Sunday, May 26, 2013


The Battle of Kohima along with the simultaneous Battle of Imphal was the turning point in the Burma Campaign. Fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in northeast India, it is often referred to as the "Stalingrad of the East". This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese from gaining a high base from which they might next roll across the extensive flatlands of India like a juggernaut. For the first time in South-East Asia the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies which they retained until the end of the war.

Garrison Hill battlefield, the key to the British defences at Kohima

Kohima has a large cemetery for the Allied war dead maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner's tennis court which was the scene of intense fighting. The epitaph carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery -

When You Go Home
Tell Them Of Us
And Say
"For Your Tomorrow,
We Gave Our Today”

- has become world-famous as the Kohima poem. The verse is attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875–1958), and is thought to have been inspired by the epitaph written by Simonides to honor the Greek who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.


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