Archive: Mar 2016

  1. Burma Visit Part 2: Honouring Soldiers Of Faiths

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    The Taukkyan War Cemetery in Rangoon/Yangon is a remarkable place – situated in the capital of Burma, it is the final resting place of so many different races of people who helped defeat the Japanese in WW2.

    British, Indians, Burmese, Africans.

    Christian, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist.

    It is a reminder that the British Empire had within it so many people from so many different walks of life, who fought and died during the Second World War.

    There are 6,374 burials at the site, 867 of them unidentified.  This includes (below) Muslim soldiers such as Ghulam Hasain from the 2nd Punjab Regiment who died at the age of 18.

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    The walls of the Rangoon memorial (below) bears the names of almost 27,000 men who died during the campaigns in Burma and who have no known grave.  Remarkable is that this includes so many African regiments – and of particular interest to me, Sikh one’s such as the Patiala State Infantry.  Both are oft forgotten – but ordinary soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice.

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    Furthermore, the site contains the graves of 3 VC’s that were won in Burma – including Frank Blaker who fought with the Gurkhas.  Having already won the Military Cross for bravery the previous year, in July 1944 Major Blaker charged a machine gun position on his own.  What’s interesting about the gravestone is that where usually there would be a cross is the VC (as below).

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    I would highly recommend anyone visiting Burma – a fascinating country in it’s own right, to make the trip to the Taukkyan Cemetery and to remember the sacrifices made by people of all faiths fighting for the British in Burma.

  2. Burma Visit Part 1: The Taukkyan War Cemetery

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    I’ve just returned from a special trip to Burma and wanted to share with you these images of how Sikhs are remembered for their contribution during WW2.

    Burma, then a part of India and the British Raj, was invaded by the Japanese – and the Sikhs were among those native Indians who fought as part of the British Indian Army to free the country.

    Below is a special memorial, at Taukkyan War Cemetery in Rangoon/Yangon.  On the walls of the Cremation Memorial are the names of Sikh (and Hindu) soldiers who died fighting for Burma and were cremated in accordance with their religious custom.  There are more than a thousand names on the wall (the second image shows me with a close up of some of them).

    Added to this are 6,374 burials of Commonwealth soldiers at the site (more on this tomorrow).

     

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