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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Harry Fecitt

British Regiment Memorials around Kohima, Nagaland, India ** REGIONAL ADMIN. AWARD & CERTIFICATE OF MERIT.

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I have been visiting the Imphal & Kohima battlefields in the last few days.

There are some interesting memorials scattered around the town. This is the Cameron Highlanders' Memorial - with the Naga guide who helped me find it on the summit of Naga Village Hill.

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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I like the absence of rank in setting out the names here - all are in alphabetical order.

These men fought and died together in their company teams, and I am sure that they would have been happy with this memorial. There is no need for the discriminations that peace-time armies consider to be necessary.

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We the British owe the Nagas, who are predominantly Christian, a lot for their loyalty in WW2. They carried supplies into Kohima and then carried wounded men out. They lost many men whilst helping us.

Their reward from us was to be handed over to Hindu India on partition and independence. This caused distress and insurrection in Nagaland.

The other dominant tribe, the Kukis, sided with the Japanese from the outset.

Naga Village is a prominent hill facing Garrison Hill which was the main British defended position at Kohima. The Japanese took Naga Village as their first objective and used it as their base. It was a grim task to finally destroy their bunkers in the village.

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Great photos and a great place to visit Harry.

The British and Indian 2nd Division under Maj Gen John Grover was to fight its most famous battle at Kohima. In 1944, during the Burma Campaign, the Division relieved the embattled garrison at Kohima in the Naga Hills. Despite being hampered by the monsoon rains and treacherous terrain, Allied soldiers succeeded in taking Kohima in hand-to-hand fighting, most famously on the Deputy Commissioner's tennis court. This battle was ultimately to prove the turning point of the war against the Japanese in Burma.

The Kohima fighting resulted in the loss of around 4,000 dead, wounded and missing Indian and British soldiers, the Japanese lost more than 7,000.

A memorial at the battleground is inscribed with the Kohima Epitaph

Edited by Spasm

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The Cross of Sacrifice in Kohima War Cemetery looking from the British position on Garrison Hill.

The lines of the tennis court - the front line across which both sides fought and exchanged grenades - can be seen in the left foreground.

Naga Village, the Japanese base, is on the highest point of the horizon.

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Harry

I assume you saw the abandoned Grant. The rain was so heavy it stopped them from climbing the hillside.

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This little plot was run-down through neglect and lack of interest and the local Nagas offered to take over the maintenance.

After prevarication (allegedly) the CWGC is now maintaining the plot, but encroachment is happening with vegetable gardens being cultivated on one side.

It would be good if the Royal Anglian Regiment would collaborate with the CWGC, install name-panels, and perhaps some playground items for the local Naga children.

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Kohima War Cemetery extends dramatically down the slopes of Garrison Hill, showing the difficulties faced by the determined Japanese attackers coming uphill.

Muslim graves are mainly located at the top of the hill.

The Indian Army regiments, particularly the Assam Regiment who also held Garrison Hill, have never been awarded sufficient recognition for their collective gallantry at Kohima.

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Water-sources on Garrison Hill were very scarce and soon became dominated by Japanese snipers.

Here an original spring is now a water-source for Kohima War Cemetery.

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Harry - this has been an exceptional series of posts - in what, unfortunately, - is an almost forgotten set of

battles that were so important to WW2. You have enhanced the knowledge of this period for all members. Mervyn

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The Punjabi Memorial at FSD (Field Supply Depot) above Garrison Hill, Kohima.

This fine memorial definitely needs re-furbishing, but I doubt that India and Pakistan will ever get together to fund the necessary work.

Does any Member have any connections with ex-Punjabi officers who might be interested in fund-raising to restore this memorial?

(Chris, the in-town British Regimental memorials look OK because the local Nagas want them to be that way.)

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To mark this year's 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kohima the local Naga community is constructing, at its own expense, this memorial to Major-General John Grover, commander of British 2nd Division.

2 DIV undertook heavy fighting in the relief of Kohima.

General Grover's daughter-in-law will attend the unveiling of the memorial.

(John Grover was very popular with the British soldiers in his Division, but he did not pay too much attention to his Indian troops. He was not popular with his XXXIII Corps Commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Montagu Stopford who sacked him when the battle of Kohima was over.

When the main troopship carrying 2 DIV personnel to the UK for repatriation arrived, their old General was on the dock waiting to greet them. The cry went up "Grover, Grover" and the men rushed to that side of the deck and tilted it, seriously worrying the captain.

They don't make charismatic generals like that anymore. )

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