1RWF-Kohima. 29 Apr – 3 May 1944

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 29 April 1944 – 1430hrs. Relief of 1DLI complete. 1RWF now dug in on Garrison Hill. Company dispositions shown below. Area quiet.

screenshot645.jpg

Note: Some of B + C Coy’s positions are on forward slopes, looking down(south and south west) 20 metres to the enemy below them on Kukis Piquet.

This was their first impressions………

screenshot646.jpg

 

Sitrep -2015hrs onwards. During the late afternoon 2 x Curtiss Command aircraft dropped water + rations onto Garrison Hill. The Bn reported the drop as “Fair” with mists limiting visibility. The routine for the remainder of the night will be as follows:

1845-1930hrs – 100% Stand To
1930-2400hrs – 50% Stand To
2400-0545hrs – 100% Stand To

A long night ahead!

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 30 April 1944 – 1115hrs. Slight enemy sniping and grenading overnight. Digging and work on improving positions now being carried out.

Life On Garrison Hill:

Garrison Hill was conical in shape with a small flat plateau that the battalion was clinging to. Likewise the enemy’s trenches were just over the forward slopes and the surrounding high features. For those RWF companies at the edge of the British position any type of movement in the day was very difficult. Fusilier Harold Jones from Welshpool, a signaller with B Coy recalls that when the enemy was improving their positions at night, the spoil was landing on the British trenches.

Water was rationed to 1 pint per day(later 3 pints). Washing & shaving was forbidden. But there was a cup of tea 3 times per day! Space was so limited that dug-outs, latrines, cook-houses and graves were all close together. It was almost impossible to dig anywhere without uncovering either a latrine or grave.

The wounded and sick were evacuated via the British held part of the Dimapur Rd, additionally some supplies came in this way. However for most of its supplies the Battalion depended on air drops. In the late afternoon some half a dozen Dakotas, flying line ahead, would come up the valley, circle low around Garrison Hill, and release their many coloured parachutes(of supplies). Some of these would of course land in the enemy lines. Some would end up caught in trees, the fusiliers would shoot through the para cord or branches to release the precious cargo.

Certain loads were dropped without parachute. These consisted mainly of chloride of lime and were intended to discourage the plague of flies which bred in the dead bodies piled around the position.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 30 April 1944: Overnight. The Battalion comes under enemy rifle, LMG and grenade fire. 1 x Phosphorus Shell dropped on C Company area. 1 x Fusilier KIA.

Fusilier David Cousins was aged 22. He was the son of Thomas and Minnie Cousins, from North Ormesby Middlesborough.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 1 May 1944 – 2000hrs. Nothing to report of importance. The Bn spent the day improving the positions.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 2 May 1944 – 2200hrs. At 1800 this evening 2 x Hurribombers (Converted Hurricanes), bombed and strafed Kukis Piquet. 2 x Bombs landed on the RWF positions on Garrison Hill, additionally C Company and Bn HQ were subjected to friendly fire strafing! 1 x 250lb UXB later detonated by the Royal Engineers.

screenshot619

Note:

Harold Jones, later a member of Welshpool RWF Comrades Association was at the latrine when the bombing run started. On the evening of this incident 70 years later, his Comrades Branch at Welshpool had a drink with him and he reminisced about that night:

He recalls that the guys had been briefed that anyone above ground after dark that evening should be considered enemy and shot. So just before dark, he visited the latrine and was making his way to his dugout when the earth in front of him started ripping up. He was spun around and thrown to the ground, he managed to get into a trench, where he was treated by Fus Westlake (KIA 1945). Harold was severely wounded in the arm. The Padre Capt Ken Parkhurst helped him to the dressing station where he was given further treatment by the MO “Doc”Johnson MC and then placed in a hole dug into the side of a bank, without his weapon, his arm in a sling, to await evacuation in the morning. He couldn’t move, but could see out.

During the night the enemy breached Garrison Hill by the cookhouse and although the Fusiliers managed to fight them off. Harold still recalls how scared he was, lying in his burrow, watching the enemy running past him. He describes it as the longest night of his life. Harold was a signaller with B Company, that wound almost certainly saved his life, over the next three days many of Harold’s friends would die on Kohima Ridge, including the guy who replaced him as  Company Signaller.

Battle of Kohima Sitrep 1RWF 3 May 1944 – 1700hrs. Early this morning Harold Jones and the other wounded were casevaced off Kohima Ridge. Initially walking off the hill, carrying the stretcher cases whilst under sniper fire. Eventually utilising armoured ambulances to travel along Hospital Rd. Later that day the men arrived at the military hospital at Dimapur.

1030hrs 2 x enemy shells land on the battalion position. Reported 3 x WIA.

Company Commanders now waiting for CO’s O Group to commence at 1730, in relation to tomorrows planned assault on Kukis Piquet and FSD.

-2000hrs. CO’s O Group Completed. Div attack to take place tomorrow. 6 Brigade will assault Kukis Piquet and FSD.

The outline plan is:

4 + 5 Bde will launch diversionary attacks on the flanks.

6 Brigade will then launch an attack on FDS using 2 DLI + Tanks approaching from the rear of the position. Once that is achieved C Coy and B Coy 1RWF will conduct a frontal attack on Kukis Piquet from the north, eventually pushing though to FSD linking up with 2DLI.

C Company will lead.

C Company are led by Maj PCR Carrington.
B Company are led by Maj CO Hilditch.

Both Company Commanders, veterans of Donbaik the previous year.

The scene is set.

screenshot647.jpg

1RWF. Kohima – The Next Stage

Battle Of Kohima: The next stage:

The British are now on the Kohima feature, with 1RWF about to deploy onto it. So lets have a look at the broad idea of the plan. Remember! Everything in red on the map below is held by the Japanese. Our guys on the 28th April are just outside Kohima, close to the Dimapur Highway, waiting to be called forward.

The 2nd Inf Division was almost ready to begin the task of recapturing Kohima Ridge and in the process totally destroy the Japanese forces to task. This process would begin in early May.

The Ground:

Kohima Ridge itself was now almost totally dominated by the enemy. The British held a small piece of ground a couple of 100 metres long, that stretched from Garrison Hill, where the Durham Light Infantry clung precariously to the summit, through to the DC’s Bungalow in the north east of the ridge. And that was it, the enemy held every other feature.

On Garrison Hill, the forward slope ran south onto the enemy held Kukis Piquet. The distance from those British positions to the Japanese was in some cases 20-50 metres!

screenshot643.jpg

The Plan:

4 Bde to push south and east from Jotsama, to re-capture GPT Ridge in the south and open up the Imphal Road.

5 Bde To Loop round from the north and re-capture Naga Village.

23 Bde To swoop in a wide arc from the north through to the east, cutting of the enemies line of communication and withdrawal route at the track at Jessami, which the enemy used originally during their advance on Kohima.

6 Bde(of which 1RWF was part). To mount a frontal assault on Kohima Ridge from Garrison Hill.

Two years previous, these type of tactics would have been unthinkable in the British mindset, neither would our units have had the training or confidence in their ability to accomplish it. So lots of changes since Singapore 1942.

The plus points for the British:

1. Artillery, controlled by Forward Observers, which could be brought to bear on the Japanese positions.

2. Line of Communication: they now had control of the Kohima – Dimapur Rd, so that resupply and communication could be maintained.

3. Air superiority. The enemy was unable to get ammo/med/rations resupply through the thick jungle from the east.

The scene was nearly set for 1RWF

1RWF-Kohima 19 -28 Apr 1944.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 19 Apr 1944 – 0900hrs. All company’s reported a fairly quiet night. An enemy patrol approached Deltas, but were fought off. No casualties.

Heavy British Artillery & Mortar barrage in progress, prior to the Punjab & Rajput battalions attempts to open the road into Kohima. The battalion also receives a visit from their Brigade Commander Brig JD Shapland MC.

-1300hrs. The road into Kohima was finally open, although still subject to enemy fire and patrol activity. Over the next few hours the wounded of the heroic 4th Royal West Kents(RWK) were evacuated by ambulance escorted by tanks. The RWK remain in position, they will not be relieved for a further 36hrs. They had been under constant enemy attack at close quarters for the last 12 days.

The road is open during the daytime, but then deemed “Closed” at nightfall. Each day over the next week, a team of infantry and tanks go forward to open the road, then close it at night.

1RWF remain at Jotsama. This afternoon, A Company came under enemy LMG fire. The enemy position was quickly engaged by the battalions 3 inch mortar and taken out by a direct hit.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 20 Apr 1944 – 0930hrs. Overnight Deltas suffer four casualties. Two by enemy grenades, two by own artillery dropping short.

At first light this morning the battalion mortars opened up on “Shrewsbury” area, at Japanese shaking blankets. Believed at least 6 x enemy casualties.

1 x man KIA. Fusilier George Coombes aged 33. Married to Mary Coombes of Canton, Cardiff.

We Will Remember Them.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 21 Apr 1944 – 0700hrs. A quiet night. This morning the 4th R.West Kents will finally be relieved by 1 R. Berks on Kohima Ridge. Their nightmare is nearly over.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 22 Apr 1944 – 1100hrs. Earlier this morning D Company, led by Capt John Rostron DSO were ordered to move forward and take up a position on the ridge line at Gr 471667. They are now under enemy fire. 2 x enemy reported killed.

-1130hrs. Capt John Rostron DSO killed by sniper. Lt NEH John assumes command Deltas.

-1140hrs. D Company’s position under heavy mortar & grenade discharger fire. Lt NEH John and Lt ECV Wells wounded. Company ordered to withdraw.

-1200hrs. D Company commence the withdrawal from the crest. They have to leave the body of Capt Rostron DSO on the battle site. It’s never recovered.

Capt John Norfolk Rostron DSO, aged 24yrs. He was born at Bucklow in 1920. The son of Norman & Constance Rostron, he resided at Hale, Manchester.

As a young platoon commander with 1RWF in 1943, he had been awarded the DSO at the Battle of Donbaik. Originally he was recommended for the Military Cross, however the brigade commander Brig Cavendish, upgraded it to the DSO. Cavendish himself was killed five days after he signed off Rostrons recommendation. John Rostrons body was never recovered at Kohima and so he is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial.

Lt Rostron DSO Donbaik Killed 22 Apr 44.jpg

The Battle of Kohima: 1RWF 23 April 1944 – 0700hrs. Durham Light Infantry(DLI) report that the Japanese have overrun their forward positions on Garrison Hill at Kohima. The enemy has now withdrawn leaving snipers. DLI have counted 100 enemy dead. The DLI have suffered 100 killed, wounded or missing!

1RWF remain dug in at Jotsama.

Battle of Kohima: 28 April 1944. Warning Order. 1RWF Tasked to relieve 1st Durham Light Infantry on Garrison Hill during daylight 29 Apr 1944.

Today, Garrison Hill and the enemy positions surrounding it have been extensively reccied by the RWF company command teams. In preparation for this task, the 1st Bn has been moved closer to Kohima Ridge.

The plan is at 0830 tomorrow (29th) A & C Coys +TAC will proceed to Kohima Ridge by Bren Carriers and then relieve 1DLI on Garrison Hill. The remaining RWF Companies will follow up later that day.

Note:

The Battle of Kohima: The 1st Battalions War Diary, shows a relatively quiet period from the 23-28 April 1944. The regiments written account of WW2(The Red Dragon) states that by this stage of the battle although the fighting had not been overly severe, the 1st Bn had suffered the  following casualties:

Killed in Action: 3 x Officers, 9 x OR’s
Wounded in Action: 5 x Officers, 42 x Ors
Sickness: 70 x All Ranks.
Total: 129 Men

Within 24hours, the remaining men of 1RWF would be on Garrison Hill, Kohima.

1RWF Kohima. 18 April 1944

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 18 Apr 1944. Jotsama – 0910hrs: The battalion begins to relieve 1/4th Rajputs on “Wrexham” one of three pieces of high ground, held by Indian units, the other two codenamed “Chester” and “Shrewsbury”.

1445hrs. Large enemy force reported to be approaching from the Khonoma Village area. 1RWF stands to!

– 1515hrs. A strong enemy attack launched against A Company’s positions at Lone Tree Hill, as they relieve the Rajputs, on the positions crest, which they share with the enemy. During the assault 9 Platoon are overrun. The RWF survivors are quickly taken away by the Japanese. (They will almost certainly be executed).

The Pl Commander Lt TG Callaghan(Att Welch) assisted by the CSM Jones 22 and others, immediately launched a counter attack using the surviving members of Callaghans platoon. By utilising a covered approach on the left flank, they catch the enemy by complete surprise. During the ensuing bloody hand to hand fighting Lt Callaghan and his small group of men manage to kill eighteen of the enemy and rescue their captured men!

Lt Callaghan received the Military Cross.

screenshot633.jpg

Cpl William Burton received the Military Medal for supporting his Platoon Commander. He personally killed five of the enemy. Sadly he was mortally wounded by a sniper during the action and died in a military hospital a few weeks later.

screenshot634.jpg

Fusilier Sidney Vickers was one of the first men to rally to his Platoon Commander, snatching a Bren Gun from a dead comrade, he personally accounted for seven of the enemy dead. For his gallantry he was awarded the Military Medal.

screenshot635.jpg

This attack by the Japanese cost the battalion at least 5 x KIA (including Cpl Burton), with approximately a further 6 x WIA. The enemy lost between 18-25 men in the failed attack.

1RWF Regimental Fatalities 17/18 April 1944.

Lt Douglas Lawrence, aged 31 from Tottenham. Married to Doris Lawrence.
Fus James Madden, aged 36. A former Commando, from Handsworth, Birmingham. Married to Florence Madden. He had joined the battalion in 1930.
Fus Robert Jones, aged 31. Enlisted in June 1940. Son of Robert & Jane Jones of Penygroes, Caernarfon.
Fus Richard Thomas, aged 25. Enlisted in November 1939. Son of Richard & Jane Thomas of Llangoed, Anglesey.
Fus Eric White, aged 27. Enlisted in January 1940. Son of Edward & Jane White of Caernarfon.
Fus Richard Williams, aged 24. Son of Morris & Elizabeth Williams of Holyhead.

Fusilier Benjamin Rees Davies, aged 25. Son of John and Martha Davies of Saron, Carmarthen).
Cpl William Burton MM, aged 30. Enlisted in June 1940. William died on the 9th May 1944 at Delhi Military Hospital.

We Will Remember Them.

Postscript: After the War Lt Callaghan settled in Shrewsbury, working for the local authority. Harold Jones had contact with him through their shared membership of the Burma Star Association and attended his funeral many years later.

1RWF Kohima. 12-17 Apr 1944

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF. 12 April 1944: The 1st Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers (1RWF)arrived at the supply area of Dimapur, after travelling some 2000 miles by rail. Fully up to strength with 35 Officers and 869 Other Ranks. The command orbit was as follows:

CO – Lt Col Braithwaite
2I/C – Maj J Vaughan
Adj – Capt NF Goldman
RSM – WO1 Scammels

OC A – Maj JK Evans
OC B – Maj CO Hilditch
OC C – Maj PCR Carrington
OC D – Capt Lyman
OC HQ – Maj OH Owen

Only the CO and Maj JK Evans would emerge from the Kohima operation unscathed.

Their initial task as part of 6th Brigade was to assist in opening the road from Dimapur into Kohima, in order to relieve the defenders of Kohima, who have been cut off from the outside world for nearly two weeks.

screenshot628

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF. 14 Apr 1944 -1620hrs: The battalion deployed east from Dimapur to the village of Ghaspani on the main Dimapur to Kohima Rd. Relieving 1 Norfolks.

Tac HQ located itself within the village, whilst the companies proceeded to prepare and improve the defensive positions.

Note: By 1900hrs B Company 1RWF deployed a patrol further east to clear the track at Milestone 22 (MS 22). This patrol returned to base at 0630hrs the next day and confirmed the area was clear of enemy.

Over the next 24hrs the battalion would continue to push south east towards Kohima, clearing the road in small chunks, using the milestone markers as a fixed point of reference.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 15 Apr 1944 -1145hrs: During the morning the battalion has moved further east along the Dimapur-Kohima road. Pushing on past MS 36, they have now formed a defensive perimeter at Zubza. Enemy small arms & arty fire heard, south of the road.

screenshot631

-1215hrs. Zubza: Lt Darvell (att RWF) and Fusilier Davies injured by an enemy booby trap. Lt Darvell dies of his wounds. This is the first RWF fatality at Kohima.

-1400hrs. Zubza. B Company:( Harolds Jones Company) come under enemy mortar fire. Fusilier Alfred Lee killed. 2 others wounded. Alfred aged 34 was from Liverpool. En snipers account for a further 3 x wounded, including Lt PC Wilson-Wilcox.

Note: During the day, 1st Bn Camerons had destroyed a Japanese road block on the Dimapur-Kohima Rd in the area of MS 32(possibly an enemy encircling attempt), killing 50 enemy, with 17 of their own men becoming casualties. A classic Japanese tactic, that would have worked two years previous. This was a very different, better trained British Army to the one that had faced the Japanese in Malaya and Singapore in Feb 1942.

1830hrs – D Coy 1RWF:  Move slightly further east, supported by an extra platoon from A Coy.

2000hrs – A Coy 1RWF: Lt HM Hill and 3 x men from A Coy set out to liaise with a patrol of the Burma Rifles. En-route they contacted the enemy. Lt Hill killed a Japanese Officer, but suffered a sword wound to his shoulder in the process. The sword was recovered (now in the museum archive). Later an RWF party are sent out to recover the body, but the enemy has beat them to it.

The battalion faced a long night at Zubza, as the enemy increased its activity around their positions.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 16 Apr 1944: During the day the battalion continued to push eastwards towards Kohima. D Company came under sniper fire, but did not sustain casualties.

During that night D Company was attacked by a Japanese patrol who threw grenades into the company’s defensive perimeter. 1 x OR, was killed. 1 x officer and a further 4 x OR’s injured.

A Coy conducted a night patrol to confirm that the road towards MS 38½ was clear.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1RWF 17 Apr 1944: At 0730 A Company + tanks pushed east along the highway to Jotsama. This is the village that 161 Indian Brigade had been trapped at on the 6th April, after the enemy closed the door on the West Kents who are still under siege in Kohima. By the afternoon Alphas had been joined by the remainder of the battalion and dig in.

The battalion are now under command of 6 Brigade.

screenshot632

1RWF Kohima. 29th Mar – 05 April 1944

The siege phase, that commenced from the end of March until mid April 1944. At this stage our battalion are blissfully unaware of what is unfolding, in a place most have probably never even heard of. The main players in this phase are the 161 Indian Brigade incl The Royal West Kents, plus elements of 4/7 Rajputs, 1st Bn Assam Regiment, and bolstered by artillary & logistal support staff.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 29th March 1944: Japanese forces have today cut the road that runs south from Kohima to the British/Indian garrison at Imphal. Imphal can now only be supplied by air. The small hastily formed garrison at Kohima can now only be reached by the northern road from Dimapur. The enemy’s net is closing. 1RWF part of 6th Brigade, are some 2700kms away at their training base at Ahmednagar having completed months of gruelling jungle training.

screenshot623

 

 

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 30 March 1944. Kharasom:  During the morning 30 miles east of Kohima. John Young, a 24 year old Lieutenant (acting Captain) attached to The Assam Regiment watched, through what must have been very tired eyes, the arrival of a fresh battalion of Japanese reinforcements coming to the aid of the enemy battalion he had been fighting for three days and nights. Delaying their relentless advance towards Dimapur and Kohima. John had been ordered to fight “To the last man and the last round”

screenshot624.jpg

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 1st Bn Assam Regt. 31 Mar 1944 – 1200hrs: Last night the message was finally received that the “Last man, last round” order had been rescinded. The withdrawal was finally under way. However Captain Young in charge of the defence at Kharasom never received it. He was completely overwhelmed by thousands of Japanese soldiers and cut off from his C.O Lt Col Brown who was located at Jessami. Last night Capt Young gathered his surviving officers and NCO’s and ordered the men to make for Kohima (30 miles west, through thick jungle). The wounded were not to be left behind alone and so he told his men he would not be leaving. Under darkness, his men exfiltrated the positions. By sunrise this morning the enemy had secured Kharasom. Young was killed defending the position. Two days later 56 of his men staggered into Kohima, His small company sized force had held back the enemy for over four days. Perhaps because of the pressures of war and the fact that his CO was later killed, Young’s brave conduct and exemplary leadership was never officially recognised.

(Source: Argylls.co.uk)

screenshot41

Battle Of Kohima: Sitrep 1 April 1944 – 0900hrs: The 161st Indian Brigade (which includes 4 R. West Kents) are currently dug in on Kohima Ridge along with an adhoc force of admin troops. Since last night the brigade has been on 30mins NTM to head back to the supply dump area of Dimapur 30 miles North West. Gen Slim and the area commander Gen Ranking believe Dimapur is the objective. But they wrongly assume Kohima will just be a used as a road block, or dealt with by a regimental-sized enemy formation. At this stage they are not fully aware of the size of the enemy force (15,000 men) that has just overrun 1st Assam Regt at Jessami and Kharasom, or its direction of travel through the thick jungle. If the brigade moves, the garrison at Kohima will be left with approximately 2000 men, mostly inexperienced line of communication troops.

The road south from Kohima to Imphal is already in enemy hands.

screenshot625

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 2 April 1944 – 1300hrs. Kohima Ridge: In pouring rain the battle hardened 161 Indian Bde (which includes 4th R.W Kents) have been ordered to extract from Kohima. They are heading along the dirt road to Dimapur in order to help reinforce the allies supply dump. Kohima is now protected by 2000 inexperienced rear echelon troops commanded by Colonel Richards. The District Commisioner Charles Pawsey a civil servant, who had also fought at the Somme has chosen to remained behind. His local Naga tribesmen and some Nepalese Shere regiment soldiers are the only means of gaining information on the enemy’s advance westwards. The Kohima defences are in a poor state, so the garrison works feverishly to implement improvements.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 3 April 1944 – 0800hrs. Kohima Ridge: Recce patrols deployed by Col Richards to try and discover the extent of the Japanese advance. Assam Regt survivors of the delaying actions at Jessama and Kharasom begin to emerge from the jungle. The healthy will be used to reinforce the defences. At least 20 are sick/wounded and need evacuating to Dimapur.

 – 1600hrs. Kohima Ridge: Jap forces spotted edging around the right flank of the defensive position at GPT Ridge, which is half a mile south of the main garrison position.(Source: Road of Bones)

 – 2100hrs. Kohima Ridge: Sporadic enemy sniping at the troops on GPT Ridge. A short time later a platoon of Shere troops withdraw. Leaving a small adhoc group to hold that crucial feature.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 4 April 1944 – 1600hrs.GPT Ridge: Under enemy heavy mortar and small arms fire. Enemy probes begin.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 4/5 April 1944: At 2300hrs , a large number of allied troops fled GPT Ridge. British officers were struggling to maintain discipline as the enemy moved in closer. By 0200 on the 5th, the enemy had also been spotted moving in on the tribal village of Naga, north of the garrisons main position on Kohima Ridge. Meanwhile 30 miles away at the supply dump of Dimapur, the Royal West Kents as part of 161 Indian Brigade were readying themselves to move back to Kohima in motor transport at first light.

 

screenshot626

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 5 April 1944 – 1000hrs Kohima Ridge: The Royal West Kents, as the lead element of 161 Bde arrive at Kohima. Civilians and non-combatants are streaming away from Kohima towards Dimapur. The R.W Kents come under heavy contact almost immediately and they began to dig in on Garrison Hill. The Japanese are shelling from Adura Ridge in the south. GPT Ridge and Jail Hill in the south are in danger of falling to the enemy.

Battle of Kohima: Sitrep 5 April 1944 -2100hrs: The Japanese encirclement of Kohima is complete. Fortunately one battle hardened unit The Royal West Kents plus a company of 4/7 Rajputs managed to get in before the enemy closed the door. Their presence bolstered by effective artillery would ultimately mean the survival of the garrison over the next two weeks.

The remainder of 161 Brigade are trapped outside Kohima at Jotsoma. They are unable to move back to Dimapur, as the enemy has also managed to encircle them as well. 1RWF as part of the 2nd British Division are starting their 2000 mile journey from the west of India to join the battle. Their first task will be to help clear the arterial road from Dimapur to Kohima.

screenshot627

(The source material has been gathered mainly from War Diaries and some publications including “The Red Dragon” and “Roads of Bones” which are gratefully acknowledged.)

1RWF – Kohima 1944

(The source material has been gathered mainly from War Diaries and some publications including “The Red Dragon” and “Roads of Bones” which are gratefully acknowledged.)

The 1st Bn The Royal Welch Fusiliers took part in the Battle of Kohima during April/May 1944, very little is known of the RWF involvement. Recently we have lost one of our very few surviving veterans of this campaign; Mr Harold Jones of Welshpool. As a tribute to him, we repost the day by day account of 1RWF in that campaign, which we gathered and published on our main website, during the 70th Anniversary Commemorations in 2014.

“We who survived those terrible battles,
grow fewer and fewer each year.
Old men now, we all may be.
But proud to have been a Welch Fusilier.”

                                          WC Smith – 1RWF”

screenshot622