Words of Rememberance

The Main British involvement in the war with Japan was known as :-
The Burma Campaign. The longest Campaign in WW2
The Forgotten War. The Forgotten Army

The Japanese invaded China in 1937 but for us it was really when Singapore fell with the Japanese invasion in December 1941.

The defeated British Fourteenth Army retreated North.

They together with many Refugees, struggled up the hastily constructed Burma Road into India via Imphal in early 1942.

It was not until after over 2 years of bitter Jungle warfare, that the Japanese were finally stopped at Kohima about 100 miles into India.

The battle of Kohima lasted from early April till June 1944 and proved to be the turning point of the war.

Kohima is of course the site of the famous Naga stone memorial with the inscription “When you go home, tell them of us and say. For their tomorrow We gave our today”

British and Commonwealth Troops including Chinese and US Forces then started to drive the Japanese back after the 3 years of heavy initial defeats and losses. It was then their turn to take enormous losses and final defeat.

There were many thousands taken prisoner by the Japanese. My wife Sally together with her brother and her parents were amongst them. They were imprisoned at Fukushima in Japan from July 1942 until this day 75 years ago. They were not treated well in prison camp. The Commandant was later imprisoned for War Crimes.

My father was one of the hundreds of thousands of those gallant, tenacious and brave soldiers who fought the Japanese with distinction in appalling conditions. He wrote a book about his 3 years on the Burma/Manipur Road, called “Navvies to the Fourteenth Army”. Field Marshall Slim wrote the Forward to his book.

My mother was one of those who helped in the Refugee Camps at Dimapur on the Burma Road. Over 200,000 refugee lives were saved. Many died. Over 30,000, I think.

My old Regiment together with the Dogras saved the British HQ at Imphal. All B Squadron Officers were killed in the process.

So let us raise our glasses in Gratitude and “Remember those men (and women) who fought so well And lived and died in that green hell”

Julian Pilcher