The contents on this page remain on our website for informational purposes only.
Content on this page will not be reviewed or updated.


Royal Bucks Yeomanry & the Burma Campaign

Kohima Memorial
Regarding the V.J. Day commemorative service, seemingly the B.B.C. deemed it was hardly important to provide terrestrial coverage of the Burma veterans, no doubt because some young trendy thought this to be just a load of old men playing at soldiers again. Therefore through the courtesy of the Citizen, and the medium of this short article, it will be a privilege to afford an unquestioned respect to the soldiers of the ‘Forgotten Army,’ and not least because so many young men from this district fought in what was probably the most brutal and savage theatre of operations, against a ruthless and fanatical enemy. They would be young men barely out of school, and yet from their peacetime occupations, perhaps as shop assistants, perhaps as factory workers, they would within months meld into a fighting force which, despite a hostile natural terrain, was to smash the myth of Japanese invincibility forever. In the space of this article it would be an injustice to mention only a few names, and have to omit the rest, and so for now suffice to say that the in depth story is to be found elsewhere. Many would serve with the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, and therefore following the outbreak of war be deployed with the 48th Division to France, where, until the Dunkirk evacuation, they fought valiantly against the unstoppable ‘blitzkrieg.’ After a period guarding the east coast of Yorkshire, with the lessened threat of invasion they next sailed to India, and would be subsequently involved in the fierce fighting in the Burma Campaign, of which the names of Kohima and Imphal will forever be associated. Then between April 3rd and May 27th 1945, as part of the 33rd India Corps the Royal Bucks Yeomanry would cover in their journey to Rangoon some 1,127 miles, and liberate 50,000 square miles of territory from the Japanese, of whom about 24,000 were killed, and less than 1,000 taken prisoner. With the war at an end, preparations were made to bring the men home, but whilst at Bombay during a showing of the film ‘Objective Burma’ - in which Errol Flynn, assisted by a few American paratroops, apparently cleared the Japanese out of Burma - the troops became so incensed that they tore the screen down. As for the real heroes, on the night of Thursday, November 15th 1945 aboard the Winchester Castle they docked at Southampton, to receive an official welcome. And so the next time that the nation faces the threat of enslavement, let it be hoped that another generation of their courage and self sacrifice will arise, to preserve a society wherein, regarding programme controllers, the next spawn will continue to have the security of knowing ‘war’ as only a ‘shoot em up’ game on X Box, just before bedtime.