Educator Resources:
The Burma Campaign

British attempts to get Burma back in 1942 and 1943 were unsuccessful. The Japanese gave some independence to Burma in 1943, but forced local workers, along with prisoners of war, to build the Burma Railway. Over 100,000, a third of the labourers, died from overwork, malnutrition and disease.

In March 1944, the Japanese tried to invade India from Burma, through the hill tea plantations of Assam. British-led Indian Army troops held the Japanese at Kohima and Imphal for more than eighty days, until the monsoon rains started. One third of the Japanese force of nearly 85,000 died of disease, the greatest defeat of the Japanese army to that point of the war.

Toward the end of 1944, the British Fourteenth Army began the offensive which led to the recapture of Rangoon in April 1945. Nos. 435 and 436 Squadrons, RCAF, flew their Dakota transport aircraft on supply-dropping missions for the British army, which was very dependent on air support in an area with few roads. Many other Canadian aircrew also served with RAF squadrons in southeast Asia.

"The Burma Campaign", Canadian War Museum.

  • Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter. Source: Canadian Forces (copyright expired) Mr. Sutherland Brown was assigned to fly a Bristol Beaufighter from England to India in 1942 at the age of 20.

  • Bill Hoag (2nd from right) pictured here with fellow comrades in India, March or April 1944.

  • Alan Kay in Roorkee, India where he was hospitalized for his broken back. Apparently underneath his uniform is a cast, and that's why, as he explains it, he is standing in a slightly odd position.

  • Victor Wong, Fred Yip and Dake Yip in Poona, India, 1944.

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