An Infantry Company in Arakan and Kohima
This diary was written up when possible from day to day; on occasions when the situation did not permit, notes were made which were later enlarged during a lull in operations.
It is an account of “B” Company of the 1st Bn. The Queen’s Royal Regiment, who fought with the 7th Indian Infantry Division.
Those incidents herein recorded were not in any way peculiar to my Company. The events, the mode of living, and the type of warfare were typical of most infantry companies of line regiments who fought in the Far East.
Unfortunately, the inspiration to keep a record of my Company did not occur to me when we first set off for the war. In consequence, I will try and sketch a background to the operations which began on our D Day, December i, 1943.
The Division was formed on the North-West Frontier of India, where we joined them in November, 1942. Together we trained from then until midsummer of 1943. It was in August, 1943, that we began our move forward from India, and spent the remaining weeks of the monsoon on the Teknaf Peninsula in Arakan. Although not in contact, we lived more or less under operational conditions; the Japanese were about three and a half miles away on the opposite banks of the Naaf river. This was ideal, because it meant we were able to put the final shine on our already polished training for war whilst actually at war.
From here we sent out patrols down the length and breadth of the peninsula. We had sentries, patrols and ambush posts by night, and stood-to at dusk and dawn each day.
“B” Company had the good fortune to be sent on a raid to Maungdaw on October 15. The party consisted of my Company and two detachments of 3-inch mortars; the unwieldy flotilla of twenty-eight sampans and a khisti taught us many valuable lessons.
All this time prior to our D Day was of inestimable value. The foundations of a team spirit laid during training and earlier in the year were proved in this period to be real, firm and of unshakable depths. Above all our morale was built up to concert pitch. We were ready and eager for battle.
It was the spirit of the men that prompted me to set down all that they were doing and enduring.
St. Ives, 1946.