Commemoration 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Kohima and Imphal

Commemoration 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Kohima and Imphal

by Major General P K Goswami, VSM (Retd)

Commemoration 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Kohima and Imphal

 

 “A nation that forgets its past has no future”. These words of Winston Churchill could not be more apt to describe the purpose of this commemoration.

The Commemoration Ceremony, on 04 April 2019 at Kohima, was inaugurated by Shri Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland; in presence of HE Sir Dominic Asquith, KCMG, High Commissioner of UK; HE Mr Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan and Lt General R Sirohi, AVSM, VSM, GOC 3 Corps. The commemorations were intended to honour the memory of all the soldiers who fought and died in the conflict irrespective of nationality. The USI was represented in the ceremonies by Maj Gen PK Goswami, VSM (Retd). The USI and the British High Commission produced a commemorative brochure, which was distributed to all participants.

Kohima, a hill town in the middle of the Naga Hills, was the site of one of the most bitterly fought battles of the Second World War from 4 Apr to 22 June 1944. The British and Indian Fourteenth Army, under the command of General William Slim, had been building logistical bases at Dimapur and Imphal for an eventual offensive into Burma. The Japanese Fifteenth Army, under the command of Lt General Renya Mutagachi, received orders in early 1944 to put a stop to the British preparations in Assam. The fighting in and around Kohima in the spring of 1944 was part of a larger Japanese offensive, known as Operation U-Go, in which three Japanese divisions, the 15th, 31st and 33rd, attempted to destroy the British / Indian forces at Imphal, Naga Hills and Kohima. The Japanese, however, were unaware that the British and Indian troops based in Assam in 1944, unlike their predecessors in 1942, were properly trained for the coming battles.

The Kohima war cemetery, divided into 7 steps, was established in 1946 and inaugurated by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Commander 14th Army. This is the final resting place of 1421, commonwealth serviceman of WW – II, most of whom fell during the siege of Kohima and the fighting which followed its relief. Wreath Laying at Kohima Cemetery was organized by IGAR (N) on 05 April 2019. Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, KCVO, CB, ADC (P), Vice Chairman, CWGC; HE Sir Dominic Asquith, KCMG, High Commissioner of UK; HE Mr Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan; Mr Richard Day, British Veteran of the Battle of Kohima; Ms Salvia May, CEO, Kohima Education Trust, UK; Mrs Akiko MacDonald (daughter of Lt Taiji Urayama, served in 15th Imperial Japanese Army) CEO, Burma Campaign Society; Mrs Celia Grover (daughter Maj Gen M L Grover, GOC 2 British Division, commander of British forces in the Battle of Kohima) and large number of Indian veterans attended the event.

 British Officers, Lt Col Nick, Brig Gavin Thompson, AVM Reid, RAF, HE Sir Dominic Asquith,
HE Kenji Hiramatsu, Maj Gen PK Goswami, Lady Louise Asquith and Mrs Patricia Hiramatsu


 Wreath Laying

Maj Gen PK Goswami,  with Mrs Akiko MacDonald and
Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence  Mr Richard Day

At the highest point of the cemetery stand the “Kohima Cremation Memorial” which commemorates 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who were committed to fire in accordance with their faith.

 

(L to R) AVM Ried, Brig Gavin Thompson, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
and Maj Gen PK Goswami at Kohima Cremation Memorial

 Previously, this location (photograph below) was the site of the DC Bunglow and Tennis Court and it was here that the famous Battle of Tennis Court was fought which is also known as one of the most bloodiest battles in the history of warfare.

HE Sir Dominic Asquith, Lt Col Nick Wood,
HE Kenji Hiramatsu, Maj Gen PK Goswami

Battle of Imphal

In March 1944 the Imperial Japanese Army launched Operation U-Go to capture the Imphal plain in the princely state of Manipur, which was the forward Allied base beyond the Chindwin. The attacking forces crossed the Chindwin and Manipur Rivers from 8-16 March 1944. They were supported by the week and ill-equipped 1st INA Division having approx 6000 men. Imphal was the main objective and for this Japanese 33ed Division was tasked. The Japanese 31st Division was tasked to make a hook to the north and capture Kohima, thereby cutting the only road connecting Imphal to railhead and British supply base at Dimapur. The inhospitable terrain severely hampered the quantum of supplies and ammunition the attacking troops could carry. The Japanese Army fought with devotion and tenacity that was impossible to match, but better training and logistic support ensured the morale and fighting capabilities of Allied troops never flagged. On the other hand over-stretched and untenable Japanese lines of communication degraded their fighting potential. On 22 June 1944 road block at Mile Stone 109 (Imphal – Kohima Road) was destroyed by allied forces, thus after three months siege by Japanese troops was lifted and first convoy from Kohima moved to Imphal. It marked the turning point in the campaign, and was the beginning of the end of Japanese resistance in the region.

Imphal War Cemetery

This is the final resting place of more than 1600 commonwealth soldiers and airmen, of whom more than 200 served with Indian Regiments.


Wreath Laying

Mr Ben, Lt Col Nick Wood, Capt G Rai, C/Sgt O Hunter,
Lt J Deemy, Lt J Field, Maj Gen PK Goswami, Brig Gavin Thompson

 Indian Army War Cemetery, Imphal

This is the final resting place of more than 820 Indian and African soldiers, of whom more than 200 remain unidentified.

Wreath Laying

Grave of Jamadar Abdul Hafiz, Victoria Cross, 9 JAT Regiment

In a message for issue ‘to all ranks on the Manipur road’, Earl Mountbatten wrote after the battle of Kohima that ‘only those who have seen the geographical nature of the country under these conditions will be able to appreciate your achievements’. This sums up a great truth about the battle of Kohima, and emphasizes the magnitude of the victory bought at great cost by the combined British and Indian force of the 2nd British Division, the 161st Indian Brigade (which included the 4th Royal West Kents), and the 33rd Indian Brigade. Though its importance was not fully realized at the time, Kohima was a turning point in the war against Japan.

Video

USI-ICWA UN Webinar Challenges of Mission Leadership in UN Peace Operations

USI is conducting a series of webinars on the UN themes in collaboration with ICWA Since 2021, for the cross-fertilization of ideas and generating policy recommendations for reforms and restructuring …

War Disabled Personnel of Indian Armed Forces: Challenges, Concerns and Aspirations

Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen sacrifice their lives & limbs for many reasons, like national, regimental and unit pride; high level of motivation; courage; call of duty; and above all the understanding that …

Major Navdeep Singh: USI War Wounded Foundation Event

Talk by Maj Navdeep Singh, Author and Legal Luminary Need for Formulating a ‘War Disabled Persons Special Disability (WDPSD’s) Act’ for War Disabled Personnel and its Important Components.

38th USI National Security Lecture

The 38th USI National Security Lecture was delivered by Lt Gen Raj Shukla, PVSM, YSM, SM, ADC on Wednesday, 13 April 2022 at 1100 h (IST) at the United Service Institution of India. 37th National Se…

'Is The New Cold War a Myth or Reality'?

A talk on 'Is The New Cold War a Myth or Reality'? by Mr Atul Singh, Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief Fair Observer, USA scheduled at the USI, New Delhi on Wednesday, 23 Feb 2022 from 1100 to 1300 H (I…

UN Peace Operations: Women, Peace and Security

Along with the decline in inter-state conflicts and a sharp increase in intra-state conflicts in the last two decades, there is a consequent increase in the casualties to innocent civilians. Taking no…

National Security Policy of Pakistan (NSPP) 2022-2026

USI is conducting a panel discussion on the ‘National Security Policy of Pakistan (NSPP) 2022-2026’ on 07 Feb 2022 from 1100 h to 1300 h.

FRONTLINE COMMANDER: The Military Biography of the Late Lt Gen Jaswant Singh, PVSM, AVSM

UNITED SERVICE INSTITUTION OF INDIA- CENTRE FOR MILITARY HISTORY AND CONFLICT STUDIES organising a webinar on “FRONTLINE COMMANDER: The Military Biography of the Late Lt Gen Jaswant Singh, PVSM, AVSM”…

37th National Security Lecture: The Chinese Challenge - Its Many Dimensions and India's Options

Shri Maroof Raza, a well know commentator on strategic security and military issues will deliver the lecture on 24 Nov 2021 at 1100 hrs at the USI. The focus of the talk will be the geo-strategic as w…

Indian Military Operations Mukti Bahini & the BSF Salient Factors in the Liberation of Bangladesh

Shri VK Gaur and Lt Col BB Singh with Dr Sanjeev Chopra (based on VK Gaur’s book Yoon Janma Bangladesh) Chair: LS Bajpai

Naval Operations Beyond Naval Blockade Valley of Words 2021

Sandeep Unnithan in conversation with Admiral Anup Singh - Valley of Words 2021.

Air Operations Experience of First Heliborne Operation Valley of Words 2021 1080p

Sqn Ldr Rana Chinna in conversation with Sqn Ldr Pushp Vaid, VrC

Air Operations Air War in the West Valley of Words 2021 1080p

AVM Manmohan Bahadur in conversation with Jagan Mohan (Unheralded operations by Vampires, 'Texan' Harvard, Canberras and An-12)

Stories of Valour Narration of stories of valour by Maroof Raza Valley of Words 2021

Narration of stories of valour by Maroof Raza. Maroof Raza talks of forthcoming book The Contested Lands (India-China border dispute) - Valley of Words 2021

Managing Future Conflicts Role of World and Regional Fora Valley of Words 2021

Ambassador Asoke Mukerji and Maj Gen Dhruv Katoch Moderator: Lt Gen JS Lidder original video can be accessed from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_j4zEnQmFw&list=PLwxh3VL-4b6uFk1wf_EdXamume8-cLXot&…

Perceptions India’s Compulsions and Outlook on East Pakistan Objectives and Strategy

Shri Iqbal Malhotra in conversation with Lt Gen Nirbhay Sharma and Maj Gen Ian Cardozo - Valley of Words 2021

Perceptions Western Pakistan’s Designs on East Pakistan Campaign, Objectives and Strategy

Lt Gen PJS Pannu in conversation with Christine Fair and Ambassador Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty

Contribution of Indian Cinema in Infusing Patriotism Valley of Words 2021

Lt Gen PJS Pannu and Maroof Raza in conversation with Shri JP Dutta (producer, director, filmmaker) and Nomination of Bollywood film Border on 1971 War. Original video can be accessed from: https://w…

Diplomacy and Statecraft Perceptions Information and Media Operations Valley of Words 2021

Lt Gen PJS Pannu in conversation with Sir Mark Tully, Subroto Chattopadhyay and Vishnu Shankar (Editor, TV9 Network) Original video can be accessed from :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfGmfJvWmo8&li…

USI- FO Live: Evolving Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific Region

The United Service Institution of India (USI) and Fair Observer present a panel discussion on the evolving geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region. Lately, the AUKUS Deal has added another twist to th…

𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐖𝐞𝐛𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫 on Buyout Sino Pak Collusivity Implications For India Maj

STRIVE a Lucknow based National and Defence Security Studies Centre organised a Webinar in collaboration with Military Literature Festival, Lucknow on a highly sensitive and contemporary issue the “B…

Can India and Pakistan Take Steps Towards Rapprochement

In this episode Major General BK Sharma (Director - United Service Institution of India) and Lt. General Asad Durrani (Former Director General ISI, Pakistan talks with Analyst Arvind Saharan on Indi…

𝗨𝗡 𝗣𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀: 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀

Over the past few decades, inter-state conflicts waned but there has been an increase in Intra-state conflicts. In any conflict, the innocent civilians are the ones who suffer the most. But the suffer…

Valedictory Address by CDS General Bipin Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC

Valedictory Address by CDS General Bipin Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC The original video of the event can be accessed on the VoW youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF2clqxX_j8&…

Managing Future Conflicts Deterrence and Conflict Prevention: Valley of Words 2021

Major General Dhruv C Katoch, SM, VSM (Retd) in conversation Lieutenant General JS Lidder, UYSM, AVSM (Retd), Ambassador Asoke Mukerji, Shri Arvind Gupta and Lt Gen Prakash Menon PVSM, AVSM, VSM [Retd…

Facebook

MEMBERSHIP
close slider

    All classes of membership except temporary membership and membership of Service Officers applying for Correspondence Courses being conducted by the USI, will be subject to approval by the Executive Committee. The following are ordinarily eligible to become members of the Institution, with full voting rights:-

    Read More