LETTER:Figures for army brigades in Burma

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The Independent Online
From Mr Donald McKie

Sir: While I agree that the Indian Army should be appropriately honoured at any commemoration of the war in Burma, I question Major G. R. Bide's statement (Letters, 24 August) that there were 750,000 Indian troops, who represented 75 per cent of the 14th Army, and 250,000 British troops.

The book Campaign in Burma, published by HMSO in 1946 shows the following figures:

Of the various strengths in the field there were: Indian 340,000, British 100,000, West and East African 90,000, Chinese 65,000, American 10,000. 47 US Air Squadrons took part and 51 British (including RAF, IAF, RCAF, and RAAF units). The traditional composition of an Indian Division is two Indian Army brigades and one British Army brigade.

Although the above extract gives a fairer representation of those who took part in the campaign it is not comprehensive. For example, it fails to give separate figures for Burmese and Gurkha troops.

Yours faithfully,

Donald McKie

Stroud, Gloucestershire