served Persia, 1920.  Promoted to Captain, 15th April 1925.  Served N.W. Frontier of India, 1930 –31, for which Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted 6th May 1932.  Served North West Frontier, 1937.  Promoted to Major, 15th April 1937.  Seconded from 4th Gurkha Rifles to the Burma Army, 2nd Battalion, Burma Rifles, 1st June 1937.  Served with the 5th Battalion, The Burma Rifles during the 1942 campaign.  Commanding Officer, The Chin Hills Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1942.  Awarded the D.S.O. while attached The Burma Rifles, gazetted 28th October 1942, citation as follows:

Brigade:                 1st [Burma] Inf, 1st Burma Division              
Corps:                    Burcorps               
Unit:                       5 Burif                  
Rank and Name: Major James Noble MACKAY
Date of Recommendation:                               25th April 1942.  

Action for which recommended :-  

At KYAUKTAGA on March 17th the battalion was attacked and subjected to heavy and accurate Mortar fire almost incessantly from 1100 hrs to 1800 hrs.  The Mortar fire was seriously affecting the men’s morale.  Major MACKAY moved amongst them talking to them and soon restored their confidence.
Finally he personally took out the withdrawal order to the centre company which was then bearing the brunt of the attack and remained there until the withdrawal hour bringing back the remnants through very heavy fire mostly at close range.
Throughout the action this officer set a magnificent example of courage and calmness which was an inspiration to all those around him.

Recommended By:             B.J. Devenish-Meares, Lt-Col., Comd, 5 Burif; Bruce-Scott, Maj-Gen, Comd 1 Burdiv

Honour or Reward:             Distinguished Service Order              

Signed By:                            H.R. Alexander, General.  

Promoted Lt.Colonel, 15th April 1945.  As temporary Lt.Colonel, 4th Gurkha Rifles, Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted 9th May 1946 (British Army List; Indian Army List; London Gazette; “War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941”, Savannah (2004); WO 373/30/157). 

[29] Denis Clive Herring, born 6th December 1916.  Commissioned, Regular Army Reserve of Officers and Territorial Army, Royal Armoured Corps, 24th October 1936.  From the Supplementary Reserve of Officers, Royal Tank Corps, appointed 2ndLt., 13th October 1937, retaining current seniority.  Appointed Lieutenant, ABRO (ABRO32), 10th November 1939.  Trained with the 1st Burma Rifles at Kangyi in 1940.  Served with the 1st Battalion, The Burma Rifles during the 1942 Campaign; during April 1942, as Captain, was battalion Adjutant.  As acting Major, part of the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion, India, June 1942.  As Lieutenant (temporary Captain), the 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted 5th August 1943.    As Captain, C.O. of the Independent Mission, a platoon of Burma Rifles, in support of the first Chindits' Northern (No 2) Group in February 1943.  Commanding Officer of ‘Dah Force’, operating in the Kachin Hills in 1944 during the 2nd Chindit Expedition.  The purpose of Dah Force, which was composed of some 70 British, Burmese and Hong Kong officers and other ranks, was to organise a Kachin rebellion in the hills during the Second Chindit Expedition into northern Burma, but they achieved only limited success as they were unable to operate in their most promising recruiting district and their 270 Kachin levies were ill-trained; there were problems over supply and in relations with the other British units (Morris Force and an SOE detachment) and Chinese guerrillas operating in the area.  A member of SOE Force 136, participated in Operation ‘Hainton’ in Kengtung State February-July 1945, in which he was involved in recruitment and training of locals and in planning raids on Thai and Japanese forces, creating disturbances along the Salween and northern Siam lines of communication.

Lt (Temp Capt) DC Herring MC - Transcript of Military Cross Citation 

Brigade:                 77th Indian Infantry Brigade          
Corps:                    4th Corps             
Unit:                       Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, attached The Burma Rifles        
Regtl. No.              69361   
Rank and Name: Lieutenant (temp. Capt.) Denis Clive HERRING        

Action for which recommended :-  


On March 1st 1943, Captain HERRING was detached from the main body of 77 Ind Inf Bde, and directed with his platoon of Kachins to the Kachin Hills, with a view to ascertaining whether the Kachins could be raised and organised to fight the Japanese. Moving at great speed, Captain HERRING crossed the IRRAWADDY River and entered the Kachin Hills, about the middle of March. Speaking fluent Kachin, and enjoying to the full the confidence and affection of his platoon, the news of his coming rapidly spread through the hills and offers of help and assurances that the tribesmen were ready to rise as soon as he should give the word came in from all quarters. Other parties which reached the area in April all report his name as being known everywhere, and there is no doubt that as a result of his efforts two to three thousand riflemen could have been forthcoming had circumstances justified the word being given. As it is, his mission has greatly raised the spirits of the Kachins, the work has been greatly facilitated for a future date, and accurate information is in our possession of the temper of the inhabitants of an area of vital importance. His mission over, Captain HERRING withdrew his party safely to Fort Hertz.     

Recommended By:             Brigadier O.C. Wingate, DSO, Commander 77th Indian Infantry Brigade Group

Honour or Reward:             Military Cross      

Signed By:                            Brigadier O.C. Wingate, Comdr. 77th Ind. Inf. Bde; General Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India               

As Lt. Colonel (temporary), mentioned in recognition of gallant and meritorious services in Burma, 26th April 1945.  As Major, Mentioned in despatches, 25th September 1947.  As 2ndLt., war substantive Major, promoted to Major and granted the honorary rank of Lt.Colonel, 12t January 1949.  Died 7th January 2006 , Poole, Dorset.  A record for Lt.Colonel Herrign is held by the National Archives however it remains closed until 2031 (London Gazette; Summary of Private Papers of Lt. Col. DC Herring, MC FRICS, IWM Collection at IWM - Collections; Chindits Special Forces Burma 1942-44 - Awards; Tapper Funeral Service; National Archives; War Diary 1st Burma Rifles WO 172/974 (War diary 1st Burma Rifles)).

[30] James Charles Bruce.  Commissioned to the General List, Regular Army Emergency Commission as 2ndLt. (189617), 28th April 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 12th December 1941.  Served with the 4th Burma Rifles, November 1941 (at least) until June 1942.  As Captain, part of the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion, India 1942.  Temporary Captain, 5th April 1943.  As temporary Captain, 2nd Battalion, The Burma Rifles, awarded The Military Cross, 16th December 1943, citation follows: 

Brigade:                 77th Indian Infantry Brigade
Corps:                    4th Corps
Unit:                       2 Burma Rifles    

Rank and Name: Lieutenant James Charles BRUCE 

Action for which recommended :-

On 28th February 1943, Lieut. BRUCE was sent forward to arrange for the crossing of the IRRAWADDY River by Headquarters No.1 Group, No.1 Column and No.2 Column. He was accompanied by one section of Burma Rifles. Reaching the Steamer Station of TAGAUNG, with his small force he blocked the river preventing the movement of all traffic, and held the area for four days. On the 3rd March he entered the town accompanied by only four men, disarmed the local Burma Police Force, destroyed 7 rifles and kidnapped a Burman Customs Official who was a Japanese nominee. Owing to his efficient block of the river he was able to collect a large number of river craft and great quantities of food, sufficient to feed the whole force of 1,000 men for several days. Unaware that part of the force had been ambushed with and the plan changed, Lieut. Bruce continued with his inadequate party to hold the area far beyond the period originally ordered. Hearing at last of the fate of the main body, he finally abandoned the position which he had so boldly held and, rejoining his Platoon Commander, took part with him in a remarkable march across the Irrawaddy through the Kachin Hills and eventually back to India. During the whole period his courage, cheerfulness and unfailing sense of humour was a remarkable source of inspiration          

Recommended By:             Capt. G.P. Carne, Burma Rifles
Honour or Reward:             M. C.

Signed By:                            Brigadier O.C. Wingate, Comdr. 77th Ind. Inf. Bde.

 As temporary Major, The Burma Rifles, awarded Bar to the Military Cross, gazetted 26th April 1945 (British Army List; London Gazette; Chindits Special Forces Burma 1942-44 - Awards).

[31] D.C. Robertson.  Commissioned to the General List, Regular Army Emergency Commission as 2ndLt., 26th October 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942 (British Army List).

[32] Edward James Bennellick, born Rangoon, 20th November 1915.  Appointed 2nd Lt. ABRO Emergency Commission, 26th October 1941.  Relinquished commission as 2ndLt. and granted honorary rank of Captain, 20th January 1946.  Died 2006 (Anglo-Burmese Library; London Gazette,;

[33] Alexander Bell.  Commissioned to the General List from Cadet, O.C.T.U., as 2nd Lt. (189642), 28th April 1941.  Acting Captain, 11th August 1941.  War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Served as reconnaissance platoon commander, 2nd Chindit Operation.  As temporary Major, The Burma Rifles, Mentioned in Despatches, 19th September 1946.  As war substantive Captain, relinquished commission, 7th August 1946, and granted the honorary rank of Major (London Gazette; British Army List; “Prisoners of Hope”, Calvert M., Pen & Sword (2004)).

[34] Colin Dalrymple Shaw born, 2nd April 1919.  Emergency Commission to the General List as 2nd Lt. (189656), 28th April 1941.  Served with the 2nd Battalion, Burma Rifles, 28th April 1941 to June 1942.  Served with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 1942 to 19th May 1946.  Commanded 'D' Company, 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, November 1943 to 4th March 1946.  As Captain, commanded 'C' Company, 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment on detached duty in the Arakan, 1st March 1943 to 14th July 1943.  Evacuated with malaria, 2nd May 1943.  Wounded, 2nd May 1943.  Returned to unit, 7th June 1943.  As Captain, temporary Major, 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, awarded the Military Cross, gazetted, 8th February 1945.  As temporary Major, 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, awarded Bar to the M.C., gazetted, 28th June 1945.  Acting Battalion Commander, 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment, 4th March 1946 to 22nd April 1946.  As Battalion Second in Command, left the 4th Battalion, The Burma Regiment at Akyab for release in the United Kingdom, 19th May 1946.  As war substantive Captain, relinquished commission and retired as honorary Major, 6th November 1946.  Died, 1983  (Burma Defence Services List July 1941; FindMyPast; London Gazette; War diary 2nd Burma Rifles, WO 172/975; War diary 4th Burma Regiment, W0 172/5037, 7803, 10321; War diary 'C' Company 4th Burma Regiment, WO 172/2657).

[35] Laurence Riley Martin.  Commissioned to the General List from Cadet, O.C.T.U., as 2nd Lt. (189637), 28th April 1941.  Initially served with the 4th Battalion, The Burma Rifles before transferring briefly to the 9th Battalion, The Burma Rifles on 2nd February 1942 and then transferring to the 3rd Battalion, The Burma Rifles on 22nd February 1942.  Subsequently formed part of the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion, India, June 1942.  Promoted war substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  As war substantive Lieutenant, transferred from the General List to the Highland Light Infantry to be war substantive Lieutenant, 19th June 1944, retaining current seniority (British Army List; War Diary 4th Burma Rifles, WO 172/977(War diary 4th Burma Rifles); War Diary 9th Burma Rifles, WO 172/981 (War diary 9th Burma Rifles)).

[36] Philip Anthony Mair Heald, born in Egypt, 24th September 1915.  Before the war, joined the Prison Service in 1936 and then joined the Burmah Oil Company as Labour Welfare Office, in 1937.  Commissioned from Cadet to the General List as 2ndLt.( 233584), 15th April 1942.  Served with or at least passed through the 10th Burma Rifles, as noted in the war diary of the 2nd Burma Rifles when he went on 31 days leave from the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion at Ranchi on 20th June 1942.   War substantive Lieutenant, 1st October 1942.  Served with the 1st Chindits, Column 5.  Hospitalised after return to India until November 1943, when rejoined the 2nd Burma Rifles as Adjutant, 24th November 1943.  In 1946 rejoined the Prison Service, where he worked until retirement in 1975.  Died 28th September 1991  (British Army List; Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943).

[37] Peter Carstairs Buchanan, born 21st November 1912 at Esher, Surrey.  Commissioned 2ndLt., (ABRO 27), 10th November 1939.  Served with the 10th Burma Rifles during the 1942 Campaign.  As Lieutenant (temporary Captain), appointed Adjutant of the Composite Burma Rifles Battalion in Ranchi, 20th June 1942.  This composite unit later re-emerged as the 2nd Burma Rifles and Buchanan continued as Adjutant.  With the battalion, as part of the 1st Chindits Operation 1943, awarded the  Military Cross, gazetted 5th August 1943.  As Lt.Colonel and C.O., 2nd Burma Rifles, 1944, he appears in photos at Anglo-Burmese Library.  His recommendation read:

Brigade: 77th Indian Infantry Brigade          

Rank and Name: Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Peter Carstairs Buchanan      

Action for which recommended: -  OPERATIONS IN BURMA - MARCH 1943

Captain BUCHANAN entered BURMA as Adjutant of the 2nd Burma Rifles. Duties which he continued to discharge until the death in action of his C.O., Lt.Col. Wheeler, near ZEEBUGYIN East of the IRRAWADDY, when he himself took over command of the small party of Burma Rifles with him at the time, and successfully led them out via FORT HERTZ.

Throughout these operations, Captain BUCHANAN displayed great courage and gave an example of unselfishness and indifference to personal safety that had an inspiring effect on all ranks who witnessed it. In particular, when the Brigade Group was bivouaced 12 miles north of WUNTHO from the 12th to the 15th March 1943, Captain BUCHANAN took a small party actually into the enemy post at WUNTHO remaining in a position immediately overlooking the town and the enemy's dispositions for a period of 36 hours. During this period he relayed messages to the Brigade H.Q. every six hours, containing accurate and detailed information about the enemy's movements. this information resulted in a highly successful attack on WUNTHO by our air forces.

Captain BUCHANAN has the distinction of being the first British officer to carry out a close Guerilla reconnaissance on an enemy post deep in enemy occupied  territory resulting in a successful air attack. It is hoped that such reconnaissances will become frequent in future operations, but the success of the first attempt was a matter of great importance and called for high qualities of vigour, imagination and courage on the part of the officer who carried it out.      

Recommended By:  Brigadier O.C. Wingate, DSO, Commander 77th Indian Infantry Brigade Group           

Honour or Reward:  Military Cross (Immediate)         

Signed By:  Brigadier O.C. Wingate, Comdr. 77th Ind. Inf. Bde; General Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India.

As Lieutenant-Colonel, MC, TD (66802), The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, Territorial Army, awarded OBE, gazetted 4th June 1957.  Died 7th October 1990 at St. Ives, Cornwall (London Gazette; National Archives; Anglo-Burmese Library; The Peerage; War Diary 10th Burma Rifles WO 172/982  (War diary 10th Burma Rifles)); Chindits Special Forces Burma 1942-44 - Awards).