1st Cameronians 1942

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Skoyen89, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member


    Does anyone have any info on the 1st Bn Cameronians in the retreat from Burma? I have been looking online and there is little - equally the overviews I have of the campaign do not have too much at a battalion level on them.
    has anyone the 'Missing Men' file for them on their hard-disks?

  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Tony,

    The 13th King's (Chindit 1) moved into the Gough Barracks at Secunderabad in February 1942, just as the 1 Cameroninan's were moving out. There were several skirmishes between the Glaswegian's and the Scouser's over the next few days. Interesting times.

    The Scots then moved into Burma, I think a lot of the casualties and missing happened during the retreat around Yenangyaung oilfield in mid-April. A number of Cameronian's became POW and were held at Rangoon Jail, which is why I do hold the MIA lists for the battalion, see below:

    1:Cameronians MIA 1942. copy.jpg 1Cams. Roll MIA 2. copy.jpg 1Cams. Roll MIA 1942 copy.jpg
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  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a brief summary of the service of the 1st Cameronians during WWII. I do have a copy of the regimental history by Barclay. There are 58 pages on the battalion during the Burma retreat in 1942. It would take me a while to scan it if you are interested.

    1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

    Presidency and Assam District – 3 September 1939 to November 1940
    The battalion remained in Barrackpore until November 1940 on internal security. One company served at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands from January until June 1940.

    Secunderabad Area – Deccan District – November 1940 to 14 February 1942
    It moved to Trimulgherry, Secunderabad Area in November 1940, where it remained until mobilised on February 11th, 1942. The battalion moved Madras on February 13th, and sailed to Burma the next day.

    17th Indian Infantry Division – 22 February 1942 to 23 February 1942
    The 1st Cameronians arrived at Rangoon on February 21st, 1942. It moved to Mingladon Barracks, six miles from Rangoon and was to join the 17th Indian Infantry Division on February 22nd concentrating at Pegu.

    7th Armoured Brigade – 23 February 1942 to 12 March 1942
    The battalion joined the brigade at Pegu on February 23rd. It withdrew with the brigade from Pegu on March 1st and reached H’leyu on March 8th. It left the brigade on March 12th due to losses and was located in the Tharrawaddy area.

    48th Indian Infantry Brigade – 12 March 1942 to 2 April 1942
    It joined 48th Indian Infantry Brigade during the withdrawal to Prome and fought under 7th Armoured Brigade again on March 29th.

    17th Indian Infantry Division – 2 April 1942 to 30 April 1942
    After it reached Prome it came under the command of the 17th Indian Infantry Division. It formed the divisional reserve with the remains of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and the 3rd Gurkha Rifles forming a unit of 500 rifles. On April 7th, 1942, it moved to Magwe as corps reserve, which became Magforce. It remained with Magforce until April 18th. It fought on the Irrawaddy under this force and then went into divisional reserve at Monywa.

    1st Burma Infantry Brigade – 30 April 1942 to 18 June 1942
    It moved to Kaduna on May 6th and crossed the Irrawaddy at Shewgyin. It moved up to the end of the Kaban Valley and was replaced in the line by 1st Assam Regiment of 23rd Indian Infantry Division on May 20th. The battalion returned to India on May 20th and remained on the Palel-Dimapur Road at MS 105 until June 18th, 1942.

    17th Indian Infantry Division – 18 June 1942 to 24 August 1942
    It left the Imphal area and was located at Ranchi until August 24th, 1942.

    50th Indian Tank Brigade 24 August 1942 to 1 April 1943
    It came under 50th Indian Tank Brigade as a motor battalion and remained with it in India until April 1st, 1943.

    111th Indian Infantry Brigade – 1 April 1943 to 15 October 1944
    The battalion joined Special Force’s 111th Indian Infantry Brigade on April 1st, 1943. It moved to Jubbulpore on July 16th, 1943 and was split into the 26th and the 90th Columns on October 29th, 1943. It moved to Silchar, Assam on January 8th, 1944 and entered Burma on March 15th, 1944. It returned to Dehra Dun, India on July 29th, 1944.

    16th Infantry Brigade – 15 October 1944 to 31 March 1945
    The battalion was located in India.

    Lucknow District – 31 March 1945 to 25 May 1945
    The battalion served under the Lucknow District.

    29th Infantry Brigade – 25 May 1945 to 31 August 1945
    It was located in India.
  4. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Apologies for not responding yesterday but thanks for the information. The list of missing is interesting and suggests I need to see the 'Missing Men' file but it will need to wait until my next visit to Kew. Not so close these days though so a few days trip rather than pop in for the day after an hours' car drive.

    Thanks for the offer on copying the book Dryan. Can I take a rain-check on your generous offer whilst I see if I can get it out on inter-library loan in the UK?

    In the meantime I've ordered a couple of books on the Campaign which may help me to understand the background a bit more.

    Interesting how there isn't huge amounts on-line on Burma 1942 compared to say, Singapore but I suppose that is the same for Hong Kong in 1941.
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    Are you looking for info on someone in particular, or just the battalion in general? Our member, Hebridean Chindit will have knowledge of 1 Cam's pathway in Burma and may even possess the WO361 file.

  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Just let me know if you need it.
  7. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review... Patron

    As an FYI, I don't have anything on file re the retreat but have a lot of material covering 43-44...
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  8. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    You won't find much about 1st Cameronians in Burma during 1942 online. Two images from other site

    A Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) motor patrol in Burma, 1942


    Dug-out in Burma


    Burma - Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles)

    Three major engagement of the battalion during 1942 were Pegu, Prome and Yenanyaung and majority of the losses were suffered during, or in the aftermath of, those three battles. I can see if I cn find anything in the books but as far as I know there is no some book that specifically covers battalion during their time in Burma in 1942 or that there is any published biography from that period written by someone who was with battalion then. Official history and War Diaries are probably the best way to find info.
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  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Nice photos there. The only book I have read that deals with Yenanyaung and mentions the Cams, is All Hell on the Irrawaddy, by John Finnerty. Even here the mentions are fleeting.
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  10. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Even the Grant book "Burma 1942: The Japanese Invasion" give little details about 1st Cameroninas with somewhat more info about their operations around Prome. Warren book "Burma 1942" mention that battalion lost 69 men in the Battles around Shwedaung, south of Prome without any further details. On CWGC site, I could find almost 30 names for dates that correspondent with the Battle of Pegu and similar number for the Battle of Prome, with somewhat smaller number of those who died at Yenangyaung in the Rangoon Memorial. Those were not only battles that battalion took part during 1942 but seems like majority of those who died or were missing in action are grouped around the March 2 - March 8 (Pegu), the March 29/30 (Prome/Paungde/Shwedaung) and the April 11- April 19 (Yenangyaung).

    Tony if you want I can post here a recommendation to those who were awarded medals during 1942.
  11. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi all

    Thanks for the responses. Our internet was down for the last couple of days so I haven't been able to view them until today.

    This started as I was trying to help someone on the Facebook 'WW2 Burma Research' page find what happened to their relative. He was Rifleman Edward Littleworth and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial. The date of 19th April 1942 ties in with the fighting at Yenangyaung. From the Casualty Lists it seems he was posted Missing in 1942 but in 1945/6 that was changed to Wounded - Believed Died of Wounds. He is on Bamboo43's list above. That suggests that some info came to light from ex-POWs or others on his fate and there is a chance that would be in the Missing Personnel file at Kew (WO361/200).

    I researched KOYLI in Burma 1942 and I was somewhat surprised that there was so little written about the Cameronians in the same Campaign.

    Sol: I would be very interested in the recommendation you have.

  12. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hi Skoyen89

    I'm coming a little late to this party however I have a full copy of the 1942 war diary for the 1st Cameronians; WO 172/855. I am happy to review in search of any specific requests. For the Period February-June, the diary is handwritten, being re-created from memory and surviving records following the loss of all battalion records during the withdrawal. Furthermore, the copy at TNA is an original wartime "photostat" copy which is of poor quality but just about readable. There are no casualty lists included.

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  13. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Corporal Eustace Sayle
    Distinguished Conduct Medal

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  14. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Company Sergeant Major Sydney Roberts
    Distinguished Conduct Medal

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  15. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) William Bain Thomas
    Distinguished Service Order

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  16. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Captain Clement Watson Elphick
    R.A.M.C. attached to 1st Cameronians
    Distinguished Service Order

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  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Acting Captain James Mahoney
    Military Cross

    mahoney.jpg mahoney2.jpg
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  18. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Lieutenant Robert McGuiness, MM
    Military Cross

    mcguiness.jpg mcguiness2.jpg
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  19. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Sol - fascinating to see the recommendations and awards for gallantry. The war diary (WO 172/855) contains hand-written recommendations for gallantry for ten officers and men. The list, with recommendations and awards follows; note that in some cases two recommendations were made. A quick comparison with the recorded recommendations as per your posts above indicates that the war diary versions are almost identical.

    If there is interest, I can post copies of the additional recommendations though they require good eye sight and patience to read what is a poor wartime copy.


    Recommendations and Awards – War Diary 1st Cameronians WO 172/855

    298433 Rifleman WILLIAM WHYTE
    Rec’n: Military Medal Award: Mention in Despatches

    3246105 Corporal EUSTACE SAYLE
    Rec’n: Distinguished Conduct Medal Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal

    3244334 Lance Serjeant NORMAN JOHNSON
    Rec’n: Military Medal Award: Mention in Despatches

    2nd Lieutenant RALSTON DARBY
    Rec’n: Military Cross (twice) Award: Mention in Despatches

    Rec’n: M.C.; D.S.O. Award: Distinguished Service Order

    Acting Captain JAMES MAHONEY
    Rec’n: Military Cross (twice) Award: Military Cross

    3744784 Serjeant THOMAS PHILIP DUNN
    Rec’n: Mention in Despatches; M.M. Award: Mention in Despatches

    Lance Corporal THOMAS RYAN
    Rec’n: Military Medal Award: Mention in Despatches

    Lieutenant ROBERT McGUINESS
    Rec’n: Military Cross Award: Military Cross

    Rec’n: Distinguished Conduct Medal Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
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  20. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Seems like James Mahoney MC and some other medals were, at some time, offered on ebay

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