CWGC Remembers 70th Anniversary of Imphal
23 June 2014
Senior officials from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
(CWGC), the State of Manipur and the Indian Army, will commemorate
the 70th anniversary of one of the fiercest battles of
the Second World War - the Battle of Imphal - at ceremonies on 27
June at the CWGC Imphal War Cemetery and Imphal Indian Army War
Cemetery in Manipur State, North East India.
The Battles at Imphal and Kohima were described by the Supreme
Allied Commander, Earl Louis Mountbatten, as "probably one of the
greatest battles in history,"1 as British and Indian
troops halted the advance of Japanese forces into India. At the end
of the battle the Japanese had sustained 53,000 casualties, while
the British and Indian forces had lost 17,000 men killed and
Attending the are His Excellency The Governor of Manipur, Shri
Vinod Kumar Duggal, and Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri
Gaikhangam Gangmei. Representing the CWGC is Director of Africa and
Asia Pacific, Mr Barry Murphy, accompanied by Lt. Gen Ravi Eipe
(Rtd) CWGC Honorary Liaison Officer and Former Army Commander
To commemorate those who died, Mr Murphy will unveil a new
Visitor Information Panel that describes the fierce fighting that
took place at Imphal and uses the latest smartphone technology to
reveal the personal stories of some of those who are buried in the
CWGC's cemetery there.
These include Abdul Hafiz, who as a Jemadar in the 9th Jat
Regiment of the Indian Army, was posthumously awarded the Victoria
Cross - the highest award for bravery - for his actions on 6 April
1944. Abdul Hafiz was ordered to lead an attack on a prominent
position held by the Japanese - the only approach to which was
across a bare slope and then up a very steep cliff. His bravery and
inspiring leadership made the assault a success but he was fatally
wounded in the attack. He is buried in Imphal Indian Army War
Cemetery. The Victoria Cross was presented to his widow.
Mr Murphy said: "I am greatly honoured to visit Imphal to mark
the 70th anniversary of one of the most important
engagements of the Second World War. The work that the CWGC does to
maintain the cemeteries here, our efforts to encourage people to
visit them, and the panels that we have installed today, will help
us and future generations to understand, and to remember, the great
sacrifices made by the Indian, British and other Allied servicemen
who fought and died here in 1944.
"I would like to thank our staff at the cemetery for their hard
work, and our friends and partners in the local and national
government and armed forces, who do so much to support the
Commission's work in India."
Imphal War Cemetery is the final resting place of more than
1,600 Commonwealth soldiers and airmen. Imphal Indian Army War
Cemetery contains the graves of 820 Indian and African Soldiers,
while the Imphal Cremation Memorial within the cemetery
commemorates more than 860 Hindu and Sikh servicemen whose remains
were committed to fire in accordance with their faith. Both
cemeteries were started during the fighting but were later enlarged
when graves from smaller cemeteries around Imphal and other
isolated locations were brought here.
The panels at Imphal are among 500 to be installed at CWGC
locations worldwide and are some of the first to be placed at
Second World War cemeteries. Each of the panels feature information
about the site of the cemetery and a QR (Quick Response) code. When
scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code provides access for further
information including the personal stories of some of the
casualties buried or commemorated there.
1 The National Army Museum nominated the Battle of
Kohima and Imphal as one of the greatest battles in history,
following a national survey in 2013.
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full media release