THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The Battalion was reformed in October 1940 from drafts of 5 Officers and 240 Other Ranks provided by the 1st and 2nd Battalions.
By December 1940 the Battalion was at its full strength of 900 all ranks and in March 1941 it was deployed to the Khyber Pass on Frontier duties. In March 1943 it moved to Waziristan. Shortly afterwards it was selected to join 77 Brigade, one of the Chindit brigades being a Special Force commanded by Maj Gen Orde Wingate.
Intensive training followed which was aimed at preparing the Chindits for an air-landed operation behind enemy lines in Burma. The Battalion, located in Orchha, was divided into two columns. The first, Number 63, was commanded by the Commanding Officer and the second, Number 36, by the Second-in-Command. The final test exercise involved marching and fighting over miles of jungle in open country with every man carrying a 60 pound pack plus weapons, ammunition and equipment.
In March 1944 the Battalion was landed by glider behind the Japanese lines at an airstrip code-named ‘Broadway’. The next task was to establish a block across the Japanese lines of communication. This was done by Number 63 Column and the South Staffordshire Regiment. They were subsequently joined by Number 36 Column. The block was code-named ‘White City’ and it soon became the scene of intense fighting as the Japanese reacted violently. In May, after incredibly hard fighting during which the Japanese launched fanatical attacks on ‘White City’ and suffered heavy casualties, the two columns were reunited and once more organised as a battalion.
A march of 160 miles was then made towards Moguang which was to be the objective of an attack by 77 Brigade. The final assault was made on 23 June during which Captain M J C Allmand and Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun both won the Victoria Cross. Captain Allmand died of his wounds during the battle. Rifleman Tulbahadur lived to become RSM of the 2nd Battalion during the Malayan Emergency. The citations for these two awards can be seen in the Victoria Crosses section. In July 1944 the Battalion was flown back to India. It now ceased to be part of the Chindits and moved to Ranchi to join 23 Brigade. Its casualties in Burma had been high:
|Gurkha Other Ranks||109||335||7||451|
The following decorations were awarded to members of the Battalion:
- 2 VCs
- 2 DSOs
- 6 MCs
- 12 MMs
- 3 IOMs
- 5 IDSMs
- 3 American Silver Stars
In June 1945 the Battalion moved back to Burma, this time to Rangoon where it joined 89 Brigade which was involved in preventing Japanese movements towards Thailand. After the surrender of the Japanese it was flown to Thailand where it carried out guard duties. It moved to Malaya in December 1945, and then back to India in February 1946.